WI: The Enterprise completes its five year mission (Star Trek survives for 5 seasons)

Article 1: NBC Reevaluating Primetime Lineup
  • One of the worst decisions ever made by a television network was NBC's cancellation of Star Trek (the Original Series) after its third season in 1969. After two years of middling ratings placed Star Trek in the Friday Night death time slot, at 10:00 PM, so fewer fans would be able to watch the series. In our timeline, NBC killed off Star Trek, but it went to syndication where it became more popular than ever in the 1970s. NBC knew of the depth of Star Trek fandom but had no idea how deep it ran until they no longer made the show. So here we go...the divergence point.

    NBC REEVALUATING ITS PRIMETIME LINEUP

    VARIETY MAGAZINE, March 1, 1968

    NBC, having finished a distant second in the ratings battle with CBS, was forced to reevaluate its primetime lineup to see where they could find potential strength for the fall 1968 television season. Two shows which faced the chopping block this season were The Man From U.N.C.L.E., on Mondays from 8:00 to 9:00 PM, and Star Trek, on Fridays from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM. The Man From U.N.C.L.E faced a lot of turbulence when showrunners decided to turn the spy show into a comedy. Its ratings, formerly very competitive with CBS, dropped dramatically in the 1967-68 season; NBC is pondering what direction the show can turn to next. Star Trek was rumored to be cancelled because it rated poorly with an audience of older Americans, but its largely young fanbase swarmed NBC with tens of thousands of letters demanding its renewal. NBC is undecided at this point about U.N.C.L.E.'s fate but is bringing Star Trek back for a third season. However, the suits at the Peacock Network are uncertain about which timeslot to place Star Trek in. Could it replace U.N.C.L.E. on Monday or will NBC try to move it later to Friday night, where its chances of survival are slim?
     
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    Article 2: NBC Finds Star Trek is Actually popular
  • NBC CONDUCTS STUDY ON TREK: NIELSEN RATINGS NOT FULLY ACCURATE?

    VARIETY MAGAZINE, March 15, 1968

    NBC is unsure of how to handle Star Trek, the big hit with younger American television viewers but a ratings laggard with the general public. The network conducted a study to determine exactly what it has with the science fiction series and its findings were surprising. They determined that younger Americans often watched Star Trek in groups, and it was one of the most popular shows among the age 20-30 and age 30-40 brackets. They also determined that Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the characters were extremely popular with young kids, who often wanted to stay up past their bedtimes on Friday night to see where they and the Enterprise would go next. However, NBC found a significant decline in popularity among viewers older than 50. Due to this wide age disparity, NBC is mulling over whether they will place Star Trek on Mondays in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s old time slot at 8 PM; U.N.C.L.E. was pulled in January and is unlikely to return to television. The Monday 8 PM time slot is often popular with younger audiences, but comes with great competition as is well known in the industry.

    NBC contacted Gene Roddenberry, the show's creator, Herb Solow, the showrunner at Paramount, who recently acquired Desilu Studios, and Robert Justman, one of the show's producers, for a planning session to widen the show's popularity for a general audience. Roddenberry objected to NBC's proposal to make Star Trek a show with a more pragmatic, less optimistic future. He also objected to the idea that the show had to appeal to older audiences, arguing that the strength of the show was rooted in the creative storytelling that attracted younger adults and children. Solow and Justman also disagreed to an extent but determined that parts of the show had to be remodeled in order to make it a wider hit. Ideas for the third season were pitched to the network; one was rumored to involve Mr. Spock's brain being removed from his body, while another was rumored to have the Enterprise enter Romulan space unprovoked in order to spy on them, a major diversion from the normal behavior of the Enterprise crew.
     
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    Star Trek Avoids the Friday Night Death Time Slot
  • STAR TREK MOVED TO MONDAY TIMESLOT; SPY SHOW RUMORED TO BE THIRD SEASON PREMIERE

    VARIETY MAGAZINE, March 20, 1968

    After conducting its study on the audience demographics of Star Trek, NBC is likely to place the science fiction drama on Mondays at 8:00 PM, facing stiff competition from both CBS and ABC. The Peacock Network's decision indicates its confidence in the series, despite average ratings, and places intense pressure on William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and the rest of the cast to perform at a very high level to improve the show's appeal to a wider audience. Star Trek is rumored to become a more Cold War oriented show with greater emphasis placed on the Klingons and Romulans, the enemies of the human-led Federation. To build on this story, it is rumored that a spy thriller involving the Enterprise and the Romulans, who appeared in the first season hit episode "Balance of Terror," will become the third season premiere. Gene Roddenberry attempted to sell NBC on the idea of an episode where Mr. Spock's brain is removed from his body, but NBC rejected the idea, considering it unappealing and potentially grotesque to general audiences.
     
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    Chapter 4: Production Changes
  • OK, here we go into the reimagined third season! But first, a few role changes:

    STAR TREK UNDERGOING CHANGES IN PRODUCTION TEAM FOR THIRD SEASON

    Los Angeles Times (Entertainment section), June 2, 1968

    The third season of Star Trek, which almost failed to launch were it not for a massive letter writing campaign by its devoted fanbase, will see some role changes among its production and writing staff. Herbert Solow, who was the showrunner for Trek when the series was produced by Desilu, has left Paramount, which acquired Desilu, for MGM. In his place, NBC approved Paramount promoting Robert Justman to showrunner. Justman, in a surprise move, placed Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana in charge of a large amount of the creative control which was formerly his role as executive producer. It is reported that Fontana will also contribute to scriptwriting. She is well into the planning stages of a story arc involving an Enterprise spy mission which is rumored to encompass at least the first five episodes of the new season. Previously, Star Trek was discouraged by Gene Roddenberry, the show's founder, to engage in long episodic arcs, instead preferring "planet of the week" episodes where the series stories were told as allegories.

    Justman and Fontana are in talks to retain Gene Coon, one of the lead writers, for the third season. Coon is rumored to be undecided about remaining on Trek's staff, and is mulling over an offer to write and produce for ABC's new series "It Takes a Thief." Coon reportedly wants more creative control and ability to expand upon some of the characters and alien species he developed for the series.

    Fontana at a 1975 convention recalls:

    The Enterprise-Romulan stories were a little bit out of left field, considering we only did one Romulan story to that point in our first two seasons in "Balance of Terror." They were unusually well received by the fanbase, especially the subplot regarding Vulcan and its ancient relationship with the Romulans. I felt the Romulan story arc was the first time we truly expanded the show to a general audience. Star Trek was an excellent show, but at times a little too optimistic for a general public that was going through the trauma of the late 1960s. We had to make the show more realistic and gritty, and The Enterprise Incident, which led to a brief Federation-Romulan conflict, was extremely appealing to the public. I recall it winning the ratings battle for one of the few times with CBS and ABC at that point in the series' life. Although Gene [Roddenberry] didn't like it, we promised that the story arc would not encompass more than five or six episodes, and Gene acquiesced, although in his own grumpy way.

    Justman at the same convention also recalls:

    Gene hated giving up creative control. Star Trek was his baby, and the show was relatively successful as a very high-minded, intelligent science fiction program. We [D.C. Gene Coon, Herb Solow and I] proved that we could do it well Gene's way. We just wanted to try it our way. At first Gene flatly refused the idea of a Federation-Romulan war, but we convinced him that the third season needed to start with a bang and he ditched the idea of taking Spock's brain out of his head, at least for the first half of the season. I admit it was a little bit difficult being the showrunner after Herb left, but I relished the challenge. And we were wildly successful.

    The hardest part was getting Gene Coon back on the show. He had a really good offer to produce It Takes a Thief from ABC, and Coon was starting to get tired of churning out scripts at an industrial rate (Coon was known to be able to write complete scripts in two or three days IRL). So I asked him to just write Klingon stories. Coon could take a short break from the show to recharge his batteries, and we promised that there would be several opportunities to expand on the Klingons in season three. So Coon split the baby, so to speak. He wrote a little bit for It Takes a Thief and he wrote stories later in the season for us. And they were great Klingon stories that were just as incredibly well received as the Romulan stories at the start of the season.
     
    Chapter 5: The Enterprise Incident is a Hit
  • Two more updates today:

    STAR TREK OFF TO A FLYING START IN SEASON THREE; EVEN ITS RATINGS ARE IN OUTER SPACE

    Los Angeles Times (Entertainment), September 19, 1968

    Now this is a rarity: Star Trek won the ratings battle for one of the few times in its history as a television show. The program earned a 32.2 Nielsen rating, which also contributed to a win for NBC an hour later, with Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. The Enterprise Incident, the season premiere, was premised around a space-weary Captain Kirk intentionally entering Romulan space to steal a cloaking device, a piece of machinery that allowed Romulan ships to remain invisible. Spock was seduced by a female Romulan commander, but before she was able to turn him to the Romulan cause, the Vulcan transmitted the location of the device to Kirk. Disguised as a Romulan after plastic surgery conducted by Dr. McCoy, Kirk, successfully carried out the mission. The show was considered a thriller and a rare, surprising entry into the spy genre by the high-minded science fiction series. One wonders what will happen next now that the Enterprise has successfully conducted a successful spy mission against one of its greatest enemies and captured one of its ship's commanders. Will the show continue down this path, or will this become another alien of the week episode that disappears into the ether without consequences?

    Fontana at the first Star Trek convention in New York in 1972:

    We had to continue down this path. The ratings were too good, as good as they ever were, and we were excited for the rest of the tale to play out. We weren't going to let this story die because in the fictional world, the Romulans certainly weren't. There was no way Kirk's incursion could go unpunished, and we had several surprises in store for both the Enterprise crew and the fanbase that stemmed off this episode. It really was the best season premiere we ever produced.

    Roddenberry, in a 1976 interview:

    I hated the idea because it flew against everything Star Trek should stand for. But I'll be damned if it didn't work because our popularity shot into the stratosphere, in what I thought was a very unexpected way.

    Shatner, in a 1974 interview while working on the Animated Series:

    That was the first time I put on the pointy ears. Now I understand what Leonard had to go through in the makeup tent everyday. It was hard keeping those damned ears on. That turned into the beginning of the most successful and well-written set of episodes. The weird part about the Fontana Romulan arc was that the shows were not centered around me and Leonard. Everyone in the series had a major part to play, and in the end, Nichelle as Uhura saved all of us, which was a completely unexpected development when we first read the stories. Nichelle always wanted more to do than say "hailing frequencies open," and DC gave her the time to shine.
     
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    Chapter 6: The Vulcan Quandary
  • Last update for today:

    September 23, 1968

    THE VULCAN QUANDARY airs as the second episode of Season Three. War looms between the Federation and the Romulan Empire after the Romulans demand the return of their cloaking device and Livia, the captured Romulan commander. The Vulcans also object to Kirk's actions in Romulan space and threaten to leave the Federation. In response, Starfleet Command orders the Enterprise to Vulcan, hoping that Spock can compel the Vulcans to remain in the Federation.

    Before the Vulcan High Council, Spock unexpectedly encounters T'Pring, now betrothed to Stonn after the events of Amok Time. Spock discovers that T'Pring is in favor of the Vulcans leaving the Federation after Kirk's Romulan incursion. T'Pring apparently has the support of most of the Vulcan populace, and argues that the Vulcans should no longer associate themselves with "illogical, irrational humans" who threaten to plunge the galaxy into war. According to T'Pring, the Vulcans should also declare their neutrality in the event of a Federation-Romulan conflict. "It is only logical to disassociate ourselves from the barbaric humans as we did when we expelled members of our own race who failed to follow the teachings of Surak thousands of years ago," T'Pring says as she lays down her case.

    Spock counters by bringing up the excellent track record of the humans as explorers who grew out of barbarism into a galaxy-faring species. Spock notes that the Vulcans also had a barbaric past and purged their elements, noting T'Pring's mention of Surak. However, Spock also argues that humans, although an emotional species, "are undergoing the same process we Vulcans did in becoming a more evolved species. Although they may never achieve the level of logic as Vulcans have, they have largely followed our advice for two hundred years since we Vulcans guided them out of their nuclear dark age. Humans may still make mistakes, but we know they are nowhere near as barbaric as our Romulan cousins."

    T'Pau, the leader of the Vulcan High Council, decides on a plebiscite of the Vulcan people to determine their future status in the Federation. In a surprise, the Vulcans stay in the Federation by a 51-49% vote. However, the Vulcans choose to remain neutral in a future Federation-Romulan conflict unless Starfleet returns the Romulan cloaking device and the imprisoned Romulan commander. Starfleet acquiesces to keep the Vulcans on their good side, but not before they secretly decide to develop a prototype cloaking device on several of their ships in case war breaks out.

    Nimoy, recalling that show in 1973:

    That was an extremely intense script to study and act out. I literally felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders to pull that acting off. I almost had to act out of character in a way, defending the humans that I constantly derided as illogical in the first two seasons. Arlene Martel matched me word for word, and she relished playing T'Pring, almost as a foil to my Spock character. Larry Montaigne was also there as Stonn to add to the tension. At one point, T'Pring's character tries to mind meld with me, because our characters were telepathically bonded as children, another part of Vulcan culture. In the end, Spock barely wins out, but we see T'Pring again, because she is not going to take her defeat lying down.

    Arlene Martel (T'Pring), at a convention in 1975:

    That was my favorite script of all time, in all my years of acting. I got to play a main part and go toe-to-toe with Leonard, in a logic battle. As it proved, I wasn't done with Leonard and the rest of the Enterprise crew yet. I still had a few surprises up my sleeve in this story arc.

    Gene Roddenberry in 1975:

    That was my favorite script in the Fontana Romulan story arc because it was a battle of minds and hearts. Would Spock win out with his people and keep the Federation at full strength or would T'Pring handicap the Federation, perhaps fatally? It seemed like the future of the Federation was fought out in a Vulcan courtroom. Very suspenseful indeed.
     
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    Chapter 7: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
  • Two updates for today:

    September 30, 1968

    After winning the ratings battle with The Enterprise Incident and finishing a very close second with The Vulcan Quandary, the third season continues with episode 3, A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING, written by DC Fontana and Theodore Sturgeon. After the testimony at the Vulcan High Council and the extremely close vote to keep Vulcan in the Federation, the Enterprise beams over Sarek, T'Pring, Stonn and a Vulcan delegation to smooth over relations in preparation for potential war with the Romulans. At the diplomatic dinner, T'Pring sees Kirk and is astonished.

    T'Pring: How is Kirk at this dinner? He was declared dead at the kal-if-fee last year.
    Stonn: The humans deceived us. I think their doctor kept Kirk alive with something.
    Kirk: Hello, T'Pring. How are you doing this wonderful day? Welcome aboard the Enterprise. You are fully welcome here as our steadfast Vulcan allies.

    Uhura senses something amiss with T'Pring and the way she was eyeballing the crew, especially Spock. After dinner and a song, Uhura chats with Spock over their Vulcan guests.

    Uhura: "T'Pring's behavior was odd at dinner. She seemed to be sizing us up over something."
    Spock: "It is T'Pring's way to view unknown individuals with suspicion, Lieutenant. She considers humans to be illogical."
    Uhura: "No wonder you chose not to keep her last year when we went to Vulcan and you were going a little crazy."
    Spock: "T'Pring did not want to be my consort, so I obliged her wishes."
    Uhura: "I think she is still holding a grudge over you winning the argument about keeping Vulcan in the Federation. I also think she is upset that you are no longer her husband."
    Spock: "That is illogical, Lieutenant. Vulcans do not hold grudges or 'get upset.' However, you may be correct about one thing, Lieutenant. T'Pring and I were telepathically bonded as children in preparation for marriage. That is the Vulcan way."

    Spock consults with Sarek about the possibility that T'Pring and Stonn are behaving in a manner unusual to Vulcans. Sarek notes nothing out of the ordinary, mentioning that Vulcans always view humans with a certain attitude because of the way humans are their opposite. Sarek makes the point that the delegation is on a ship full of humans and they feel uncomfortable, not knowing whether a member of Kirk's crew will behave irrationally or potentially threaten them. Spock, still wondering about T'Pring's behavior, suggests to Sarek that she converse with Spock in his quarters. Sarek agrees on the course of action.

    Spock and T'Pring agree to meet in Spock's quarters.

    T'Pring: "Why do you continue to serve with these humans. It is illogical and I believe highly dangerous to you."
    Spock: "As you must remember, I am also half-human, born to a Vulcan father and a human mother. Some of these humans are friendly, especially my captain."
    T'Pring: "We believed that you killed your captain at the kal-if-fee."
    Spock: "A deception, T'Pring. I would never kill Kirk because he is my friend."
    T'Pring: "A deception, Spock. I wonder what other deceptions Kirk and your human friends have ready for the Romulans. They irrationally entered Romulan space and stole a cloaking device, bringing the galaxy to the brink of war and threatening the Vulcan people with destruction."
    Spock: "I assure you there are no other deceptions. Starfleet returned the cloaking device technology and the captured Romulan commander. The Federation acts in peace."
    T'Pring: "Let us join our minds, because I am uncertain of your motives in this manner."

    (T'Pring seduces Spock because they are still telepathically bonded. They mind meld and share each other's secrets.)

    After the mind meld, Spock reports to Kirk and the crew a startling finding.

    Spock: "You must remove T'Pring and Stonn from the Enterprise immediately, Captain."
    Kirk: "Why, Mr. Spock. They seem a little cold to me but that's just how Vulcans are, you told me."
    Spock: "I have reason to believe that T'Pring and Stonn are acting in consort with the Romulan Empire."
    Kirk: "So you're saying they are Romulan spies?"
    Spock: "Yes, Captain."
    Kirk: "Spock, I need more than just your word for it to accuse members of high Vulcan society, individuals we need to ensure Vulcan's status in the Federation, of working with the Romulans."
    Bones: "Jim, if they are Romulan spies, they can capture all the information on this ship and transmit it to them. We would be up a creek without a paddle if the Romulans knew how the ship worked."
    Scotty: "Aye, Captain. They would know the Enterprise almost as well as I know it. That would be big trouble for us, Captain. I would be able to rework some systems, but we can't mothball the entire starship and fleet, and we'd be at an enormous tactical disadvantage in a war."
    Kirk: "OK, I will take your word for it, Mr. Spock. Red alert. Find T'Pring and Stonn and escort them off the Enterprise."

    In the meantime, Stonn goes to engineering and downloads the Enterprise schematics. As Stonn is walking away from engineering, the Enterprise security attempts to subdue him and his delegation but a series of Vulcan nerve pinches puts an end to that. Sulu, Chekov and another security team draw phasers on Stonn, demanding any material they were able to capture from engineering. Stonn says he does not have anything on him. Unknown to the security team, Stonn slipped some of the data to T'Pring, who already beamed off the Enterprise with a partial knowledge of the Enterprise's Constitution-class schematics, having acquired them in the mind-meld with Spock. Stonn and his delegation are reluctantly released to Vulcan, quelling another diplomatic row.

    At the end of the episode, Kirk wonders:

    "If we go to war, the Romulans will know exactly where to hit us."

    Nichelle Nichols, at the New York convention in 1974:

    This episode was one of the first where we really saw Uhura's complete utility as a senior officer on the Enterprise. She smells out the plot before anyone else and warns Spock that T'Pring is up to no good. This also foreshadowed a greater role for Uhura, where she saves the ship."

    Arlene Martel:

    I definitely had tricks for the Enterprise crew, after all. In the episode, I used my telepathic bond to Spock as his betrothed to gain valuable information to the Romulans. This role was such a fun one to play.

    D.C. Fontana, at the same convention:

    Since we didn't have a lot of money for special effects, we were given only two episodes, one of which was a two-parter, to play out the actual war. So we wanted to explore the subterfuge that the Romulans are famous for and explore the possibility that the Romulans would conduct counterespionage against the Enterprise as a result of what happened in The Enterprise Incident. We were thrilled when this episode also narrowly won the ratings battle. The general audience loved the spying aspect of both shows [The Enterprise Incident and A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing].

    Robert Justman, at the same convention:

    The fans loved Vulcan episodes, and this was a great sequel to Amok Time. We got to explore how the Vulcans and Romulans are cousins and the idea that some of the Vulcans would rather work with their extended family members than the humans, when both species were at the brink of war. If I recall correctly, the actual war episodes, of which there are three, immediately follow this episode, and they cap the story arc in a very surprising way.
     
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    Chapter 8: Romulan conflict, Part 1: All The Devils Are Here
  • Second update for the day. Maybe I'll write a third one but the last post was very long.

    October 7, 1968

    Realizing that there was a series of Romulan stories developing, Star Trek's expanding fandom could not wait for the next episode. They saw the buildup to potential hostilities and two spy episodes in the first three offerings of Season Three. The fourth episode, ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE, was the first of a two parter that began the brief Earth-Romulan war.

    Having acquired a partial set of Constitution class Enterprise schematics, T'Pring contacts Romulan High Command from a secret location on Vulcan. The Romulans ask T'Pring for information that could help them win a war with the Federation. T'Pring transmits the Connie-class schematics to the Romulans, who thank her for her service. T'Pring and Stonn tell the Romulans, "Live long and prosper, our long separated cousins. May we be unified again, soon."

    At Romulan High Command, the Praetor briefs Livia (Joanne Linville) about Federation weaknesses. Livia mentions that she attempted to turn Spock to the Romulans, but Spock gave Kirk the coordinates inside the Romulan ship for the cloaking device. The Praetor tells Livia not to worry. A counterespionage operation based from Vulcan was able to acquire the Enterprise and all the other Constitution class ship functions by surreptitiously turning Spock for a brief moment. Livia says, "This is the gold mine we were all waiting for. We can press for war and defeat the Federation easily. They will never know what hit them." The Praetor responds, "We will conduct operations starting tomorrow. Attack the remaining four Federation outposts along the Neutral Zone. Then we will set a course to Altair VI, the gateway to Vulcan. If we are able to bypass Altair VI, we will reach Vulcan and win a quick conflict. The Federation will be forced to sue for peace."

    On the Enterprise, Scott begins jury rigging the deflector shields, the phasers, and the newly acquired photon torpedoes for a potential Romulan conflict. Kirk asks Scotty how his work is progressing.

    Scotty: "I have the shields ready to absorb up to five Romulan nuclear torpedoes if necessary, Captain."
    Kirk: "I hope it doesn't come to that."
    Scotty: "When we last fought the Romulans two years ago, we were barely able to absorb one of their nuclear torpedoes. We had to back the ship up astern dramatically, if you recall."
    Kirk: "I remember those Romulan torpedoes. They were very large, but had limited range. That means we can fight them at a distance provided our phasers are up to the task. By the way, how are the phaser banks."
    Scotty: "They shorted out the last time we fought them. I devised a way to bypass them if they cut out in engineering. They can be fired from the bridge, at Chekov's station, Captain."
    Kirk: "Excellent work, Scotty. What about the photon torpedoes we just received?"
    Scotty: "They are a little clunky, and I'm not sure of their utility in combat yet. If we have to resort to them, we could be in trouble, Captain. We are not sure of their accuracy just yet."
    Kirk: "Work your miracles on them, Scotty."
    Scotty: "Aye, Captain."
    Kirk: "What about that cloaking device we acquired from the Romulans, Scotty?"
    Scotty: "Captain, the device is a huge power drain on the rest of the ship and is not usable for combat on a Federation vessel. Our ships were not designed for Romulan technology."
    Kirk: "Try to make it work, Scotty. We might need it."
    Scotty: "That's one miracle I don't know if I can pull off, Captain."

    Kirk consults with the rest of the crew, minus Uhura, in the meeting room regarding their combat readiness. Kirk asks Spock what could be done about the Romulans having knowledge of our schematics. Spock states that the Romulans, were they to decloak without us detecting them, would know exactly where to fire on the ship, specifically the warp nacelles and the deflector dish. Kirk then asks McCoy if sickbay is ready for potential casualties.

    Bones: "If you're going to lead us into a war, Jim, sickbay can only handle 20 casualties at a time at the maximum. You realize we have a crew of 400, Jim. I would have to conduct battlefield triage."
    Kirk: "Unfortunately, such is the devilish nature of war."
    Bones: "You know Jim, this all started when you went into Romulan space and stole their cloaking device."
    Kirk: "And we will be ready for the consequences, Bones. Sulu, how maneuverable is the ship in a combat situation, and how well are the crew drilled with the phaser banks and the new photon torpedoes."
    Sulu: "Sir, the ship is able to maneuver away from Romulan attacks, as we demonstrated two years ago. We avoided the worst of their firepower and I believe we can do so again. As for the torpedoes, sir, they are new, and I'm just getting adjusted to them."
    Kirk: "What about the crew's ability with the phaser banks."
    Sulu: "I believe that Chekov is well able to handle the phasers. Moving them from engineering was very smart on Scotty's part."
    Scotty: "Aye, Captain."
    Chekov: "Phasers are fully operational, Captain, and ve vill be able to fire them over a vide field."

    (The meeting is interrupted by Uhura)

    Uhura: "Captain, I am receiving a Priority One message from Starfleet Command. Romulan vessels have attacked outposts 5, 6 and 7 along the Neutral Zone. Outpost 5 is destroyed, and Outposts 6 and 7 are severely damaged. The Romulans hit them by surprise. The Federation Council is declaring an emergency meeting to place Starfleet on a war footing."
    Kirk: "So it's war then. What are our orders, Lieutenant."
    Uhura: "Starfleet is ordering us to Altair VI, about 10 light years inside Federation space from the Romulan Neutral Zone. We are to form a line of defense to prevent further Romulan incursions."
    Kirk: "Set a course for Altair VI, warp factor eight. Battlestations."
    Spock: "They cannot pass Altair VI, because the core Federation planets, including Vulcan, will be at risk."
    Kirk: "All the devils are here, Spock. If you wrong us, shall we not revenge, is what the Romulans are thinking."
    Spock: "Your knowledge of Shakespeare is impressive, Captain. But as I recall, you wronged them."
    Kirk: "I hope I don't have to go further into the tragedy parts, Spock. Man your stations."

    Back in his quarters, Kirk records in his log the following: "Captain's log, stardate 5346.2. We are speedily heading towards Altair VI in order to halt the Romulan advance. If we do not stop the Romulans here, they will be able to attack the core Federation planets. I am reminded of an old quote from one of our old 20th century wars on Earth, 'Ils ne passeront pas.' The Romulans shall not pass. It is funny how history repeats itself. I wonder if Altair VI will play out like Verdun in that old Earth conflict."

    The Enterprise is met by the Constitution and the Defiant, two other Connie class battleships, at Altair VI. Kirk orders Sulu to scan for potential enemy vessels. Sulu finds nothing, and Kirk wonders where the Romulans are and whether they can evade scanning when cloaked. Kirk recalls that the Romulan vessels have to decloak before they can fire. As they are scanning, two Romulan Birds of Prey and two Klingon D7 battlecruisers decloak, surrounding the three Federation vessels. A firefight ensues. The Enterprise is able to disable one of the D7 battlecruisers, but the Romulan fleet hits the Constitution and Defiant on their warp nacelles, causing them to explode. The Enterprise is surrounded by two fully functional Romulan Birds of Prey and a Klingon vessel. Kirk is hailed by the Romulan commander.

    Kirk: "Ship to ship."
    Uhura: "Hailing frequencies open, sir."
    Kirk: "This is the U.S.S. Enterprise. Enemy vessel, state your intentions."
    Livia (Romulan Commander): "This is Livia, Romulan commander. Remember me, Kirk? You will surrender your vessel and we will continue moving into Federation territory."
    Kirk: "There is no way you will pass Altair VI. I will fight to the death, if necessary, to save the Federation."
    Livia: "A noble way to die, Captain, but you will die. You are surrounded and there is no escape this time." (Cut to black, as the episode ends).

    Matt Jefferies, technical designer:

    I had to dig out the old Constellation model from The Doomsday Machine and build the Defiant ahead of schedule because we had planned to use it in a future episode, The Tholian Web. That was time consuming and we went over budget for this episode with all the special effects. This episode, and the subsequent one, were the reason why Star Trek did not have a lot of episodes with fleet battles. It wasn't because Gene didn't want a lot of battles in Star Trek. It was because we were on a tight budget, and the chances to set up our props and special effects for set-piece battles were rare. Glen Glenn (the sound effects studio) and Westheimer (the photographic effects studio) drained almost a full episode of money simply to do the effects. That being said, we created an incredible spectacle for TV. Paramount demanded that we not do it again, but we still had one more episode to produce with a set-piece battle, so we drained the budget a second time.

    Robert Justman:

    Fred Freiberger (the producer for this episode) almost had a heart attack when he saw how much it cost. He said to me, "we're going to fall three or four episodes short at the end of this season with the planned two parter and the battle scenes and the special effects." However, this show was one of the most dramatic of the series, because it ended with the Enterprise surrounded with little hope for escape.
     
    Chapter 9: They (The Romulans) Shall Not Pass
  • So here we go! The end of the brief Romulan war story arc, and the consequences facing the series from Paramount for going over budget:

    October 14, 1968

    ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE was one of the rare episodes where our heroes were facing a cliffhanger. We would not know what would happen to them for another week? How would Kirk, Spock and the crew defeat the Romulans while outmanned and outgunned by three to one? THEY SHALL NOT PASS, written by Theodore Sturgeon, was named in honor of World War I general Robert Nivelle, who in World War I at the Battle of Verdun, told the French soldiers, they (the Germans) shall not pass (Verdun).

    Kirk immediately begins the episode by closing ship to ship communications with the Romulans. He asks Scotty, "where is the cloaking device, and will it work." Scotty says, "I can give you a cloaking device, Captain, but it will only work for two hours. Then, we are sitting ducks again." Kirk orders Scotty to engage the cloaking device. As they do, the Romulan fleet fires on the Enterprise, which shakes a little bit, but evades most of the damage. Kirk orders Sulu to set a course to neighboring Altair V to keep the Romulans out of range. Instead of pursuing, the Romulans are unaware of where Kirk is, because they do not fully know how to scan a Constitution class vessel cloaked.

    Livia: "Where is the Enterprise?"
    Sub-Commander Tal: "The Enterprise cloaked, Commander. We cannot scan her."
    Livia: "Don't we have the schematics for the Enterprise?"
    Sub-Commander Tal: "We received general schematics for the class of Federation vessel the Enterprise belongs to, but the Enterprise seems to behave differently."
    Livia: "How did our Vulcan friends fail to provide us all the information?"
    Sub-Commander Tal: "I do not know, Commander. They gave us what appear to be the ship's inner workings. Maybe it is false information."
    Livia: "Find the Enterprise and bring me Captain Kirk's head."
    Sub-Commander Tal: "Yes, Commander." (Does Original Series Romulan salute).

    Back on the Enterprise, Kirk convenes the senior staff in a tense ready room.

    Kirk: "What are our options. We only have an hour and 45 minutes before the cloak fails and we're exposed again."
    Sulu: "The Rigel system is only 8 light years away. We could strategically retreat to the Rigel system and ask Starfleet Command to form another defensive perimeter."
    Kirk: "We cannot retreat. Rigel is a core world of the Federation. We could be inviting more Romulan ships through the salient they just cut through Federation space."
    Bones: "I agree with Sulu, Jim. Back up, and draw the Romulans deeper, where more Starfleet ships will be waiting for them."
    Kirk: "I cannot agree. I remember in one of our old 20th century wars, the French attempted to set up defensive lines, but they were outdated due to improved maneuverability of..."
    Spock: "Tanks, Captain. Earth, World War II, 1940. The Germans flooded French territory with tanks and forced a French surrender."
    Chekov: "Captain, I agree with Doctor McCoy and Sulu. In that same 20th century var, ve Russians strategically retreated seweral times, because of how big Mother Russia is. The Federation is wery big as vell."
    Kirk: "How many people did you lose in that war, Ensign Chekov."
    Chekov: "Tventy-two million, Captain."
    Kirk: "Those are unacceptable losses in a conflict like this, Ensign. The Romulans are attempting a quick incursion to demonstrate their superiority and force the Federation to back up from the Neutral Zone. We shall not allow it and we must draw the line here, in the Altair system."
    Uhura: "But we are outnumbered three to one, Captain! We will be destroyed!"
    Spock: "Uhura is likely correct, Captain. The chances we survive this confrontation with the present situation continuing, are one hundred two point seven to one."
    Kirk: "So what options do we have? We can't just sit here and wait until the cloak runs out."

    Scotty: "I think there is a different possibility, Captain."
    Kirk: "What do you have in mind, Mr. Scott?"
    Scotty: "Remember the USS Farragut experiment ten years ago? They tried to separate that ship into two parts."
    Kirk: "So we could turn the Enterprise into two ships?"
    Scotty: "It wasn't a success, Captain. The ship was critically damaged and had to be towed back to a starbase."
    Kirk: "But if we are successful, we can fight with two ships, theoretically. Where were the photon torpedoes installed, Mr. Scott."
    Scotty: "In the neck of the ship, Captain, underneath the saucer section."
    Kirk: "So I would have phasers in the saucer section, and the torpedoes in the engineering section. I can fight with two ships instead of one and the Romulans would have no idea what hit them."
    Spock: "They have the technical journals of our starship."
    Scotty: "None of them said the ship could separate because of the Farragut experiment."
    Kirk: "So we have the element of surprise."
    Spock: "Captain, The cloak is located in the engineering section. If we attempt to separate the ship, the saucer would immediately decloak. Additionally, the saucer section only has impulse power, so that part of the ship would not be able to warp out of range."
    Kirk: "Understood. OK, here is the plan. Spock, Sulu, Uhura and I will remain in the saucer section of the ship. Scott, you will take command of the engineering section and take Chekov with you to operate the torpedoes. Uhura, you have an especially important job in keeping ship to ship communication open, since we are fighting as a small fleet."
    Uhura: "Yes, Captain. It really is not so different than communicating to the ship in one piece. I'll take care of it, sir."
    Kirk: "Man your posts. Dismissed."
    Bones: "And I'm going to sickbay, where I cannot treat half the ship."
    Kirk: "Bones, Send Nurse Chapel to the engineering section with basic equipment to conduct battlefield triage."
    Bones: "I strenuously object to this, Jim. Our chances of survival as two ships? You are crazier than that green blooded Vulcan."
    Kirk: "Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear, Bones."
    Bones: "Yes, Jim."

    The Enterprise gets ready to separate the saucer section from the engineering section. Kirk orders the ship separated and the saucer section immediately decloaks. The Romulan fleet identifies the saucer section but Kirk is one step ahead, and he fires phasers at full blast on the other D7-battlecruiser, destroying it. "Now we are fighting with two ships against two ships, says Kirk. The odds are even." On the Romulan flagship, Livia is wondering how the saucer section is visible, but the rest of the ship is invisible. "How are they fighting with half a ship, Tal?" Tal replies, "I do not know, Commander." Suddenly, the engineering section decloaks immediately astern of the Romulan flagship.

    Kirk: "Scotty, fire the photon torpedoes."
    Scotty: "Chekov, fire photon torpedoes."

    The engineering section scores a direct hit on the Romulan flagship, which sustains moderate damage. Livia orders the Romulan ship to return fire, and the engineering section is hit, sustaining moderate damage. Scotty wires to Kirk, "I don't know how much more she'll take of this, Captain! I didn't rig the Enterprise to fight separately as two ships." Kirk orders Scotty to focus fire on the other Romulan vessel and move out of range while the saucer section takes on the flagship. After more exchanges of fire, the separated Enterprise ends up with a disabled engineering section and a relatively unscathed saucer section, while the second Romulan ship is disabled and the Romulan flagship is severely damaged.

    Kirk: "Ship to ship, Lieutenant."
    Uhura: "Hailing frequencies open, Captain."
    Kirk: "Livia, this is Captain Kirk. You underestimated the capabilities of our ship. Your Vulcan spies gave you faulty information."
    Livia: "Kirk, you are a wily devil. We will be back. You haven't seen the end of us. We will fight you, and fight you, and use every means at our disposal to defeat you."
    Kirk: "If you keep on fighting us now, you will be destroyed. Either surrender your ships or return to Romulan space."
    Livia: "You are giving me an escape, Captain? I believe you will regret that."
    Kirk: "The Federation fights honorably, Livia. Something you Romulans should learn."
    Livia: "So be it. Set a course back to Romulus. You are making a mistake letting me live, Kirk."

    In his quarters, Kirk wonders in his log, "What other tricks do the Romulans have up their sleeve. This war has been a series of provocations, spy operations and subterfuge. I fear what the Romulans could devise next, because they are desperate."

    Shatner, recalling this episode:

    This was classic Captain Kirk saving the day. It was one of my favorite episodes because I got to run the show for the most part, and it demonstrated Captain Kirk's immense capabilities in battle. I loved to do battle shows like Balance of Terror and this show. Most of the focus was on me, and deservedly so.

    James Doohan:

    I really got to show in They Shall Not Pass Scotty's miracle worker capabilities. This was a great set of stories for me because I got to play a greater role than a normal secondary star. Usually, the show was Bill, Leonard and Dee Kelley, but they really gave me more input and I made part of this series of shows shine. Fans at conventions still remember Scotty's exploits from the Romulan story arc.

    Justman:

    We ran over budget again. Matt Jefferies and Jim Rugg (special effects supervisor) were miracle workers. Once again, They Shall Not Pass was a huge success, narrowly winning the ratings battle that week, but I was worried about Doug Cramer (Paramount Executive) calling me into his office and firing me from the showrunner position because I was spending too much of Paramount's money. I was already over budget by about three episodes, and we only produced five that season. We still had another twenty, twenty two at the minimum to produce and we only had enough money for eighteen. So some of the shows suffered later in the season. But we got our huge payoff and the improved ratings somewhat made up for it.
     
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    Chapter 10: Uhura Defeats the Romulans
  • Here's the end of the Romulan arc. This story can also act as a stand-alone because of its uniqueness.

    October 21, 1968

    Livia said that the Romulans weren't through just yet, and they had one more trick up their sleeve to unleash on our Enterprise heroes. In THE Y VIRUS, written by D.C. Fontana, the male members of the Enterprise crew, comprising 90% of the ship, are felled by a Romulan virus. Lieutenant Uhura takes command of the Enterprise, along with the remaining female crew unaffected by the virus, and takes on Livia in a final confrontation between the Federation and the Romulans.

    Note: The female cast for the show must be written in before I proceed with the story.

    Lieutenant Uhura: Nichelle Nichols
    Nurse Christine Chapel: Majel Barrett
    Lieutenant Marlena Moreau: Barbara Luna (science officer). Luna was working on Firecreek, a Western, in 1968, but she makes herself available for 10-14 days for this episode.
    Lieutenant Palmer: Elizabeth Rogers (communications) She was a fill in for Uhura in The Doomsday Machine and The Way To Eden, so she is available IRL for casting.
    Lieutenant Charlene Masters (operations): Janet MacLachlan. She was working on "The F.B.I." and had a role in a movie called "Uptight" IRL, so she only appears in two scenes for this episode, as her schedule is tight.
    Barbara Baldavin: Lt. Angela Martine (tactical). She appeared in 3 Star Trek episodes IRL and was always on call for the show. In Balance of Terror, she mans the phaser banks.
    Marianna Hill: Lt. Helen Noel (ship psychologist). She appeared in "Dagger of the Mind" IRL.

    So onto the show...

    On Gamma Hydra IV, a planet bordering the Romulan Neutral Zone, Sulu, Chekov and a group of male redshirts engage in a firefight with the Romulans. The Romulans kill three of the four redshirts, while Sulu and Chekov kill three Romulan soldiers. As the Romulans retreat, one of them throws what appears to be a smoke grenade at Sulu's landing party. Before they are able to escape, the grenade hits them on the ground close by and releases a mysterious gas. Sulu orders the landing party to retreat from the grenade, but they are caught by several whiffs of the smoke from the hissing grenade. Reporting that the Romulans are retreating, Sulu, Chekov and the surviving redshirt (Lt. Leslie, played by Eddie Paskey in his final Star Trek appearance), beam back aboard the Enterprise.

    Kirk debriefs Sulu, Chekov and Leslie in the ready room as the Enterprise is in a standoff with a Romulan Bird of Prey above Gamma Hydra IV.

    Kirk: "So we lost three men and were able to repel the Romulans on the planet."
    Sulu: "Aye sir, we caused the Romulans to retreat."
    Chekov: "They gave us a difficult fight with their disruptors and grenades, but we repelled their advance, Captain."
    Leslie: "They threw grenades at us."
    Sulu: "The grenades appeared to be smoke grenades. They were apparently trying to provide cover for their attacks."
    Kirk: "No, the Romulans have some other motive for the grenades. That is not a normal part of their strategy in conducting ground attacks because they rely on overwhelming disruptor power."
    Sulu: "I think they..."

    Sulu collapses. Chekov immediately screams out but he collapses as he is attempting to help Sulu. Leslie also succumbs to the effects of the grenade.

    Kirk: "Kirk to sickbay."
    Bones: "McCoy here."
    Kirk: "Emergency in the conference room, Bones. Sulu, Chekov and Leslie have collapsed."
    Bones: "Bring them over to sickbay immediately. I'll examine them."
    Kirk: "Kirk out."

    Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Chapel are in sickbay, discussing what happened to Sulu, Chekov and Leslie.

    Kirk: "The smoke from the grenades got to them. There must have been a poison in the grenade."
    Bones: "Possibly, but it's unlike anything I've ever seen."
    Spock: "It is unknown to Federation technology. I am curious as to what the Romulans used in their smoke grenade. I would like a sample of one of the patients' blood for analysis in the lab and spectroscopic samples of the grenade smoke."
    Bones: "We're taking care of it, Spock. Chapel, draw blood from Sulu, Chekov and Leslie. I want to know what the Romulans did to them."
    Chapel: "Taking care of it now, Doctor."

    (Chapel draws blood from Sulu. As she finishes, Kirk collapses).

    Chapel: "Captain!"
    Spock: "He has collapsed, presumably for the same reason Sulu, Chekov and Leslie did."
    Bones: "But why, Spock. Kirk wasn't part of the landing party. He wasn't exposed to the grenade smoke."
    Spock: "Perhaps some of the grenade smoke contained a chemical that is finely transmissible by air, Doctor."
    Bones: "You mean a virus, Spock?"
    Spock: "Very likely, Doctor. The Romulans do not follow conventions of war in the same way the Federation does, Doctor McCoy. As we know, they are a ruthless enemy, predisposed to bloodthirstiness."
    Bones: "They are monsters, conducting biological warfare against the Federation, Spock."
    Spock: "Of that I am well aware, Doctor. We need those blood samples and cultures in order to create an antidote to a possible virus, Doctor."
    Bones: "I'm on it, Spock. I'll have it ready within..."

    (Bones collapses just like Kirk did).

    Chapel: "Dr. McCoy! Spock, what is going on here?"
    Spock: "You must acquire those blood samples immediately, before everyone on the ship is affected, Nurse Chapel."
    Chapel: "I'll be on it, sir."

    In the next scene, Chapel enlists the aid of Dr. M'Benga (Booker Bradshaw) for examining the blood samples. M'Benga collapses. Cut to the bridge, and all the male officers except for Spock immediately collapse. Uhura is in shock.

    Uhura: "Sir, what in the world is happening to the crew?"
    Spock: "Examining now, Lieutenant. Computer, bring up the disposition of every member of the crew on the Enterprise."
    Computer: "Working, working. Out of 400 crew, 359 male officers and crew are unconscious or in sickbay. 40 female officers and crew remain conscious."
    Spock: "Fascinating."
    Uhura: "The virus only affects males? All the females are apparently unaffected, according to the computer."
    Spock: "Apparently so. I am a Vulcan, so it is possible that I am either unaffected or less affected than the rest of the male crew. Spock to Chapel."
    Chapel: "Chapel here."
    Spock: "We need those blood samples and an antidote immediately. It appears as if the crew of the Enterprise is compromised and the Romulans will know before too long."
    Chapel: "I have the virus culture, and it is bizarre indeed. The virus only affects the Y-chromosome, or the male of the species."
    Spock: "Is there an antidote, Nurse Chapel."
    Chapel: "It will take me some time to run one, sir. But I have bad news. The life signs of the crew members in sickbay are weakening, and at this pace, they will be dead in 24 hours."
    Spock: "So you have that much time to devise an antidote, or the crew, or at least the male members of the crew of the Enterprise, will die. Spock out."

    Spock: "Lieutenant Uhura, as the senior female officer aboard the Enterprise, you are my first officer. You will take the helmsman's role."
    Uhura: "Sir, I haven't steered a ship since my Academy days. Sometimes I dabbled on the night shift, but I wasn't very good at it."
    Spock: "That is understood, but there is nobody else on the ship to perform the role as well as you can. Organize the remaining members of the crew and meet me in the ready room. We must prepare..."

    (Spock collapses)

    Uhura screams in shock, but she comes to her senses quickly and says, "I'm in command."

    Uhura convenes the senior female members of the crew in the ready room: Nurse Chapel, Lt. Marlena Moreau, Lt, Palmer, Lt. Charlene Masters, Lt. Angela Martine, and Lt. Helen Noel.

    Uhura: Lt. Moreau, I will need you on the bridge at the science station that Mr. Spock normally occupies. Can you perform that role."
    Moreau: "Yes, to the best of my ability. Nobody can replace Spock though."
    Uhura: "You'll have to, at least until this crisis is over. Chapel, continue to find the antidote to the virus. Return to sickbay at once."
    Chapel: "Yes, Uhura." (returns to sickbay).
    Uhura: "Lt. Palmer, you will sit at my normal station at communications. I know you can do a great job there."
    Palmer: "Aye, Lieutenant. Consider it done."
    Uhura: "Lt. Martine, I need you at tactical. You are experienced with the phaser banks."
    Martine: "We've fought the Romulans before, and we can do it again, even with just the women on board."
    Uhura: "Lt. Masters, I need you at the helm. You've steered the ship during the night shift when Sulu is off."
    Masters: "Will do, Lieutenant."
    Uhura: "Understood. Lt. Noel, I need a disposition of Romulan tactics. What will they try if they know our condition."
    Noel: "They will attempt to board us. If they board us with the Enterprise in this state, we are no match for them and they will capture the ship."
    Uhura: "Understood. Therefore, our first orders are to move us out of Romulan transporter range. We will set a course for Gamma Hydra III and see if the Romulans pursue."
    All women: "Aye, ma'am."
    Uhura: "Don't call me ma'am. I work for a living." (The women laugh). "Let's defeat these Romulans once and for all."

    The Enterprise sets a course for Gamma Hydra III. The Romulans debate whether to pursue the Enterprise. Sub-Commander Tal argues that the Enterprise is attempting a ruse, but Commander Livia orders a pursuit. "We will mount Captain Kirk's head on the Praetor's wall on Romulus. Did our landing party deploy the virus?" Tal replies that they did. Livia wonders whether the Enterprise is retreating and in a weakened state. "We shall attack," says Livia.

    On the Enterprise, the makeshift female crew is monitoring the Romulans. Lt. Moreau reports to Uhura that the Romulan ship is entering pursuit. Uhura says, "Red alert, battlestations. The Romulans think we're weak, but they are underestimating us again. Those shields must stay up, Masters. Under no circumstances can they board the ship."

    Uhura: "Ship to ship."
    Palmer: "You're patched in, Lieutenant."
    Uhura: "This is Lieutenant Uhura, in acting command of the Enterprise. Do not mistake our retreat for weakness. If you engage in battle with us, we shall defeat you and drive you back into Romulan space."
    Livia: "So our virus worked. The weak human females are in command. Lieutenant Uhura, we will board your vessel, and we will take the Enterprise back to Romulus as a prize of war."
    Uhura: "You'll never beam through with our shields up."
    Livia: "No worry, Lieutenant. We'll just destroy you and take the hull of the Enterprise back to Romulus."

    Livia fires on the Enterprise. "Evasive actions," orders Uhura. The Enterprise takes a moderate hit from the Romulan torpedo. "Return fire," says Uhura. A space battle ensues and the Enterprise fatally damages the Romulan vessel with its phasers on full.

    Chapel: "We have the antidote."
    Uhura: "Start administering it to the crew. Patch me in to Romulan commander."
    Palmer: "Frequencies open, Lieutenant."
    Uhura: "Romulan commander, this is Lieutenant Uhura, Surrender or prepare to be boarded. We have found an antidote to your virus and you are adrift in space. Surrender or prepare to be boarded."
    Livia: "I might die here, but the Romulan Empire shall never perish!" (Livia cries, and her last words are, "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.") The Romulan ship self destructs.

    At the end of the show, Kirk and the full Enterprise crew are cured. Uhura and Chapel are promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Uhura teases Sulu, "I get to boss you around now." Sulu says, "I guess that's fair, you earned it by ending the war."

    Nichelle Nichols:

    We always wanted to do an episode where the female crew had to take over, but it was always put on hold because nobody could plausibly believe women could perform the same jobs as men. D.C. stepped into creative control and said, "we want to show off what the women could do," so The Y Virus was born. I still get loads of fan mail for my role in saving the Enterprise and Federation. As I recall, that episode got more fan mail than any of the others to date, and we were so surprised at how positive it was, especially from our female fans. I didn't fully realize at the time how my role would be considered heroic, both to women and the African-American community. I was asked by Roy Wilkins (NAACP CEO) to speak at the 1969 annual NAACP convention for my part in this episode. To this day, I think the episode both cemented our female and African-American fanbase, which were both wavering to that point.

    D.C. Fontana:

    Gene always thought that a woman-controlled episode was an interesting concept, but would go too far and stretch the bounds of believability. I told Gene that I was pretty good at writing, so if I can do that, why can't females perform in other roles, such as leading a starship? We already had Nichelle as a co-star, so why not make her the lead for a show? Justman approved. The challenge was getting the female cast together, because they were working on other roles. Janet MacLachlan was especially busy so it was a tight squeeze getting her into the shoot, but when we brought all of the women on the show, we relished in creating a real piece of television history.

    John Lewis, civil rights activist and Congressman:

    Unlike Dr. King, I was not a Star Trek fan, and neither were most of my friends. Even with Uhura on the show, Star Trek was a tenuous sell to the African-American community because she was always in a secondary role. When Uhura took command and led the ship as well as Captain Kirk ever did, I think the popularity of the show increased significantly in the African-American community. It was truly historic to not only see an African-American, but an African-American woman commanding the Enterprise and leading her to safety. Nichelle is always a hero in the community for that.

    Robert Justman:

    We feared that this episode would have a tremendous negative backlash, because women were not supposed to lead in this way during the 1960s, or so we thought. Instead, we received fan mail from little old ladies who marched in the suffrage movement in the 1910s, and middle-aged women who served in World War II in various capacities. They were definitely not our target audience for Star Trek, but they loved this episode and for most of the third season, our ratings were in the stratosphere, either winning our timeslot or finishing second to Gunsmoke. Star Trek had truly arrived.
     
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    Chapter 11: More 3rd season Episodes, a Roundup
  • And one final update before I watch the Super Bowl, which will be a relatively easy one. We have finished Episode 6 of my reimagined third season. The next nine episodes IRL are among the better installments of the third season, so I shall simply keep them in place and write them in the order of their viewing, but in my Monday 8 PM time slot on NBC instead of the Friday night 10 PM death slot. ITTL Plato's Stepchildren is included and is considered one of the weaker shows, but it has the Kirk-Uhura kiss and I will keep it as is IRL.

    Episode 7: DAY OF THE DOVE, written by Jerome Bixby, directed by Marvin Chomsky. Air date: October 27, 1968. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke
    Episode 8: FOR THE WORLD IS HOLLOW AND I HAVE TOUCHED THE SKY, written by Rik Vollaerts, directed by Tony Leader. Air date: November 4, 1968. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.
    Episode 9: THE THOLIAN WEB, written by Judy Burns and Chet Richards, directed by Herb Wallerstein and Ralph Senensky. Air date: November 11, 1968. Nielsen rating: 1st in timeslot. (Note: the only difference in this show is the name of the other ship--the USS Hood instead of the USS Defiant).
    Episode 10: PLATO'S STEPCHILDREN, written by Meyer Dolinsky, directed by David Alexander. Air date: November 18, 1968. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.
    Episode 11: WINK OF AN EYE, written by Gene Coon and Arthur Heinemann, directed by Jud Taylor. Air date: November 25, 1968. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.
    Episode 12: THE EMPATH, written by Joyce Muskat, directed John Erman. Air date: December 2, 1968. Nielsen rating: 1st in timeslot.

    Even though it wins the timeslot that week, NBC throws a fit after The Empath is telecast at 8 PM due to the torture scenes depicted in the show and negative fan reaction. Justman is given one last warning by NBC and Paramount to ship up or shape out. As a punishment, Star Trek is taken off the air for one week.

    Episode 13: ELAAN OF TROYIUS, written and directed by John Meredyth Lucas. Air date: December 16, 1968. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.
    Episode 14: WHOM GODS DESTROY, written by Lee Erwin and Jerry Sohl. Directed by Herb Wallerstein. Air date: December 30, 1968. Nielsen rating: 1st in timeslot.
    Episode 15: LET THAT BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD, written by Gene Coon, directed by Jud Taylor. Air date: January 6, 1969. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.

    From this point, I will diverge again, tomorrow.
     
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    Chapter 12: More Tribbles, More Troubles
  • Short update for today:

    The 16th episode of Season 3 in this timeline, after Paramount forced Justman to cut his budget for nine episodes after the Romulan war arc, is MORE TRIBBLES, MORE TROUBLES, written by David Gerrold, the same writer of THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES. ITTL it airs on January 13, 1969. IRL this was one of The Animated Series Season 1 episodes, but ITTL it becomes one of the more popular Season 3 episodes and acts as a live action sequel to the Season 2 hit. William Campbell comes back to play Koloth and Stanley Adams reprises his Cyrano Jones role.

    I will follow the original script as written by Gerrold IRL, so for those who have watched the Animated Series, this should be familiar. However, since Star Trek is an hour show instead of the half hour treatment of TAS, he extends the script to fill the hour ITTL. In the tribbles sequel, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise is monitoring the transport of two ships carrying a new grain, quintotriticale, to Sherman's Planet in an effort to keep the planet under Federation jurisdiction. A Klingon ship captained by Koloth attacks the Enterprise with a stasis beam, which temporarily cripples both vessels due to its enormous power consumption. The Klingons also attack the grain ship. Scotty almost loses the passenger on the grain ship, but is able to transport both the grain and the passenger aboard the Enterprise. Unfortunately for both the Enterprise and the Klingons, Cyrano Jones is the passenger, carrying his tribbles with him.

    Jones claims that these tribbles do not reproduce. Dr. McCoy confirms that Jones is correct, but notes that the tribbles eat and get fat. Cyrano also claims that the tribbles have a natural predator, known as a glommer. He produces the glommer out of his pocket, and it proceeds to consume two of the tribbles. Kirk tells Jones that he is in violation of Federation law when it comes to transporting the tribbles, which are considered dangerous.

    The Enterprise and the Klingon ship enter into another confrontation. The Klingon ship fires on the remaining robot ship and the Enterprise, causing some of the grain barrels to rupture. Tribbles begin eating the grain and grow massively in size. They grow too large for the glommer to eat them, creating more problems because the tribbles cannot be effectively eaten by its predator. Eventually, Kirk and Scotty plan to beam the gigantic tribbles aboard the Klingon vessel, and the Enterprise's problem is largely solved. McCoy figures out that the gigantic tribbles are actually tribble colonies, and he devises a chemical that will break the gigantic tribble apart into its smaller tribble components. Unfortunately for Kirk, they missed a few tribbles, and when they open an overhead cabinet, he is once again buried in tribbles.

    Justman:

    We had so much fun making this episode. The 3rd season was starting to wear on us a bit, with the reduced budgets affecting the middle part of the season. We had to lighten things up a bit, and we called David Gerrold back to see if he could write a sequel to The Trouble with Tribbles. Gerrold didn't like this script as much as the original tribbles episode, but it was still a hit and our ratings remained high. The cast finally enjoyed making an episode after the drudgery of the previous two months with average scripts (aside from Day of the Dove and The Tholian Web, which I felt were excellent episodes).

    Gerrold:

    I didn't want to write another tribble episode because I felt there was no way to match the original. But Bob and DC convinced me to do it. I felt the script was a little clunky, but it was just as light-hearted as the original, and I'm glad that the fans enjoyed it.

    Fontana:

    Come on, who doesn't enjoy a good tribble story! I don't think the sequel in this case was as good as the original but the cast loved making it! The fans liked it too, because the furry creatures were off the wall funny. And the reactions the gigantic tribbles made to the Klingons were great!

    Shatner:

    I really enjoyed making this show but I really didn't like getting buried in tribbles at the end. Some of the casting crew were literally flinging the tribbles at me from above, like they were furry snowballs. It was deja vu getting pelted with tribbles.

    Nimoy:

    We needed a break from some of the scripts where we felt the quality of the shows was dropping a little after that outstanding Romulan war set of episodes. So Gerrold kind of saved the third season with the tribbles sequel. I was constantly throwing the tribbles at Bill as a prank. We almost didn't get the script shooting done on time because all we wanted to do was fling the tribbles at each other. I remember Nichelle and Walter literally flying in and barraging me with tribbles from behind. I was getting pelted by those things. Of course Bill got it the worst since everyone wanted a piece of him. His ego was starting to grate on us and it became a worse problem in future seasons, so our revenge was flinging tribbles at him all throughout shooting. Even Dee Kelley, who is the nicest soul on Earth, wanted in on the act of stoning Bill with the tribbles.

    Kelley:

    I can confirm that I was the worst offender when it came to throwing the tribbles at Bill. Jimmy, George and Walter were starting to develop feuds with Bill, so I took it out on him on their behalf. I can also confirm that I still have a very good throwing arm from my days when I played baseball as a kid.
     
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    Chapter 13: Denebian Slime Devils
  • Slightly longer update for today, because I'm creating a story idea from scratch that could fit as Original Series Trek:

    January 20, 1969

    The 17th episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek ITTL is titled THE TWO POTIONS. This will be modeled as a classic Gene Coon allegory. The Enterprise is tasked with studying Denebian slime devils, an endangered species, from the planet Deneb IV to derive chemicals that could be used for medicinal purposes. However, the Klingons enter the Deneb system and are also seeking out the Denebian slime devils in order to create chemicals intended for warfare, similar to mustard gas. Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew must deny the Klingons access to the slime devils so the Klingons cannot engage in potential chemical warfare against Starfleet that could prove decisive in a future conflict.

    Captain's log, stardate 5526.4. The Enterprise has been sent to Deneb IV in order to study the utility of chemicals produced by the Denebian slime devil, one of the galaxy's most endangered, and I must say, least appealing creatures. Dr. McCoy will produce a report demonstrating the viability of neotryptiline, a chemical that can cure serious brain disorders and even act in some individuals as an aphrodisiac.

    Kirk orders Scotty to beam aboard a Denebian slime devil for study. The creature is transported to the Enterprise and immediately confined due to its dangerous, aggressive nature. Spock and McCoy examine the tranquilized slime devil in the sickbay lab.

    Bones: "I thought there was no use for these creatures. I wonder why Starfleet even has us on this mission. It seems pointless to me."
    Spock: "Doctor, the Denebian slime devil produces a chemical called neotryptiline, which can cure some of the most lethal brain disorders in the elderly, if properly created into a medicine."
    Bones: "So Starfleet wants to expand human lifespans. I admire their motives, but I think that when it's time for someone to die, it's just their time."
    Spock: "Doctor, Starfleet does not want to pass up the possibility of improved sentient being health, especially in the most vulnerable of its citizens."
    Bones: "Spock, don't you realize that the pain people endure is a part of life, and sometimes the pain exceeds a level where life is worth it. This happens in the elderly, both on Earth and among you Vulcans."
    Spock: "I find it logical that we do everything in our power to reduce pain and extend the time when human beings and other Federation species do not have to experience pain. Perhaps it is due to our extended Vulcan lifespans and the deleterious effects of Vulcan aging that my interest in further lengthening life derives itself."
    Bones: "I wonder what happens to Vulcans when they get old. I think you lose your inhibitions, similar to humans who age."
    Spock: "It is much worse for Vulcans, Doctor. Vulcans lose their ability to retain their logical capabilities and training and devolve into what you would call, 'a screaming mess.'"
    Bones: "So it is similar to aging in humans."
    Spock: "Humans do not consistently control their emotions and believe in logic, Doctor."
    Kirk (over the intercom): "How is that research going, Bones. Starfleet needs that chemical soon."
    Bones: "It's moving along, Jim. I am unsure of the reason why we are on this mission."
    Kirk: "I thought it was right up your alley, Bones. Starfleet wants to extend human lifespans by curing various neurological disorders in aging people."
    Bones: "You know Jim, I always felt that everyone has a time to die, and we are attempting to play God here."
    Kirk: "Bones, make sure you acquire the chemical and process it into a medicine. Kirk out."

    (Uhura interrupts)

    Uhura: "I'm detecting Klingon chatter over subspace frequencies, sir."
    Kirk: "Red alert. Sulu, is there a Klingon vessel in the area."
    Sulu: "I don't see one sir, but I presume they are cloaked."
    Chekov: "Klingon D7 battlecruiser detected straight ahead, Captain."
    Kirk: "What do the Klingons want on Deneb IV? And how did they get into Federation space?"
    Sulu: "Perhaps their cloak was able to evade Federation sensors."
    Kirk: "A likely possibility. But what do they want on Deneb IV? Could they want the slime devils for some other reason, or for the same reason? Uhura, ship to ship. I want to straighten out this matter."
    Uhura: "Hailing frequencies open, sir. You're patched in."
    Kirk: "Klingon vessel, this is Captain James Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. Your presence in Federation space violates the Organian armistice between our two powers. Explain why you are in Federation space, or I will have to escort you back to the Neutral Zone."
    Koloth: "Hi, Captain, remember me? It's Koloth, back for more Klingon conquest."
    Kirk: "Why are you in Federation space orbiting this planet?"
    Koloth: "For the same reason you are, Captain. We want the slime devils."
    Kirk: "Why, Koloth? The slime devils are useless. They are an endangered, but completely unappealing species."
    Koloth: "I do not have to explain my motives to you, Captain. My mission is secret, especially to you. Koloth out."

    Kirk convenes Spock, McCoy and Scotty in the conference room.

    Kirk: "What do the Klingons want with Denebian slime devils? I thought only their bite was dangerous."
    Scotty: "You know the Klingons on that ship think you are a Denebian slime devil."
    Kirk: "I'm well aware, Mr. Scott. But why are the Klingons here?"
    Spock: "It is believed that the Denebian slime devil also produces a small amount of a chemical in its nervous system called hydrochloroethyl sulfide, a variant of mustard gas that is ten times more potent than traditional mustard gas."
    Bones: "So the Klingons want to conduct chemical warfare against the Federation? How many different monsters do we have to deal with? First the Romulans with their viruses, now the Klingons with superpowered mustard gas."
    Spock: "You are likely correct, Doctor. The Klingons cannot gain access to the slime devils."
    Kirk: "How many slime devils are there on the planet, Spock."
    Spock: "Seventeen thousand, sir. We cannot possibly protect them all. If the Klingons want a slime devil, they can likely beam one aboard, just like we did."
    Kirk: "So we're here to extend human lifespans, and they're here to destroy them. Bones, I need you to isolate the mustard gas chemical and inoculate the crew in case the Klingons attempt a chemical attack. Spock, order a landing party to the planet. I suspect the Klingons want several of those slime devils and we cannot let them get more than one."
    Spock and Bones: "Aye, sir."

    Sulu and Chekov lead a landing party to Deneb IV to face the Klingons, who expectedly arrive. The Federation landing party begins to fight with the Klingons. Two redshirts and two Klingons meet their demise. A slime devil unexpectedly bites Chekov, who yelps in pain. Sulu and Chekov beam back aboard the Enterprise and Chekov goes to sickbay. Instead of being incapacitated, Chekov begins displaying unusual behavior, attempting to kiss Chapel. McCoy tranquilizes Chekov.

    Bones: "What other surprises do these slime devils have in store for us. Bones to Kirk."
    Kirk: "Kirk here."
    Bones: "After Chekov got bit by the slime devil, he was behaving oddly. He tried to kiss Chapel and I had to knock him out with a neural tranquilizer."
    Kirk: "Make sure that nobody else is bitten by the slime devil in sickbay. These creatures are bizarre. Kirk out."

    Bones and Spock go back to sickbay, and discover that the neotryptiline has aphrodisiac effects on younger and middle aged adults, which was the reason Chekov behaved so out of character. Bones says, "You know, I was right. We are conducting mad science experiments instead of proper medical research, and the drug we were supposed to isolate is instead causing unexpected behavior. I think we should beam the slime devil out of here." Suddenly, the slime devil awakens and bites Bones, and he acts the same way Chekov did. Bones attempts to kiss Chapel and Spock nerve pinches him.

    Spock: "Spock to the bridge."
    Kirk: "Kirk here."
    Spock: "The slime devils produce aphrodisiac effects in humans when they are bitten, Captain. However, there is a possibility that Bones and Chekov will die."
    Kirk: "Explain, Spock. I thought they were supposed to only cure brain functions in the aging."
    Spock: "In non-aged people, the neotryptiline created the unexpected effect of humans losing their inhibitions. The bites also contain a tiny bit of the enhanced mustard gas chemical, which paralyzes human body functions. Without an antidote, both the Doctor and Ensign Chekov will slowly lose basic autonomic life signs. They will die."
    Kirk: "Get Chapel to work on the antidote."
    Spock: "She is a little shaken up, but she tells me she is OK to continue her duties."
    Kirk: "Good, Spock. Kirk out."

    (The Enterprise is attacked by the Klingon battlecruiser, which tries to make a run for it). Kirk orders return fire, and the Enterprise scores a hit on the Klingon vessel. A visibly upset Kirk asks for a halt to the hostilities.

    Kirk: "Uhura, open hailing frequencies."
    Uhura: "You're on, sir."
    Kirk: "Klingon vessel. If you attempt to escape, we will pursue and disable your ship."
    Koloth: "You have your slime devil, and I have mine. You will conduct your research, and we will conduct ours."
    Kirk: "Your research is intended for war and death. We will not allow it."
    Koloth: "You have no place to dictate how we Klingons conduct our affairs, Kirk. Like I said, you have your slime devil to do with what you wish, and I have my slime devil."
    Kirk: "So it is battle then."
    Koloth: "No it isn't. We will leave Federation space with our slime devil, to do with as we please. Until we meet again, Captain Kirk."

    (Koloth's ship cloaks and leaves the Deneb system, and the Enterprise fails in its pursuit.)

    Kirk: "So they have a chemical weapon."

    Bones and Chekov are cured by the antidote, and Bones asks Kirk to return the slime devil to its natural habitat. Kirk agrees, and the slime devil is beamed back to the planet. The end of the episode is a brief philosophical conversation.

    Spock: "Apparently, there were unexpected consequences deriving from our experiment."
    Kirk: "What do we tell Starfleet Command? The Klingons are developing a chemical weapon and our experiment failed?"
    Bones: "What else do we tell them? We should also tell them that sometimes, species are best left alone, even though we are explorers and scientists carrying out missions across the galaxy. This mission was morally wrong to begin with."
    Kirk: "Sometimes, you get the slime devil, and sometimes, the slime devil gets you."
    Bones: "I just hope the Klingons don't get us too."

    D.C. Fontana:

    We wanted to explore a situation where the Federation goes too far in scientific experimentation. We believe we succeeded by demonstrating that some species are best left alone, especially endangered species. This story also explores the ethics of animal experimentation and the gray lines that are crossed when we attempt to advance human society by taking advantage of animals. Just to let you know, I approve of plant experimentation, but animal experimentation is a touchy subject, especially with dogs and cats.

    Kelley:

    I got to be the moral center of this episode. As the ship's doctor and one of its chief researchers, I was placed in a role where I had to determine whether it was ethically viable to conduct research on this species. As it turned out, there were some unexpected twists, and we didn't have a happy ending for this one. Sometimes it is best to let Mother Nature be herself and not to interfere with her.

    Gene Roddenberry:

    This was one of the best allegories we wrote in the third season. We brought up a lot of ethical questions and left them only partially answered for the viewer. Why do we conduct research, and when should it be used? Sometimes, we need to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak, and that was the tale we tried to tell in this episode.
     
    Chapter 14: Spock's 🧠
  • January 27, 1969

    The 18th episode of Star Trek's third season ITTL is the infamous SPOCK'S BRAIN, written by Gene Coon under his pen name, Lee Cronin. IRL this was the 3rd season premiere, but ITTL, Gene Roddenberry was convinced to move this show later in the season and run the series of Romulan stories. For those who are not aware, Spock's Brain is considered one of the two or three worst episodes ever produced, and that likely remains true in my timeline. In the episode, which is unchanged from IRL, a female intruder known as Kara boards the Enterprise from an unknown vessel and presses a button to knock out the entire crew. She then walks up to Spock, places her hand on his head, and takes his brain out of his skull. For the rest of the episode, Kirk and crew attempt to retrieve Spock's disemboweled brain (which we do not see on camera) and surgically re-implant it back into his head.

    A landing party with Chekov gets involved in a fight with the barbaric males of Kara's species, known as the Morg. Kara is part of the beautiful female half of the species, known as the Eymorgs. After various inquiries about the disposition of Spock's noggin, which get comical at times, Kara gets frustrated by screaming out, "Brain and Brain, what is Brain!" This becomes the most comical line of dialogue ever written in Star Trek TOS because a supposedly advanced species acts like it does not know what a brain is. After a confrontation with the Eymorg females, Kirk, somehow enlisting Spock's help, even though Spock does not have his brain available to him, disorients the Eymorgs and retrieves the brain, which somehow is not decomposing after being exposed to air. McCoy acquires the knowledge from the Eymorgs to surgically implant Spock's brain back into his head and everyone lives happily ever after again.

    Justman:

    The audience was shocked. We normally produced intelligent science fiction, which we largely did for the first three seasons, but this episode was a schlock-fest. Leonard hated it and threatened to leave the show, and I didn't blame him, because the episode was ridiculous. We thought Gene Coon wrote it as a practical joke, not intended for actual shooting. However, Gene Roddenberry green-lighted it. I was able to convince Gene not to lead the season with this embarrassing hour of television, and he agreed, but we still shot this episode, so it was in the can and we had to air it at some point. Later on, we found out that Gene Coon develped a much more intelligent plot for this episode involving expanding on Vulcan culture in regards to their brains, but this was removed and the schlock was added. I unfortunately contributed to this nonsense by having Spock without a brain direct McCoy in conducting the implantation surgery. It was late lamented, to say the least.

    Nimoy:

    When I saw the script, I could barely contain myself. I thought it was a gag, but we actually shot it and put it on the air! It was the most ridiculous television show I ever took part in and I regret putting my name on it. I wish I could take this one back. This was the first time I started to get tired of playing Spock and wanted to take off the pointy ears. In fact, I told Gene Roddenberry that if I was ever embarrassed like that again, I would quit and ask them to cast another actor for Spock. Unfortunately, we started to see the script quality decline a little in the third season, but most of it was passable. The Romulan stories were great and the Klingon shows were good, and along with The Tholian Web, we were able to save the third season from a quality standpoint. The fourth and fifth seasons were in retrospect, difficult to shoot. We were starting to get tired of the show by that point, even though we were finally making decent money and the ratings were good.

    Shatner:

    All you need to know about this episode is in my book. Read it, and you'll understand why I regretted taking part.

    Reaction from the press was swift and largely negative. The New York Times, in its review, slated the episode, noting that "Star Trek, that most intelligent of science fiction series, debased itself with this ridiculous plot and humiliated its star, Leonard Nimoy, by making him an automaton without a brain." The Boston Globe wrote that "Star Trek, which had rising ratings through most of the third season, placed itself in danger again with this clowny carnival of nonsense." The Los Angeles Times, in an article entitled, Brain and Brain, What is Brain? opined that "We are forced to shut off our brains too while watching this tripe, and be less functional than Spock without his brain in his head. If Star Trek keeps going this way, it will die a painful death, regardless of its improved ratings over the course of this season. Be forewarned and do not make any other episodes of this low a quality."
     
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    Chapter 15: Almost Through Season 3
  • Final update for the day: I will rearrange and change the next four episodes slightly ITTL before a longer update tomorrow.

    Episode 19: IS THERE IN TRUTH NO BEAUTY? Written by Jean Lisette Aroeste, directed by Ralph Senensky. Air date: February 10, 1969. Nielsen rating: 3rd to Gunsmoke and The Mod Squad (the only time Trek finishes third in its time slot, as a result of Spock's Brain). IRL this episode was the 5th episode of the 3rd season. This episode is unchanged ITTL.
    Episode 20: JOANNA, Written by D.C. Fontana, directed by David Alexander. This was the story that D.C. Fontana wrote about Dr. McCoy's estranged daughter, which got changed into the space hippies episode THE WAY TO EDEN IRL, which is scrapped ITTL. Air date: February 17, 1969. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.
    Episode 21: SPECTRE OF THE GUN, Written by Gene Coon, directed by Vincent McEveety. This story is unchanged ITTL. Air date: February 24, 1969. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke. IRL this episode was the 6th episode of the 3rd season.
    Episode 22: THE SAVAGE CURTAIN, Written by Gene Roddenberry, directed by Herschel Daugherty. This story is unchanged ITTL. Air date: March 3, 1969. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.
     
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    Chapter 16: Experimentation
  • As a carbon unit, I required some food to sustain myself, so the longer update was delayed today. This story expands on the ethical boundaries of experimentation by raising questions about research being conducted on humans for wartime purposes, even in self-defense.

    The 23rd episode of Star Trek's third season ITTL was called EXPERIMENTATION, and it aired on March 10, 1969. The Klingons have developed a new chemical called trihydrochloroethyl sulfide, a more lethal derivative of mustard gas, and have attacked Archanis III, a Federation colony along the Neutral Zone. Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew have to ward off the Klingon threat and their new chemical weapon. However, Spock and McCoy face ethical questions regarding the use of the blood of one survivor of the attack for a potential antidote.

    Kirk: "Captain's log, stardate 5649.7. We have received a priority one distress call from Archanis III, a Federation colony bordering the Klingon neutral zone. Starfleet Command has authorized the Enterprise to investigate the disposition of the colony and determine the state of its citizens. We suspect a Klingon intervention occurred, but the type of incursion they conducted is uncertain."

    Kirk: "Scan for life forms on the planet. Open hailing frequencies to the colony."
    Uhura: "Hailing frequencies open. No response from the main command outpost, sir."
    Kirk: "I want to know what happened at this colony. Spock, what was the population of the outpost?"
    Spock: "Two hundred and sixty five, Captain. It was a sparsely populated research colony."
    Kirk: "How many life signs on the planet?"
    Spock: "One, very faint."
    Kirk: "Everyone else in the outpost is dead?"
    Spock: "Yes, Captain, it appears that is the case."
    Kirk: "Mr. Sulu, how close are we to the Klingon Neutral Zone."
    Sulu: "0.1 light years, sir. Literally a stone's throw away for the Klingons, if they attacked the colony."
    Kirk: "Which is likely what happened, and it's also possible the Klingons are hiding out, waiting for us. Red alert. Spock, contact Dr. McCoy in sickbay. We will need his services on the planet. Mr. Sulu, take the conn. I think the Klingons did something monstrous here."
    Spock: "Aye, Captain."
    Sulu: "Aye, sir."

    Kirk, Spock, McCoy and a landing party beam down to the outpost and find dead bodies littered everywhere. McCoy wonders, "Who could possibly have done this." He scans a dead person and says his famous line, "He's dead Jim." "And so are they." Kirk asks Spock to find the one person who is alive. They find an African-American male known as scientist Mark Thomas (played by Don Mitchell of Ironside fame) barely breathing. McCoy says, "Here he is, inches from death. I don't know how he survived." Kirk asks Spock to scan for the chemical that killed the rest of the outpost's inhabitants. Using his tricorder, Spock determines that the chemical is trihydrochloroethyl sulfide, in this universe, a deadlier derivative of mustard gas. Spock says, "A residue of it remains, although it dispersed quickly and there is little danger to us. I can take a sample of the residue." Kirk contacts Scotty and asks them to beam the landing party up, but Scotty says the transporter is not working effectively, so they can only beam up two at a time.

    McCoy and the barely alive Thomas successfully beam aboard the Enterprise, but the Klingons beam down to the planet and engage in a fight with Kirk's landing party. The redshirts inevitably die, Spock does his nerve pinch on two Klingons, and Kirk takes out two more with his phaser. Kirk asks Scotty, "We've got a Klingon problem. Get that transporter working and beam us out of here!" Spock, Kirk and the one surviving redshirt are successfully beamed back aboard the Enterprise before they are overwhelmed.

    Kirk and Spock return to the bridge. A Klingon battlecruiser appears straight ahead.

    Kirk: "Commander Uhura, open ship to ship communications."
    Uhura: "Aye, sir, A channel is open, Captain."
    Kirk: "Klingon vessel, this is Captain Kirk of the Enterprise. Identify yourself and tell us what you did to our citizens on Archanis III."
    Korax: "This is Klingon commander Korax. I say hello to the Denebian slime devil, Captain James Kirk."
    Kirk: "What did you criminals do to Federation personnel on Archanis III? If you killed them, that is an act of war."
    Korax: "We just wanted to test one of those chemicals that slime devil gave us, remember Captain Kirk."
    Kirk: "So you murdered Federation scientists in cold blood, Korax. I should fire phasers right now and blow your ship out of existence."
    Korax: "We can paralyze your ship too with our stasis beam, Captain Kirk. Don't try anything."
    Kirk: "I want to know how you murdered our people, now."
    Korax: "We will conquer the Federation and defeat your army with our new chemical weapon. There is no antidote known to Klingon technology and I suspect you will not find an antidote, either. Korax out."

    Back in sickbay, McCoy returns Mr. Thomas to consciousness.

    McCoy: "I need a sample of your blood to determine why you survived and the rest of the colonists died. I think there is something in your blood that caused you to survive."
    Thomas: "I believe not, Doctor. I was furthest away from the gas attack and received a less potent dose of the gas. I was the only person outside the compound when we were attacked. I rushed back into the compound and saw most of the scientists dying. They told me to run for it and I tried, but fainted. I was lucky, maybe."
    McCoy: "I don't think it's dumb luck that you survived."
    Thomas: "There's nothing special in my blood that caused me to live and the others to die."
    McCoy: "I need your blood. We don't know that unless I conduct tests."
    Thomas: "I refuse to have my blood drawn for your experiment, Doctor."
    McCoy: "As you wish, Doctor Thomas. McCoy to Kirk."
    Kirk: "Kirk here."
    McCoy: "Jim, I'm trying to find an antidote to this chemical the Klingons used on the colony, but Mr. Thomas is uncooperative. He will not allow me to take a sample of his blood."
    Kirk: "Bones, meet me in the conference room, along with the rest of the senior officers."
    McCoy: "Yes, sir. McCoy out."

    Kirk convenes a meeting in the conference room.

    Kirk: "So our patient is uncooperative. Bones, why do you suspect his blood prevented him from dying instead of the reason he gave you?"
    McCoy: "I see no possible way that he could have survived otherwise."
    Spock: "A person's blood is not the only reason an individual can survive a gas attack. It is possible that his nervous system was less affected by the gas exposure. Mustard gas and its derivatives also attack the nervous system."
    McCoy: "But they are also carried in the blood and paralyze the victim completely."
    Spock: "Of that I am well aware. But I believe Mr. Thomas' story is correct. There is no reason for him to deceive us."
    Uhura: "I have an explanation for why Mr. Thomas does not want his blood used for experimentation, Captain."
    Kirk: "I'd like to hear this out, Commander."
    Uhura: "Mr. Thomas is well aware of the experiments performed on 20th century Earth on African-Americans at the time, of which he is a descendant."
    Sulu: "I remember. Similar barbaric experiments were conducted in Asia as well, during the same time period."
    Kirk: "But those events occurred at least 300 years ago. The Federation does not conduct experiments on the basis of race, Commander. We have outgrown those primitive proclivities."
    Uhura: "Perhaps his ancestors were victims of those experiments, and we must respect his wishes, sir."
    McCoy: "But we need to conduct tests on him for a possible antidote, Uhura."
    Uhura: "And if he doesn't want you to conduct those tests, then what? You know you can't experiment on people who refuse to be experimented on. It's unethical."
    McCoy: "I guess you're right. But how will we find this antidote? The Klingons have a barbaric chemical weapon that they can use with impunity. We would have no defense."
    Kirk: "So we'll have to find one, without using anybody's blood. Spock, any ideas."
    Spock: "The compound the Klingons devised can be chemically combined with another compound, cordrazine. It's a stimulant Dr. McCoy accidentally used on himself on the Guardian of Forever mission."
    Kirk: "What would be the possible effects of this combination?"
    Spock: "It is possible that cordrazine would reduce the effects of the trihydrochloroethyl sulfide. It is the strongest neural stimulant known to Federation science, and acts to shock a human's nervous system."
    Kirk: "But we don't know that unless we try it on someone. So who's willing to be the test subject."
    McCoy: "Since nobody else wants to take part in the experiment, I guess I'll donate my body to science, Jim, like they did in the bad old days."
    Kirk: "You're too valuable to the crew as my chief medical officer, Bones. I cannot allow it."
    McCoy: "Someone has to be the guinea pig, Jim."
    Kirk: "I guess you're right, Bones."
    McCoy: "It'll be my responsibility, Jim."

    As McCoy prepares to experiment on himself, he enlists Thomas and Nurse Chapel to assist him. They produce a small sample of the mustard gas derivative, and Chapel hyposprays McCoy with it. McCoy is knocked unconscious. As they are about to administer the cordrazine, the Klingon battlecruiser attacks the Enterprise. McCoy lays on the sickbay bed dying as the Enterprise dukes it out with the Klingons. A dramatic scene ensues as Chapel is knocked out in the battle, so Thomas administers the cordrazine to McCoy. Instead of returning McCoy to normal, he becomes hyperactive and runs out of sickbay like a lunatic. The Enterprise fights off the Klingon ship and forces them to retreat. McCoy runs on the bridge, wildly screaming, and Spock nerve pinches him.

    Kirk: "Did they administer too much of the cordrazine to Dr. McCoy?"
    Spock: "Perhaps. The cordrazine definitely had the effect of neutralizing the mustard gas derivative, Captain."
    Kirk: "But at what cost, Spock? My chief medical officer could be seriously impaired for a good long while."
    Spock: "I guess we'll have to find another solution, Captain."

    McCoy eventually returns to his feet, groggy. "So did it work, Jim?" Kirk replies, "I think the cordrazine worked too well, Bones. I thought for a second you were going to change the future again."

    At the end of the episode, McCoy, Thomas and Uhura are in sickbay, where McCoy is conducting Uhura's physical. When McCoy determines that Uhura is fine, Thomas says to McCoy, "You know why I didn't want you to take my blood, right? It's because that's what they used to do to my people in the past. I felt there had to be another way to solve the problem. I went into a scientific career to make us more ethical, not less." Realizing his previous conversation, McCoy nods in approval. Uhura ends the episode with the following lines: "But the experiment on McCoy didn't really work either. That's the way of scientific experimentation, I guess."

    Fontana:

    This episode was crucial in ending the barbaric Tuskegee syphilis experiment. We went into very controversial territory here and ticked off some people in the government, who were hollering at NBC to take us off the air. However, Nichelle was aware of what was going on and pitched a story idea that broached upon this. We made it into a script and it broke a serious scandal that got national attention. So Star Trek got credit for making the world a better place in real life.

    Gene Roddenberry:

    Nichelle talked to me and D.C. Fontana about the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and what they did to African-American males in the South for over 30 years. I told Nichelle, "I was never even aware of this. I knew that African-Americans were treated badly in the South, but I didn't know they were treated this badly." So we created the allegory in the future about a black scientist who didn't trust McCoy, a white Southern doctor, with his blood because his ancestors were experimented upon due to the basis of race. We got a lot of angry reaction from the new Nixon administration, that's for sure. We blew up one of their secrets.

    Nichols:

    I told Gene and Dorothy that I knew a family friend who was involved in a syphilis experiment in Alabama. I knew it was unethical, but even I did not know the extent of the horror, because they kept it secret. It was a huge scandal when it came out, that's for sure. I think President Nixon wanted to put us on an enemies list. He ran on the Southern Strategy in 1968 and won, and was a very secretive president, and this caused him great humiliation very early on in his administration. Because he wanted to protect his public image, Nixon ordered the syphilis experiment on African-Americans ended. I got all kinds of fan mail from this episode, not all of it positive either from Southern white men. I was afraid and wanted to leave the show because I felt like I stepped too far. I took command of the Enterprise, kissed Captain Kirk and blew up the Nixon administration's spot all in one year. But John Lewis talked to me over the phone and told me to remember the words of Dr. King, that I couldn't leave the show. And I stayed, and we made more stories.

    Kelley:

    When Nichelle told me about what our government did to black men in Alabama, I was shocked. I recognized some of my own biases that I grew up with as a good old Southern boy from Georgia. This episode made me a better man, and I was proud to be a part of it. And I got very upset with the government, because they were capable of savage things. Even the United States, the good guys, did bad things behind the scenes.
     
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    Chapter 17: End of Season 3
  • Last update for the day, and it'll be a short one. This encompasses the final two episodes of the third season, making a total of 25. Robert Justman ITTL falls one episode short of the 26 episodes from season 2 because he runs out of money Paramount budgeted to him. As a result, NBC televises THE MENAGERIE, Parts I and II, as reruns on March 31, 1969 and April 7, 1969, and find that the first season two-parter beat The Mod Squad's season finale, humiliating ABC and causing them to move it out of the Monday 8 PM time slot for the 1969-1970 television season.

    Episode 24: THE CLOUD MINDERS, written by David Gerrold, Oliver Crawford and Margaret Armen. Directed by Jud Taylor. Air date: March 17, 1969. Story unchanged from OTL. Nielsen rating: 2nd to Gunsmoke.
    Episode 25: ALL OUR YESTERDAYS (Season Finale), written by Jean Lisette Aroeste, directed by Marvin Chomsky. Air date: March 24, 1969. Story unchanged from OTL. Nielsen rating: 1st in time slot.
    Then NBC airs reruns of the Menagerie, Parts 1 and 2. NBC finds that The Menagerie wins its time slot on March 31 as a rerun and finishes 2nd in its time slot on April 7, convincing the network to run all the previous reruns of Star Trek on heavy rotation in the late spring and summer. This will have butterflies for future seasons 4 and 5, causing Paramount to raise the budget for the series.

    The updates tomorrow will be a series of newspaper and magazine articles that go through the butterflies that occurred in Season 3. William Shatner will be upset that Nichelle Nichols got to pitch a story that got put on television before him because he is the star of the show and Nichols is a co-star. Plus, Leonard Nimoy begins to tire of playing the Spock character, Justman is told to stay within budget or get fired, and President Nixon attempts to kill off Star Trek by placing Gene Roddenberry and the cast on his enemies list.
     
    Chapter 18: A Series of Butterflies
  • Some of the butterflies that result from season 3:

    STAR TREK RENEWED FOR FOURTH SEASON, BEATING WILDEST EXPECTATIONS

    VARIETY MAGAZINE, April 14, 1969

    No letter writing campaign was required this year. Star Trek is going where no man has gone before in science fiction.

    The largely intelligent (Spock's Brain excepted) TV series will be brought back for a fourth season, according to NBC executive Mort Werner, the Peacock Network's head of programming, Douglas Cramer, executive producer at Paramount, Gene Roddenberry, and Robert Justman, the series showrunner. NBC and Paramount signed off on a 15% increase in the budget for season four due to the excellent ratings the show produced in season three. The audience was captivated by the Enterprise battling the evil Romulans, Lieutenant Uhura taking command of the Enterprise for an episode and gaining a promotion, the Vietnam allegory Day of the Dove, the bizarre Tholian Web, and Klingon stories involving the nature of scientific experimentation. "We even beat Gunsmoke a few times in the ratings," Werner said. "That hardly ever happened before, and you can only take on Gunsmoke with a program of the highest quality. I had my doubts with Star Trek from the beginning and took a risk on them putting them on Monday primetime, but they definitely delivered." Cramer, who came into his Paramount role initially with orders to kill Star Trek after acquiring the property from Desilu, did an about face. "Even though Justman missed our target of 26 episodes by one, the 25 we delivered were of high quality, produced strong ratings, and gave us the justification to increase the budget. Star Trek is becoming one of the crown jewels of the Paramount entertainment empire." Roddenberry was delighted that his creation became a pop culture hit. "I proved that intelligent science fiction could be done and mass marketed to the American public." Justman, although also pleased with Star Trek's renewal, was a little more circumspect. "We have to keep the momentum up. Now is when it gets difficult. We are at the top of the mountain and people in both the entertainment industry and other circles want to knock us off our perch. I credit DC (Fontana) for a large part of our success in the third season, and I'm bringing her back for season four, if she wants to continue with the project."


    SHATNER TO TRY HIS HAND AT DIRECTING, UNHAPPY WITH NICHOLS

    Los Angeles Times (Entertainment section), April 21, 1969

    Although William Shatner, the famous Captain Kirk of Star Trek, is pleased with the show's increased popularity, he has a couple of complaints. Shatner, through his agent, is reportedly upset that Nichelle Nichols, who plays Lieutenant Commander Uhura, got to sell a show idea to D.C. Fontana, the show's producer and creative control lead. Shatner wants to direct at least one episode next season and even wrote a script for Gene Roddenberry to review for potential production in the 4th season. Shatner believes that it is unfair that a supporting star in Nichols received what he considers "carte blanche" treatment from Fontana and wants the show consistently directed at his Kirk character on a weekly basis, which was generally how the show was written when Roddenberry had full control of the series before stepping back into an advisor role. "Bill reportedly wants some creative control in his own right, because he is the lead star of the show," said Douglas Cramer, executive producer at Paramount. "He's had to share star billing with Leonard and Dee Kelley, and he fears that Nichelle could also be elevated into a lead, reducing his star power."

    Robert Justman, upon hearing the news of Shatner's dissatisfaction, will try to mend the fences. "Bill all of a sudden doesn't think Nichelle is a good kisser?" Justman said, referring to the interracial kiss between Shatner and Nichols in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren." "If Bill develops a really good story idea, we can film it and I'll even let him try his hand at directing if he wants. I'm not sure how good he'll be at it. That's my question. Bill is a jolly soul most of the time, but sometimes he grates a little on his co-workers."


    NIMOY TIRED OF PLAYING SPOCK?

    Boston Globe (Entertainment Section, Sunday edition), April 27, 1969

    Despite the fact that Leonard Nimoy has achieved international fame by playing the logical Vulcan Spock on Star Trek, he is considering moving on to other roles. "Leonard is making good money for the first time as an actor, extremely good money, and supporting me and Adam well, but he is thinking about taking a step back. He fears being typecast," says Sandra Nimoy, Leonard's wife, who agreed to be interviewed for this article. "Leonard likes Mission Impossible, and wants to work on a few episodes in that series to make people think that he's not Spock all day, all the time, wearing those pointy ears and constantly getting called Spock on the street."

    For those who do not follow the series (that is if you live under a rock), Star Trek was supposed to be led by William Shatner, who plays Captain Kirk. Leonard Nimoy's Spock character and DeForest Kelley's Doctor McCoy character are supposed to be Shatner's co-stars. However, Nimoy's character became unexpectedly popular, and his fan mail exceeded Shatner's in the first season, causing an unexpected imbalance in the professional relationship between the two stars. Leonard's agent reports that at times, Nimoy has difficulty separating himself personally from the character, and it is causing unhealthy work-life balance, plus a change in attitude towards his wife. For the time being though, Nimoy will continue to play that logical Vulcan science officer. "The money is the bottom line, and Leonard is finally making it in the entertainment business," Sandra Nimoy said. "Leonard doesn't want to go back to driving taxicabs in Los Angeles, trying to make a living that way."


    UGLY SYPHILIS SCANDAL IN ALABAMA: NIXON SHUTS DOWN CONTROVERSIAL MEDICAL PROGRAM

    Atlanta Journal Constitution, April 29, 1969

    Reports emerged out of Alabama in the past two weeks that a US government program, based in Tuskegee, conducted phony experimentation on African-American males to determine the course of untreated syphilis in that population. The scandal was revealed after a Star Trek episode, Experimentation, discussed the possibility of African-Americans being subject to biological experimentation. It was discovered that African-American males were given placebo treatment for syphilis from 1932 to the present, even after penicillin was proven to largely limit the disease in 1947. Therefore, placebo treatment continued on African-Americans with syphilis for more than two decades after treatment was readily available for the sexually transmitted bacterial infection.

    When President Nixon heard of the reports, he decided to shut down the program. Nixon feared that the scandal would embroil his new administration, which already has to deal with the continuing war in Vietnam and a slowing economy. "President Nixon believes that experimentation of this nature is unethical, and he steadfastly believes African-Americans are allowed to improve their general standing in life," said H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff. "Previous Democratic administrations ignored the CDC study in Alabama, but we did not, and we decided to put an end to it," Haldeman said. "We believe the Nixon administration should receive credit in the African-American community for this decision, and that President Nixon has the best interests of all Americans in mind, regardless of creed."


    PRESIDENT NIXON NOT A FAN OF STAR TREK, PREFERS GUNSMOKE INSTEAD

    Washington Post, May 5, 1969

    President Richard M. Nixon, after a stressful first hundred days in office, unwound a little bit to discuss some of his favorite television and entertainment choices with the Post. Nixon is a huge fan of the series Gunsmoke, and loves Westerns in general. "I'm a Western boy at heart," said the President, "and I always love a good shootout at the O.K. Corral. I watch Gunsmoke every week on Mondays and consider James Arness a personal friend, back from the days when I was Vice-President under Eisenhower," Nixon said. "I wholeheartedly endorse Gunsmoke for every red-blooded American man. It is the essence of Americana."

    When asked about Star Trek, Nixon was definitely not a fan. "I think Gene Roddenberry is a little subversive," President Nixon said. "He undermines the spirit of America by writing stories that appear to question our place in Vietnam, undermine race relations, and promote general disorder. I do like Bill Shatner though. He is a cowboy at heart, just in space. I just think the rest of that show is unwatchable schlock. I especially don't like Mr. Spock. He looks and acts demonic at times."
     
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    Chapter 19: Roddenberry Hates Nixon
  • This update won't be long, but it is a very important one ITTL because it sets up Nixon-era Trek and establishes Gene Roddenberry's vendetta against Nixon. Roddenberry believes that Nixon places him on an enemies list for being a subversive.

    RODDENBERRY'S HOUSE BROKEN INTO: STAR TREK CREATOR VICTIM OF BURGLARY

    Los Angeles Times, May 15, 1969

    The Los Angeles Police Department reported a break-in and burglary at Gene Roddenberry's house near Culver City. The house was thrown into a mess, and the culprits are unknown and still at large. Roddenberry and his girlfriend, actress Majel Barrett, were reportedly at a production meeting planning Star Trek's fourth season. They were unharmed, but found their home trashed and turned over. Roddenberry and Barrett are seeking out the LAPD for leads into the case.

    For any tips, contact the Los Angeles Police Department at one of their numerous precinct offices.


    GENE RODDENBERRY: NIXON BROKE INTO MY HOUSE!

    National Enquirer, May 22, 1969

    Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, points the finger of blame for his burglarized house at one man: President Richard M. Nixon. In a surreptitious tape recording acquired exclusively by our magazine, Roddenberry and fellow Star Trek actress Majel Barrett were in an argument about the break-in. The following is an excerpt of the recording:

    Barrett: It was probably some street kids who broke into the house, Gene.
    Roddenberry: No, street kids don't burglarize a house the way these guys did. They were professionals.
    Barrett: We'll fix up the house and call the LAPD, Gene. You still have connections there, I think.
    Roddenberry: I'm glad you mentioned the LAPD, because this is how a law enforcement agency enters the house of a potential criminal suspect. This is not the act of some street kid.
    Barrett: Who on earth thinks we're criminals!
    Roddenberry: Maybe Eileen ([Roddenberry's estranged wife at the time] hired some private detectives to make our lives a living hell, Majel. There's bad blood between me and Eileen because I love you, Majel.
    Barrett: I don't think so. Eileen doesn't have the financial means to hire rogue detectives to pull this off, Gene.
    Roddenberry: The LAPD wouldn't do it either, because I have buddies all throughout the department, and used to write good publicity for them when I was in the force. We're on very good terms.
    Barrett: Who could have done it, Gene?
    Roddenberry: The FBI.
    Barrett: The FBI? No way, you're crazy.
    Roddenberry: Nixon hates my guts because my show became really popular, and we write stories that criticize his brand of politics on a weekly basis. Nixon has an enemies list, and I'm near the top.
    Barrett: That can't be, Gene. Don't go off the deep end.
    Roddenberry: Nixon got that [homophobic expletive] J. Edgar Hoover to send his Gestapo goons to break into our house. They hate Star Trek and its popularity and want the country to conform to their standards. Part of that is removing what they think is subversive material off the air."
    Barrett: There's no way President Nixon is that worried about you, Gene.
    Roddenberry: Are you sure about that (tape ends).


    FCC CENSORS WARN NBC TO CLEAN UP STAR TREK

    BROADCASTING, May 25, 1969

    The Nixon Administration's Federal Communications Commission is reportedly upset with NBC over some of the content aired on their hit television series Star Trek. The FCC complained that on several episodes, women displayed too much skin and were dressed in scantily-clad outfits that made the series unfit for viewing among children. The FCC also complained about some of the script writing, including the interracial kiss between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren," depictions of torture and gratuitous violence in the episode "The Empath," and the depictions of scientific experimentation in the episodes "The Two Potions" and "Experimentation." The commission was also displeased with the idea of female characters fighting each other, which occurred in the episode "The Y Virus." It is believed that Star Trek will attempt to clean up its act because NBC will pressure them to, but its rebellious creator, Gene Roddenberry, and the production staff appear to be having none of it.


    Roddenberry:

    I knew from the start that it was Nixon and his FBI thugs that ransacked my house. We eventually found out in his secret tapes which came out after his administration ended in disgrace, that I was on his enemies list. In the early 80s, an old LAPD buddy of mine finally told me that he knew one of the FBI goons who conducted the break-in. They talked about it on a boat and drinks in the Florida Keys, and I found out soon after.

    Barrett:

    I couldn't believe it all these years later that Gene was right. I always thought it was a street kid that did it, but Gene knew better from his experience as a cop. I couldn't believe that Nixon would target little old us, creating a television show. Whatever got Nixon so angry that he wanted to take it out on us, I'll never know.

    Takei:

    Gene changed a lot after that. He was a lot more guarded and suspicious of people, and I felt that was his general mode of behavior to begin with. On a lighter note, I wonder what homophobic slur Gene used when he found out J. Edgar turned his house over. I fully agreed with Gene on the way J.Edgar Hoover behaved towards him, but Gene always made me uncomfortable with those. He was a progressive, but in his anger, the old nasty language always came out.
     
    Chapter 20: Here Comes Cary Grant
  • Updates for today:

    RODDENBERRY AND JUSTMAN ARGUE OVER CREATIVE CONTROL OF STAR TREK

    VARIETY, June 1, 1969

    As Star Trek enters shooting for a fourth season, Gene Roddenberry is clashing heads with Robert Justman, the show runner, over certain creative aspects of the series. Roddenberry wants to introduce a President Nixon-style character into the series, which Justman opposes, as he feels the show is politically oriented enough with its allegory and should not become ham-handed. Roddenberry apparently won the argument, and the first episode of the fourth season is rumored to center around a Nixon-style character in the future deciding on the fate between the Federation and their Romulan enemies. Roddenberry, in a coup, has brought Cary Grant, the legendary Hollywood superstar, out of retirement to play the Nixon-style character for at least three episodes. Douglas S. Cramer, Paramount executive, was concerned that Grant's salary demands would blow up the budget, but Grant promised to not take a higher salary than William Shatner for his appearances, so the marriage was made and Grant will join the Star Trek cast, at least for a few brief appearances.

    Justman prefers bringing back Roger C. Carmel, the Harry Mudd actor, as a recurring villain. Carmel has reportedly made his schedule a little more welcoming to the Star Trek production crew after appearing on the game show Hollywood Squares and performing voice work for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Carmel told Justman he only has two availabilities to work with the Star Trek cast in season four, because he has been cast in the movies Skullduggery and Myra Breckenridge, the Gore Vidal book adaptation. Carmel always wanted to reprise Mudd, but he was unavailable for Star Trek's third season, having worked on It Takes a Thief and The Mothers In Law, earning increased publicity as Roger Buell, the funny television writer. Carmel enthusiastically hammed it up with Shatner and the rest of the cast in shooting for the fourth season, according to reports from the set.

    Roddenberry:

    It was one of the crowning achievements of my career in Hollywood to get Cary Grant, and later Milton Berle, to appear on Star Trek. Cary Grant was above our pay grade, and I never thought we had a chance to cast him. However, Cramer increased our budget and I thought, why not shoot for the moon and get a superstar to appear on the show? He retired in 1966 and wanted to focus on taking care of his daughter, but the itch for acting returned for him a little. Grant did not want to dive back into Hollywood full time, so I had Mort Werner at NBC call him to see if he was interested in playing a role on our show. To our surprise, Grant was a fan of the show, but taking care of his daughter meant that he could only make three appearances in the fourth season. He played our Nixon character as well as Nixon played himself in real life; cold, calculating and paranoid. Nobody could pull off a role like Cary in the old days and he brought more magic to the series.

    Justman:

    I opposed the idea of a Nixon character on the show but when Gene said he could get Cary Grant to appear on Star Trek, how could I refuse? The problems that resulted from that were apparent. Although Cary was a legend, he wanted his own dressing room, his own makeup, and would not appear in the traditional Star Trek uniforms, so he was almost playing his own role above the rest of the cast. Plus, Cary cost a lot of money, even though he was willing to take pay similar to Shatner for his guest appearances. He got paid more per line I think than anyone in the history of the show. I advocated for bringing Roger C. Carmel back because Mudd was a very popular villain and we had at least 2, 3 different story ideas with Mudd that were made into scripts earlier in the show's production but weren't placed into production. Carmel was so hammy with the rest of the cast. He was a joy to work with, and everyone on the main cast loved the guy. Grant was a little aloof at times, but opened up to Bill Shatner and Leonard Nimoy a bit. I don't think he talked to the supporting cast once during any of his shoots, except to tell Nichelle, "You're a good kisser."
     
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