written by D. C. Fontana
story by D. C. Fontana and Nathan Butler (pseudonym of Jerry Sohl)
FINAL DRAFT, dated December 15, 1966
(with further revisions, dated December 28, 1966)
report & analysis by David Eversole
Jerry Sohl wrote at least two drafts of this script (his first was entitled "Power Play," his second was "Way of The Spores") before D. C. Fontana wrote the final draft, which displeased Sohl so much he substituted his pseudonym on his story credit. Sohl's story originally focused on Lieutenant Sulu as the former love interest of the Hawaiian-born Leila Kalomi.
Though this final has pretty much all of the aired elements nailed down, there were quite a few small on-set changes.
Right off the bat two of the characters present in the script where given new names when actors Michael Barrier and Grant Woods, who had previously appeared on the program as DeSalle and Kelowitz, respectively, were cast.
The script's Lieutenant Timothy Fletcher became Lieutenant DeSalle (previously featured extensively in "The Squire of Gothos"), and Crewman Dimont was changed to Lieutenant Kelowitz (who had appeared briefly in "Balance of Terror" and "Arena").
When speculating that the colonists could not conceivably be alive after being bombarded to the deadly Berthold rays, Sulu has a line ("Well... I've heard of a planet where vampires and lycanthropy are practiced... Living dead--) which was dropped from the aired version.
When Leila first reveals that she and Spock know each other and says, "It has been a long time," Spock replies, "The years have seemed twice as long."
Dimont (Kelowitz) was born and raised in the Mojave farm country.
The scene where Sandoval and Leila discuss her relationship with Spock and the scene where Sulu and Dimont (Kelowitz) search the grounds and comment on the lack of animals were reversed in the aired version.
A scene with Spock and Leila running alongside a stream appears in this episode's trailer, but is not present in the aired episode. Spock hanging from the branch crossbeamed between the two trees is not in the script, and was more than likely improvised on location.
From the script:
EXT. ANGLE ON BRIDGE
Spock and Leila come running across field and cross bridge -- cavorting, etc.
EXT. ANGLE AT WATERFALL
Spock and Leila come to waterfall and splash water.
EXT. LONG SHOT - SPOCK AND LEILA AT WATERFALL
Angle from across stream -- CAMERA TILT DOWN to Mr. Spock's communicator lying under tree where they left it.
EXT. PATH BESIDE PLANTED FIELD - KIRK, SULU, DIMONT - DAY
moving along the path. Kirk has communicator in hand. He stops a moment to get a bearing with it, points off, further along the path. They go on in that direction.
ANGLE ON KIRK, SULU, DIMONT
coming upon Spock's communicator and the tricorder. Kirk bends to pick them up, closes the communicator screen. As he straightens, Sulu grabs his arm and quite speechless, points off. Kirk looks in that direction and stares.
P. O. V. - SPOCK AND LEILA
breaking the kiss, still lost in each other.
BACK TO KIRK
All he can say...
"P.O.V." is a screenwriting abbreviation for "Point Of View," and is simply a shot of something as seen from someone's eyes, Kirk's in this case.
The word OMITTED is inserted when a shot has been deleted from a script. I do not do so in these reviews, but most final draft or shooting scripts have every specified SLUG LINE (the scene-setting line in CAPS) numbered. When it is decided to omit a shot, the numbered line is simply changed to OMITTED, so that there is no skip in numbering. In the above, I would hazard to say that the shot that was deemed unnecessary probably showed Spock and Leila kissing, as later it is mentioned that Spock and Leila break "the" kiss, implying that we have seen it before, instead of "a" kiss. If my guess is correct, rightly, it was probably decided not to show the audience this before Kirk saw it, but to allow us to experience his surprise with him. All irrelevant since the scene was quite restructured.
The confrontation between Kirk and Spock and Sandoval was tweaked and trimmed prior to transmission. Here is the full dialogue after Sandoval asks Kirk to join them:
In your own private paradise?
The spores have made it that. You see, Captain,
we would have died three years ago. The Berthold
rays you spoke of affected us within two or three
weeks of our landing here. We didn't know what it was.
We were sick and dying when Leila found the plants.
The spores themselves are alien, Jim.
They weren't on the planet when
the other two expeditions were attempted...
that's why the colonists died.
How do you know all this?
They... told us. The spores have a kind
of telepathy, but it's subtle, almost a feeling...
Where did they come from?
Impossible to tell. It was so long ago and so far away...
perhaps the planet does not even exist any longer.
They drifted in space until finally drawn here...
They actually thrive under Berthold rays. The pod plants
are only a repository for thousands of
these microscopic spores until they find a host.
What do they need us for?
There are millions upon millions of them, Jim.
They do no harm... but they want a body.
In return they give the host complete health and peace of mind.
The script then dovetails back into the aired dialogue. Though this explanation of the spores' origins and purposes is not vital to the episode, it does add a slight layer of horror to the "body snatching" spores.
When Kirk beams back to the Enterprise, we first see him stepping onto the deserted bridge. The script called for him to first see the deserted corridors, etc.
INT. ENTERPRISE CORRIDOR - FULL SHOT
Empty... looks longer and wider somehow with no people around. From BEHIND CAMERA, Kirk appears... walks forward slowly. Except for his footsteps, no other human sound. The normal throb of instruments and equipment provide a low background heartbeat... the ship is "alive", but only Kirk moves in the quiet corridors.
INT. ANOTHER CORRIDOR - CLOSE ON POD PLANTS
Several plants stand in the corridor beside the elevator doors. As we HEAR footsteps echoing over, approaching, CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL Kirk coming along the corridor quickly. (NOTE: The plants should be on the side of the doors away from the elevator call button, so that when Kirk stops to press the call button, he is still a little distance from the plants.) Kirk reaches the elevator, presses the call button. There is no immediate response... the elevator is on another level, takes time to arrive. Kirk looks up at the elevator indicator, leans irritably on the call button, even though he knows it won't hurry the mechanism one bit. The elevator still does not arrive, and he paces angrily away, closer to the plants. As he steps near them, the pod plants explode their spores around him... but nothing happens. Aside from the irritation of their "spitting" at him, Kirk is unaffected still, is much more interested in where the elevator is. As he punches the call button again, the elevator SOUND is heard whining to a stop, the doors snap open. Kirk exits inside quickly, and the doors snap shut.
Kirk then arrives on the bridge. These scenes were not necessary, and it was best to cut to the famous shot of the empty bridge and Kirk's arrival there. Again, we experience his surprise and disorientation on this most famous, normally "alive," now devoid of life and activity, set on the program.
After Kirk is sprayed by the plant and calls Spock, in revised dialogue, not included in the aired episode, he says:
Hey... are you going to marry that girl?
EXT. OMICRON SETTLEMENT (GARDEN AREA) - DAY
Spock hesitates, studying Leila, who has blushed in a little embarrassment... and looks beautiful doing it.
I... hadn't thought about it yet.
Well, do. Kirk out.
Kirk's first glimmer of a second thought about leaving the Enterprise, is written to play in Kirk's quarters before he leaves for the transporter room. He asks the computer to play back his last log entry. Though not in the aired episode, one can tell where it was cut. Kirk sits down before a terminal, looks at his medal, there is then a close shot of the medal, then a shot of Kirk slamming a button on the computer monitor before he stands and exits. The next shot shows him arrive in the transporter room.
The cut scene, from the script:
(HUM and CLICK)
Ready for voice identification.
Captain James T. Kirk. Compute.
Computed. Identification correct.
Play back the last Captain's log entry. Compute.
(HUM and CLICK)
Computed. Entry follows.
There is a great deal of CLICKING OF RELAYS, then we hear Kirk's own voice as he dictated the log entry.
Captain's Log, Star Date 3417.7.
Except for myself, all crew personnel
have transported to the planet surface.
CLOSE ON KIRK
As he listens, it is obvious this last entry troubles him, but he can't understand why.
Mutinied. Lieutenant Uhura effectively
sabotaged the communications station...
Kirk slams off the computer-recorder. He cannot listen to more... because beneath the peace imposed upon him by the spores is a surging, driving need to keep this job of his... this life... this self-made hell of command. He turns from the desk quickly, goes to close the flight bag. Then he grabs it up and heads for the door.
INT. DESERTED CORRIDOR
as Kirk moves through... every foot of it beloved by him... the great ship... empty, deserted... but his one love.
Unlike the televised episode, there is no scripted Captain's Log explaining that he plans to anger Spock to counteract the effect of the spores. The aired log entry is superfluous, he says and does as much, and seems to exist only to make sure the audience is told bluntly what is transpiring.
In the script, Act Three ends when Spock beams aboard and Kirk calls him a mutinous, disloyal half-breed, etc. In the aired version, the act continues until the out-of-control Spock raises a chair to smash down upon Kirk. A more suspenseful ending to the act, to be sure, one more guaranteed to lure the viewer back after the commercial break.
Kirk's insults in the script are quite mild compared to the aired version. His lines about no Vulcans ever having an ounce of loyalty, his calling Spock's father traitorous and a freak are not scripted.
In the script, Spock kisses Leila good-bye:
Spock takes her by the shoulders gently and leans down to kiss her. And this has nothing to do with any influence except a crazy pounding somewhere down around the lower left side of his rib cage... that would be his heart.
The rest agrees with what we see onscreen.
Although I can sympathize with Mr. Sohl's distress at having his work rewritten, in this case, I can understand the necessity. Unlike later incarnations of Star Trek, the original series was a star-driven vehicle, which concentrated its character development on the most intriguing of the characters, played by the better actors. I agree with this philosophy myself, and have usually found the modern attempt at development of the secondary, one-note, button-pushers bland and uninteresting (with the exception of Deep Space Nine's Garak and Gul Dukat, played, respectively, by the interesting, outstanding actors Andy Robinson and Marc Alaimo).
I look forward to receiving and reviewing Sohl's earlier draft, "Way of The Spores," though.
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.
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