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The Cage (episode)

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(written from a Production point of view)
"The Cage"
TOS, Episode 0x01
Production number: 6149-01
First aired: 4 October 1988
Remastered version aired: 2 May 2009
  1st of 80 produced in TOS
80th of 80 released in TOS  
80th of 80 released in TOS Remastered  
131st of 728 released in all
Talosians 3
Written By
Gene Roddenberry

Directed By
Robert Butler
Unknown (2254)
  Arc: The Talosians (1 of 3)
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  Arc: {{{wsArc2Desc}}} ({{{nArc2PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc2PartCount}}})  
  Arc: {{{wsArc3Desc}}} ({{{nArc3PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc3PartCount}}})  
  Arc: {{{wsArc4Desc}}} ({{{nArc4PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc4PartCount}}})  

Template:Disambiguate

While investigating a distress call from Talos IV, Captain Christopher Pike of the starship Enterprise is captured and tested by beings who can project powerfully realistic illusions.

Summary

Christopher Pike, The Cage

Captain Pike on the bridge

The year is 2254 – eleven years before Captain Kirk's five-year mission commanding the USS Enterprise.

Two weeks after a battle on Rigel VII that took the life of three Enterprise crewmen, including Captain Christopher Pike's yeoman, the ship encounters a space distortion on a collision course. It turns out to be an old radio distress signal, "keyed to cause interference and attract attention." The crew says it was sent eighteen years earlier from the Talos star group. Pike declines to investigate without any indication of survivors but proceeds to the Vega colony to care for the crew's own injuries.

Pike calls Dr. Boyce to his quarters, but Boyce fixes Pike a martini to induce Pike to talk about the battle on Rigel VII. Pike has been thinking of resigning, burdened with making lethal decisions, but Boyce counsels against it. The science officer Spock interrupts on the intercom that a follow-up message from Talos IV indicates there are eleven survivors. Pike returns to the bridge and orders the ship to Talos, at "time warp, factor seven." He encounters a comely young woman, J.M. Colt. The ship's first officer, a woman named Number One, says Colt is the captain's replacement yeoman. Pike expresses discomfort with "a woman on the bridge," assuring Number One that she is an exception.

Pike leads a landing party to the surface of Talos IV and finds the makeshift campsite of a disheveled group of male scientists from the crashed survey ship SS Columbia. The scientists identify themselves as an expedition of the American Continent Institute and Pike describes technological advances while they have been marooned. A beautiful young woman approaches them. She is Vina, born almost as the group crash-landed on the planet. Vina strangely tells Pike he is a "prime specimen" – as three aliens with huge, pulsating heads watch the landing party through a viewing screen.

Boyce reports that the survivors are in good health, "almost too good." The scientists offer to show Pike their "secret," and Vina leads him away from the others. Vina suddenly vanishes, along with the scientists and their camp. Talosians render Pike unconscious and abduct him through a doorway in the rock. The landing party fires lasers at the door to no avail and Spock advises the ship via his communicator.

Pike wakes up without his jacket, communicator, and laser, inside an underground cell with a transparent wall, through which he sees several creatures of different species in nearby cells. Several Talosians arrive and make callous scientific observations about him, which he perceives not through sound but telepathy. They prepare to begin "the experiment."

Mojave remastered

Pike and Vina enjoy an illusory picnic outside Mojave

The Talosians intend to make Pike experience illusions based on his memories, in order to interest him in Vina. The first illusion returns Pike to Rigel VII, with the new task of saving Vina. Pike is not interested in participating but in learning the parameters of the illusions and of his captivity. Nevertheless, he manages to survive the illusory attack and is returned, with Vina, to his cell.

He learns from Vina that the Talosians have severely weakened their world and themselves by reliance on their telepathic powers. They want Captain Pike and Vina as breeding stock for a new, stronger race to repopulate the barren surface of the planet. The Talosians punish Vina for revealing this information to Pike.

The Talosians provide him with a vial of liquid nourishment and insist that he consume it, even offering to make it appear as any food he wishes. Pike proposes to starve himself instead, which results in the Keeper punishing him with an illusion of being surrounded by scorching flame and threatens to punish him more severely for continued disobedience. Pike appears to relent by consuming the liquid, but then displays another outburst of attempting to break through the containment, unexpectedly startling the Keeper. Pike realizes that the Keeper was unable to read his mind during his outburst of anger and tries to inquire more as to why this is. The Keeper, still unable to probe Pike's mind, attempts then to distract Pike by changing the subject to Vina. Pike relents again, and the Keeper reveals that Vina was the sole survivor of the Columbia crash and confirms what she inadvertently revealed previously - that Pike and Vina were being kept to propagate Humanity and repopulate Talos IV. The conversation ends with Pike demanding that the Talosians punish him instead of her, since he is the one being uncooperative, which the Keeper regards as an excellent development in their relationship.

Vina as an Orion slave girl

Vina appears as an Orion slave girl

The next illusion is a pleasant picnic outside Pike's hometown of Mojave, with Vina attempting to entice Pike with the familiar setting, but with Pike still resisting, knowing that it is a mere illusion. Vina then realizes that scenarios with which Pike is already familiar have not been successful in enticing him to cooperate, and surmises that he might be more easily swayed by a forbidden fantasy. The Talosians next tempt Pike by making Vina appear as a dancing Orion slave girl.

The Enterprise tries without success to channel the starship's power to the surface to blast a way to Pike. Then Spock locates the Talosians' power generator and prepares a landing party. However, only the females (Number One and Yeoman Colt) are transported, as the Talosians seek to give Pike a choice of mates; and their weapons and communicators appear not to work. Vina resents the competition; Number One says records indicate Vina cannot be as young as she appears.

As the rescue attempts have failed, Spock orders the Enterprise to leave orbit, but the Talosians immobilize it and scan its records, convincing Spock that the ship's utility to the Talosians is at an end and that they will now "swat... this fly."

Pike determines that any strong emotions keep the Talosians from controlling his mind and uses this to his advantage. While Pike feigns sleep, the Talosian magistrate tries to recover the female officers' lasers from the cage. Pike seizes the magistrate and ignores the illusions. He reasons that the malfunction of the lasers was itself an illusion and uses the laser to compel the magistrate to stop deceiving him. He now sees that they had blasted away the wall of the cage on their first attempt.

He escapes with the women to the surface and sees that the blasting operation on the door had also succeeded, despite an illusion made to appear otherwise. But the communicators still don't work, and the Talosian says that the original goal was to put the group on the surface. Pike offers himself as a captive for the freedom of the others and the Enterprise, but Number One begins a "force-chamber" overload of her laser pistol, intending to destroy herself and her shipmates to thwart the Talosians' plans.

The magistrate's aides arrive, presenting the summary of the ship's records. The records have shown that Humans possess a "unique hatred of captivity," even when pleasant, making them too dangerous for the Talosians' needs. The magistrate does not apologize for the imposition but concedes that they will now become extinct. Pike asks if commerce or cooperation might not restore the planet, but the magistrate replies that Humans would learn the Talosians' power of illusion and destroy themselves, just as the Talosians did. The crew members are free to go, but Vina says she cannot join them. After the others transport aboard, the Talosians show Pike Vina's true appearance: underneath the Talosian illusions, she is badly deformed from the crash of the Columbia. They were able to make it so that she could remain alive, but could not restore her appearance. The Talosians agree to take care of Vina and they provide her with an illusory Captain Pike to keep her company.

Pike returns to the bridge, reassuring Dr. Boyce that he is completely refreshed for work, and waving off a query from Yeoman Colt about whom he would have chosen as a mate, as well as accusing the doctor of being a "dirty old man" for inquiring into the meaning of Colt's remark. The Enterprise departs.

Memorable quotes

"Check the circuit."
"All operating, sir."
"It can't be the screen then."

- Spock and Tyler, speaking the first lines in Star Trek history


"Records show the Talos star group has never been explored. Solar system similar to Earth; eleven planets. Number four seems to be...class M. Oxygen atmosphere."
"Then they could still be alive after eighteen years."
"If they survived the crash."

- Spock, Number One and Pike


Pike and Boyce martini

Pike and Boyce

"Sometimes a man'll tell his bartender things he'll never tell his doctor."

- Boyce, offering Pike a martini


"Chris, you set standards for yourself no one could meet. You treat everyone on board like a Human being except yourself."

- Boyce, explaining Pike's work exhaustion


"I'm tired of deciding which mission is too risky and which isn't. And who's going on the landing party and who doesn't. And who lives. And who dies."

- Pike, hinting at his retirement to Boyce


"A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on, and licks it. Or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away."

- Boyce, advising Pike against retirement


"We both get the same two kinds of customers. The living and the dying."

- Boyce to Pike, as doctor and bartender


"It's just that I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge."
(Number One looks surprised)
"No offense, lieutenant. You're different, of course."

- Pike to Number One, about Colt


"You appear to be healthy and intelligent, captain. Prime specimen."

- Vina's first observations of Captain Pike


"There's a way out of any cage, and I'll find it!"

- Pike to the Talosians, on his captivity


"But they found it's a trap. Like a narcotic. Because when dreams become more important than reality, you give up travel, building, creating."

- Vina, on why the Talosians developed their mental powers


"I'm a woman as real and as Human as you are. We're like Adam and Eve."

- Vina, convincing Pike that she is not an illusion


"No, please! Don't punish me!"

- Vina, about to be punished for revealing the truth that she and Pike are meant to breed (and finally proving that she's for real)


"You overlook the unpleasant alternative of punishment."

- The Keeper, outlining the consequences for disobedience


"You either live life – bruises, skinned knees and all – or you turn your back on it and start dying."

- Pike, understanding Boyce's advice


"But we're not here. Neither of us. We're in a menagerie, a cage!"

- Pike to Vina, in the picnic fantasy


"A curious species. They have fantasies they hide even from themselves."

- The Keeper, watching the picnic fantasy


"A person's strongest dreams are about what he can't do."

- Vina, before becoming an Orion woman


"Can you believe it? Actually like being taken advantage of!"

- One of Pike's guests, describing the nature of Orion slave girls


"The women!"

- Spock, after Number One and Colt disappear


"Since you resist the present specimen, you now have a selection. Each of these two new specimens has qualities in her favor."

- The Keeper, referring to Number One and Colt


"Although she seems to lack emotion, this is largely a pretense. She often has fantasies involving you."

- The Keeper to Pike, about Number One


"The factors in her favor are youth and strength, plus unusually strong female drives."

- The Keeper, about Colt


"Wrong thinking is punishable. Right thinking will be as quickly rewarded. You will find it an effective combination."

- The Keeper, after Pike suffers pain


"With the female of your choice, you will now begin carefully guided lives."
"Start by burying you?"
"That is your choice."

- The Keeper and Pike


"It's wrong to create a race of Humans to keep as slaves."

- Number One, just before preparing to kill the Humans and the Keeper


"The customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity. Even when it's pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death. This makes you too violent and dangerous a species for our needs."

- The Keeper, before releasing Pike, Number One and Colt


"No other specimen has shown your adaptability. You were our last hope."

- The Keeper, explaining why Pike's inability to cooperate would lead to the extinction of the Talosians


"She has an illusion and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant."

- The Keeper, after restoring Vina's beauty (as well as creating an illusory Christopher Pike to keep her company)


"Who would have been Eve?"
"Yeoman!"

- Colt and Number One referring to whom Pike would have chosen


"Eve? As in Adam?"
"As in all ship's doctors are dirty old men."

- Boyce and Pike, before the Enterprise leaves Talos IV


"What are we running here, a cadet ship, Number One? Are we ready or not?"
"All decks report ready, sir."
"Engage!"

- Pike and Number One, as the Enterprise prepares to leave Talos IV

Background Information

Introductory details

  • The title of this episode – the first installment of Star Trek ever produced – was changed in production from "The Cage" to "The Menagerie". However, when the two-part episode "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II" (which reused almost all the footage from this episode) went into production, the title of this installment reverted to "The Cage". (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 10; [1])

Story and script

  • The genesis of this episode was the first of twenty-five proposed stories in Gene Roddenberry's series outline Star Trek is.... The description of the plot concept that became this episode (preliminarily entitled "The Next Cage") read, "The desperation of our series lead, caged and on exhibition like an animal, then offered a mate."
  • During an early May 1964 meeting wherein Gene Roddenberry and Herbert F. Solow pitched the series to television network NBC, Jerry Stanley – NBC Program Development Vice President – asked to hear more about the idea for the series' pilot episode. Solow later reflected, "I asked Gene to explain. He did, very succinctly describing the premise of 'The Menagerie'." Neither Grant Tinker – who was also present at the meeting and was, at the time, NBC Vice President of Programs, West Coast – nor Jerry Stanley was convinced to agree to a series deal with Roddenberry and Solow. Just as Roddenberry was about to leave the room, Solow made a last-ditch attempt to persuade the NBC executives, stating, "If you give us a commitment for a ninety-minute script instead of one hour, and we make the pilot, you can always run it as a TV special and recoup your investment if it doesn't sell as a series. Besides, I'm not leaving this room until you give us a script order." This was enough to sway NBC's stance and the executives agreed to make a deal. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 6, 19-20)
  • This episode's premise was not the only concept that NBC considered for the series' pilot. Herb Solow explained, "They wanted to hear more stories before one of them was chosen for the pilot script. We had more meetings, and Gene gave them more stories." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 20)
  • This episode's narrative style was selected after Oscar Katz, the president of Desilu Television at the time, personally pitched four different narrative approaches to the NBC executives. Whereas the first two story types primarily focused on events aboard the Enterprise and the third option featured a planet whose inhabitants were much like Humanity of either the past or the future, the fourth type involved a planet that was highly different from Earth and was inhabited by people who were likewise very different from Humans. NBC chose the fourth type, the hardest to produce, as they wanted to challenge Desilu by making it as hard as possible for that studio to prove the series was doable. Explained Katz, "I tried to talk them out of it, because I knew it was going to be expensive and, even more, I felt that it might not be representative of the series. But they couldn't be talked out of it." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 11)
  • The plot idea for this episode underwent further development in early May 1964, after NBC vice-president Mort Werner provided Gene Roddenberry with US$20,000 in development money to write three different story outlines based on the Star Trek format. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 41-42; The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 10) With so much at stake over the trio of episode outlines, Roddenberry industriously grafted away at them, obsessing over each page and every word. He spent a month of writing the outlines as well as several weeks of revising them, after which he finally turned the pages over to NBC. (Star Trek Memories, p. 33) The outlines had been forwarded to the network by the end of June 1964 and the particular outline for this episode was dated 29 June. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 45 & 47) Following the submission of the outlines, NBC took several days before announcing their choice of "The Cage" as the pilot-to-be. (Star Trek Memories, p. 33)
  • The episode's story outline consisted of 26 pages. [2] In those pages, the name of the Enterprise's captain was Robert April (as it was in the series outline Star Trek is...). He was the only one of his crew whose name was to be changed, as the episode continued to evolve. Also, the Talosians were crab-like aliens (their species remaining unnamed, though they were commonly referred to as "crab-creatures"), and their planet was "Sirius IV". The outline is fully transcribed in The Making of Star Trek (pp. 47-65).
  • Some of Gene Roddenberry's initial thoughts for the episode's illusory scenarios had to be altered or scaled back due to production and budgetary realities. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary)
  • Hours after NBC greenlighted the pilot (a duration that Gene Roddenberry and Herb Solow spent ironing out some of the "twists, turns, and bends in the plot"), Gene Roddenberry set to work on writing the teleplay. (Star Trek Memories, p. 36; Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 20 & 21) As he wrote the first draft script, he spared no thought for the practicalities of producing what he was writing about, such as the episode's laser cannon, instead leaving such realistic considerations until later. Noted Herb Solow, "The network draft wasn't for shooting, the network draft was for selling. When we got the order for the pilot film, then we'd face the budget problem head on." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 20 & 21)
  • Gene Roddenberry did, however, care about the believability of the script. To this end, he initiated a period of intensive scientific research and began an acquaintance with Harvey P. Lynn, a physicist from the RAND Corporation who served as Roddenberry's unofficial technical adviser on the pilot. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 74 & 76-77)
  • During the remainder of the summer and into the early autumn of 1964, major effort was invested in the development of the shooting script, the intention being that it was to later be submitted to NBC for approval. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 78) The first script draft was dated 8 September 1964. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 11) In that version of the episode, the captain's name was still Robert April, though both the Talosians and their homeworld of Talos IV received their eventual names. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 91-95)
  • It was also the initial draft of the episode's teleplay that changed the Talosians from resembling crabs to becoming small and slim humanoids with elongated heads. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 93) This alteration was made because the production staff realized the aliens might seem too much like the bug-eyed monsters of "1950s horror movies," the antithesis of what Gene Roddenberry wanted the more intellectually-minded Star Trek to be. Depicting the extraterrestrials as crab-like creatures would have not only run a good chance of making them look unconvincing but also would have been prohibitively expensive, two deciding factors in the adjustment of their form. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 008)
  • According to Majel Barrett, the first character introduced in the script was Number One. "That was the first character Gene wrote into the script," Barrett stated. "Captain April was not an afterthought because he knew he had to have a captain, but the first character that was described was Number One." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 43)
  • The episode's first draft script had an opening scene in the hangar bay where Captain April, whose character at this stage was a tad older than Captain Pike was later written, is inspecting new crew members. He remarks disapprovingly to the doctor, at one point, about the young age of some of these officers. "Something," Roddenberry later wrote in a memo, "that Jim Kirk, the boy wonder of the Academy, never would have done." In this same scene, April sees a number of badly-wounded crewmen off the ship, onto a space shuttle or taxi from the Human colony of Antares. Among these departing officers is an uninjured former navigator named Crowley who April is sending back in disgrace, because he fired on friendly aliens. The officer argues that they were monstrous in appearance and asks how he could have known that they were intelligent enough to have weapons. These protests are met by a stern but subdued dismissal from the captain, who quietly orders, "Get off my ship, mister." (The Making of Star Trek; The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., pp. 11-12)
  • While scripting the episode, Gene Roddenberry developed a habit of being somewhat possessive about story ideas, to such a degree that Herb Solow considered this quality to be excessive. "As Gene completed the first-draft pilot script," Solow remarked, "he unfortunately became overly protective of his new baby." Furthermore, Roddenberry began to frequently lay claim to the input of others. "A new side of Gene slowly appeared: ownership of ideas," commented Solow. "If a good story or series point came from anyone, be it NBC, [Desilu's agent] Ashley-Famous, or Desilu, Gene Roddenberry appropriated it." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 21)
  • A copy of the episode's first draft script was sent from Gene Roddenberry to Harvey P. Lynn, shortly prior to 14 September 1964. On that date, Lynn responded with correspondence of his own – a letter that included many comments on the script draft. Concerning the docking scene, Lynn proposed a theoretical docking method and a suggestion that the name Antares, since it refers to a sun unsuitable for the habitation of Humans, be substituted with "a more vague name" such as Tycho, Fabricus, or even Lynnicus (the latter name clearly being offered as an in-joke). Additionally, Lynn took the liberty of suggesting that the shuttle or taxi might be from a ship similar to the Enterprise and that that vessel had recently departed from Earth, which Lynn observed would correlate well with the introductions of both Tyler and Yeoman Colt. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 90-92) The docking scene was excised from the script in a revised draft and Roddenberry notified Lynn of the scene's exclusion in a letter sent on 24 September. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 96-97) The scene was never filmed, due to time and budget restrictions. (citation needededit)
  • Though the first script draft referred to Talos IV as being located at the "edge of the universe" and stated that Earth was "at the other end of this galaxy," Harvey P. Lynn rejected these notions, advising Gene Roddenberry that traveling from one end of the galaxy to the other would take an impossibly long time and encouraging him to switch the latter reference to "far away in this galaxy." (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 92 & 94) Evidently, Roddenberry ultimately minimized the references to the far distance between Earth and Talos IV; of the two such references, the first was deleted while the second remained.
  • Harvey P. Lynn recommended that Talos IV be stated to be in either Sigma Draconis, Eta Cassiopeiae, or HR 8832 (aka Gliese 892), owing to both their proximity to our solar system and the fact that it is unknown whether any of them have any Earth-type planets. Other astral names that Lynn requested be changed were Epsilon VII, Orion, and Rigel 113, which he suggested substituting with Draconis, HR 8832, and Vega 113, respectively. A similar idea that he presented was changing Orion traders to Centaurian traders. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 92 & 95) In his reply on 24 September, Roddenberry expressed an interest in having the names of the stars in this episode be ones that were familiar to the audience. "This is why I've avoided such terms as 'HR8832,' etc," he explained. On the other hand, he conceded that the continued use of Rigel and Orion could still be substituted, in the final shooting script, with names such as Vega, admitting that such names – while being more appropriate from a scientific perspective – were also possibly just as familiar. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 97) Comparing the second revised final draft script (dated 20 September 1964) to the episode's final draft indicates that Roddenberry ultimately replaced Rigel 113 with Rigel VII. Neither the same script draft nor the actual episode contain reference to Epsilon VII, though they also evidence that Roddenberry ultimately excluded not only HR 8832 but also Draconis and Vega 113.
  • Due to Harvey P. Lynn's influence, the SS Columbia is said to have been lost in the same "region" as the Talos star group, rather than the same "quadrant" as that star system, and the gravity of Talos IV was altered from "1.3 of Earth" to less than Earth's gravity. Lynn submitted the latter suggestion on the basis of the Talosians' appearance and proposed that Talos IV have a gravity that was 85% as powerful as Earth's. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 92) In the episode's final version, it is said to be "0.9 of Earth."
  • The character of Geologist was known as Astroscientist in the first draft script, but this was also changed on the recommendation of Harvey P. Lynn, who opted for "Geologist" because he believed it was a more specific title. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 93)
  • In the first draft script, the illusory Columbia survivors had more dialogue than they do in the episode's final edit. For instance, it was established that the survivors' distress call had been a directional beam. Harvey P. Lynn, however, proposed that it would be more likely for the survivors' signal to have been a broadcast beam, owing to the increased probability that such a beam would be intercepted. Solar batteries were mentioned by at least one of the survivors too, but Lynn opposed this by suggesting that the illusory Human instead say, "After we could no longer use the ship's power, we switched to automatic batteries and started praying." (The Making of Star Trek, p. 93) This dialogue was evidently later cut or omitted entirely.
  • Harvey P. Lynn also made some notes on the specifics of several elements that were intended to continue to be featured in the forthcoming series (such as lasers, for which he submitted four alternative names, though Gene Roddenberry maintained that he wanted the name to stay as it was, due to the high odds that it would be recognizable to viewers). (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 94 & 97)
  • Executives at Desilu were also included in the revision process. Herb Solow explained, "Finally, all the top executives received copies of our pilot [script] to read, review with others, and comment on. I personally walked the Star Trek pilot script into [Desilu president and actress] Lucy [Ball]'s dressing room and handed it to her. 'Lucy, this is the Star Trek pilot script. There'll be lots of changes, so if you have any comments, let me have them, because there'll be ample time to implement them.' Lucy never mentioned the script [....] I know Oscar [Katz] read his copy of the pilot script, but he never offered any comments [either]." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 22)
  • The second revised final draft script of the "The Cage" indicates, as does the episode, that Spock, José Tyler, and others had been wounded in the fighting on Rigel VII – events which took place just prior to the action in "The Cage". The script includes stage directions for Spock to be limping and for Tyler to have a bandaged hand.
  • As late as 20 November 1964 (in the second revised final script), the captain's name was James Winter.
  • Even though Gene Roddenberry was open to some of Harvey P. Lynn's suggestions, his possessiveness over plot ideas affected his interactions with NBC. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 21) The script's final draft was ready to send to the network by the end of September 1964 and the proposed shooting script was submitted to NBC in the last week of September. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 90 & 99) Herb Solow offered, "Gene and I met with NBC to get their script comments. He took offense at most of them, at times unnecessarily so. Some ideas were really good." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 21) However, Roddenberry was pleased with the network's general reaction to what he had written, the major stumbling block between them, at this point, being a specific dream sequence that Roddenberry had scripted. NBC warned against overly focusing on the sequence, wary that the message concerning what is reality might be lost on the audience. Numerous other, minor alterations were requested, but NBC more-or-less gave their approval for the episode to be filmed. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 99)
  • By the time this episode's script was completed, Gene Roddenberry's initial concept for the installment had been greatly changed by suggestions from Desilu and NBC. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 22) The teleplay also reflected the input of the numerous scientific advisers who Roddenberry had consulted. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 90) Having finished writing the script, Roddenberry asked Robert Butler to read it. Butler later remembered his reactions to the teleplay; "I remember thinking it was a terrific yarn, but that it was somewhat obscured because it was such a showcase script. 'The Cage' showcased such solid, good and fascinating science-fiction disciplines, examples and events, that it was, I thought, a little obscure. The story was somewhat remote." (Starlog issue 117, p. 55)
  • By the time filming began, the name of the Enterprise's commanding officer had finally been changed to Christopher Pike. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 115)

Cast

  • Prior to the making of this episode, Gene Roddenberry already knew that he wanted to cast both Majel Barrett – who he had in mind when originally developing the character Number One – and Leonard Nimoy as Number One and Spock, respectively. (Star Trek Memories, p. 23; Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 82) All three had previously worked on The Lieutenant, a series that had been produced by Roddenberry and had featured appearances from Barrett and Nimoy. (Star Trek Memories, pp. 43)
  • Casting director Joseph D'Agosta had also worked on The Lieutenant. At a point after Star Trek had been greenlighted but did not yet have a casting director, Gene Roddenberry called D'Agosta and eagerly invited him to fill that production capacity. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 213)
  • The casting process began at a time when the script revisions were under way and the captain's name was still Robert April. (Star Trek Memories, p. 41; Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 1, p. 26) However, because Joseph D'Agosta was meanwhile at 20th Century Fox, his work on the episode was indirect. "I cast it on the phone," he explained, "by just suggesting films to look at and what actors to see, and I relayed all this through a young man named Morris Chapnick, who was Gene's assistant." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 213) Chapnick, yet another production staffer who had worked on The Lieutenant, had first become aware of Star Trek when Roddenberry had told him about this pilot. (The Making of Star Trek, pp. 100 & 101)
  • Majel Barrett was cast as Number One before both Leonard Nimoy and Pike actor Jeffrey Hunter were cast in their roles. (Star Trek Memories, p. 23) Alternative actors that were considered include Lloyd Bridges for the Captain Pike role, Martin Landau for the Spock character, and Yvonne Craig for the guest star role of Vina. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 1, p. 26; [3]) DeForest Kelley was considered for the roles of both Dr. Boyce and Spock. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 98; Star Trek Memories, p. 44) Even though Leonard Nimoy was always Gene Roddenberry's first choice for the Spock role, he often said that he would have instead approached Martin Landau to play the role, if Nimoy had been unavailable. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 1, p. 26)
  • Robert Butler was involved in many of the casting decisions for the episode, including the selection of Peter Duryea as José Tyler. Butler later recalled, "I was very much in on the casting of the supporting people [....] I remember trying to get a freshness and colloquiality in those characters and not have them all be rigid and pasteboard leading men." (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, p. 53)
  • Robert Butler was happy with the casting of Peter Duryea, Majel Barrett, and Susan Oliver as Vina but had some difficulty with Jeffrey Hunter playing Pike. "I certainly knew of him and found him to be a real co-operative good guy," stated Butler. "He was a little heroic and a little stiff, and I tried to modify that a little bit." (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, pp. 53-54)
  • In his introduction for the 1986 VHS release of "The Cage" (which can now be seen on the DVD version in the third season set), Gene Roddenberry noted that he refused to cast his crew what the network dubbed "sensibly," which according to Roddenberry meant "all white." This was indirectly contested by Herb Solow in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, in which he states that Mort Werner deliberately encouraged NBC to show racial diversity and integration in its programs.
  • In general, the pilot gave its cast a good impression of how good the potentially forthcoming series could be. Laurel Goodwin, who was cast as Yeoman J.M. Colt, remembered, "The whole gang of us knew this show was going to go along wonderfully well. We were all so involved with our characters. There was no doubt in my mind that this would be a successful show if they could just get good stories." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 59)
  • Leonard Mudie, who has one line of dialog as one of the Columbia survivors, was a veteran of dozens of films dating back to the 1930s. He was 81 when this sequence was filmed, and he died the next year. He was the second-oldest actor ever to appear on the original Star Trek and the first to pass away. (citation needededit)
  • Although male voices were dubbed in for the Talosians, all the Talosian actors were actually women. Robert Butler and Gene Roddenberry struck upon using this casting method at about the same time as one another, Butler reckoning that it would lend the Talosian characterizations an alien-like androgynous quality. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 97) Roddenberry believed that the lighter builds of females might suggest that the Talosians had allowed their bodies to atrophy while instead choosing to concentrate on advanced brain development. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary) Upon searching for suitable performers to play the parts, Roddenberry scoured Hollywood for short actresses with faces that he deemed to be interesting. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 15) Meg Wyllie was cast as the Talosian Keeper on Butler's recommendation, they having previously worked together. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 98)
  • Clegg Hoyt played the transporter chief, Pitcairn, but his voice was dubbed in by Bob Johnson. Johnson was the voice on the tape (and disc) in the TV series Mission: Impossible.
  • Leonard Nimoy and Majel Barrett are the only actors to appear in both this episode and the final episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, "Turnabout Intruder", in which Barrett played her most regular role, Nurse Chapel.
  • Malachi Throne (Voice of The Keeper) featured not only in this episode, Leonard Nimoy's first Star Trek appearance, but also appeared during Nimoy's final TV Star Trek appearance, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Unification II".
  • This is the first of five Star Trek instances in which Leonard Nimoy appeared without William Shatner, the other four being TAS: "The Slaver Weapon", TNG: "Unification I" and "Unification II", and the film Star Trek.
  • Michael Dugan, who played the illusory Kalar warrior, was actually a stunt performer. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary)
  • After the crew beams down to the planet surface of Talos IV, Spock is seen limping as he walks toward the singing plants. It has been mistakenly stated that Nimoy had suffered an injury prior to filming. In fact, Nimoy's limp here was feigned, in accordance with the script. (The Making of Star Trek) José Tyler similarly appears with a bandage around his hand.
  • Because Jeffrey Hunter (who played Pike) was playing a very controlled, internalized character, Nimoy felt the need to bring in some energy and animation onto the set. (Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime; et al.)

Production

Shooting The Cage

A moment from production on this episode

  • The making of this episode despite the fact that best estimates for the pilot originally placed its production cost as more than US$500,000 represented a considerable gamble for Desilu, which was a small, ill-equipped studio at the time. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 41) Nervous about this situation, NBC set out to monitor the progress of the pilot, keeping a check on the project's schedule and cost. (Star Trek Memories, p. 36)
  • Oscar Katz announced NBC's go-ahead to produce the pilot at a Desilu board meeting, after which Herb Solow fielded questions from the board. He explained that, although the pilot was going to cost more than NBC gave the studio, Desilu had no way of knowing how much more until after the revised script had been budgeted. Solow later mused, "The board was nervous. Production of a ninety-minute science-fiction pilot was an expensive business move, a risky business move." As the meeting went on, Solow gave assurances that it was possible for Desilu to produce the show and tried to maintain a positive demeanor as he answered more questions about the imminent pilot. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 23)
  • At first, it was uncertain how a production crew could be assembled to handle such an ambitious and complex episode as this, though Gene Roddenberry and Herb Solow immediately ruled out the crew that regularly produced Desilu's The Lucy Show, which starred Desilu President Lucille Ball. "As professional as the crew was, most of them would be of little help when confronted with the overwhelming demands and technical requirements of the planned Star Trek pilot," explained Solow. "Basically, Gene and I were faced with the job of building a production unit from scratch at a time when the availability lists from the unions were scant or empty." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 27)
  • Besides Gene Roddenberry and Herb Solow, the first production staffer to be assigned to this episode was Robert Butler. He was chosen by Roddenberry and Solow, following extensive talks with both NBC Programming and Alden Schwimmer, the boss of Ashley-Famous. NBC was satisfied with the decision, Butler having established himself as a director on numerous television series in the 1960s (including The Lieutenant). (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 27 & 13) It was Gene Roddenberry who asked Robert Butler to helm the episode. (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, p. 52) Both Roddenberry and Solow regarded Butler as highly dependable. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 27) However, Roddenberry's extreme protectiveness over the episode clashed with Butler's impression of the script as being somewhat obscure. Butler later reflected, "I discussed whether or not people would get it. I could tell at that point that Gene was so consumed with it that he couldn't have heard any objections." (Starlog issue #117, p. 55) Butler also wanted Roddenberry to change the title of the show from Star Trek to Star Track, feeling that the former was too pretentious, tedious, inert and boring. (Starlog issue #117, p. 55; [4]) "In that discussion, and others regarding the story's obscurity, Gene was not in the mood to receive any such input," remembered the director. (Starlog issue #117, p. 55)
Menagerie sketch

A set design for the Talosian cage, as sketched by Matt Jefferies

  • After Robert Butler was drafted, some key members of the art department were also sought out. These were Pato Guzman, the art director from The Lucy Show, and Matt Jefferies, who was hired as the episode's assistant art director. Jefferies was initially assigned to design the Enterprise's exterior, with Guzman deciding upon the look of the sets. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 27-28; The Making of Star Trek, pp. 78-79) One of the environments that Guzman designed was Captain Pike's quarters. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 11) When he left amid the episode's pre-production phase (specifically, in October 1964), Guzman was replaced by Franz Bachelin, a veteran art director. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 101; Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 35) One set that was designed by both Guzman and Bachelin was the planet surface of Talos IV. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary) However, Matt Jefferies also worked on designing the sets, such as the cage-like environment that serves as the episode's namesake. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 5) In fact, much to his frustration, designing the Enterprise's exterior initially delayed Jefferies from planning the episode's sets. (Star Trek Memories, p. 32) A great deal of effort went into scheming the sets, on paper, while the installment's shooting script was in development, spanning late summer and early autumn of 1964. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 78)
  • Costume Designer William Ware Theiss was fortunately available and was hired on the pilot with the task of designing, on a very limited budget, costumes that had to be different from any seen before on television. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 28)
  • In early October 1964, Robert Justman was interviewed for the post of associate producer on the pilot but turned it down, fearing that his post-production knowledge was not as extensive as it had to be for the episode, a response that lead to Byron Haskin instead being recruited as the pilot's associate producer. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 28-30; "The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary) Justman meanwhile went back to working on The Outer Limits, on which he had worked with Byron Haskin.
  • The Star Trek pilot still required an associate director. "The first Star Trek pilot needed a good one," clarified Herb Solow. "I didn't want to use any first assistant [director] who'd worked with Bob Butler in the past, feeling that too much familiarity might be a disadvantage on this mind-boggling science-fiction pilot." After Solow consulted producer and director friends (including his college classmate James Goldstone) around Hollywood (irritatedly referring to the pilot as "a bitch"), he found that Robert Justman was the highest recommended candidate. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 31) Solow then convinced Leslie Stevens, Justman's boss on The Outer Limits and other projects, into permitting a temporary transfer of Justman to the Star Trek pilot, saying, "With prep time, the shooting, and some wrap-up, figure I'd be borrowing him for no more than a month at the most." Stevens wanted Justman to serve as assistant director on his upcoming Esperanto language horror movie, Incubus, which coincidentally starred William Shatner. However, pre-production of Incubus went overdue, so Stevens loaned Justman to Desilu. Justman likewise believed his assignment on Star Trek was not going to be longer than six weeks and, when he returned to Desilu, he was surprised to find that no final shooting script was yet available for him, the teleplay undergoing one of Gene Roddenberry's many rewrites of the script. Justman began his work after he read through the latest rewrite, initiating the schedule and budget "breakdown" process. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 32) His role as this episode's assistant director made Justman responsible for a virtually endless series of critical production details. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary)
  • When Director of Photography William E. Snyder became available, he brought his own camera crew and "lighting" gaffer with him. Although some sources cite Jerry Finnerman as having been the camera operator on this episode, the actual cameraman was Richard A. Kelley, according to both Robert Justman and the original crew sheet for the episode. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 36)
  • Locating a makeup supervisor who was equipped to tackle the pilot involved a challenging search. "It was apparent that we needed the best makeup man we could find," explained Robert Justman. "There were numerous 'appliances' [latex or rubber prosthetics] that would have to be designed, built, and affixed, on a daily basis, to the actors who would portray non-human aliens [....] Most makeup artists didn't have the prosthetic expertise we needed." Also, Desilu had no makeup department of its own. Justman spoke about the project with Fred Phillips, a busy makeup man who had worked with him on The Outer Limits and several previous series. "I managed to spring him long enough to do our pilot," concluded Justman. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 36)
  • Purchasing a laser cannon for this episode was of some difficulty. Herb Solow once commented that it was "tough to go down to the local hardware store or gun shop and buy one." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 20) The laser cannon prop was ultimately a modified camera dolly. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary)
  • The weirdness of Gene Roddenberry's requirements startled some of the advisors he attempted to consult. "Well, it was all so new and strange to them," Roddenberry observed. "Like you call some unsuspecting production man on the phone, and he says, 'Hello,' and you say, 'What does it cost to paint a girl green?' You get a long silence!" (The Making of Star Trek, p. 77)
  • When doing makeup tests for Vina as an Orion slave girl, Majel Barrett was used as a willing test subject. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 40) "I was cheap, I was there, and our guest star was not!" Barrett laughed in retrospect. "She would have had to be brought in and they would have had to test it [on her], and there just wasn't the money." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 43) This took place early in the episode's preproduction phase and it was Fred Phillips who applied the makeup to Barrett. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary) However, the footage of these tests kept coming back without the green skin being visible. Puzzled by this, the makeup crew kept painting the actress again and again with other shades of green, hoping it would be visible on film. This went on for a period of three consecutive days. Afterward, the makeup artists discovered that the film processing lab was "de-coloring" her because they didn't know she was supposed to be green. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 40; The Making of Star Trek, pp. 77-78)
  • The first filmed scene from "The Cage" (and of Star Trek) – the sequence with Dr. Boyce and Captain Pike sharing a martini – was filmed on Friday, 27 November 1964. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary)
  • Only a short stretch of corridor was built for this episode. This set can be seen, in its entirety, during the scene in which Pike heads through a passageway into his "cabin" (or quarters), passing a young couple. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary)
  • Two of the specimens in the Talosian menagerie – the anthropoid ape and the humanoid bird – were provided by Janos Prohaska. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary) The ape creature originally appeared in The Outer Limits episode "Fun and Games", without its facial hair. The owl-like bird creature also appears in an episode of that series, "The Duplicate Man". (citation needededit)
  • One of the imprisoned species is seen only by its shadow; the last cage in the zoo contains a large crab-like creature with huge claws. This was a shadow puppet, rendered with several fingers silhouetted against a lit background. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary)
  • The Talosian seen down the corridor as Pike looks at all the imprisoned creatures was a dwarf (Felix Silla). This gave the appearance of great length to what was actually a short, forced-perspective hallway. Bob Justman came up with this idea when they realized the budget wouldn't allow them to build a large hallway. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p 47)
  • The Talosian headpieces – complete with their bulging veins and small, round ears – were created for this episode by craftsman Wah Chang, who (like Robert Justman, Byron Haskin and Fred Phillips) had previously worked on The Outer Limits. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary) The head prosthetics were blended into the actresses' own facial features by Phillips and his makeup staff. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 15)
  • The Talosians' elevator landing was built on a platform, allowing room for the lift to descend without having to excavate below the soundstage's floor. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary)
  • A matte painting created by noted matte artist Albert Whitlock was used to portray the Rigel VII fortress, though these exterior shots also involved the filming of live-action footage on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer back lot. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary)
Phillips Orion makeup

Makeup artist Fred Phillips turning Susan Oliver into an Orion slave girl

  • While Susan Oliver was wearing her green Orion slave girl makeup, she became very tired. A doctor was called to the studio to give her a vitamin B shot. He went to her dressing room where, not having been informed of her appearance, he was greatly surprised to see that her complexion was green. The doctor was so flustered, in fact, that it took him nearly five minutes to simply identify an area to administer the shot. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 78)
  • The spearhead Pike uses to kill the Kalar on Rigel VII was a recycled prop from RKO Pictures. It measured approximately thirty inches in length and was seven and a half inches wide. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 011)
  • Robert Butler said in an interview with Star Trek Monthly that he wanted some dirt and rust on the sets, but Roddenberry vetoed this idea, claiming that everything must be clean and shiny. In another interview, Butler claimed that this was his basic reason for disliking Star Trek overall, calling it "too square-jawed, heroic" and "too worthy and clean" for his taste.
  • The landing party jackets in this episode were fastened by long strips of black Velcro running down the entire length of the inside flap, visible in some of the scenes.
  • The belts were grey-colored elastic-type bands that had metal hook/clip fasteners at the front which held the communicator and hand weapon. They were worn over the shirt but under the jacket, at the waist.
  • When indicating the region of the Talos group on his viewscreen, Spock calls up a photograph of the Pleiades Cluster.
  • The scene inside the Rigel fortress was one of the last scenes to be shot for this episode. It was filmed on 14 December 1964. Gene Roddenberry was present during the filming and model maker Richard C. Datin, Jr. also payed a visit to the set, eager on consulting Roddenberry. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary, [5])
  • This was the single most expensive episode ever created for the original Star Trek series. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary) According to several sources (including the The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 17), NBC spent US$630,000 on this episode. According to Majel Barrett, however, there was only US$168,000 available for the pilot. (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 43) The episode's preproduction costs were reduced thanks to the use of rear-screen projection for images on the Enterprise's main viewscreen. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary)

Music

  • Upon first hearing the theme tune for this episode (which went on to serve as the theme music for the original Star Trek series), Robert Butler was impressed. He later reminisced, "The music was good; I remember that theme song was quite wonderful [....] I remember liking it when I heard it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, p. 53) Alexander Courage provided not only this thematic composition as well as the episode's score but also created the sounds of the Talosian singing plants. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary, TOS Season 1 DVD; et al.)
  • The musical score of this episode has been released on CD, tied with the score of the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before".

Effects

  • Majel Barrett felt that the lack of "special effects" in this episode is an indication that the finances provided for the pilot "didn't go very far." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 43)
  • The opening shot of this episode was filmed with the use of frame-by-frame stop-motion animation, in order to allow for the transition between the footage of the Enterprise model and the shot that was taken on the set for the starship's bridge. Due to the movement of the space vessel, the shot was necessarily very intricate and extraordinarily difficult to produce. It was created by the Howard Anderson Company. ("The Menagerie, Part I" text commentary) The shot used an 11-foot model of the Enterprise, while the other ship shots of this episode involved a three-foot miniature of the spacecraft. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary) The text commentary for "The Menagerie, Part I" refers to the shot's creation as "an outstanding achievement in television visual effects."
  • The effect of the laser cannon firing was an animation produced by the Howard Anderson Company. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary)

Continuity

  • This episode is difficult to reconcile with canon in many instances. For example, Spock smiles and uses several Human expressions (for example, "buzzing about down there"), which he seldom does in subsequent episodes and films. In the series, he instead has the emotional control and genius level intellect present in the character of Number One here. This change was actually due to the fact that, in contrast to Jeffrey Hunter's portrayal of Captain Pike, Leonard Nimoy found William Shatner as Captain Kirk had his own energy, animation and exuberance, so Nimoy felt like he was able to be more reserved and internalized in the series than in this pilot. (Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime, et al.)
  • Pike tells the Talosians that he's from a stellar group "at the other end of this galaxy," which, in modern Star Trek parlance, implies that Talos IV is deep in the Beta, Gamma, or Delta Quadrants. This does not seem likely, especially because the SS Columbia was lost for only eighteen years and, having traveled at less than light speed, must be relatively close to Earth. In fact, Harvey P. Lynn, who served as Gene Roddenberry's unofficial technical adviser on the pilot, told him that traveling from one end of the galaxy to the other would take an impossibly long time. (citation needededit)
    USS Enterprise, The Cage (remastered)

    The Enterprise

  • Tyler implies that faster-than-light (FTL) travel is relatively new. He tells one of the scientists that they can get back to Earth quickly. "The time barrier's been broken! Our new ships can..." Earlier, with an expression used only once in the series, Pike orders FTL speed to Talos IV by saying, "Our time warp, factor 7." Basically, this establishes that warp speed is not only FTL, but also "negates" the time dilation effect about which Einstein theorized in his Special Theory of Relativity. Of course, later Star Trek canon establishes that Zefram Cochrane "discovered" the space warp in the mid-21st century. "The Cage" takes place two centuries later, in 2254.
  • Spock's cry of "Switch to rockets, we're blasting out!" is very anachronistic – there are no direct references to rocket engines in the episodes to come.
  • Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson make the only contemporary presidential appearances in an original series episode here, as images in the Talosian download of the ship's computer.
  • The main viewscreen in this episode is very square, like 1960s television sets.
  • As opposed to the electronic clipboards used in the regular series, Pike uses a very 20th century metal clipboard. A television also appears in his quarters.
  • A "captain's hat" can be glimpsed, in passing, on top of that television, although Pike never wears it, and after this pilot, the hat was never seen again.
  • Landing party jackets also vanished after "The Cage", but returned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, also appearing in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Star Trek: Enterprise was the only other television Star Trek that depicted hats and a variety of environment-specific outerwear being regularly issued to crew members.
  • Judging by the shape of the wall and the window, Pike's quarters seem to be directly below the bridge; there are no other curved windows on the saucer section of the model.
  • The bed in Pike's quarters was far too short for Jeffrey Hunter. His feet are extending well beyond the end of the mattress, as he briefly reclines on it.
  • The sign next to the door of the captain's quarters reads simply "Captain." When the series went into production, Captain Kirk's name was put on the nameplate outside his quarters.
  • The pants that the crew wear have a very conspicuous pleat down the front and seem to be a shade of dark blue-grey.
  • At the end of "The Menagerie, Part II", Kirk sees Pike and Vina – with their illusions of youth and beauty – running off, hand in hand. This is an example of the reused footage from this episode. Here, it is an illusion of Pike who the Talosians have provided for Vina to keep her company. In "The Menagerie, Part II", it is the "real" Pike (or rather the non-physical consciousness of the now-disabled Pike) rejoining Vina to start a new life.
  • In one brief part of the first transportation sequence, the transporter chief's assistant is a man wearing glasses, but the scene changes and he appears without them. This is one of only three occasions where Starfleet officers are shown wearing corrective eyeglasses.
  • Although Pike cites the crew complement as 203 other lives besides his own, the Enterprise's total crew complement was changed to 428 in "Charlie X", and 430 in later episodes.
  • This episode's depiction of a parkland near Mojave is the only time that 23rd century Earth is ever seen in the entirety of the original Star Trek series. Given that this is merely an illusion created by the Talosians, the first appearance of the real Earth of the 23rd century was in Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979.
  • "The Menagerie, Part II" establishes that, following the events of this episode, the Federation imposed General Order 7 on the Talos system, preventing anyone from ever approaching the planet again, under penalty of death.

Reception and aftermath

  • 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 Herb 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. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 26-27)
  • The first view of the completed pilot was at a special screening for the episode's cast and crew. "I remember the screening and the special effects and the makeup were just perfect," remarked J.M. Colt actress Laurel Goodwin, "Everyone was applauding when we saw the transporter effect put together. When you shoot it, of course, they just stop the camera and you walk off. But on film, it was so great." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 59)
  • NBC rejected the episode, following its production, and declared it was "too cerebral." Robert Butler found he could relate to this statement. "Apparently, the network, at its level, was feeling exactly as I did," he remarked. (Starlog issue #117, p. 55) According to Gene Roddenberry, he had a similar response to the news. "I sort of understood [NBC's verdict]," he said. "I wrote and produced what I thought was a highly imaginative idea, and I realized I had gone too far. I should actually have ended it with a fistfight between the hero and the villain if I wanted it on television [...] because that's the way shows were being made at the time. The great mass audience would say, 'Well, if you don't have a fistfight when it's ended, how do we know that's the finish?,' and things like that." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 10) Besides finding the episode too intellectual, NBC also cited criticisms such as the presence of a female first officer on the bridge and the character of Spock being too alien for audiences of the time. (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, pp. 14, 20, 52; et al.)
  • However, the "myth" of the network wanting to eliminate the female first officer was debunked by Herb Solow and Robert Justman in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. In the book, they state that NBC supported the idea of a strong woman in a leading role, they only rejected Majel Barrett, feeling the actress is not talented enough to pull off such a role, and "carry" a show as co-star. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 60)
  • NBC was also not satisfied with the majority of the actors. They wrote, "We also think you can do better with the ship's doctor, the yeoman and other members of the crew". Solow decided to hire a full-time casting director for the next pilot, and eventually the series. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 60-61)
  • Another aspect of the pilot which NBC was very worried with, was it's "overall eroticism", most notably the "scantily clad green dancing girls with the humps and grinds". This was a major factor for not choosing "Mudd's Women", which dealt with "an intergalactic pimp selling beautiful women hookers throughout the galaxy", to be the second pilot. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 59-61, 65-66)
  • Oscar Katz was pleased with this pilot episode. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 10) However, Lucille Ball was seemingly uninterested in it. Herb Solow offered, "The day the completed pilot was screened for NBC on the West Coast, I walked into Lucy's dressing room to tell her NBC's reaction. The pilot script was still there, apparently untouched." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 22)
  • DeForest Kelley viewed this episode around the same time it was being shown to studio executives. He told Gene Roddenberry, "Well, I don't know what the hell it's all about, but it's either gonna be the biggest hit or the biggest miss God ever made." (Star Trek Monthly issue 18, p. 18)
  • Despite the numerous nitpicks they had with this episode, NBC made the extraordinary (and, at the time, rare) move to order a second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". For that subsequent pilot, the briefing room, transporter room and bridge were kept much the same as they are in this historic first attempt (although the bridge doors were painted red, and several smaller modifications were made). However, the only actor to be reused from this episode was Leonard Nimoy. In reference to Number One and Spock, Gene Roddenberry once joked about how he kept the alien character and later married the woman, noting, "I couldn't have legally done it the other way around." (Inside Star Trek) Majel Barrett commented, "To be fired from the job and then see it come back 30 years later made me feel kind of good, but at the time I wasn't happy." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, p. 43)
  • After Jeffrey Hunter's wife convinced the actor that science fiction was "beneath him," Gene Roddenberry – planning to cast William Shatner for the second pilot – arranged for himself and Shatner to watch this episode in Los Angeles. (The Star Trek Interview Book, pp. 10 & 16) "When I walked out [of the viewing] I remember thinking it was a very imaginative and vital idea," Shatner recalled. "I thought everybody took themselves a little too seriously." Shatner not only thought that the episode lacked humor but was also of the opinion that its cast had overacted their parts, to the point of being unrealistic. "That was my impression," he admitted, "and we spoke about that." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 16)
  • Fred Freiberger was highly impressed with the episode and, in 1988, he expressed surprise that the outing had been rejected by NBC. "I fell in love with [it] [....] To me, 'The Cage' was pure science fiction," he enthused. "That's what the show should have been [....] 'The Cage' was what the series was all about. At that time people didn't accept it." (The Star Trek Interview Book, pp. 162 & 163)
  • In her 1994 autobiography Beyond Uhura (pp. 139 & 140), Nichelle Nichols comments on this installment, stating, "Viewing it today [...] the show stands as the purest earliest representation of what Gene hoped Star Trek would achieve." She also characterizes the episode as "not only the basic pattern for countless future Star Trek episodes but a blueprint for the future of civilization" and describes the episode's conclusion as "an intelligent, peaceful resolution."
  • In 1996, Grace Lee Whitney cited this as one of her favorite TOS episodes (along with "Charlie X", "The Devil in the Dark" and "The City on the Edge of Forever"). (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 32)
  • The following year, Majel Barrett similarly named this as one of her two favorite episodes of TOS (the other being "The City on the Edge of Forever") and said that she thought both of them "are more Star Trek than anything else that has been conceived." Of this episode specifically, she enthused, "I thought it was beautiful. People still ask me, 'What is your favorite episode? no question, it would have to be 'The Cage' [....] [It] was pure Star Trek." (Star Trek Monthly issue 27, pp. 43 & 44)
  • A black-and-white 16mm print of this episode was owned by Gene Roddenberry and was shown by him at speaking engagements and conventions. One of these events was "Tricon" – 1966's World Science Fiction Convention in Cleveland, Ohio – whose attendees included Allan Asherman, a future writer of Star Trek reference works. Due to popular demand, the black-and-white version of this episode was shown after "Where No Man Has Gone Before". (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., pp. 1 & 3) The event was the first convention that Roddenberry took the Star Trek pilots to. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 11) Asherman later wrote how he had been impressed by the "serious and imaginative detail" in this episode, a facet he believed it shared with the later pilot. He went on to comment, "In addition there were the laser cannon opticals, the superb Talosian makeups, and another interesting musical score. Its most outstanding characteristics were the intelligence of its story, its polished production values, and the performances of its actors." (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., pp. 1 & 3)
  • The master color 35 mm negative of "The Cage" was cut into the master negative of "The Menagerie" in 1966, and the trims not used were subsequently lost. No color or 35mm print of "The Cage" was known to exist, only the black-and-white print owned by Gene Roddenberry, who continued to exhibit the footage at various Star Trek conventions throughout the '70s and early '80s.
  • "The Cage" was initially released on home video in late 1986, in celebration of Star Trek's 20th anniversary. The release was a combination of the color footage used in "The Menagerie" and the additional scenes in Roddenberry's black-and-white print. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary; et al.)
  • In 1987, film archivist Bob Furmanek discovered the missing trims from the color 35 mm negative of "The Cage" at a Hollywood film laboratory, and saw that they were returned to Paramount. However, the soundtrack trims were not found. When restoring "The Cage", Paramount used the soundtrack from "The Menagerie" for most scenes, and the soundtrack of Roddenberry's 16 mm print (which was of lower audio quality) for the restored trims. [6] The mixing of sound and picture quality for the episode caused controversy in some fan circles, in that some viewers believed that the existing black-and-white footage had simply been colorized, even though this was not the case. (citation needededit)
  • A full-color version of this installment was aired on 4 October 1988, with a two-hour special called The Star Trek Saga: From One Generation To The Next bookending it. The special was hosted by Patrick Stewart and traced the history of Star Trek from "The Cage" throughout the first season of TNG and the beginnings of production for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The opportunity to broadcast "The Cage" in its original form came when production of Star Trek: The Next Generation was interrupted due to a Writers' Guild strike. The broadcast filled in for two of the four hours missing from TNG's truncated second season. In some markets, the special (and this episode) did not air until 15 October 1988. (citation needededit)
  • The Keeper's voice (Malachi Throne) used in "The Cage" was modified for "The Menagerie", in which Throne guest-starred as Commodore Mendez. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary) When the color and black-and-white versions were spliced together in 1986, The Keeper's original voice was heard in the black-and-white footage and the altered voice in the color footage taken from "The Menagerie". This voice discrepancy persists in the "restored" all-color version of "The Cage" in the TOS Season 3 DVD set, even though it would have been entirely possible to substitute the original audio from the 16mm print for The Keeper's lines in footage taken from "The Menagerie".
  • This episode's depiction of the Rigel VII fortress is one of the most-recognized and celebrated matte paintings in Star Trek history. The same painting was reused (unaltered) in the third season, as Flint's home in "Requiem for Methuselah". In addition, the large moon in the background of the painting was the inspiration for a song called "Moon over Rigel VII", which Captain Kirk recommends as a campfire song in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. (citation needededit)
  • Footage of the asteroids from the beginning of this episode was reused later, in "Mudd's Women" and "The Doomsday Machine".
  • The opening establishing shot of the Enterprise was reused in several early episodes: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "The Corbomite Maneuver", "Mudd's Women", "The Man Trap", and "Charlie X". The starship, traveling at warp speed, is depicted in a unique effect that was never re-created for the series; the camera "sidles up" to the Enterprise model and "swoops over" the top of the primary hull. Combined with this shot are two space effects: one of a stationary star field and the other of a star field moving rapidly, from right to left. The completed effect is meant to suggest that "local" stars are flying past the Enterprise while the great "backdrop" of the galaxy remains motionless. (citation needededit)
  • Throughout most of the first and second seasons, the "singing plant" sound heard on Talos IV became the standard background noise on various planets. Beginning with "Spectre of the Gun", a different, warbly sound was used for a number of the remaining shows. The sound was used as the transporter beam sound effect in the series proper.
  • In his introduction for the 1986 VHS release of "The Cage" (which can now be seen on the DVD version in the third season set), Gene Roddenberry noted that he wanted no one aboard the Enterprise to smoke. This was despite the fact that tobacco advertising was a major revenue source for the television networks in 1964. Even one of Star Trek's sponsors, during its first season, was Viceroy cigarettes. (All tobacco advertising was banned from television and radio on 1 January 1971).
  • When this episode was re-released on VHS in 1996, Star Trek Monthly rated the episode 3 out of 5 stars (defined as "Warp Speed") and regarded it as a "now classic story". (Star Trek Monthly issue 16, p. 57)
  • Similarly, Cinefantastique scored the episode 3 out of 4 stars in 1996. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 26)
  • In their 1998 book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (p. 29), co-writers Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross both individually rate this episode 4 out of 5 stars (defined as "Classic!").

Apocrypha

  • Several comics and novels have chronicled continuations of this story:
  • Additionally, a few novels have theorized as to the cause for the vast differences between Spock's highly emotional behavior in this episode and his reservedness in the regular series of Star Trek. Examples of this include Spock possibly not having complete control of his emotions at that point, as he was still quite young, and that he achieved full control of his emotions by observing Captain Pike. The novel The Fire and the Rose establishes that Spock was simply emulating Human behaviors such as smiles, and that there was truly no emotion behind his own smile. He eventually stopped though when his crewmates came to distrust him, believing him not to be truthful about himself to them.

Production timeline

Remastered

  • Originally intended for airing in syndication on 26 April 2008, the remastered version of the episode was removed from the schedule the week before its intended airdate, but was rescheduled for 2 May 2009, partly as a tie-in with the release of Star Trek. [14] The remastered episode is also included in the TOS-R Season 3 DVD and TOS Season 3 Blu-ray sets, along with the original 1986 color-black/white release presented by Gene Roddenberry in its original ("unremastered") format.

Video and DVD releases

  • Original US Betamax release: 1986
This version of the episode mixed color and black-and-white footage, as a complete color print was not available at the time.
This was the mixed color/black&white print.
This was the mixed color/black&white print.
Released in the final volume, with both prints.
Included on the final disc of the collection, with both prints. Oddly, the disc lists the airdate as 15 October 1988 rather than its original airdate of 4 October 1988.
Included on the final disc of the collection, with both prints.

Links and references

Spock, 2254

Leonard Nimoy as young Lt. Spock

Starring

Guest star

Co-starring

Uncredited co-stars

Unseen characters

  • Pike's Yeoman
  • Two crewman killed on Rigel Seven

Production staff

Star Trek Created by
Gene Roddenberry
Directed by
Robert Butler
Written and Produced by
Gene Roddenberry

No other production staff received on-screen credit for this episode.

Associate Producer
Byron Haskin
Production Designer
Pato Guzman
Art Director
Franz Bachelin
Assistant Art Director
Matt Jefferies
Music Composed and Conducted by
Alexander Courage
Director of Photography
William E. Snyder
Film Editor
Leo Shreve
Assistant to the Producer
Morris Chapnick
Assistant Director
Robert H. Justman
Set Decorator
Edward M. Parker
Costume Designer
William Ware Theiss
Sound Mixer
Stanford G. Haughton
Photographic Effects
Howard Anderson Company
Transporter Effects
Darrell Anderson
Matte Painter
Albert Whitlock
Special Effects
Joe Lombardi
Property Master
Jack Briggs
Prop Maker
Jim Danforth
Gaffer
Bob Campbell
Camera Operator
Richard A. Kelley
Production Supervisor
James A. Paisley
Script Supervisor
George A. Rutter
Makeup Artist
Fred B. Phillips
Special Makeup Creator (for Leonard Nimoy)
John Chambers
Hairstylist
Gertrude Reade
Stunt Double (Jeffrey Hunter)
Robert Herron
Stunts
Frank da Vinci
Choreographer (Susan Oliver's dance)
Penny Romans
Research
Kellam de Forest (de Forest Research, Inc.)
Harvey P. Lynn (RAND Corporation)
Executive in Charge of Production
Oscar Katz
Assistant to Oscar Katz
Herbert F. Solow

References

2236; Adam and Eve; American Continent Institute; armor; atmosphere; bartender; battery; brain; cadet ship; canyon; captain; chicken; chief petty officer; circuit; class M; clipboard; Columbia, SS; communicator; distress signal; doctor; Earth; engine room; evasive maneuvers; fly; forced landing; geological lab report; geologist; glasses; gravity; hand laser; hat; hate; headache; Hell; helm; horse; hull; Human; hyperdrive; ice; landing party; laser weapons; lieutenant; lunch; mace; magistrate; magnetic field; martini; metal; meteoroid; meteoroid beam; microrecord; mile; Mojave; neck; nitrogen; nuclear weapons; orbit; Orion; Orion slave girl; Orion colony; oxygen; pen; picnic; power generator; radio; radio-interference distress call; radio wave; reflex hammer; Regulus; report; rest leave; Rigel VII; rocket; shield; Solar system; spectrography; speed of light; sugar; sword; Talos star group; Talos IV; Talosians; Talosian singing plant; Talosian system; Tango; tape; television; time barrier; time warp factor; tuna; Vega colony; viewer; Vulcan; warp drive; warp factor; wristwatch; yeoman

Library computer references

USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) library computer: Africa; Alaska; Aleutian Islands; altimeter; American Civil War; American Revolution; Anchorage; Antarctica; Arabian Sea; Arctic Circle; Asia; astronomical unit; Atlanta; Atlantic Ocean; Atlas-Agena; Australia; Battle of Hampton Roads; Beijing; Bering Sea; Bering Strait; Bristol Bay; Canada; Central America; daisy; Delaware; diaphragm; Eisenhower, Dwight; Explorer S-55; Europe; eye; Fairbanks; flower; gall bladder; gamma-ray spectrometer; gnu; Gulf of Alaska; Hawaii; Himalayas; Hokkaido; Hong Kong; Honshu; Houston; intestine; International Date Line; Jackson, Stonewall; Japan; Juneau; Kennedy, John F.; Korea; kudu; Kyoto; Kyushu; Last Meeting of Lee and Jackson at Chancellorsville, The; Lee, Robert E. Lee; Lincoln, Abraham; liver; Los Angeles; Luna; lung; Mariner 2; Mars; Maryland; Mercury; Mexico; Midway Island; Monitor, USS; New Orleans; Nimbus 1; North America; North Pole; optic nerve; orbit; Orbiting Geophysical Observatory; Orbiting Solar Observatory; Osaka; Pacific Ocean; Pioneer 5; Pleiades Cluster; Point Barrow; polar orbit; Portland; President of the United States; probe; Ranger; Ranger 5; Ranger 7; rib; rocket; San Francisco; satellite; Seattle; skull; star chart; stomach; Sol; Sol system; South America; South Pole; Soviet Union; Sun; Talos I; Talos II; Talos III; Talos V; Tokyo; Tropic of Cancer; United States of America; Venus; viola; Virginia; Virginia, CSS; Wake Island; Washington, George; Washington, DC; Whitehorse; wildebeest; Yukon River

Remastered: Africa; Aldrin, Buzz; Andromeda Galaxy; Apollo CSM and LM; Apollo mission; atomic bomb; Battle of Fort Hindman; Bikini Atoll; Blair, Montgomery; Canada; Chase, Salmon P.; Earth; Earthrise; Eisenhower, Dwight D.; Emancipation Proclamation; eye; Fat Man; First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln; fox squirrel; Fort Hindman; Gray's Anatomy; Great Egret; heart; International Space Station; Jupiter; Kennedy, Jacqueline; Kennedy, John F.; Johson, Lyndon B.; Lincoln, Abraham; lionfish; Luna; lungs; maple; Moses; Moses Showing the Tables of the Law to the People; muscles; NGC 602; Rayburn, Sam; ribs; rose; Saturn; Saturn V; Seward, William H.; Small Magellanic Cloud; Smith, Caleb B.; Soyuz; space shuttle; Ten Commandments; The Blue Marble; V838 Monocerotis; Vostok 1; Washington, George; Welles, Gideon; Wright Flyer; Yosemite Falls

External links


Previous episode produced:
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Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 0
Next episode produced:
"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Previous episode aired:
"Turnabout Intruder"
Next episode aired:
None
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Turnabout Intruder"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
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