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
One of the first occasions on which word of this episode reached the press was following NBC's approval of the pilot script; while Gene Roddenberry and Herbert F. Solow were celebrating the confirmation during lunch with their daily Cobb salad at the Hollywood Brown Derby on Vine Street, Dave Kaufman - a television reporter and columnist for Daily Variety - passed by their table on his way back to his office and Solow notified him of the news. However, the cheerful Kaufman replied, "I knew it before you did." After leaning over to engage Roddenberry in a handshake, Kaufman repeatedly asked who would be producing the pilot, doubting that Desilu was up to the task. Roddenberry and Solow acknowledged Kaufman's remarks and he wished them good luck before exiting. See more »
Pike complains about Yeoman Colt, saying that he "can't get used to having a woman on the bridge"--with a backhanded compliment to Number One. Yet earlier when he received the follow-up distress call from Talos, there was a woman (an uncredited extra actor) at the station receiving it and he didn't bat an eye. See more »
All prints of the original version of "The Cage" were destroyed by Paramount sometime in the sixties...or so it was thought. For over two decades, the only surviving copy had been a 16mm black and white proof print personally owned by Gene Roddenberry. Mr. Roddenberry took this proof print with him on the college lecture circuit throughout the 70's and early 80's. As a result of many showings in dilapidated 16mm projectors, it has become badly scratched and damaged. One of the versions available on video is a re-created hybrid of the original, using the B&W proof print as a reference, reconstructed from footage used in the episode "The Menagerie" (transferred from the original color camera negatives) and the deleted footage (as originated from the B&W proof print)...this version was originally released on video in the 1980s (and most recently on DVD) with a special introduction by Gene Roddenberry. Then, a few years later, in 1988, a full-color original print of the episode was discovered in the Paramount archives and then released as a filler episode during the original syndication run of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" due to a Hollywood strike (it was later shown during the Sci-Fi Channel's first run of the original "Star Trek" series). The original soundtrack to the discovered print was missing, but the re-mixed soundtrack used for the previous hybrid B&W/color version (in which the "Menagerie" soundtrack was used wherever possible to avoid using the severely scratched and degraded optical soundtrack from the proof print) was re-synched to this restored full-color version to make it look and sound whole. In any event, the most significant difference in the existing versions of the pilot is the voice of the Keeper. In the numberous restored versions, it switches between that of actor Vic Perrin in the footage taken from "The Menagerie" and that of Malachi Throne in the restored footage. This is because, coincidentally, Malachi Throne was cast as Commodore Mendez in "The Menagerie". The producers, quite rightly, thought that it would be confusing for Commodore Mendez and The Keeper to have the same voice, so The Keeper's lines were re-dubbed. (All Thelosian characters were played by women with dubbed male voices.) Among the other addtional scenes/differences in the original version-- -Pike discovers a monster lurking in the Talosians' chambers during the Captain's imprisonment; an extended version of Pike's first illusion, set on the planet Rigel VII (referred to earlier in the film by the ship's doctor) -Spock and crew suspect that their weapons are an illusion by the Talosians -extended dialogue by the Keeper about "Number One" -an extended illusion scene set in the countryside -an extended version of the Orion Slave Girl sequence -the Enterprise loses power as they are about to escape from Talos, and the computer bank goes out of control (both a result of the Talosians' telepathic powers) -and an extended closing scene aboard the bridge. See more »
Captain Pike is the classic hero! He is courageous, intelligent, a gentleman, and oh so good-looking too. In my opinion, "The Cage" is the best Star Trek episode ever. I am glad that Paramount released it to the public in 1985. It is a pity that Jeffrey Hunter was unwilling to play Pike. Although I love William Shatner with all my heart, and am a serious fan of the original series, I cannot help to wonder what Jeffrey Hunter would have done with the role of Captain of the Enterprise. His Captain Pike is far more cerebral than Captain Kirk, and I think that makes him more interesting.
For those of you who have not seen "The Cage," I will not ruin the fun of finding out how Pike outsmarts his captors (it should not be a surprise to you that he does!).
A minor comment: One thing struck me as strange about Gene Roddenberry's commentary about the original cast of Star Trek. He said that he cast minorities in the original pilot against the wishes of the studio, but the original cast was almost all white (with the exception of one Asian actor). It was not until the second cast was put together that we see a starship crew that is composed not only of racial minorities, but people from different countries.
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