The Cage & Captain Pike

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by EnriqueH, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    It's hard to compare Pike with Kirk because the one and only time we see him he's acting out of character. Boyce's reaction to Pike considering resigning seems to indicate this is as unthinkable as would be Kirk talking about resigning. We never really get to see Pike in-character.
     
  2. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Location:
    Miami
    I think we do get some insight into Pike's character, but they're only small hints.

    For example, while Pike is brooding in his quarters and talking to Boyce, he makes a sort of joke, something to the effect of, "Now you're sounding like a doctor...bartender."

    Or the way he reacts to the singing flowers.

    Small little touches, but obviously, you're right, Hober. It seemed like this wasn't regular Pike, but a Pike that was recently traumatized by a big failure.
     
  3. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Location:
    Erie, PA, USA
    In an alternate universe, Star Trek was sold with Pike and The Cage. I wish I could go there and purchase the entire franchise worth of canon & semi-canon material just to see the road not taken. I'll keep those oh the shelf next to all of the stuff from the universe where they continued Star Trek with Phase II. Over near the stand where I keep my Blu-Ray copies of "Planet of the Titans" and "The God Thing".
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    It would be interesting to see a Pike era fan film production on a similar level as Star Trek Continues.
     
  5. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    Republic of California
    Phase II was working on one a while ago about Kirk as a cadet dealing directly with Captain Pike. I don't remember what happened to that one.

    They also had their first major episode set in a past with a time traveling Kirk (with starship) meaing up with Captain Pike's Enterprise not too long after "The Cage" to deal with a Doomsday Machine problem caused by issues. So we get to see some instance of Captain Pike and his crew.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    Too fannish for my tastes.

    Yeah, I saw that and it didn't work for me. But then I might be biased because I didn't care for the whole production.
     
  7. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I am not an expert on Jeffrey Hunter's body of work, but I have seen a fair sampling of it and I'm pretty sure he would have been good as the captain. As an young but experienced and idealistic officer in Sergeant Rutledge he handles the commanding officer stuff very well while still showing there's a real human underneath. He could handle the lighter stuff, too, as in a number of scenes in The Searchers (I don't think John Ford would have used him in three pictures if he couldn't show a humorous side). I would like to see Custer of the West again, I saw it in my teens on TV but it doesn't ever seem to surface on cable. It's probably not historically very accurate but I really like Robert Shaw.

    As Maurice said, many TV series roles have a different characterization early on, then the actors and the writers settle into something that works. Hunter was a pro, no reason to think he couldn't have handled "breaking in" a new TV character.
     
  8. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Location:
    Miami
    Kevman, can you please make me copies and send them through the mirror universe? I'm curious to see the further adventures of Captain Pike.

    Good post.
     
  9. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Having read Harlan Ellison's first draft of the CotEoF script, I got the firm impression it had been written for use on an anthology series. I've said before, as have many others, that it would have made an excellent installment of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. The Cage does present itself in much the same way.
     
  10. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    I agree that The Cage works great as a one off. Inn 1964, I'm sure this was ground-breaking stuff on a lot of levels, besides being a really good, intelligent story, but the network execs (including Grant Tinker) weren't looking for great one-offs they were looking for a viable series and I think if we get them credit for knowing something about their business we can see that they had some good points. As Maurice noted, the cast was Hollywood standard, but you need something more for the long haul. The fact that Hunter (or perhaps Hunter's wife) wasn't up for staying with a series made the decision to change leads for them. As for whether GR planned to use The Cage footage later, he might have since he knew they would be going into unexplored territory with such a complex production. "Waste not, want not" is just as true in Hollywood as anywhere else.
    Maurice is absolutely spot on as well with his point about characters and actors evolving. The pilots for the Rockford Files, M*A*S*H and the Rockford files as well as their early episodes show exactly what he's talking about.
     
  11. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Not to mention The Rockford Files, as well! :)

    But yeah, seriously, it's almost always jarring to get to the last episode of a series, then going back to episode one. :wtf:
     
  12. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    The Cage probably could have worked OK as a feature-film if it had enough extra runtime. Of course, the planet sets are obviously backdrops. I don't know how well that would have played at the time, but other than that, the production values are very high, higher than one would expect for a sci-fi TV show at the time. Also consider that its closest rival (Lost in Space) debuted in B&W. Of course, if they didn't want to pick it up as a series they probably wouldn't have wanted to try to get it into theaters.

    Are there any other failed sci-fi pilots that were produced at the same quality level of The Cage that were never even broadcast once? You'd think they would have found a way to use it one way or the other.
     
  13. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    If NBC hadn't picked up Star Trek as a series, you can bet that Desilu would have used the pilot episode in some fashion, either theatrically (Roddenberry made initial overtures to Hunter about expanding the pilot to feature length, but was rebuffed, and all of the principals had theatrical residuals built into their contracts) or as a movie-of-the-week or a segment of an anthology series.

    Quality level is, of course, subjective, but I'm not aware of any failed sf pilots from the era that had comparable production values to "The Menagerie." In more contemporary terms, I don't believe The Robinsons: Lost in Space was ever broadcast. John Woo directed that, so I doubt it came cheap, but I'm not sure it was ever finished (the version leaked online is rough).
     
  14. Last Redshirt

    Last Redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    On the Starship Enterprise
    When I first saw it, I thought it wasn't special, and kind of low for the standard of Trek laid out in the five some decades after it. But, after repeated viewings, it's grown on me. Jeffrey Hunter plays a completely different captain than Shatner, which makes it really good.

    Is there any Captain Pike novel series? I'd love to read that shit.
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Good point. I think that Hunter would have grown in to the role, especially once he got past the more morose aspect of Pike at the time of the Cage. The recovery process over the loss of seven people dying would not feature for long.

    Pike was, without a doubt, one of my favorite captains, and someone I felt was under-appreciated, but given the popularity of Shatner that perhaps is unfair.

    I will be looking for more books with Pike in it, just as an interest in seeing more of that era. It is a rather interesting era. Not just different uniforms, but a different feel. The whole Orion slave woman thing was an odd bit thrown in there too.
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    From this can I assume that Hunter's agent turned down offer detailed in the June 17, 1965 Perlstein memo where they offered to release him from any Trek obligations with a few stipulations, including being available to shoot additional scenes for a feature film version?
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    You know, I had forgotten about that document. Thanks for reminding me of it.

    In my initial post, I was mainly thinking of Roddenberry's letter to Hunter dated April 5, 1965. Re-reading the June 17, 1965 memo now, I think I was mistaken when I wrote that Hunter rebuffed Roddenberry's overtures. The reverse seems more likely to be true.

    All we know is what's contained in those two documents: that Roddenberry suggested the option of expanding "The Menagerie" into a theatrical feature in a personal note to Hunter in April, and that the option of shooting new footage for a theatrical version was proposed to Hunter (and his agent) as part of an offer to get him out of the remainder of his contract in June.

    There's no confirmation that Hunter accepted the agreement, I'm afraid, but I think it's likely that he did. A commitment to film a few new scenes for a theatrical version would have been a short-term one and would have resulted in Hunter appearing in a starring role in a theatrical film.

    Ultimately, of course, the second pilot was made and Star Trek was ordered to series by NBC on the basis of it, so the theatrical option never materialized.
     
  18. Kobayshi Maru

    Kobayshi Maru Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Location:
    France
    The Men In Black is a good example.
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Location:
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada
    Road To Perdition is another one that occurs to me.

    I have quite enjoyed some comic titles in terms of story, writing and art. I think its a perfectly viable medium for telling solid stories for Star Trek or something like it. Unfortunately I think the time of comics as we know them is waning. They no longer offer bang-for-the-buck value and its been that way for years, with the exception of graphic novels and trade collections. I, for one, see more value (over monthly titles) in straight-to-video animated features. Its simply a more immersive, more immediate and dynamic experience than static images on a few pages no matter how nice the art.

    Now that said it's possible the comic medium could find new life online as opposed to the (relatively) costly monthly print version on a mere twenty-two pages.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  20. Kobayshi Maru

    Kobayshi Maru Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Location:
    France
    It's amazing how much one can expand on a single episode.