(written from a Production point of view)
|"All Our Yesterdays"|
|TOS, Episode 3x23|
Production number: 60043-78
First aired: 14 March 1969
Remastered version aired: 21 April 2007
|←||79th of 80 produced in TOS||→|
|←||78th of 80 released in TOS||→|
|←||27th of 80 released in TOS Remastered||→|
|←||78th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Jean Lisette Aroeste
Kirk, Spock and McCoy are trapped in a planet's distant pasts, where Spock finds love with an exiled woman.
Captain Kirk, Spock and Doctor McCoy transport to the surface of the planet Sarpeidon, to warn the inhabitants that their sun (the star Beta Niobe) is about to become a supernova. All three members of the landing party are surprised to find there are no inhabitants of Sarpeidon remaining. In a Sarpeidon library, the team encounter a librarian named Mr. Atoz and his two replicas.
Mr. Atoz tells the men from the Enterprise that the planet's population was warned about the nova, and has escaped by traveling into the planet's past using a time portal called the Atavachron. Kirk and McCoy are intrigued by the library, and start exploring the discs which link the library to the planet's past. Kirk is viewing a disc of an era that resembles 17th century England, while McCoy is viewing one of the Sarpeidon Ice Age. Kirk offers to evacuate Atoz, but Atoz tells them to hurry up and pick a destination, and that he himself plans to join his wife and family when the nova comes. Suddenly, a scream is heard coming from the outside of the library portal. Kirk runs to it, and is transported to the era of the disc that he's just seen. Spock and McCoy immediately follow, and appear in a frozen waste. As it turns out, Spock and McCoy have traveled five thousand years in the past when the planet was still in an ice age. On the verge of freezing, Spock and McCoy are discovered and sheltered by a woman known as Zarabeth. She has been exiled to the ice age because her kinsman tried to assassinate the tyrannical leader of her time.
Meanwhile, Kirk has "rescued" a woman from being stabbed with a sword by challenging her attacker to a sword fight. Only after chasing the man away does Kirk discover that the woman was a thief attempting to rob the man and that furthermore, there is no entrance back to the library.
Kirk goes to the wall from which he had emerged and is able to talk to McCoy and Spock, but cannot get to them. When Kirk is arrested by the authorities for aiding a thief, McCoy and Spock ask him what is going on, and the authorities also hear the voices. The woman then betrays Kirk and denounces him as a witch, claiming that he and the "spirits" made her steal against her will. In prison, Kirk is questioned by the Prosecutor. When Kirk mentions the library, the Prosecutor becomes extremely uncomfortable. At first, he tries to maintain that Kirk might indeed be innocent. But when the guard insists that he heard voices talking to Kirk, he is forced to back off. When Kirk then starts repeating the word "library" to the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor gets flustered and rushes out, saying he wants nothing to do with Kirk.
Meanwhile, in the ice age, Zarabeth tells Spock that the Atavachron alters cell structure and that he therefore cannot return to the future. At the same time, Kirk escapes from his cell when he grabs the guard who is trying to pour soup into his bowl, and knocks the guard out. When the Prosecutor comes to take Kirk to the inquisition, Kirk realizes that he is also sent from the future, and threatens to denounce him as a witch if he does not help Kirk. The Prosecutor then informs Kirk that the Atavachron alters cell structure and brain patterns to prepare people for the past. The Prosecutor has been prepared and cannot return without immediately dying, but when Kirk says he wasn't prepared, the Prosecutor tells him that they must get him back to the future immediately. If he has not been prepared, he can only survive a few hours in the past. Kirk then finds his way back to the brick wall from which he emerged, and steps back into the library. Atoz insists that Kirk be prepared, and Kirk is forced to lock one copy of him in a closet and knock out another. The real Atoz then arrives and stuns Kirk.
In the ice age, Spock's personality is beginning to change. He falls in love with Zarabeth and believes her when she tells him he cannot go back. McCoy notices the changes in Spock (especially when Spock responds to an insult by grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and announcing "I don't like that") and guesses that Zarabeth is not being completely truthful in order to keep Spock with her. Spock also begins to notice that he is not himself after he eats meat and enjoys it. However, even with this knowledge in hand, Spock continues and proceeds to tell Zarabeth that she is beautiful and embraces her. While kissing her, he then begins to further emote and smiles.
Meanwhile, Kirk has managed to recover enough from the stun blast to avoid having Atoz wheel him into the Atavachron. He overpowers Atoz and forces him to help him locate Spock and McCoy by trying various disks. McCoy has begun to realize that it is only Zarabeth who cannot return, and confronts Spock with this fact. When McCoy also confronts Zarabeth and tries to force her to admit the truth to Spock, Spock grabs McCoy and flings him against a wall with his hand around McCoy's neck. McCoy then asks Spock if he's trying to kill him and if that's what Spock really wants. Spock angrily asserts that this is impossible for him to be acting like this because he's a Vulcan. McCoy reminds Spock that the Vulcan he knows won't exist for another five thousand years and then asks Spock what's happening there at this very moment. Spock remembers his ancestors at that point are warlike barbarians and McCoy tells Spock he's reverting to the ways of his ancestors, five thousand years before he was born. Spock says he's lost himself and does not know who he is anymore. He then asks Zarabeth if it's possible for them to go back. She says she doesn't know but McCoy says he's going to try to find the portal because that's where his home is.
Spock agrees finally to go with him and Zarabeth accompanies them as well. When they find the area where they came into the past, (and they did so by hearing Kirk call out through the Atavachron to them), Spock can't bring himself to leave Zarabeth alone in the past. But she tells Spock that if she were to return she would die. Kirk calls to McCoy and Spock and tells them they've got to come back, that it's almost time for the supernova. Spock tries to send McCoy on ahead but McCoy can't go through. Mr. Atoz realizes that they can't come back separately because they went through together initially. Finally, Zarabeth turns and leaves them behind and Spock reluctantly goes with McCoy back through the portal.
With everyone back, Atoz puts in a disc and rushes to join his family before it is too late. Kirk tells McCoy that Atoz had his escape well planned, and that Kirk is glad he made it to where he was going. He then begins to call the ship. Spock tells McCoy that there's no need to watch him anymore, that he has returned to the present. McCoy tells Spock that it did happen though, and Spock agrees, but that it was five thousand years ago and Zarabeth is dead now, dead and buried, long, long ago. On Kirk's communicator Scotty tells Kirk "it's now or never." Kirk orders them beamed up and Enterprise taken to maximum warp as soon as they're aboard. The landing party is beamed up and the Enterprise warps out of orbit just as Beta Niobe begins its supernova explosion and Sarpeidon disappears.
- "Captain's log, stardate 5943.7. We have calculated that Beta Niobe will go nova in approximately three and a half hours. Its only satellite, Sarpeidon, is a Class-M planet, which at last report, was inhabited by a civilized humanoid species. Now, our instruments show that no intelligent life remains on the planet."
- "Captain's log, stardate 5943.9. People of this time believe in witches, and witchcraft is what I've been accused of. Five witnesses heard McCoy's voice speak to me and thought it was an evil spirit. From what I know of witchcraft trials, I don't have much chance unless I can get to the prosecutor."
"A library serves no purpose unless someone is using it."
- - Atoz, to Kirk
"You're a very agile man, Mister Atoz! Just how many of you are there?"
- - Kirk, after encountering another Atoz
"We're in a wilderness of arctic characteristics."
"He means it's cold!"
- - Spock and McCoy, talking to Kirk through the atavachron portal
"Away! Away, spirit! And let honest men approach."
- - Constable, on hearing Spock and McCoy's voices
"We go together."
"You stubborn, thickheaded Vulcan!"
- - Spock and McCoy, after McCoy collapses in the snow
"I'm called Spock."
"Even your name is strange."
- - Spock and Zarabeth, in the cave
"What is this island?"
"It's called Earth."
"I know no island Earth. No matter. Continue."
- - Kirk and the Prosecutor, in Kirk's jail cell
"Witch!! Witch!! They'll burn ya!"
- - Mort, in her cell
"Don't let him doctor you. I'm the doctor around here."
"And known as the worst patient in the entire crew of the Enterprise."
- - McCoy and Spock, to Zarabeth
"You listen to me, you pointed-eared Vulcan."
"I don't like that. I don't think I ever did and now I'm sure!"
- - McCoy and Spock, as he grabs McCoy
"You are beautiful. More beautiful than any dream of beauty I've ever known."
- - Spock, after kissing Zarabeth
"Spock, you're reverting into your ancestors five thousand years before you were born!"
- - McCoy, on Spock's behavior
"I know I'm going to try, Spock, because my life is back there. And I want that life."
- - McCoy, on returning to the portal
"And she is dead now. Dead and buried. Long ago."
- - Spock to McCoy, on Zarabeth
Story and script
- The title for this episode is from Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5, line 22: "And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle." Other episodes with titles from Shakespeare are TOS: "Dagger of the Mind", "The Conscience of the King", "By Any Other Name", TNG: "Thine Own Self", and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- Story outline, "A Handful of Dust" 23 September 1968, had Spock and McCoy trapped in a desert wasteland, with McCoy dying from the desert heat when the pair was captured by misshapen humanoids, and there was no Zarabeth. Kirk was trapped in a period which resembled San Francisco's Barbary Coast, but returns to the library with another time traveler. At the end the time traveler who helped Kirk destroys the time portal. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy flee the building and it ages to a hollowed ruin behind them. Kirk picks up a tattered book and it literally crumbles to dust in his hands.  William Shatner later starred in a short-lived TV series called Barbary Coast.
- A scene in the story draft that was cut would have had McCoy "stuck" in the time doorway, with part of his body in the present and the rest in the past.
- Mr. Atoz's name is a word play – a librarian named "A to Z." Author Jean Lisette Aroeste was a UCLA librarian at the time she wrote this script.
- According to the stardate this episode is chronologically the last of the series, even though its production number and air date are earlier than "Turnabout Intruder". This is therefore the last voyage of the USS Enterprise in the original series. This is also the last time travel episode of the original series.
- George Takei (Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) and Walter Koenig (Chekov) do not appear in this episode. James Doohan (Scotty) does not appear on screen but has several voice-over lines. In no other episode are only three regular members of the crew seen in person.
- Mariette Hartley (Zarabeth) was not allowed to show her belly-button in this episode, despite the appearances of other navels in previous episodes. To comment on this censorship, Gene Roddenberry gave Hartley's character two navels in his pilot, "Genesis II", stating that "the network owed me one." (Star Trek Compendium)
Sets and props
- The interior of the Enterprise is not seen in this episode, marking this as the only episode of the original series in which none of the action takes place aboard the ship.
- The brief sword fight scene is the only outdoor shot in the series after "The Paradise Syndrome".
- The stock footage showing the endless snow fields on the disc McCoy watches was also used as the surface of Exo III in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?".
- The atavachron device is the reused prop of Gary Seven's Beta 5 computer from "Assignment: Earth".
- The floor of the Sarpeidon library is identical to the floor of the asylum on Elba II in "Whom Gods Destroy".
- David Gerrold joked at a 1986 Star Trek convention in Spokane, Washington, that the inventors of the compact disc got their inspiration from the data discs, or "verism tapes," used in Atoz's library. James Russell is generally credited with inventing the compact disc three years prior to this episode in 1965, ending up with a total of 22 patents for various aspects of it.
- Bantam Books published a series of novelizations called "foto-novels," which took photographic stills from actual episodes and arranged word balloons and text over them, to create a comic book formatted story. The sixth installment was an adaptation of this episode.
- TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident" briefly references the fact of Enterprise's presence near Beta Niobe when it began its supernova explosion.
- The novels Yesterday's Son and Time for Yesterday written by A.C. Crispin are non-canon follow-ups to this episode, concerning a conceived child of Spock and Zarabeth named "Zar."
- Contrary to online published reports, file footage of Toronto City Hall was not seen in this episode. It does appear in TNG: "Contagion".
- Two of this episode's guest stars appeared on M*A*S*H with David Ogden Stiers. Mariette Hartley guest starred on one episode, while Johnny Haymer had a recurring role on the show.
- Story outline by Jean Lisette Aroeste, 23 September 1968
- Revised story outline, 27 October 1968
- First draft teleplay, 18 November 1968
- Second draft teleplay, 26 November 1968
- Final draft teleplay, 12 December 1968
- Revised Final draft telepay 17 December 1968
- Filmed: 20 December 1968 – 30 December 1968
- Original airdate, 14 March 1969
- Rerun airdate, 5 August 1969
- First UK airdate 8 December 1971
The remastered version of "All Our Yesterdays" aired in many North American markets during the weekend of 21 April 2007. While the episode required very few new effects, the planet Sarpeidon was given a CGI-makeover as was its sun, Beta Niobe. When that star goes nova at the end of the episode, dramatic new effects were inserted into the episode, based upon photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. 
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1988
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 40, catalog number VHR 2436, 18 March 1991
- This volume is a three-episode tape to close out the series.
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.8, 2 March 1998
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 39, 11 December 2001
- As part of the TOS Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the TOS-R Season 3 DVD collection.
- View online at the CBS website (available in the US only)
Links and references
- Ian Wolfe as Mr. Atoz
- Kermit Murdock as the Prosecutor
- Ed Bakey as the First Fop
- James Doohan as Scott (voice only)
- Anna Karen as a Woman
- Al Cavens as the Second Fop
- Stan Barrett as a jailer
angler; animal flesh; atavachron; Beta Niobe; Beta Niobe system; class M; cook; Earth; frostbite; horse; Inquisitional Tribunal; inquisitor; jailer; librarian; library; license; logic; lord; mass suicide; medicine; mort; nova; physiology; pre-warp civilization; replica; sapient lifeform; Sarpeidon; Sarpeidon Ice Age; spirit; supernova; tape viewer; time portal; verism tape; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); witch; witchcraft; Zor Kahn
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