The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise
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"The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise" is a comedy sketch that first aired during episode 22 of the first season of The NBC variety show, Saturday Night Live on May 29, 1976. The twelve-minute sketch, written by Michael O'Donoghue, became an instant cult classic hit among Star Trek fans as well as science fiction fans.
The sensors of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise pick up a strange alien spacecraft following in hot pursuit of the ship, which is identified by Mr. Spock (played by Chevy Chase) as a 1968 Chrysler Imperial with a tinted windshield and retractable headlights.
Captain Kirk (played by John Belushi) orders the ship to outrun the strange craft. Unable to outrun it, he orders phasers and photon torpedoes to destroy the craft. Unfortunately, all the ship's equipment fails without reason. Shields fail to operate and the Enterprise's systems break down. Suddenly, Dr. Leonard McCoy (played by Dan Aykroyd) runs onto the bridge saying the aliens are on the ship. He says the aliens did not beam aboard, but merely walked out from behind the curtains, and there they were on the ship.
It turns out that the aliens are NBC executive Herb Goodman (played by Elliott Gould) and his associate, Curtis (played by Garrett Morris). They announce that the Star Trek series has been cancelled. Captain Kirk orders the crew to fire their hand phasers on the aliens but nothing happens. Mr. Spock assumes that the aliens have a type of weapons deactivator and tries to employ his famous Vulcan nerve pinch on him, but that does not work either. The executive says, "Nimoy, I'm sorry we have to take back those ears," and quickly removes Mr. Spock's pointed ears. Mr. Spock then mind-melds with Herb Goodman only to discover, as he describes, "His mind is dark and empty inside...there are mice in the corner and spider webs."
Other NBC executives and staff show up and dismantle the Enterprise set.
Other crew members as actors accept this proclamation, but William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy try to hang on to their Star Trek personas as Kirk and Spock. However, Nimoy is eventually reduced to a sobbing nervous wreck, and is carried off the set. Shatner defiantly remains in the captain's chair, as Herb Goodman mentions a phone call from a margarine company. (At the time this sketch was transmitted, William Shatner was a commercial spokesman for Promise margarine.) Finally, the set is completely dismantled, and Shatner as Captain Kirk makes a final entry into his log in his Captain's chair, where he recalls his previous three years of space exploration, concluding: "And except for one television network, we have found intelligence everywhere in the galaxy." Raising his hand in the Vulcan salute, he goes on, "Live long and prosper." Then he brings his fingers together, his hand still raised, and adds, "Promise" (a reference to the margarine ad).
- John Belushi as Captain Kirk/William Shatner
- Chevy Chase as Mr. Spock/Leonard Nimoy
- Dan Aykroyd as Dr. McCoy/DeForest Kelley and the voice of Scotty on intercom
- Elliott Gould as Herb Goodman, NBC Executive
- Garrett Morris as Curtis, Head NBC stage crew
- Akira Yoshimura as Mr. Sulu/George Takei
- Doris Powell as Lt. Uhura/Nichelle Nichols
- Sepinwall, Alan (December 3, 2006). "'Saturday Night's' all right - After 3 decades, the not-ready-for-prime-time show is still a work-in-progress". Newark Star-Ledger.
- Okamoto, David (November 10, 1994). "'Mr. Mike' O'Donoghue dead at 54". The Dallas Morning News.
- "The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise". SNL Transcripts.