This week’s feature: “The Cage” (Star Trek’s feature length pilot episode that was originally unaired in 1965)
VHS/64 MIns/Not Rated
I’m not a huge Trekkie but I am guilty of growing up watching the campy original series now and then (usually on Sunday evenings on my parent’s giant bed) as well as “Next Generation” when I was in high school. (I’m not saying it was a bad thing).
I’m showing the pilot episode of the original series.
A: Because it is rarely seen/screened.
B: Most people don’t know that before Captain Kirk, there was “Captain Pike”
C: It could have easily passed as a feature length Sci-Fi B Movie, had it not become a TV series.
D: It’s very well written and well done.
E: I like it.
F: It’s time to dust it off from the archive and pay it a re-visit :)
G: Star Trek may not be usual ISMN fare, but I cannot deny the cultural impact of the series and “The Cage” deserves to be seen and deserves a lot more respect.
Storyline (from IMDB)
This is the pilot to the series that would star William Shatner. Only in this version there is different Captain, Christopher Pike, and with the exception of Mr. Spock, an entirely different crew. Now it begins when the Enterprise receives what appears to be a distress message. But when they get to the planet where the message was sent from, they discover that the supposed survivors were nothing more than illusions created by the inhabitants of the planet, for the purpose of capturing a mate for the one genuine surviving human, and Captain Pike is the lucky winner. While Captain Pike tries to cope with the experiments and tests that the aliens are conducting on him, his crew tries to find a way to rescue him. But the aliens’ illusions are too powerful and deceptive (at first). Written by <email@example.com>
Facts about “The Cage” from IMDB:
The original script called for the aliens to be crab-like arthropods.
history in the making
Just think…if Jeffrey Hunter had wound up playing the Captain in Star Trek, he might be alive today. Hunter died in 1969 from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, probably caused by an explosion that imploded instead during a film he was working on in Europe. Interesting thought.
The Cage was the most expensive pilot in NBC history to that point. Though the Star Trek idea had its supporters, the network couldn’t see past its nose to pick up the series. They did, however, agree to a second pilot with some changed elements - like a woman who was second in command. The reasons why Hunter did not do the next pilot have been debated. A friend of Hunter’s stated that Hunter’s wife, Dusty, thought science fiction was low class and didn’t want him involved in the show. And, according to Shatner’s book, she also made unreasonable demands of the producers.
It’s worth remembering that back in the ’60s, science fiction, space movies, etc., did not have the “A” status that they do today. B movies only became A movies after Star Wars.
The Cage is a not only very good but touching, and of course, it’s fascinating to see “Star Trek” before it became a cult classic. The story concerns a planet that exists basically on Mind Control, and the inhabitants in charge capture Pike in the hope that he can help replenish their race with an earth woman who is there as a result of a ship crashing. Susan Oliver is the woman.
During the run of the series, in order to recoup some of the costs of this fabulously expensive pilot, it was incorporated into a two-part episode, with another actor playing the now near-vegetative Captain Pike.
I love seeing films such as this that were done before all the special effect technology became available, because they were done in such innovative and imaginative ways. The Cage is worth a look to see the genesis of a show that became part of our culture.
Turkish Star Trek (aka “Turist Ömer Uzay Yolu’nda” - 1973)
DVD/Turkish/No Subtitles/Not Rated
By now, most people have heard of this and the other re-makes of American pop culture film that took place in Turkey.
Many years ago we also shared clips from this during one of our Out/Ex shows in Salt Lake City.
Unlike “Turkish Star Wars”, “Turk Trek” is harder to watch without subtitles. One of the reasons being that way too much talking goes on. And unlike the other Turkish ripoffs, this one is an intentional comedy. But for those willing to bask in the absurdity, the special effects, the robots, and the alternate plain of Trek reality is a sight to behold.
Somethings that have unintentionally caused laughter in the past is that one of the skirts on deck is just WAY too short, and the actor who plays Kirk is so dang creepy!
For your sanity, we will only be playing the first 10 to 15 mins of this.
Time: Friday April 6th @ 7:30 PM (7 if you want to see an episode of the animated Star Trek series from the 70’s)
Place: “The Art City Mansion” 365 W 300 S, Springville UT
Free as usual.
See you there!
(Above: “The Cage” on Laser Disc!)