What I've got is the new releases with the enhanced special effects - I'll comment on these as best I can, shame I haven't got the originals to compare and contrast, but such is life. I put up the "spoiler" just on the off chance that there's someone here that hasn't seen all these a million times - you never know, I suppose.

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Commander, thank you so much for the additional information on Ms. Whitney.  I intend to go seek out her book to read her account.  Although I may have gotten some of the details wrong, the info you present is quite in line with what i recall from Shatner's book. I have some idea of who I think the executive was/is, but the fact that no one names him...and that everyone walks on eggshells when mentioning the situation makes me think that he wasn't an anonymous "suit", but someone well known to us.

Thanks for setting me straight on this.  I encourage anyone who wants to delve into this to read Shatner's book themselves, instead of relying on my faulty memory.  I listened to his audio book version myself...many years ago now.

I hadn't thought that far into it, Kirk, but your comments make ME immediately think of the head of the studio... who was infamous for cheating on his wife all the time (which led to their divorce). This is just speculation on my part, of course...

The Menagerie Part 2:

Written by Gene Roddenberry

Directed by Robert Butler

 

Synopsis:  In which our heroes sit around watching the original pilot some more.

 

Thoughts:

1)Not so much to add here, since, as Henry noted above, much more of this part is devoted to watching the old footage. 

 

2)The ending is a bit too neat for me. "No action contemplated against Spock." Seriously?  Sure, he meant well, but he did still violate a high-level directive, hijack the ship, lie to any number of superior officers, kidnap Pike and assault two guys at the Starbase.  Granted that extenuating circumstances might exempt him from the death penalty, and even from being thrown out of Starfleet, but no action at all? He ought to have at least been reprimanded.

 

3)So, Pike is about the same age as Kirk, and Pike was the captain of the Enterprise thirteen years ago? Pike must of made captain real young.

 

Overall:

Not a bad wrap-up to the two-parter.

So, Pike is about the same age as Kirk, and Pike was the captain of the Enterprise thirteen years ago? Pike must of made captain real young.

Without watching the two-parter again (saw it about a year ago), why are Pike and Kirk thought to be the same age? IIRC the only characters in both stories are Spock, Vina, and the alien jailers. We never see Pike without burn makeup, so why is he thought to be any particular age?

Just watched The Menagerie Pt 1 last night - only a couple of thoughts to add -

Even though it had only been a couple of years in real time, Spock seems much younger in the first pilot than he does in the on-going series. The display of emotion makes him seem more innocent hence younger.

The transporter was much louder on Pike's Enterprise - must have been Scotty's touch that made for quieter performance .

I was greatly impressed by this two parter when I first saw it, and even more so when I read later that it was a re-purposing of the original pilot footage. Many Trek episodes play like typical episodic TV adventure stories but this is one of the stories that has a "real" science fiction feel to it.

As I recall the conclusion of The Menagerie pt. 2, it is revealed that Commodor Mendez (Malici Throne) was never ON the enterprise at all.  If that's the case, then this whole darn adventure has been a mental diversion for Kirk's benefit.  Seems a bit self-defeating to throw that in there as well.   But if they mean that the commodor had left the ship earlier, and that he wasn't there at the end... that would make a bit more sense to me.

Knowing what we know now, that the butt-heads have been playing with our/Kirk's perceptions all along...it would be interesting to watch the entire two part adventure and determine who really IS present...and who isn't in every scene. What we'd be left with is a swiss cheeze implying that the butt-heads can do this mental manipulation over the entire galaxy...and so we are all at risk from them, no matter where they are and where we are.  So why can't Pike stay right where he was on Earth?

Wasn't the early Star Trek series produced by Desilu...owned by Lucille Ball and Ricki Ricardo?

Henry R. Kujawa said:

I hadn't thought that far into it, Kirk, but your comments make ME immediately think of the head of the studio... who was infamous for cheating on his wife all the time (which led to their divorce). This is just speculation on my part, of course...

As regards Pike's age, Mendez says that Pike is about the same age as Kirk in Part One.

The impression I have is that Mendez was never on the Enterprise. I take it that he never left the Starbase.

...IIRC , yes , Desilu , though Desi Arnaz had given up the studio 100% to Lucy in their divorce settlement .

  I recall reading , in something by?? Lucy , that , a year or two before the sale , the studio , which I guess had fallen into the dumps and may have been down to only one series on TV , Lucy's , had rejuvenated itself with their two new action hits , " Star Trek " and " Mission Impossible " .

Kirk G said:

Wasn't the early Star Trek series produced by Desilu...owned by Lucille Ball and Ricki Ricardo?

Henry R. Kujawa said:

I hadn't thought that far into it, Kirk, but your comments make ME immediately think of the head of the studio... who was infamous for cheating on his wife all the time (which led to their divorce). This is just speculation on my part, of course...

Yes, I was thinking of Desi Arnaz.

Though very unpleasant, that would make more sense to me than anyone else that might come to mind.

It seems I was reading not that long ago that Desi was involved with THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW.  He may not have owned the studio anymore, but I think he was still doing work there.

According to the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE book, Desilu was having a very hard time in the mid-60's. They continued to develop & produce pilot after pilot, but nothing was selling.  I'm reminded of a similar situation with Ruby-Spears animation studio in the 80's.  They developed dozens and dozens of proposals, and NONE of them at one point were being made into pilots, let alone sold.  In Desilu's case, Lucille Ball decided to use her clout in Hollywood to pul a few strings.  In effect, she practically forced NBC and CBS to buy STAR TREK and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.  I was stunned to realize that Lucille Ball had been the behind-the-scenes champion of both series.  It blows my mind that a "little" family-owned studio was responsible for 23 of the most fantastic, imagaintive, exciting, iconic series of the 1960's (on top of all the other shows trhey produced over the years).

The tragedy is that when Ball decided to remarry, her new husband convinced her to sell the studio to Paramount, who were desperate to get their hands on the huge back-lot, just as Delisu had earlier acquired it from RKO.  (It cracks me up to think that, under different management,m the same studio was esponsible for both the 1940's DICK TRACY feature films, and, THE UNTOUCHABLES.)  Paramount, like most big studios at the time, were running afoul of changing public tastes,  EVERY one of their movies were bombing at the box office.  When they aquired Desilu, they weren't really interested in the TV series Desilu was producing.  What A**H***s.  Their first move was to CUT the budgets of every one of Desilu's shows.  They wanted to take the money saved and SINK it into even more expensive movies... ALL of which became even bigger BOMBS.  (What A**H***s!!!)

I wonder... if Ball had wanted to back away from running the studio, how things might have gone if she'd retained owenership, but hired someone else to run the studio FOR her?  The problems that befell ST, M:l and TMIL might have been avoided.

Last night, I watched a home-made edit of "The Cage".  I must have done this in the early 80's, when I first got a 2nd VCR and editing still held some fascination for me.  This was years before any version of the pilot was ever released on commercial videotape, and was put together from the 2-parter.  (Actually, in my case, it was put together from the "movie" version OF the 2-parter that was in syndication around 1979-80.)

I was actually looking for my tape of "The Menagerie".  I FOUND the damned thing this morning... turns out it was sitting in a stack of tapes IN MY ROOM all this time.  I know I watched the entire series last year, so I have no idea why this one tape was not refiled with all the others.  I taped the "movie" version, if memory serves, a couple months BEFORE Philly's Channel 17 began running the show in early 1980.  Good thing, too.  When 17 ran the show, "The Menagerie" was NOT among the episodes they ran.  Can you imagine?  The sheer stupidity of this sort of thing was unfortunately rampant in the early 80's.  Quite a few shows had their 2-parters syndicated separately, as "movies", and when the full series went back into syndication, all the 2-parters were missing!  That's why I don't have any of the Ron Ely TARZAN 2-parters in my collection, which annoys me no end.

I'm sure it must be strange for some people to even coneive of, that while many fans are arguing over "original special effects" vs. "new digital special effects" on various DVD releases, I'm still watching videotapes-- and in most of the STAR TREKs, really BAD videotapes, because the antenna signal was really awful while I was recording the show.  (Also, I had my Dad starting the tapes for me in many cases, as it started just as I was getting out of work... I usually managed to get home by the time the story titles came on.  I worked only 10 blocks from home at the time.)

What helps to balance it out was, for whatever reason, 17 ran the episodes UNCUT at the time! That makes a HUGE difference, when I compare them to what Sci-Fi has been running for ages.

At the end of Pt 2 it is revealed that Mendez was never on the Enterprise, his presence was all part of the manipulation of Kirk's mind - the implication being that the Talosians can control peoples thoughts without limit by distance. This is a pretty big plot hole as Kirk G mentioned above. However during Pt 2 there are references to limitations to the Talosians power. The person being controlled by the Talosians had to be somewhat compliant and since Kirk wanted to re-join the Enterprise and wanted to prove Spock's innocence, they were able to control him even though he was many worlds away. Mendez had no emotional investment in the situation so he was not a target.

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