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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old July 5 2014, 08:16 PM   #1
Kamdan
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Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

We all know the story behind the production of this episode and now the Ellison's original screenplay is being realized as a comic book. Along with just about everything, Ellison hated the casting of Joan Collins as Edith Keeler, so this got me thinking of had this episode been produced, as written, who do you think would have played the major guest parts: Lieutenant Beckwith, Lieutenant LeBeque, Edith Keeler, and Trooper. If you have ideas for the Guardians as well, feel free to share.
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Old July 6 2014, 12:20 AM   #2
Sir Rhosis
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

In my mind's eye, I always pictured Dennis Hopper as Beckwith. Never gave a lot of thought to the others. Always enjoyed Jacqueline Scott's many guest turns on television in the 60s, so perhaps her as Edith.

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Old July 6 2014, 01:19 AM   #3
Christopher
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

You know, I'm generally happier with the final version than Ellison's, but I tend to agree that Collins was miscast. Edith was written as more of a tough, streetwise, no-nonsense type, not this rarefied upper-class Englishwoman. I can't think of a good candidate offhand, though.
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Old July 6 2014, 03:23 AM   #4
mach7
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

For Edith I would go with Suzanne Pleshete or Anne Frances.

I also like the aired version better.
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Old July 6 2014, 05:18 AM   #5
Daddy Todd
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

I thought I remembered Ellison suggesting casting in his book about the episode, so I pulled it off the shelf with the intention of thumbing through the introduction to see if I could find it.

A couple hours later, and I've pretty much read the entire 30,000 word introduction. Much disdain for Joan Collins (mostly for her badly written memoirs) but no suggestion who Harlan might have cast as Edith Keeler. Dammit!
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Old July 6 2014, 06:18 AM   #6
Kamdan
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

So far liking the suggestions. I'm interested to see how Keeler will be portayed in the comic book, as she is supposed to based off of Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, an evangelist from the 1930's.
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Old July 6 2014, 04:06 PM   #7
Mysterion
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

Bruce Dern as Beckwith
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Old July 6 2014, 04:20 PM   #8
ToddPence
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

I've said on these forums before that I would have cast Robert Duvall as Beckwith. Duvall was still primarily a television actor at this time and had done VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and TIME TUNNEL, so why not STAR TREK?

I've also said in the past that Lois Nettleton would have made a great Edith Keeler.

For Trooper, I'm almost thinking that you would have to cast a genuine amputee. I wonder if there were any in the SAG at the time?
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Old July 6 2014, 04:27 PM   #9
trevanian
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

I've never had a problem with Collins in the ep (she manages to handle the most excessively GR-esque speeches without inducing cringes, which counts for something in my book.), but given when the show was done, and how much they liked using her in subsequent seasons, I wonder if they read Diana Muldaur for the role?

Ellen Burstyn was doing TV at the time (did TIME TUNNEL that same year), she could have really brought it, too.

Michael Pataki from TRIBBLES would have been a good Beckwith. Trooper is the real trick; he has to work wonders with almost no material at all. If it were 20 years later I'd say Tracey Walter from REPO MAN. If he were reined in heavily (and would have taken such a small part) I'd say William Windom, just guessing out loud.
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Old July 6 2014, 09:35 PM   #10
Maurice
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

Trooper would've been a tricky bit of casting, cause you'd need an actor who can sell it with only a few lines and some body language. He's basically the antithesis of Beckwith, someone who will throw himself in to help a stranger if they've treated him with a little dignity.
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Old July 6 2014, 09:37 PM   #11
Sir Rhosis
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

^^^Although too young at the time, perhaps Roberts Blossom as he appeared in the late 80s is the image I would go for -- gaunt, unshaven, etc.

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Old July 6 2014, 09:53 PM   #12
Maurice
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

City takes place only 15 years after the start of The Great War, so Trooper would really only be about 35ish.
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Old July 6 2014, 10:09 PM   #13
Sir Rhosis
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

You're right.

Ya know, I first read Ellison's City around 1985 or so, and by damn, I've always pictured Trooper as old. Sometimes the obvious just doesn't register!
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Old July 9 2014, 02:58 AM   #14
IndyTechTrekkie
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

You know, I never understood why Ellison was so critical of this episode (other than he felt he didn't get credit).

This is a classic star trek episode and is one of two (that I know of) episodes to get a hugo award.
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Old July 9 2014, 03:31 AM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Cast Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever

IndyTechTrekkie wrote: View Post
You know, I never understood why Ellison was so critical of this episode (other than he felt he didn't get credit).
He got full and exclusive credit. He was the only billed scriptwriter on the episode even though Fontana and Roddenberry shaped much of the final draft. So credit was never the problem. He just didn't like having his words and ideas altered. Some authors thrive on collaboration, while others can't stand making compromises. I've always found it strange that an author so unwilling to compromise his ideas spent so much of his career in a collaborative field like screenwriting.

Also, he just likes having stuff to complain about. He built a career-long reputation on being an angry rabblerouser and curmudgeon. Basically he was a shock jock before there was such a term.
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