Monday, October 29, 2007

Something New . . . And Something Old

I love trashy B movies. For every Oscar-nominated film I see, I probably watch two trashy movies.

I say this to explain what I was doing in the theater this weekend--watching 30 Days of Night.

I was intrigued by the plot. According to the script, Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States, goes dark for one month every year when the sun goes below the horizon and the temperative stays below freezing. This lack of sunlight entices a band of vampires who knock out all power and communications and then settle in to nosh on the local residents.

I had a bit of a problem with the film. I happen to prefer my vampire movies scary but light. Fright Night and The Lost Boys are two of my favorites. To show you what I mean by scary and light, here's the trailer for 1987's The Lost Boys.

Unfortunately, 30 Days of Night had no sense of humor and was mostly a bloodbath, making it instantly forgettable for me.

But the afternoon wasn't a total loss. The previews included a trailer for an upcoming event that sent me right back to my childhood.

One of the first TV shows I became addicted to as a child was the original Star Trek. Most Trekkies know that the show, which ran from 1966 to 1969, was the second version. The original 1964 pilot starred Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike. When NBC saw the first pilot titled "The Cage," studio executives were concerned that it moved too slowly and was "too cerebral."

NBC requested that Gene Roddenberry, the producer, film another pilot. Hunter, who was already making salary demands, refused to film a new pilot and asked to be released from the contract. Roddenberry filmed the new pilot with William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. The only actors who moved from the first pilot to the second were Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and Majel Barrett, who went from being the first officer to the ship's nurse. She was dating Roddenberry and later married him.

Since the original pilot had been very expensive, Roddenberry was asked to find a way to use it. He wrote a bookend story to wrap around "The Cage," using the original pilot as a flashback in time. The new two-part show was titled "The Menagerie" and ran as episodes #11 and #12 in 1966.

Why am I telling you all this now? Because while we were watching the previews at the theater today, they announced:

On Tuesday, November 13, and Thursday, November 15, the two-part Star Trek Remastered version of "The Menagerie” will beam onto the big screen in a special engagement with selected theatres. The screening. . .will be seen in more than 300 venues across the U.S. and Canada. This two-night-only event will also feature a special introduction by Eugene "Rod” Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, plus an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Remastered series.

Boy, I'll bet there'll be some wild looking Trekkies out those two nights. Here's the opening of the original pilot:

Note how white the entire cast is. When Roddenberry cast the second pilot, he focussed on the multi-racial mix that fans came to know.

In researching this post, I discovered a bit of a creepy coincidence. Jeffrey Hunter died of a stroke at age 42 on May 27, 1969, one week before the last episode of the original series was aired on June 3, 1969.

1 comment:

Stephen Parrish said...

The new Star Trek movie, depicting early adventures of the original crew, will feature Nimoy but not Shatner.

I too was glued to the TV one night a week from '66 to '69.