written by Jerry Sohl
FINAL DRAFT, dated May 3, 1966
report & analysis by Dave Eversole
If any of you are interested in seeing how
a competent, workmanlike, but somewhat bland teleplay that is just another "first
contact" story, no better than the thousand first contact stories that came before
it, becomes an excellent episode filled with nice touches and character moments, then buy
a copy of this script and compare it to the show.
This teleplay is full of "babbling." Everything is discussed, everything is stated in very obvious terms, there is no room for the actors to actually act. Here's a sample of an unshot scene in the script:
INT. KIRK'S QUARTERS - YEOMAN RAND
Taking one of Kirk's uniforms off its hanger is JANICE, the Captain's yeoman. The sound of the o. s. door opening causes her to turn toward it.
coming in, unwinding the towel from about his neck, tossing it on the bed as he joins Janice, CAMERA GOING WITH him.
Turn on the screen... Get the bridge.
It is on, Captain.
ANGLE TO CONTROL PANEL
Kirk moves INTO FRAME, flicks a switch on the panel to talk to Spock, who is seen on the screen, though his back is to us.
Spock turns, sees Kirk in his own monitor viewer.
INT. ENTERPRISE BRIDGE - CLOSE ON SPOCK
as Spock talks to Kirk in the o. s. viewer.
Negative, Captain. The cube is
right where it was.
Is it monitoring us?
It has an elementary sensor
beam, pulsating type. Emanates
from the cube edges.
Any sign of life?
At this stage there was no Uhura. Dave
Bailey is the Communications Officer, Lieutenant Ken Easton the Navigator. Their dialogue
was combined and given mostly to the Dave Bailey we see in the episode. Uhura got a line
or two of it, but nothing of importance.
There are so many small moments that are not present in the script. No flypaper, no adrenaline gland, no coffee zapped by a phaser, no green leaves, no curiosity by Spock to gain Balok's image (Balok initiates visual communications with the Enterprise in the script), no comparisons of Balok to Spock's father, no pity from Scotty for Spock's mother, no chess and poker analogies (Kirk just suddenly decides to bluff, no setup, nothing).
Most significantly, there is no subplot with Bailey flipping out. In the script, Bailey shouts something like, "What does he expect us to do?" Kirk gives him a stern look and says, "He expects us to lose our heads. We're not going to do that are we, Mr. Bailey?" Bailey bucks up, says "No, sir," and that is that.
To Sohl's credit, he did write the famous "I never say that" bits for McCoy.
Someone pruned and reshaped the dialogue masterfully for the aired episode.
Now, about the babbling. The final seventeen pages of Sohl's script play out in about six or seven minutes. When Kirk decides to answer the distress call Balok sends out, Sohl writes pages and pages of everybody, even Spock, vehemently disagreeing with him, questioning his decision. It is bad. In the episode, Kirk gets a couple of surprised looks, and the characters professionally do as told, and we know they disagree somewhat with him, but we don't need to be lectured on how and why. A raised eyebrow, a slight pause from the actors tells us all we need to know.
The final scene on Balok's ship is pretty much as written, except Bailey does not accompany Kirk and McCoy over, so there's no leaving behind of a Federation representative to get to know Balok and the First Federation.
Balok mentions the name of the planet where he intends to intern the Enterprise crew. It is called Carpi.
JERRY SOHL (Gerald Allen Sohl, Sr.) (1913-2002): American Science Fiction writer, best know for his novels The Haploids and Costigan's Needle. For television, he first ghost-wrote episodes of The Twilight Zone for Charles Beaumont (when the latter was suffering from Alzheimer's), nine episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, then later wrote for The Outer Limits and The Invaders. For Star Trek he wrote "The Corbomite Maneuver," provided the story for "This Side of Paradise" (under his pseudonym Nathan Butler) and provided the story and co-wrote "Whom Gods Destroy." Sohl also served on The Committee of science fiction writers hired by Desilu to evaluate the original pilot of Star Trek and make improvements.
Free counters provided by Andale.
Click here to return to the Unseen
Click here to return to the Articles Page.
Click here to return to the Main Index Page.