IMDb > "Star Trek: The Animated Series" How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth (1974)

"Star Trek: The Animated Series" How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth (1974)

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Star Trek: The Animated Series: Season 2: Episode 5 -- The Enterprise crew encounters an alien who visited Earth in ancient times and became known as the Mayan god Kukulkan.


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Gene Roddenberry (created by)
Russell Bates (written by) ...
View company contact information for How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
5 October 1974 (Season 2, Episode 5)
The Enterprise runs into a being that once visited Earth and influenced the Mayan culture. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Ambitious Cartoon "Trek" With Ideas For Future Installments See more (2 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)

William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk (voice)

Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock (voice)

DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy (voice)

George Takei ... (credit only)

Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura (voice)

Majel Barrett ... (credit only)

James Doohan ... Scott / Arex / Walking Bear / Kukulkan (voice)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Bill Reed 
Hal Sutherland 
Writing credits
Gene Roddenberry (created by)

Russell Bates (written by) &
David Wise (written by)

Produced by
D.C. Fontana .... associate producer
Norm Prescott .... producer
Lou Scheimer .... producer
Original Music by
Ray Ellis  (as Yvette Blais)
Norm Prescott  (as Jeff Michael)
Art Direction by
Don Christensen 
Production Management
Rock Benedetto .... general manager
Art Department
Paul Fennell .... storyboard artist
Dale Hale .... storyboard artist
Mike Hazy .... key art assistant
Bill House .... key art assistant
Dawn Huntley .... storyboard artist
Sherman Labby .... storyboard artist
Jack Miller .... storyboard artist
Michael O'Connor .... storyboard artist
Louise Sandoval .... storyboard artist
Ken Southworth .... storyboard artist
Visual Effects by
Reuben Timmins .... special effects animator
Camera and Electrical Department
John Aardal .... camera operator
Earl Benedetto .... camera operator
Thane Berti .... camera operator
Don Dinehart .... camera operator
Gene Gropper .... camera operator
Bill Kotler .... camera operator
Joe A. Ponticelle .... camera operator (as Joseph Ponticelle)
R.W. Pope .... camera supervisor
Dean G. Teves .... camera operator
F.T. Ziegler .... camera operator (as Fredrick T. Ziegler)
Animation Department
Maria Bennett .... layout artist
Robert Bentley .... animator
Betty Brooks .... xerography and paint supervisor
Janet Brown .... background artist
Jim Brummett .... animator
Tom Burton .... layout artist
Bob Carlson .... animator
Rudy Cataldi .... animator
Lorna Cook .... layout artist
Jesse Cosio .... animator
Zeon Davush .... animator (as Zion Davush)
Alberto De Mello .... key layout artist
Lillian Evans .... animator (as Lil Evans)
Paul Fennell .... animator
Otto Feuer .... animator
Ed Friedman .... animator
George Goode .... layout artist
Boris Gorelick .... background artist
Fred Grable .... animator
Dick Hall .... layout artist
Lee Halpern .... animator
Laverne Harding .... animator (as La Verne Harding)
Maurice Harvey .... background artist
Herb Hazelton .... key layout artist
Wes Herschensohn .... layout artist
George Jenson .... layout artist (as George Jensen)
Lou Kachivas .... animator
Les Kaluza .... layout artist
Ervin L. Kaplan .... color director (as Ervin Kaplan)
Glen Keane .... layout artist
Pat Keppler .... background artist
Bob Kline .... layout artist (as Robert Kline)
James Koukos .... layout artist
Marsh Lamore .... animator
Chris Lane .... layout artist (as Christopher Lane)
Ken Leonard .... layout artist
Carol Lundberg .... layout artist
Warren Marshall .... layout artist
Larry Miller .... animator (as Lawrence Miller)
Martin Muller .... layout artist
Fred Myers .... animator
Jane Nordin .... animator
Bill Nunes .... animator
Joe Nunez .... animator
Tom O'Loughlin .... background artist
Rolando Oliva .... background artist
Casey Onaitis .... animator
Jack Ozark .... animator
Curt Perkins .... background artist
John Perry .... layout artist
Don Peters .... background artist
Jane Philippi .... checking supervisor
Bill Pratt .... animator
Virgil Raddatz .... layout artist
John Remmel .... xerography and paint supervisor
Len Rogers .... animator
Virgil Ross .... animator
Sonja Ruta .... animator
Don Schloat .... animator
Karen Shaffner .... background artist
Ben Shenkman .... animator
Larry Silverman .... animator
Brad Smith .... animator
Hank Smith .... animator
Reuben Timmins .... animator
Bob Trochim .... animator
Marion Turk .... checking supervisor
Cliff Voorhees .... layout artist
George Waiss .... animator
Wendell Washer .... layout artist
Malcolm Weizer .... layout artist
Ron Westlund .... animator
George Wheeler .... layout artist
Jim Willoughby .... layout artist
Kaem Wong .... animator
Kay Wright .... key layout artist
Paul Xander .... background artist
Editorial Department
Doreen A. Dixon .... editorial supervisor (as Doreen Dixon)
Joseph Simon .... editorial supervisor
Other crew
D.C. Fontana .... story editor
June Gilham .... film coordinator
Gene Roddenberry .... executive consultant

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Color | Color (technicolor)

Did You Know?

This takes place in 2270.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Captain Kirk continuously mispronounces the name "Kukulkan" as "Kuklakan".See more »
Kukulkan:If you do not know me, than it is my task to teach you!
[transports the crewmen to another place]
Dr. McCoy:Just once I wish he'd let us use the stairs.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Drawn to the Final Frontier (2006) (V)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Ambitious Cartoon "Trek" With Ideas For Future Installments, 28 January 2010
Author: Steve Nyland (Squonkamatic) from New York, USA

The Animated "Star Trek" series from 1973 - 1974 was an odd bird to begin with, and this may be its most bizarre installment that actually suggests a few ideas the franchise would later re-visit on a grander scale.

An "unidentified space probe" leaving a swath of destruction in its path is headed right for the Earth, and only James Tiberious Kirk & the crew of his USS Enterprise stand between it and certain doom. The probe refuses to answer any hailing frequency communication attempts and brushes aside any attempts to stop it. The Enterprise engages the ship and finds that it is a ceramic based craft of infinite age, piloted by an equally infinitely old being known as Kukulkan, who had visited Earth eons before to teach humans to evolve into a technically sophisticated civilization patterned on the Mayans & Toltecs who would worship the being as a god.

Pretty heavy stuff for Saturday morning cartoon fare with some really cool art designs depicting a vision of the city that the being had envisioned, made of architectural components from various human civilizations like the Meso Americans, the Khmer people's Angkor Wat, the ancient Egyption obelisks, etc. Which is ironic given William Shatner's own preoccupation with the "Ancient Astronauts" theories he explored in a highly entertaining documentary released on home video under such dubious titles as CAPTAIN KIRK'S ALIEN MYSTERIES and MYSTERIES OF THE GODS. I watched it yesterday and wondered where I'd heard about jungle pyramids + Captain Kirk before. Huh.

The basic idea of an implacable alien space probe on a single minded mission to destroy the Earth because of antiquated events (the Voyager space missions, the near extinction of the whale species in our oceans) would later find greater form in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE and STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME. Though the concept had been familiar to the Trek universe since the dynamite 2nd season Original Series episode "The Changeling", which also has a mutated alien space probe on its way to apparently destroy the Earth while on some cosmic quest for knowledge.

And the idea of humans coming in contact with ancient intelligences also figured directly into three Original Series episodes: "The Immunity Syndrome", "Return To Tomorrow", and the likewise sprawlingly titled "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky". By simply shuffling around previously used ideas, writers Russel Bates & David Wise managed to come up with something familiar yet new. If anything the episode is a little overburdened with good ideas and the story feels rushed. I wish we'd been able to learn more about Kukulkan's voyages through space & time.

That lunkheaded 1974 era network television would actually allow such complex ideas to take form in entertainment primarily aimed at children is nothing short of remarkable -- A marvelous fluke, which pretty much sums up the whole Animated Series experience. It's unique stuff that has long deserved a proper place in the Star Trek franchise, and thanks to the DVD age & the internet your own Complete Series box set is only a few mouse clicks away.


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