Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Ah, Kirk, my old friend. Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold in space.

Khan Noonien Singh

A good modern trailer for the best of the Star Trek films.  Hard to believe it has been 39 years since it came out.  I was studying for the bar that summer, and the day my Bride, then my fiancee, and I saw it was my one bit of entertainment that season.

The film works so well largely because the late and great Ricardo Montalban was such a superb villain.  Sixty-two in 1982, he had the physique of a much younger man and was completely believable as a man driven by tragedy to exact a terrible revenge on Kirk.

Shatner delivered the best performance of his career, as an aging, fifty-one year old, admiral, longing for his lost youth, who still had a few tricks up his sleeve, with his beloved Enterprise, against his old foe.

The film is a wild ride with surprisingly profound observations about aging, change and loss.  The film that saved the franchise.

Published in: on May 10, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan  
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Star Trek Lincoln

What a charming Negress. Oh, forgive me, my dear. I know that in my time some used that term as a description of property.
But why should I object to that term, sir? You see, in our century we’ve learned not to fear words.

Conversation between Lincoln and Uhura, The Savage Curtain

Not fearing words would be a useful lesson for Star Trek to teach our own word obsessed time.  Originally broadcast on March 7, 1969, The Savage Curtain is, like most of the final season of Star Trek, not a fan favorite.   I dissent both as to the episode and the Season.  I found the Third Season to have usually highly imaginative episodes, some swings and misses but mostly solid hits and a few home runs.  This was in the aftermath of the Civil War Centennial and interest in Lincoln was strong.  Actor Lee Bergere gives a  convincing performance as a simulation of Lincoln, capturing the man’s nobility, common sense and, yes, ruthlessness in the service of a just cause.  Bergere passed away in 2007 at 88,

Barry Atwater was superb in the same episode of as Surak, founder of the Vulcan philosophy of pure logic:

A nice, and subtle, look at good and evil, evil being personified by the founder of Klingon civilization, Kahless the Unforgettable, Zora of Tiburon, Genghis Khan and Colonel Phillip Green, the leader of eco terrorists in the 21rst century who euthanized hundreds of thousands of irradiated people in the wake of World War III.  (An all too plausible villain for our century.)  Green’s uniform, such is the cheapness of television series, would serve as the uniform, with a white triangle added, for Mork of Mork and Mindy infamy!

Published in: on March 29, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Star Trek Lincoln  
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Tomorrow the World!

Emil Bruckner: If it is necessary, I will die for the Führer!

Mike Frame: Oh, I see. You want to die.

Emil Bruckner: It is my duty. Are you – going to beat me?

Mike Frame: Well, since you find death so pleasant, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll kill you first and beat you afterwards.

Screenplay, Tomorrow the World! (1944)

 

 

I watched a very interesting movie yesterday, Tomorrow the World ! (1944).  Based on a successful Broadway play, it tells the story of a German boy, a completely indoctrinated Nazi, who comes to live with relatives in America after his mother dies.  His father was a leader of the German resistance, murdered in a Nazi concentration camp.  The boy, however, is a true believer in Hitler, who views his dead father as a traitor.

I was expecting a fairly lighthearted swift conversion of the Nazi youth to truth, justice and the American way.  The film was quite different and not at all what I expected.  Twelve year old Skip Homeier gives a chilling performance as Emil Bruckner.  For the time it was fairly strong, including Bruckner denouncing his teacher, who is also the fiancee of his American uncle, as a “Jewish tramp”.  Bruckner comes around eventually in a fairly unconvincing feel good ending, but the substance of the film was how difficult it is to change people who are heavily indoctrinated when young.

In the film Agnes Moorehead gives a great performance as the American Aunt of Emil, who he uses as a pawn in his schemes.  When she sees him initially in his Hitler Jugend uniform she opines that all Germans should be exterminated.  After two world wars, and casualty lists rapidly mounting, that was not an uncommon sentiment in the country in 1944.  Under the Morgenthau Plan, proposed by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Germany after the war was to be de-industrialized and partitioned into harmless agricultural states.  Fortunately wiser heads prevailed.

Skip Homeier died at age 86 in 2017.  In the Star Trek episode Patterns of Force he returned to the Nazi ranks as the evil Deputy Fuehrer Melakon.

 

Published in: on October 3, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Tomorrow the World!  
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The Day the World Wept

The things you find on Youtube! First broadcast on February 9, 1960, the above is an episode of One Step Beyond entitled The Day the World Wept.  The Twilight Zone before the Twilight Zone, One Step Beoynd ran on ABC from 1959 to 1961, for a total of 96 episodes, focusing on stories of the paranormal.  Directed and narrated by John Newland, the show always ranked high in ratings but ended when Newland decided they were running out of fresh story lines.

The Lincoln episode was typical of the series, a mixture of a little fact and a lot of fiction.  Yes, Lincoln had a dream, actually two, predicting his death.  No, the soldier in whose room Lincoln died, did not hear mysterious weeping and sobbing prior to Lincoln being carried over from Ford’s Theater after he was shot.  The actor portraying Lincoln, Barry Atwater, would go on to portray Surak, the founder of Vulcan civilization, on the Star Trek episode The Savage Curtain, first broadcast on March 7, 1969, one of the better episodes of the generally dismal final third season of the original series.  In that episode Lee Bergere portrayed Abraham Lincoln.

 

Atwater’s biggest claim to fame while he lived, he passed away at age 60 in 1978, was his portrayal of vampire Janos Skorzeny  in the movie The Night Stalker (1972) which led to the cult classic Kolchack: the Night Stalker series 1974-1975, tales of a reporter investigating weird occurrences in Chicago where strange events, in fiction and in fact, tend to be plentiful.

Published in: on September 24, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Day the World Wept  
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Star Trek the Music

Something for the weekend:  Star Trek Mega Suite.  Something easy to star off the year, various Star Trek musical themes.

Published in: on January 5, 2019 at 7:37 am  Comments Off on Star Trek the Music  
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Sad News

“I’m afraid you have it all wrong, all of you.  I’ve been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion, but he couldn’t. Well, don’t you understand? It’s not the sun up in the sky. It’s the Son of God.”

Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Star Trek, Bread and Circuses episode

 

 

Sad news that actress Nichelle Nichols, at age 85, has been diagnosed with dementia.  Prayers for her and her family.

Published in: on August 13, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Sad News  
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Why We Fight

(I posted this at The American Catholic, and I thought the Star Trek mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it,)

 

 

Time to refresh my Chief Geek of the blog creds.  The Axanar film project has produced huge fan interest, and well it should.  The Prelude to Axanar video below is the best Trek I have ever seen.

 

Jonathan Lane has written, and Mark McCrary has illustrated,  the first illustrated fan short story set in the Axanar universe.  With their kind permission I am posting it here.  Give your comments in the comboxes.  Go here to view the Fan Film Factor Blog.

 

 

Stardate: 2244.9
Location: The 602 Club, Mill Valley near San Francisco, Earth

At a table…

MATT: Apollo

THALEK: Ares

DARIA: Artemis

RON: Demeter

MATT: Dionysus

THALEK: Hades

DARIA: Um, um…Hecate

RON: Hephaestus

MATT: Hermes

RON: Wrong!

THALEK: Incorrect!

DARIA: Crash and burn, Matt!

MATT: Which one did I miss?

ALL: Hercules!!!

MATT: BLAST IT!

RON: Take a shot.

DARIA: Hey, why is it called the Hercules and not Heracles?

MATT: Huh?

DARIA: All the other human Ares-class ships are named after GREEK gods.  Hercules was the ROMAN name for Heracles, which was the original Greek name.

MATT: Hey, Daria, when did you get transferred from biochemistry to ship’s cultural historian?

DARIA: Pulse you, Decker!  When I signed up for Starfleet, I figured I was gonna EXPLORE alien societies…not shoot at them.

[Long, quiet stare.]

MATT: Yeah, I think that’s true for most of us.

THALEK: Not me.  I wanted to fight!

RON: Well, you’re just an idiot is what you are.

MATT: Hey, I thought Hercules–excuse me, HERACLES–wasn’t even a full god.  Wasn’t he just a half-god?

RON: Don’t tell Captain Travis that.  He’ll knock you right into San Francisco Bay…from here!

DARIA: So how many Ares-class cruisers do we have in service now?

MATT: Twenty-two.  And there’s two more in dry dock, ready to join the Fleet.  Nemesis and, um…the god with the two faces…

THALEK: Janus.

DARIA: Huh?  Thalek, how is it that an Andorian knows the name of an ancient Earth god?

THALEK: I don’t.  But the USS Janus is getting an Andorian crew, and I’m being transferred from the Poseidon as soon as the new vessel is ready.

DARIA: Ah.

RON: Speaking of Andorians, Thalek, why is it that you hang out with us humans here at the bar?

THALEK: I don’t understand…

MATT: What he means is that most of the crews stick with their own species.  Look around.  The Tellarites drink with other Tellarites.  The Andorians drink with Andorians.  The Vulcans…well, I don’t think they even drink, but they certainly don’t socialize with us.

THALEK: One could say that you humans don’t exactly socialize outside of your own species either.

[Looks of embarrassment.]

THALEK: Hah!  As you humans say, I’m just pulling your hair.

MATT: Leg.

THALEK: Why would someone pull a leg?

MATT: Good point.

THALEK: It’s true that we are all still a little leery of the other races—Vulcans, Humans, Andorians, Tellarites, Nausicans, Deltans.  The Federation covers a vast span of the galaxy, and our races don’t get many opportunities to interact with each other.  Without warp-six capable starships, it can take weeks or even months just to get from one star system to the other.

DARIA: But now we’re all here on Earth together, fighting a common enemy.  You’d think we’d make more of an effort to get to know each other.

RON: I don’t want to get to know each other…

DARIA: Ron!

RON: I don’t!  That’s my choice.

DARIA: Thalek, he didn’t mean that.  He’s just a little drunk…

RON: Pulse you!  I know what I said!

MATT: Ron, don’t be a dunsel…

RON: I’m just saying what we’re all thinking!  Tellarites—they’re obnoxious!  They think they’re hot plasma, but they’re just a race full of angry, pig-nosed bloodworms!  Deltans…they’re supposed to be so “sexually mature” that we aren’t even supposed to talk to them!  What in blazes is up with THAT???

DARIA: Ron, keep your voice down, you’re making a scene.

RON: Nausicans are just animals!  Orions are blasted thugs.  Denobulans…

MATT: Seriously?  You’ve got a problem with Denobulans?

RON: Well, no, I suppose they’re okay.  But all the rest of them.  Look at those Vulcans sitting over there…

MATT: Oh, man, here we go.  I knew he’d get to the Vulcans…

RON: Why shouldn’t I???  They think they’re so blasted superior to us.  For a hundred years, they held back technology from Earth—even though we were supposed to be allies—said we weren’t ready for it.  We had to claw our way to a Warp 5 engine that they’d already had for centuries.

THALEK: That doesn’t surprise me.  The Vulcans used to be quite protective of their technology.

RON: They still are!

MATT: Hey, did you know my great-great grandfather worked with Henry Archer on the Warp 5 project?  Or was it three greats?

DARIA: My great-grandfather served under Henry Archer’s son on the Enterprise during the Romulan War.  He was their helmsman.  I think Captain Archer’s first officer was a Vulcan.

RON: Probably sent to spy on them…

THALEK: I don’t beleive  so.  I seem to recall that she helped reveal the existence of a Vulcan listening post that was covertly monitoring my people.  I doubt that a Vulcan spy would assist in a mission that would so jeopardize a clandestine operation like that.

RON: Doesn’t it bother you that they were spying on your planet in the first place???

THALEK: That was nearly a century ago.  The Vulcans have changed.

RON: HAVE THEY????

DARIA: Ron, please quiet down.  You’re embarrassing all of us.

MATT: Yeah, Ron…

RON: Shut up!  The Vulcans haven’t changed at all.  They’re still arrogant know-it-alls who think they’ve figured out what’s best for the galaxy.  The “great awakening”?  Don’t make me laugh!  They weren’t even going to enter this war!!!  And they’re still withholding technology from us!!!   The weapons on board the Zeus?  The Andorians gave us those…

THALEK: You’re welcome.

DARIA: And the Vulcans gave us shields and life support systems.

RON: But they held back the weapons!!!  Why?  YOU HEAR ME, YOU POINTY-EARED HOBGOBLINS?

DARIA: Ron, sit down!

RON: DON’T IGNORE ME, YOU GREEN-BLOODED COWARDS!!!  Why didn’t you give us weapons?  We know you have them!  And they’re probably much more advanced than ours.  Or maybe you could have helped us, worked with us, to improve the weapons that we ALL have.  DO YOU WANT THOSE BLOODTHIRSTY KLINGONS TO WIN THIS WAR???

DARIA: Matt, we need to do something…

RON: LOOK AT ME, BLAST IT!!!  You Vulcans–you’re not even fighting!  You’re just PRETENDING to fight!

MATT: I’m going to find someone from security.

RON: You could have saved the crew of the Tecumseh!  They were being decimated by the Klingons!!  The Nike was the first ship to arrive at Altair VI.  But instead of engaging the Klingons, you held back.  WHY???  My sister was on that ship, and you sat back and didn’t fire a shot!  You cowards hid behind a stupid moon!!!   WHY????  Why didn’t you engage sooner?  WHY DID YOU WAIT???

[A loud voice answers from elsewhere in the 602 Club…]

GARTH: Because I ordered them to.

[Captain Kelvar Garth walks over to their table.]

DARIA: (whispering) Holy…is that who I think it is?

THALEK: It’s Garth.

MATT: Captain present!  Ten-hut!

GARTH: At ease, everyone.  You, too, Lieutenant…. Lieutenant?

RON: Tracey, sir.  I’m a weapons officer on board the USS Zeus.

GARTH: Lieutenant Tracey, I’m sorry about your sister.  I truly am.  We lost 184 valiant men and women in that battle…but it could have been more.  I gave the Vulcans on the Nike the order to wait behind that moon until the rest of their squadron could arrive.

RON: But why, sir?  The Tecumseh was crippled, defenseless.  They had no chance against the Klingons.

GARTH: And neither did the Nike, son…not alone.  Over half a dozen D-6 cruisers came out of warp to ambush the Tecumseh.  Had the Nike gone in before our other ships arrived in the system, it would have been a blood bath…and it would have cost us one of Starfleet’s most advanced warships.

RON: We still lost an entire ship and crew!

GARTH: But not two, Mr. Tracey!  Not even an Ares-class could have held off that many Klingons!

[Closes eyes, composes himself.]

This war isn’t fair, Lieutenant.  It isn’t just, and it certainly isn’t clean.  It is, quite literally, the ugliest and most daunting test we have ever faced as a planet.  And every choice we make, every command we give, will cost us something…because the enemy we are facing is ruthless.

RON: My sister wasn’t even a soldier, sir.  She worked in their sickbay.

GARTH: Look, I know most of us didn’t sign up to be warriors.  That’s not what Starfleet’s about.  But we have to prove that we can do what we need to do to defend the Federation…no matter the cost.

[Pause.  Thick silence.  Deep breath.]

GARTH: That order…and the destruction of the Tecumseh…will haunt me for the rest of my life, Mr. Tracey.  I see those faces and hundreds like them every night when I wake up from my nightmares.  One day when you’re a captain—and I hope you will be—I pray you never have to make the decision of who gets to live and who has to die.  I hope that, by the time you have a ship of your own, that there is peace in the Federation and we can all return to simply being explorers.

DARIA: I think we all want that, Captain.

GARTH: But in the meantime, understand this: we are all—ALL—fighting for each other.  Humans, Andorians, Vulcans, Tellarites…we are a FEDERATION of Planets.  We must have each other’s backs.  We fight the Klingons—we DON’T fight each other.  And remember this, as well: none of us, no race, no individual, is perfect.  No one has a monopoly on bravery or intelligence or common sense, and no one is morally superior.  We’ll all make bad decisions…or sometimes even good decisions with bad outcomes that can’t be avoided.  But we must be willing to look past the bad and see the good in all the races of the Federation.

[Garth turns toward the window and looks out at the stars.]

Someday this blasted war will be over.  It HAS to end, and we HAVE to win.  There is no alternative for us.  And when that finally happens, we’ll be left with what we’ve been fighting for this entire time: the United Federation of Planets.  Don’t tear apart the very thing that we have been risking and sacrificing our lives to preserve.  Do you understand, Lieutenant?

RON: Yes, sir, I do.

GARTH: I think it’s time you head back to your quarters…all of you.  That’s an order.  Sleep this off.  There’s a still a war on, and we need you all to be at your best.  Dismissed.

[The four officers get up to leave.  Ron walks over to the Vulcans and raises his glass in a toast.]

RON: To our losses: Vulcan, Human, Andorian, Tellarite…all of the races in the Federation.  We fight together.

[The Vulcans take a moment, look at each other, stand up, and raise their glasses.]

Vulcans: To our losses.

SONYA: That was quite the speech, Kel.  You trying for Ramirez’s job?

GARTH: No way.  He can keep it!

SONYA: Well, your words do lead to actions.  I admire that.  I think you really reached that young officer.

GARTH: I hope so, Sonya.  But I meant what I said: this war HAS to end, and we HAVE to win.

SONYA: I agree.  But the twenty-five thousand credit question is “How?”

GARTH: That’s why I asked you here.  I’ve got an idea…and it’s a pretty crazy one.  But I actually think it could work.

SONYA: What is it?

GARTH: Sit down, Sonya, and order a drink.  I have a feeling you’re gonna need it.

The beginning of the end…

Star Trek for Libertarians

Published in: on March 28, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Star Trek for Libertarians  
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Star Trek 50 Years On

 

 

(I originally posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the Star Trek mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)

 

Time to refresh my chief geek of the blog credentials.

To observe the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, my favorite scene from all of Trek:  Commander Michael Eddington’s rejection of the Federation in the Deep Space Nine episode “For the Cause”.  It is remarkable that an entertainment phenomenon arising from something as ephemeral as a short-lived television show is still with us half a century later.  Partially this is due to the endless running of the original Trek series in syndication in the seventies that greatly expanded Star Trek from a small cult to a large enough audience to flourish.  If viewed with a cold eye Star Trek is a fairly routine space opera with often bad writing, cheap production values, concepts that strained credulity, (an alien race modeling itself on the human Roman Empire?), bad acting, (William Shatner take a bow), worse science and a ridiculous philosophy that seems to be an amalgam of socialism, militarism and sixties goofiness.

All true to an extent, but there is so much more to Trek than that.  It has provided an optimistic view of the future that flies in the face of the fashionable gloom that has engulfed the West.  Star Trek has served to inspire kids to embark on careers in real science, and sparked the imagination of many more children.  Along with the daffiness of Trek fandom, it has been the basis of the beginning of many friendships and has provided hundreds of hours of harmless, and occasionally edifying, entertainment.  I do not regret the time that I have spent on Trek over the years, and I trust that I will not see the end of this romance of the future.  Man always needs optimism and hope, and even a form of entertainment can sometimes appeal to the better angels of our nature.  May Star Trek and its offspring, you knew I was going to end with this, Live long and prosper! (more…)

Published in: on September 12, 2016 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Star Trek 50 Years On  
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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Quark

Don’t push the pinkskins to the thin ice.”

Andorian maxim

Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people… will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don’t believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes.

Quark

Published in: on April 15, 2016 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Quotes Suitable for Framing: Quark  
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