Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Grant, Oct 19, 2012.
That would be the late William Marshall, better known as "Blacula."
Arnold Moss in TCOTK is a very underrated performance that gets overlooked a LOT - his 'reading' of Kodos' Final Orders is a wonder, and the interplay between him and Shatner is also very noteworthy. Then the genuine remorse he shows at the end when he realizes that he can no longer hide, and then the switch to horror as he realizes what Lenore has been doing is also pretty amazing.
But yes, between Windom and William Marshall as Daystrom, it is hard to pick which actor portrayed the particular brand of crazy needed for the show better:
Decker's horror at the mistake of sending his crew to the soon to be destroyed planet, and then grabbing the opportunity to commandeer the Enterprise and to get back at the planet killer is done so well - and its the little things: the Queeg-like juggling of the tapes; the disgust at having to order the Enterprise to veer off, after Spock pointing out he has to or be relieved; and the blank stare when talking to Kirk and Spock while awaiting his doom in the shuttle, and then waiting for the contact with the planet killer - girding himself, almost not being able to wait ANY longer for the release.
Then there is Marshall's Daystrom, a performance I just happened to see again YESTERDAY.. At first, Daystrom seems to be your basic nerd genius - a little awkward talking to real people, but also very proud and very, VERY protective of his invention. But when things start unraveling, he starts unraveling as well. almost like shedding layers of skin, revealing the madness within - which of course, happens to his computer as well!
One final thing - one has to be impressed with the work all through the series of Joe D'Agosta, who was Desilu's casting director at the time. Both on Trek, and on M:I, outside of the occasional Stanley Adams. he did a pretty amazing job casting both show's guest stars.
Yes, I've always really liked Windom, but it threw me when I heard a few years ago that Windom had no respect for Trek, and intended his performance to be hammy and over-the-top. Then I look at Decker in the shuttle being swallowed by the Cornicopia of Doom, and I start to see it. His expressions of fear start to look ridiculous to me, involuntarily, because Windom said that. I wish I'd never seen that quote. Maybe I'm too impressionable.
The character Lenore Karidian was supposed to be 19. Barbara Anderson was two months shy of her 21st birthday when the episode was filmed. Still pretty young.
So I said 19 and she was actually 20--thanks for clearing that up.
Although I picked five it was difficult as most were great. One stands out howeber and that is the late William Windom.
It's a fair cop; in the 80s Windom was somewhat dismissive of the show, the episode, and his performance.
That said, he came around, so much so that he gave that fan show (New Voyages, at the time) a performance that was--though over the top--a nice gesture and perhaps a bit of a mea culpa.
I was lucky enough to know the guy, and he had glowing words for the Marc Daniels and "Doomsday" at least in my presence, and acknowledged his gaffe of earlier years. Shit, it was five days in a career that spanned thousands, and many of those long past.
Thanks very much, Esteban. I'm sure he's wanted in later life to return people's appreciation, and not offend. I know the New Voyages video, and the fact of its being for charity might have overcome what he thought of TDM. You're fortunate enough to have known him, you know better than the rest of us, and he may even have changed his mind completely, in favor of the episode.
What bothers me, far too much probably, is how he felt during the performance. I suppose it comes down to my self-image. I don't like to think that I'm someone who can mistakenly take seriously an intentionally hammy piece of acting.
It's possible that what seemed like exaggerated acting to him at the time fit perfectly, for the frantic, unbalanced, guilt-ridden Decker. Windom was the king of guest roles on TV at the time, but offhand I can't remember his being that intense in other shows. Maybe he was stepping into new territory he was unsure of.
Indeed. What a colorful character and a fine performance.
My possibly neurotic little worry is over whether Windom knowingly turned in an intentionally hammy performance... and whether I "fell for it", since I did and still do consider it great.
I think other people probably protect themselves against feeling like idiots a little more efficiently than I do...
"Yes, I've always really liked Windom, but it threw me when I heard a few years ago that Windom had no respect for Trek, and intended his performance to be hammy and over-the-top. Then I look at Decker in the shuttle being swallowed by the Cornicopia of Doom, and I start to see it. His expressions of fear start to look ridiculous to me."
I agree his reaction is over the top, but remember this is a Captain in the midst of a nervous breakdown and emotional collapse.
And moments away from death.
Considering how this is a Top 5 list I am surprised Ricardo Montalban didn't get 100%. Interesting.
For my money, one of the best (and most understated) performances in all of TOS was Logan Ransey as the sly, oily Roman proconsul Claudius in "Bread and Circuses." If the episode works for you at all, it's because of him. He was always so good in any TV program I've seen him.
Many actors . . . you can tell they're acting. Ramsey made it appear effortless. It's a shame he's not better remembered.
One of my favorites as well.
I'm glad to see Mark Lenard won this little poll (RIP). Well deserved, although that doesn't belittle the other guest stars, many of whom were terrific in their own right.
I'm glad you mentioned him. I feel the same way about his performance. One of the best, a true television thespian.
Steve Ihnat as Garth brought the crazy pretty good too.
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