So, according to The Daily Galaxy, our planet narrowly avoided total destruction yesterday – the latest installment in a 70-million-year lucky streak, without which we would not exist. Kinda makes the so-called death of print sound like a minor issue, eh? To ease my panic, I called upon one of our national heroes, who has plenty of experience with foreign objects from outer space. That's right – William Shatner. According to Star Trek: The Original Series 365 (Abrams, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-8109-9172-9, $38.95 CDN), he "hoped to wrestle" (p. 97) a live rented tiger to the ground during the production of classic episode "Shore Leave," although the idea didn't fly with the crew. Sounds to me like a guy who can shoot a couple of asteroids out of the sky – a far cry from the peacenik approach of Jean-Luc Picard. In a quote from "This Side of Paradise," the memorable episode in which Spock, under the influence of alien spores, succumbs to human emotion, Captain James Kirk says, "We weren't meant for [Paradise]. None of us. Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is." (p. 131)
A thick, widescreen-proportioned hardcover, Star Trek 365 consists of over 700 pages of beautiful photographs and long lost lore from all 79 episodes of the original Star Trek series. Publisher Abrams describes it as "the definitive, authorized guide (...) for old and new fans alike."
Although Star Trek barely survived the entirety of its original run from 1966-1969 – extended into a third season largely because of a massive fan-driven letter writing campaign (p. 263), and, um, Lucille Ball – it became a hit in reruns during the 1970s, which was when I, and many others of my generation, started watching it as a kid. The original series has of course spawned several spinoff series and movies, merchandise, and of course books and comics. So far, this particular book stands out for me as a very effective memory aid – just flipping through, I've pleasantly recalled some of the weirdest episodes of the show, including "This Side of Paradise" mentioned above, which I will forever remember as the "Spock laughing" episode.
Another example: there was the one where Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Yeoman Janice Rand – with a very complex wicker-like hairdo in many of these photos – visit a planet identical to 1960s earth populated only by filthy, feral children.
SPOCK: Guards! Cover me. CHILDREN [OC]: Nyah na nyah. (stones are dropped from above) Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah. Nyah na nyah! [...] SPOCK: Children, Captain. Lots of them. We couldn't begin to get close to them. They just seemed to scurry away, like animals. Only children. [from Chrissie's Transcripts Site]
Brilliant stuff, for sure. But even stranger than this episode is the fact that one of these children was played by actor Phil Morris, a seven-year-old at the time. He has since held many roles in moves and TV, but you'll probably know him best as lawyer Jackie Chiles in Seinfeld. (p. 77)
This is a fun book about what has become a very popular fictional universe. It's definitely more fun than thinking about the real universe – or specifically, how close we often are to global annihilation.
Do you have any fondly remembered episodes from the original series? Post them in the comments section below!