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Charlie X (episode)

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"Charlie X"
TOS, Episode 1x07
Production number: 6149-08
First aired: 15 September 1966
Remastered version aired: 14 July 2007
8th of 80 produced in TOS
2nd of 80 released in TOS
38th of 80 released in TOS Remastered
2nd of 728 released in all
Charles Evans
Teleplay By
D.C. Fontana

Story By
Gene Roddenberry

Directed By
Lawrence Dobkin
1533.6 (2266)
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The Enterprise takes seventeen-year-old Charles Evans aboard for transport after he spent fourteen years alone on a deserted planet, but he's unable to reintegrate with his fellow Humans.

Summary

Teaser

The USS Enterprise makes a rendezvous with the Antares, a small cargo ship. While investigating the planet Thasus, the Antares discovered an adolescent boy named Charles Evans, the sole survivor of a ship crash who has lived on his own since age three. Evans transfers to the Enterprise, which is going to Colony 5, where Evans' only relatives live.

Captain Ramart and his navigator, Tom Nellis, are eager to be on their way, even refusing Kirk's offer of Saurian brandy. But they are also effusive in their praise of Charlie. This is the first of many mysteries surrounding Charlie.

Act One

Janice Rand, 2266 closeup

Charlie's first crush...the beautiful Yeoman Rand

Charlie attempts to learn and integrate, demonstrating the effect of his years away from all Human contact. At the same time, strange incidents occur in his vicinity. Charlie is also struggling mightily with adolescence and with his first crush, on the beautiful Yeoman Janice Rand. In the briefing lounge, where Uhura is singing "Oh, On the Starship Enterprise" to a rapt Rand, Rand ignores Charlie's card tricks; he secretly silences Uhura, so that he can have Rand's undivided attention.

At extreme range, Captain Ramart attempts to contact the Enterprise, but before he can say more than "I've got to warn...", his ship is destroyed. Charlie advises Kirk that "It wasn't very well constructed" – a strange comment, since it comes before Spock actually confirms the Antares' destruction.

Act Two

Kirk and Evans

"She's not the girl, Charlie"

Kirk and Spock are pondering the destruction of the Antares during a game of chess when Charlie walks in and asks to play. Kirk turns the game over to Charlie where Spock easily beats him in 2 moves. When Charlie gets angry, Spock leaves and then Charlie uses his powers to melt the chess pieces. Afterwards Rand introduces Charlie to Yeoman Tina Lawton, who is near Charlie's age group. Charlie ignores Lawton hurting her feelings in which Rand tells Charlie that he was rude to her. Charlie then makes his feelings known to Rand that he wants her and only her which makes the Yeoman very uneasy. Rand goes to the bridge and wants Kirk to have a talk with Charlie before she hurts his feelings. Kirk takes pity on Charlie and attempts to befriend him, taking him to the physical training room for some light sparring. Initially refusing to participate, Charlie falls awkwardly and prompts laughter from Sam, one of Kirk's sparring partners. Humiliated and angry, Charlie makes Sam "go away", revealing his powers.

Act Three

Kirk speculates that Charlie might be a Thasian, but McCoy's medical analysis results make this an unlikely possibility.

Confronted, Charlie admits to destroying the Antares by making a warped baffle plate in its energy pile "go away". He defends his action by claiming that the ship would have blown up anyway, and that the crew weren't nice to him.

Charlie, his powers now common knowledge, takes over control of the Enterprise. He wants to go to Colony 5; Kirk knows that the mayhem he'd create in that unstructured setting would be far worse than what he's done so far. Charlie then starts his reign of terror. Passing Yeoman Lawton in the corridor, he turns her into an iguana. He enters Rand's quarters with a pink rose (because he found out that pink is the yeoman's favorite color). When Rand tells Charlie to go away, he moves closer toward her.

Act Four

Kirk and Spock rush to Rand's quarters and try to stop Charlie, but the teenager throws them against the wall breaking Spock's legs in the process. A shocked Rand slaps Charlie in which he responds by making her disappear. Charlie then releases both Kirk and Spock after he realizes that he needs Kirk's help to run the Enterprise. Spock tries to rig a force field up to hold Charlie, but all he does is make the whole brig disappear. Charlie then goes on a rampage: he turns a young crewmember into an old lady and removes a young woman's face.

Determined to stop Charlie before he can reach Colony 5, Kirk attempts to overload his abilities, ordering more and more of the ship's systems to be activated. In the midst of this struggle, a ship from Thasus appears. It is at this point that Charlie begs to stay with the Enterprise crew. The Thasians restore the Enterprise back to normal and return Rand on the bridge. The Thasian explains to the bridge crew that they granted Charlie immense powers so he could live – powers that they cannot, or will not, remove. Certain it would be impossible for Charlie to live a normal life with his own people, and despite Charlie's own pleas to stay with the crew, the Thasians remove him to their vessel and depart.

Log Entries

  • "Captain's log, stardate 1533.6. Now maneuvering to come alongside cargo vessel Antares. Its captain and first officer are beaming over to us with an unusual passenger."
  • "Captain's log, stardate 1533.7. We have taken aboard an unusual passenger for transport to Colony Alpha V. Charles Evans, the sole survivor of a transport crash fourteen years ago. The child, alone from age 3, has not only survived, but has grown to intelligent, healthy adolescence."
  • "Captain's log, stardate 1535.8. UESPA headquarters notified of the mysterious loss of science probe vessel Antares."

Memorable Quotes

"Is that a girl?"
"That's a girl."

- Charlie and Kirk, on Rand


"There's no right way to hit a woman."

- Kirk to Charlie, on slapping Rand's bottom


"If I had the whole universe, I'd give it to you. When I see you, I feel like I'm hungry all over. Hungry. Do you know how that feels?"

- Charlie, to Rand


"There are a million things in this universe you can have and there are a million things you can't have!"

- Kirk, to Charlie


"Sir, I put meatloaf in the ovens. There's turkeys in there now. Real turkeys."

- Enterprise chef, to Kirk


"He's a boy in a man's body, trying to be an adult with the adolescence in him getting in the way."

- Kirk, on Charlie


"There's a – Tiger, tiger, burning bright in the forest of the night."

- Spock under Charlie's control, reciting William Blake's "The Tiger"


"I'm trying to – Saturn rings around my head, down a road that's Martian red."

- Spock, still under Charlie's control


"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary."
"Very nice, Mister Ears."

- Spock and Charlie, as Spock recites Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"


"Growing up isn't so much. I'm not a man, and I can do anything! You can't."

- Charlie to Kirk, after Rand vanishes


"I can make you all go away...anytime I want to!"

- Charlie to the bridge crew


"I want to stay!"

- Charlie's last words

Background Information

Story and Production

  • Gene Roddenberry had written a one-sentence synopsis of this episode on the first page of his original series outline for Star Trek under the title "The Day Charlie Became God." The page is reproduced in the Herbert F. Solow - Robert H. Justman volume Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. Writer Dorothy Fontana also confirmed that the episode was based on that story idea. Fontana developed the story and wrote the teleplay, but Roddenberry received story credit. [1]
  • "Charlie X" was adapted for a novelization by James Blish. It was published in the first Bantam Books Star Trek novelization collection in 1967 under the original script name, "Charlie's Law." (This name is a pun on Charles' Law, a law of physics dealing with how changes in temperature affect the volume of a gas.)
  • The opening credits of this episode are the same as those used in "The Man Trap", which included a "Created by Gene Roddenberry" credit. The credits at the close of the episode only list Roddenberry as Producer. Also, the credits for William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are missing the "starring" and "also starring" designations. This episode followed "The Man Trap" in airdate order. The main titles were standardized for syndication, however the DVD prints restore the titles to their original configuration.
  • During the first-season episodes, cinematographer Jerry Finnerman was encouraged to maximize placement of colored background lighting to add exotic warmth to the gray walls of the Enterprise set. This was a major promotional point for NBC, as Star Trek was a selling point for color televisions. As pressure to complete episodes grew, this touch gradually faded from the series. NBC was owned at the time by RCA, a major manufacturer of color television sets. (Inside Star Trek)
  • This is the only episode shot after the pilots to have no exterior views of the Enterprise using the updated "series" model. All of the shots are footage from "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
  • This episode was directed by Lawrence Dobkin, who later guest-starred as Ambassador Kell in TNG: "The Mind's Eye".
  • DS9 writer/producer Ira Steven Behr says that this is the episode that "won him over". (AOL chat, 1997)
  • This was one of only three episodes of the first season that didn't show Vina in the last closing still. The other two episodes were "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" and "Dagger of the Mind".

Performers

  • James Doohan (Scotty) and George Takei (Sulu) do not appear in this episode, although two words of Takei's dialog from "The Man Trap" are dubbed in when Kirk calls the bridge from the gymnasium.
  • The Galley chef was voiced by Gene Roddenberry, in his only acting role in Star Trek.
  • In her autobiography, Grace Lee Whitney mentions that Robert Walker (a method actor) completely avoided the cast on the set, trying to stay alone and "in character". "He explained to us when he arrived to the set that he wanted to remain alien and apart from us - and it worked. You can see it in his performance, a subtle yet persistent air of estrangement from the Enterprise crew, and indeed from the rest of humanity. His careful effort to stay in character added a convincing dimension to his performance." Furthermore, she adds, "It's impossible to imagine anyone else in the role - he captured the perfect balance, projecting vulnerability, innocence and horrfying menace all the same time. A lesser actor could not have handled the range and depth of the character." (The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy, pp. 98-99)
  • Fontana also praised Walker's performance, "[He] was excellent as Charlie. And he was quite a young man, he was in his twenties, but playing a teenager, he looked young enough to pull it off." [2]
  • Allan Asherman, in The Star Trek Compendium, also mentions that Walker "turns in a powerful and fascinating performance". (p. 39)
  • Although it may not canonically represent the creative staff's intentions, the novelization by James Blish in Star Trek 1 identifies the unnamed crewman named Sam (that Charlie "disposes" of) as Sam Ellis, an officer on McCoy's medical staff. The episode made it clear that he, along with all of the officers who were disfigured by Charlie, were "restored" along with Rand when the Thasians intervened. The USS Antares could not be saved because, as the Thasian explained, it was destroyed "in this frame" whereas the zapped Enterprise personnel were "kept intact in the next frame."

Sets

USS Enterprise brig, 2266

Charlie in the brig

  • This is the first time we see the brig in the series, although the electrically charged "bars" that emerge from either side of the doorway will be removed and replaced with lights hereafter. During season two, it was given a permanent location in the hallway leading to the engineering set (which is near this set across the hallway). This same spot is used as the guest quarters in "The Conscience of the King", and as part of Engineering in "The Alternative Factor". Finally it becomes the medical lab in "Operation -- Annihilate!".
  • When Kirk and Charlie have their final confrontation, the camera moves to a rare floor-level view of the bridge. This close-up shows that the set is carpeted. This was probably done as a noise-absorber, given the propensity of the set to pick up noises like plumbing and squeaking floors. The material itself is Ozite, a portion of which was sold at the Profiles in History Star Trek auction In June 2002.
  • The ship's gymnasium makes its first and only apperance in the series. It was originally intended to be seen in more episodes, as some of the shots showing acrobatics and gymnastics there were filmed as intended stock footage for reuse later. The gymnasium was a redress of the engineering set. The room where the gymnasts are tumbling is the redecorated briefing room.
  • The bench on which Sam was sitting when he was zapped would later turn up in other episodes. In "Court Martial", it held the wrench that Ben Finney would snatch in his attempt to club Kirk. In "This Side of Paradise", it was topped off by the metal tray that Spock grabs during his fight with Kirk in the transporter room.

Props and Special Effects

  • Publicity stills of Grace Lee Whitney were used on the playing cards Charlie modifies. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 39)
  • After Charlie transforms Tina Lawton into an iguana, the noise the reptile makes was that of the sound made by Sylvia and Korob when they returned to their true forms at the end of "Catspaw".
  • Spock's scanners in this episode make the same sound the Metron transmission does in "Arena".
  • Like Trelane, Apollo and the Gorgan, Charlie makes his exit with fading repetition of his final words.
  • The music accompanying Charlie's disappearance at the end of this episode, highlighted by a mournful bassoon dirge, would be re-used effectively in "Space Seed" as the landing party beams onto the Botany Bay; in "Patterns of Force" for the death of John Gill; in "The Tholian Web" as Chekov witnesses the dead engineering crew on the Defiant; as Kirk wanders the empty corridors of the faux-Enterprise early in "The Mark of Gideon"; and in "The Ultimate Computer" during Daystrom's final conversation with his M-5 computer.

Costumes

  • Charlie and the crew of the Antares are wearing old turtleneck uniforms left over from the two pilots. Also, when Charlie is causing panic on the corridors, crewmen can be seen wearing the new series shirts with old, pilot version trousers and boots. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 39)
  • For most of the episode, Charlie wears a gold wraparound jacket, which appears to be an unused, early version of Kirk's green tunic made for "The Enemy Within". It is apparently too big for him. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 39)
  • When he enters the turbo elevator with Charlie en route to the bridge to hear the Antares' distress message, Kirk is wearing a standard gold uniform top. But when he arrives on the bridge, he is wearing his green wraparound variant.
  • After this episode William Shatner only wore tights once more, in "Errand of Mercy". He later poked fun at his costume in this episode when clips of it were shown as part of the History Channel show, How William Shatner Changed the World.

Continuity

  • According to Kirk's line "On Earth today it's Thanksgiving", the beginning of this episode takes place on 22 November 2266 (assuming American Thanksgiving is meant).
  • Still not firmly set in his characterization in this early episode, Spock shows both irritation and amusement as Uhura makes fun of him. It seems that he has learned how to express irritation ("Ah yes, one of your Earth emotions") fairly quickly since the events of "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
  • The United Earth Space Probe Agency is referenced for the first time in this episode, with the acronym "UESPA". It would be mentioned again in episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday". Years later, Star Trek: Enterprise would reference UESPA in several episodes, including "Demons".
  • The line "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary" spoken by Spock while under Charlie's influence is the first line of the poem "The Raven", by Edgar Allan Poe. Spock is also forced to quote some lines from "The Tyger" by William Blake when he shouts that there is a "Tyger, Tyger burning bright, in the forests of the night". [3]
  • The song that Uhura sings to Spock and then Charlie may have been taken from an old Scottish folk song penned by Robert Burns called "Charlie, He's My Darling". The chorus in that song is almost identical to what Uhura sings. [4]
  • In the captain's log in the episode teaser, Kirk describes the Antares as a cargo vessel. However, when Captain Ramart declines Kirk's offer to supplies, Kirk refers to the Antares as a transport ship: "This must be a space first. A transport ship that doesn't need anything." Later, in his log at the beginning of act 2, immediately following its destruction, Kirk describes the Antares as a "science probe vessel" and later, in a conversation with Spock over chess, as a "survey ship."

Script Vs. Screen

  • The first-draft script featured Uhura as a trained mimic, who amused crewmembers by parodying her fellow officers in the recreation room. It was later turned into her performing a song, to fit Nichelle Nichols' musical talents. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 38)
  • The second draft of this episode's script was completed 27 June 1966, with the final draft coming in on 5 July. The episode itself was filmed in mid-July.
  • In the final draft, the card trick Charlie plays with Janice, which reveals her photograph on the cards, is not specified. The script simply states that Charlie performs a variety of card tricks which amaze Janice and the onlookers.[5]
  • The script calls for the Antares to be seen, dwarfed by the Enterprise. [6]
  • A strange bit of dialog present in the teleplay was cut from the episode: when discussing the possible existence of Thasians, and Kirk's possible father-figure behavior to Charlie, Spock satirically asks McCoy, "Shall I schedule you to give him voodoo and superstition lessons, Doctor?" McCoy replies, "You can if he provides his own chicken's teeth and penguin feathers.", and Spock tells him, "I'll see to it, Doctor." [7]
  • Writer Dorothy Fontana recalled that the filmed episode was basically the same as her screenplay, "There were a few line changes, not much. The images of how Charlie affected people, you know, no face so a woman couldn't talk, things like that, those were all there. (...) I noticed there really wasn't that much that was changed, it was pretty much the way I wrote it. [8]

Production Timeline

Remastered Information

The remastered version of "Charlie X" aired in many North American markets during the weekend of 14 July 2007. The episode included new effects shots of the Thasian ship, replacing the blob-like object seen on screen with a torpedo-shaped vessel. Most notably, the remastered episode opens with a shot featuring the Antares, a new design based upon the robot grain ships seen in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "More Tribbles, More Troubles".

Video and DVD Releases

Links and References

Starring

Also Starring

Guest Star

Featuring

And:

Uncredited Co-Stars

Stunt Double

Stand-ins

References

2249; 2252; Antares; Template:ShipType; astronaut; atmospheric system; baffle plate; biology; Blake, William; chess master; Colony Alpha V (Colony V, Earth Colony V); dossier; Earth; Earth history; Earthling; electronic clipboard; energy pile; entertainment tapes; food concentrate; fruit; governor; gymnasium; iguana; logic; Martian; mathematics; meat loaf; memory banks; micro-tape; navigation console; non-corporeal species; "Oh, On the Starship Enterprise"; oven; Poe, Edgar Allen; poetry; probe scanner; puberty; quadrant; Raven, The; record tapes; Satan; Saturn; Saurian brandy; science-probe vessel; ship's stores; shoulder roll; subspace transmitter; survey ship; Thanksgiving; Thasian; Thasian ship; Thasus; three-dimensional chess; transmutation; transport ship; turkey; Tyger, The; United Earth Space Probe Agency; UESPA Headquarters; vegetable; Vulcan lute

External link


Previous episode produced:
"The Naked Time"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1
Next episode produced:
"Balance of Terror"
Previous episode aired:
"The Man Trap"
Next episode aired:
"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Return to Tomorrow"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"The Squire of Gothos"

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