The Menagerie (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"The Menagerie (Parts 1 & 2)"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
ST TheMenagerie.jpg
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 11 & 12
Directed by
Written by Gene Roddenberry
Featured music Alexander Courage
Cinematography by
Editing by
Production code 016
Original air date
  • November 17, 1966 (1966-11-17) (Part I)
  • November 24, 1966 (1966-11-24) (Part II)
Running time
  • 50 minutes (Part I) (runtime)
  • 50 minutes (Part II) (runtime)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Corbomite Maneuver"
Next →
"The Conscience of the King"

"The Menagerie" is a two-part episode of the American science fiction television series, Star Trek. It consists of episodes 11 and 12 (production #16) of the show's first season and is the only two-part story in the original series. Part one of the episode was broadcast on November 17, 1966, with part two broadcast on November 24, 1966. NBC repeated the two shows on May 18 and 25, 1967. The episode's screenplay was written by Gene Roddenberry. Since the true 1965 pilot episode, "The Cage," was not shown on television until 1988 and the original series began with the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Desilu (the show's production company) made a decision on what should be done with the wasted footage from the unused pilot movie.[citation needed]

Incorporating "The Cage" into the two-part episode, "The Menagerie", was actually a solution to a large and growing problem with the show's production. Its special effects, unprecedented for a weekly television production, were causing delays in the completion of each episode. The problem was cumulative, with shows getting delivered to NBC later and later. At its worst, episodes (filmed in Los Angeles) were being delivered to NBC (in New York) only three days before their scheduled Thursday airing. Sensing impending disaster, Roddenberry solved the problem by writing a two-part episode that needed only one week of production.

He did this by writing an entirely new bookend story, so that "The Cage" would serve as a backstory for the starship Enterprise‍ '​s early history. New footage would be combined with the old and placed into the continuity of the overall Star Trek storyline.

"The Menagerie" won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. This episode also served as the inspiration for the term "Reality distortion field", referring to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' ability to convince audiences of his narrative.

In this episode, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) abducts his former commander Christopher Pike (Sean Kenney), locks the Enterprise on a course to the forbidden planet Talos IV, and turns himself in for court-martial where he presents an elaborate story explaining the reason for his actions.

Plot[edit]

Part I[edit]

On stardate 3012.4, the Federation starship USS Enterprise arrives at Starbase 11 in response to a subspace call First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) reported receiving from the former captain of the Enterprise, Christopher Pike (Sean Kenney) whom Spock had served under. Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock meet the starbase commander Commodore Mendez (Malachi Throne), who doubts that Pike had sent the message, given that Pike was in a severe burn accident just recently and will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and unable to communicate save through answering yes/no questions with the aid of a device in the wheelchair that is operated by his brainwaves. Pike refuses to communicate with anyone except Spock, and Kirk and Mendez leave to discuss the situation; once they are gone, Spock informs Pike he will be taking him regardless of Starfleet's orders. He overwhelms Pike's guards and takes him aboard the Enterprise, and through a series of deceptions, he convinces the crew to set a new course on Starfleet's orders.

Meanwhile, Mendez and Kirk are concerned with Spock's behavior, and find that there was no record of Spock receiving any message. Mendez provides Kirk with classified information on Talos IV, a planet that was visited by the Enterprise previously under Pike's command, and now under a strict "no contact" Starfleet regulation. They are made aware of the departure of the Enterprise, and the two give chase in a Starbase shuttlecraft.[1] When Spock detects them trailing the Enterprise, he has them brought aboard and then willingly gives himself up, professing to committing mutiny. The crew finds they are unable to stop the current course of the Enterprise, which Spock affirms is heading towards Talos IV. Mendez demands a preliminary hearing be held, which requires three command officers. Kirk objects that only he and Mendez are present, but Spock notes that Pike also is a command officer still listed for active duty. The tribunal begins, and Spock offers as his testimony video footage of the Enterprise‍ '​s earlier visit to Talos IV.[note 1]

In the original mission, the Enterprise traveled to Talos IV in response to a distress call from the survey ship Columbia, reportedly lost 18 years previously. Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), Spock and an away team beam down to the planet, and find a number of survivors including a young Vina (Susan Oliver), a child born shortly after the crash of Columbia. Dr. Boyce (John Hoyt), Pike's chief medical officer, finds the survivors in excellent medical health, a fact that he believes belies the living conditions of the survivors. Before Dr. Boyce can alert Pike, Pike is lured away from the rest of the team by Vina into a cave which closes off; the remaining survivors and their camp suddenly disappear. Pike finds that he has been trapped by the Talosians, humanioid aliens that have been monitoring the away crew and able to mass-project illusions such as those of the survivors.

In the present, Kirk learns that the video source that Spock has been showing is not from data archives, but instead is being broadcast to them from Talos IV. Starfleet has learned of the intended destination of the Enterprise, and Mendez orders Kirk to stand down as the captain is responsible for all members of his crew. Kirk demands Spock end the transmission, but Spock respectfully refuses, and the episode ends as Spock is sent to be locked up and the tribunal ends in recess.

Part II[edit]

The tribunal of Spock continues despite Starfleet's orders to end the Talos IV transmissions. The footage continues from before, where Pike has been caged with Vina. The Talosians want the two to mate as to be able to produce offspring and allow the Talosians to rebuild their civilization which fell after they discovered the ability to cast these illusions. The aliens put the two through numerous virtual realities, hoping to give Pike mild interest in Vina to copulate. Pike refuses, and does not relent when the Talosians project more horrific images to him. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew find the cave entrance where Pike disappeared, but are unable to break it open even when using direct attacks from the ship itself. They attempt to beam in a landing party into the cave, but this is detected by the Talosians, and they manipulate the beam to only allow the female crew members to beam down, as to offer more choices to Pike. While the new captives have phasers, they attempt to shoot out a portion of the cage wall but find them ineffective.

That night, Pike is able to capture a Talosian as the being tries to confiscate the phasers. Pike intuits that the phasers do still work, and that their earlier attempt at escape was masked by an illusion, and forces the Talosian to reveal the hole they had previously made. The group escapes to the surface, but learn that this was allowed by the Talosians, in hopes the humans would become a slave colony on the planet's surface. Number One (Majel Barrett, billed as M. Leigh Hudec) attempts to set her phaser on overload, preferring to die rather than be enslaved, but she is persuaded to deactivate the weapon when more Talosians arrive after having scanned the Enterprise databanks. The aliens have learned that humans have a hatred of captivity, and agree to let the crew go. Pike is upset that the Talosian do not even apologize for holding them, but the head Talosian, the Keeper, explains that they are now resigned to the end of their civilization. Pike offers help from the Federation, but the Talosians refuse, fearing that the Federation would learn of the illusion powers and fall like their own civilization. Agreeing to leave the Talosians in peace, all but Pike are beamed back to the ship. Pike is shown that Vina's looks have been an illusion all along, having suffered great injury on the crash of the Columbia, but has been restored to health and is at peace with the help of the Talosian's illusions. Pike returns to the ship, assured that Vina will be well looked after.

The transmission ends at the tribunal just as the ship is arriving at Talos IV. Kirk now knows what Spock's plans have been, as the Talosians would be able to offer Pike the same treatment as Vina. Spock is cleared of all charges, though he tells Kirk he did not explain his actions as to prevent Kirk from becoming an accessory to the crime. Pike is transported to the planet where he is met by Vina and the Talosians. While broadcasting to the Enterprise, they cast the illusion on Pike, and he and Vina are shown returning with the Talosians into their cave. The Enterprise leaves orbit to return to Starfleet.

Production[edit]

"The Menagerie" solved two problems, by reusing the extensive footage from "The Cage" and was a script crunch. The script was written by Gene Roddenberry, creator of the show, also the writer of "The Cage". The script for both parts of this episode is only 64 pages long, shorter than the scripts for some single episodes. Part I is 43 pages long, whereas Part II runs to only 21 pages.

New filming took place for the framing story for "The Cage". Because actor Jeffrey Hunter was unavailable to reprise his role as Captain Pike, a look-alike actor, Sean Kenney, played the injured captain in the new scenes, although Hunter was represented in "The Cage" flashback footage and credited accordingly (along with the other original "Cage" cast).

Also in the new scenes, Malachi Throne (who provided the voice of the Keeper in the original "Cage") portrayed Commodore Jose Mendez, while Julie Parrish played personal assistant Miss Piper. Because Throne played a second role in "The Menagerie", the Keeper's voice was electronically processed to sound higher-pitched.[2] (This modified voice would replace Malachi Throne's original voice work in the remastered and new "Original" versions of "The Cage" released later.) The preview trailer for Part II uses Throne's original Keeper's voice.

The framing story was directed by veteran Trek director Marc Daniels. Because most of his footage was used in Part I, he was given directing credit for this part. The director of "The Cage", Robert Butler, was given credit for Part II, because most of that footage was from the original pilot.

In the scene on Rigel VII, Vina actually plays the slave girl painted in green makeup and dancing for Captain Pike. During preproduction makeup tests (using Majel Barrett as a stand-in), they sent the footage out for printing and when the film returned, there was little difference. The lab thought there had been an error in colorizing and thought they should compensate. The first time this happened, they reshot the film with a darker green and sent it out again for printing. The same thing happened again, but eventually the lab was notified to make no color changes.[3]

Footage from the master negative of "The Cage" was edited into the master negative of "The Menagerie". No other color or 35 mm copy of "The Cage" existed, only a black and white 16 mm print owned by Gene Roddenberry. In 1987, the full-color negative "trims" from "The Cage" that had not been used in "The Menagerie" were discovered at a film laboratory in Los Angeles and returned to Paramount Pictures.[4]

Reception[edit]

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a 'B-' rating, noting that "the whole thing plays out over two hours, and with a framing story from the regular cast that, while dramatic, doesn't quite gel." Handlen did note some memorable aspects of the episode such as the extent of Pike's injuries and the ambiguity around his final fate.[5] This episode won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Theatrical release[edit]

On November 13 and 15, 2007, the digitally remastered version of "The Menagerie", in high definition and with Cinema Surround Sound, was released in theatres as a special two-night-only showing. It included a message from Gene "Rod" Roddenberry Jr., a 20-minute "making of" documentary about the restoration process, and a trailer for Season Two of the remastered series.[6][citation needed] This presentation was also shown in the United Kingdom for distribution for one night only at selected Odeon Cinemas on November 13, 2007.[citation needed]

Some repertory movie theaters in North America showed the classic two-part episode as a feature film in the 1970s. Basically, the two original series episodes were shown back-to-back and unedited as part of one program. One such theater, the Seville in Montreal, showed 16mm prints of "The Menagerie" episodes on a big screen as part of a program that concluded with the presentation of the Star Trek blooper reels from season 1 and season 2.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The video footage used is actually from Star Trek‍ '​s first pilot, "The Cage". See Production.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Starbase shuttle in space
  2. ^ "The Cage Page: Behind the Scenes of Star Trek‍ '​s First Pilot". StarTrekHistory.com. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  3. ^ Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenbury, The Making of STAR TREK, 1971? edition
  4. ^ Bob Furmanek, The Cage (1966) (post), at Classic Horror Film Board, April 21, 2008.
  5. ^ Handlen, Zack (February 20, 2009). "The Menagerie". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Star Trek: The Menagerie ENCORE". FathomEvents.com. November 15, 2007. [dead link][dead link]

External links[edit]