Saturday, April 14, 2012

DeForestation

About 20 years ago, my cousin, Cecil B. Jusko, went out to Hollywood in the hope of becoming either an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, film editor, set designer, make-up artist, or stunt man. Alas, two decades later, he's merely a janitor, bouncing around from one studio to the next. However, Cecil's disillusionment is our enlightenment, for one of the studios he worked for is Paramount, where he was charged with straightening up their TV Script Archive Vault. It was here he noticed a box marked ST-1969. Inside were bits and pieces edited out of old Star Trek shooting scripts due to time restrictions. Cecil smuggled one of the pieces of script off the Paramount lot and sent it to me, and I'd like to now share it with you:


FADE IN

The Starship Enterprise orbits a kaleidoscopic planet.


CAPTAIN JAMES T KIRK
(voice over)

Captain's log, stardate 12019.20--We are currently in orbit around the newly discovered planet Watee Dudat 4. Myself, First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer McCoy, and four or five anonymous, interchangeable crew members wearing red shirts will beam down to the planet to investigate.

EXT WATEE DUDAT 4 SURFACE

CAPTAIN JAMES T KIRK, MR SPOCK, DR LEONARD "BONES" MCCOY, and FOUR OR FIVE ANONYMOUS, INTERCHANGEABLE CREW MEMBERS IN RED SHIRTS materialize onto the planet’s surface. Seemingly barren of life, Watee Dudat 4 is characterized by large boulders in bright, fluorescent colors.

KIRK

All right, it’s best we split up. (to the men in red) Ensigns, um, er, didn’t I tell you guys to wear name tags so I could tell you all apart?

The men in red immediately pull name tags out of their pockets and start sticking them on their chests.

KIRK

Never mind that right now. All of you go and investigate that area over there, and tell me what you find. (to Spock) Spock, I want you to go in the opposite direction and investigate. Me and Bones will stay here and inspect this area.

The men in red go off in that area over there, while Spock goes off in the opposite direction, leaving Kirk and McCoy alone.

MCCOY
(annoyed)

Oh, you let Spock go off by himself, but I have to stick by you. What, don’t you trust me?

KIRK

It's not that I don't trust you, Bones, it's just that you're better company than Spock. Now, be a good Chief Medical Officer and take out the Alien Presence Detector.

Pleased that he’s better company than Spock, MCCOY takes the Alien Presence Detector out of his fanny pack and turns it on.

CLOSE SHOT

The ALIEN PRESENCE DETECTOR is making a VERY FAINT BEEPING SOUND.

MCCOY

It’s beeping, Jim. There must be an alien somewhere.

KIRK

But where? I don't see any aliens

MCCOY

Maybe they're hiding behind those fluorescent boulders.

KIRK

Those guys in the red shirts are on the other side of the boulders. They would have seen them.

MCCOY

We don't know what these aliens look like. Maybe they've blended in with the boulders.

KIRK

Day-Glo aliens? Well, we've encountered stranger things during our five year journey. Let's see what Spock thinks.

MCCOY
(annoyed)

That's right. Go ask Spock. My ideas mean nothing unless he confirms them.

KIRK
(hands cupped to mouth)

Hey, Spock, c'mere! We got something we want to ask you!

WIDE SHOT

Spock, who's 50 yards away, looks up from what some weird looking rocks he'd been examining, and starts walking toward Kirk and McCoy. When he gets about half-way there, he notices some weird-looking gravel, and stops to examine that.

CLOSE SHOT

The Alien Presence Detector is making a SOMEWHAT LOUDER BEEPING SOUND.

MCCOY
(concerned)

Hear that, Jim? The beeping's gotten louder. There has to be aliens around here somewhere.

KIRK

Still don't see them. Bones, you sure that thing is working right?

MCCOY
(annoyed)

Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not some guy working behind the counter at Radio Shack!

KIRK

What's that have to do with anything?

MCCOY
(sheepishly)

Um, nothing I guess. I just felt like saying it.

KIRK

Well, your feelings aren't helping us identify where the beeping's coming from.

MCCOY

I know, Jim! The aliens are invisible! I bet there's a bunch of invisible aliens laughing at us right now!

KIRK

Well, then they must be soundless as well as invisible, because I don't hear any laughing.

MCCOY

Jim, I didn't say it was a full-throated "Har, har, har". They could just be chuckling.

KIRK

Let me go ask Spock (yells out to Spock) Hey, Spock, will you get over here, already?! I don't want to have to tell you again!

WIDE SHOT

Spock stops what he's doing, and walks over to Kirk and McCoy.

CLOSE SHOT

The Alien Presence Detector is now BEEPING LOUDLY.

MCCOY
(panicky)

OH, MY GOD, JIM, IT'S BEEPING LOUDER THAN EVER! THAT MEANS AN ALIEN IS IN OUR PRESENCE! OUR VERY PRESENCE! OH, NO, JIM, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?! HELP ME, JIM! SAVE ME, JIM! HIDE ME, JIM! MAYDAY! MAYDAY! OH, THIS IS TERRIBLE! THE ALIEN PRESENCE DETECTOR IS--

A thought suddenly occurs to McCoy. He calms down immediately.

MCCOY

Now I see what's going on. Spock is causing it to beep.

SPOCK

It would seem that machine has a rather biased view as to what exactly constitutes an alien.

KIRK
(with a sigh)

Bones, will you please recalibrate that thing to exclude Vulcans?

4 comments:

  1. Good one! The only thing that you left out was having one of those interchangeable crew members killed. It was always some poor anonymous schmuck who was stuck in there for that purpose. If I'd been a crew member on the Enterprise and told to beam down to a planet I'd be worried.

    ...and why would the captain, first officer and medical officer beam down to the planet, anyway? They're all officers. They're supposed to stay far away from any potential danger and let the anonymous crewmen get killed!

    Very funny and well written, Kirk. Good satire, like a Saturday Night Live skit.

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  2. *snorting oatmeal out my nose*
    i wish you would stop this, it makes my mealtimes so messy!
    no, don't stop. i'll wear a bib.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Postino--Yes, the four or five anonymous crew members--so anonymous I'm not sure their exact number--weren't offed in the above drama, but remember, you're only seeing the beginning of the episode. Who's to say they survived the rest of the script? What's odd, and potentially unfair, is that Captain Kirk was in a like-threatening situation almost every week, and always came through with flying colors. Or gold color, judging by his shirt. Whereas those other guys usually didn't even get a chance to pull out their damn phasers before getting zapped. You're right, Postino, the three most important guys always left the ship. Scotty was usually left in charge until they got back, but there's a few episodes where even he goes down to the planet. Who ran the ship then, Nurse Chapel?

    Glad you enjoyed it, Postino.

    @rraine--You may want to consider reading my blog on an empty stomach.

    Nevertheless, full stomach or not, bib or not, I'm glad you enjoyed it, rraine.

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  4. What's even more odd is that I wrote Captain Kirk was in a like-threatening situation. That should be LIFE-threatening situation

    ReplyDelete