Star Trek (1966–1969)
20 user 4 critic

The Savage Curtain 

Kirk, Spock, Abraham Lincoln and Vulcan legend Surak are pitted in battle against notorious villains from history for the purpose of helping a conscious rock creature's understanding of a concept he does not understand, "good vs. evil".



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Episode complete credited cast:
Arell Blanton ...
Chief Security Guard
Carol Daniels ...
Zora (as Carol Daniels DeMent)
Bob Herron ...
Kahless (as Robert Herron)
Nathan Jung ...
Ghengis Khan


The Enterprise's sensor readings indicate a planet unsuitable for any carbon-based life at the level of a developed civilization. Suddenly they get an apparition in space from someone who looks like and claims to be Abraham Lincoln. He insists on them checking him out and coming over to a small part on the planet surface (which has suddenly developed a perfect atmosphere for humans). He is received with full presidential honors and Kirk and Spock agree to beam down with him, but as they do, phasers and tricorders fail to dematerialize with them, and communicators won't work. There they meet Surak, the greatest Vulcan of all time, equally convincing. The quartet is greeted by a creature consisting of molten rock who presents them to notorious historical villains Ghengis Khan, Colonel Green, Zora and the Klingon Kahless the Unforgettable. They're told the teams represent good versus evil and must battle to the death against each other to teach the creature their concept. When Kirk ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

7 March 1969 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A Star Trek trading card set gave Colonel Green's full name as Edward Featherstone Green, but this was superseded by the last few episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) where he was spoken of as Phillip Green. See more »


The aliens of this episode want to see how the crew represent good vs evil, but the aliens for Surak and Lincoln do all the decision making. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: Where do you come from?
Col. Green: I can't remember. Isn't that strange? My memory used to be quite remarkable. Well, wherever it was, I want to get back.
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Referenced in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Kirk & Spock team up with Lincoln & Surak
10 March 2007 | by See all my reviews

The Enterprise crew once again encounter highly advanced/highly evolved aliens, who, in this case, wish to study the concepts of good and evil (a bit ironic as I thought humanity had evolved beyond the simplistic notion of such concepts by the 23rd century) and use crew members as pawns in their inquiries. This episode, a morality tale, borrows elements from some of the better episodes of the past, such as "Arena" and "Day of the Dove," as well as "Spectre of the Gun" and even "The Devil in the Dark," which had another silicon-based lifeform. The better scenes, however, are not the later action sequences, but when Abraham Lincoln beams aboard the ship and gets acquainted with Kirk and the crew. It's an excellent guest appearance by actor Bergere, who is given some entertaining dialog, mirrored later by actor Atwater, who plays the famous Vulcan, Surak. The crew reactions to such famous personages and their debates about the nature of these obvious aliens-in-disguise is what elevates this above the average 3rd season episode. Doohan, as Scotty, steals a couple of scenes here, as usual.

In the last two-thirds of the episode, Kirk & Spock, along with Lincoln, beam down to the planet, meet Surak, and then are forced to confront four other famous, er, infamous figures from the past: Colonel Green, Kahless the Unforgettable, Zora (who?) and Genghis Khan. Col.Green made his name in some genocidal war in the 21st century (probably related to the 3rd World War brought up in later Trek series). Kahless, of course, is the famous/infamous Klingon, reinterpreted on the TNG series. The plot, at this point, is fairly simple: with no advanced weapons, using whatever resources are on hand in the primitive setting, such as spears, the two quartets must fight it out until one side is the victor. It's very basic, very primal, with our heroes and villains reduced to chess pieces on the cosmic board of some higher powers. There are no astonishing revelations towards the end, with Kirk & Spock merely showing that their Starfleet training can be put to use, if required. Even so, it seemed to me they were lucky in the end - that Green miscalculated and didn't press on to victory when he had the chance, due to, I suppose, cowardice. This episode also showed, again, the ingenuity necessary to come up with unusual-looking aliens when you have almost no budget for special make-up and FX.

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