The Cage was a better pilot than WNMHGB

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Kaelef, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Cap’n Claus

    Cap’n Claus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They would have had to film additional material, which the studio apparently balked at.
     
  2. Maurice Navidad

    Maurice Navidad Maurice, the ATARI CX5200 Premium Member

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    Source for that balking?
     
  3. King Bob!

    King Bob! History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    I find both pilots really entertaining.
     
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  4. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    I like Corbomite better than either. :techman:
     
  5. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    No they wouldn’t have needed to. In its present form it clocks in at 63 minutes. That would’ve been enough for a “B” movie in that time.
     
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  6. marlboro

    marlboro Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Loved both episodes, but I think The Cage was the better of the two.
     
  7. Push The Button

    Push The Button Commodore Commodore

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    I love The Cage, but WNMHGB is the one that got the show on the air.
     
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  8. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Irwin Allen would have an answer for that: let's take some generic footage from other movies and put it in as psychedelic "dream sequence" illusions for Pike in captivity. And we can open the film with a presenter who just walks out in front of a curtain and courteously prepares the audience for "an adventure that will dazzle and shock you!" It worked for Frankenstein.

    Can you imagine, in 1965, going to the drive-in and having "The Menagerie" (as it would be called) come on as the second part of a double feature? You wouldn't know you were losing a TV series. It would just seem like the coolest thing.
     
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  9. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Inside Star Trek. THough ISTR that reports that it was Hunter who refused to return for the extra material.
     
  10. Maurice Navidad

    Maurice Navidad Maurice, the ATARI CX5200 Premium Member

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    That's not the studio balking.
     
  11. Maurice Navidad

    Maurice Navidad Maurice, the ATARI CX5200 Premium Member

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    That still costs money because you have to license the clips. Fox had a library of films it owned which could be mined for The TIme Tunnel, etc., but Desilu did not and would have had to pay for stock.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It was not unheard of back then for TV episodes to have additional footage shot to expand them to feature films for overseas theatrical release. For instance, The Man from UNCLE did that with its pilot and several of its 2-parters, adding more sex and violence that they couldn't get away with on American TV but that European filmgoers would be fine with. So it wouldn't have been out of the question to do the same with "The Cage." If the show hadn't gone to series, Desilu might've gone ahead and done that to recoup their investment. But of course, it did go to series, so that wasn't necessary. I have the impression from somewhere that it was Roddenberry's decision to save it for incorporation into the series proper.
     
  13. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just like NBC, I am uncertain The Cage would have worked on neyworkmtv at that time. It was a better SF show.
     
  14. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Hadn't the shorter B/second feature died out by 1965, with double bills generally filled out with recycled, older feature pictures?
     
  15. mb22

    mb22 Captain Captain

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  16. pfontaine2

    pfontaine2 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I really like both pilots but as previously mentioned, The Cage isn't representative of a weekly episode. There were planet sets, creatures and aliens with extensive makeup, outdoor location shooting etc. It truly represented the scope of what Star Trek could be, but not what a budget conscious show could produce week in and week out.

    WNMHGB has one huge advantage though and that is a likable lead actor as Captain. Hunter was incredibly serious and underplays what should have been moments of levity (his smirk after he pokes fun of Number One on the bridge is barely perceptible). Shatner on the other hand is bright, open and accessible. He laughs at comments, is on friendly terms with his first officer, bridge crew and other staff (Pike seemed so isolated emotionally), and owns the bridge in a way that Hunter does not. I always liked the fact that Shatner sits on the railing while he and Spock are reviewing the tapes from the Hood. He's both casual and authoritative at the same time.

    It's a very impressive performance and honestly feel that Shatner's presence was truly instrumental in selling the show despite the fact that Spock quickly became the breakout character once the show started airing regular episodes.
     
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  17. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Thanks, I think that link basically supports what I was saying, that double features by the mid '60s were a first-run and slightly older features, but basically feature length of c. 90 minutes or more. Not like the old days of newsreel, serial, B picture and A picture, with the B movie running 60-80 minutes, and toward the longer end of the range in the '40s and '50s. But, now that I think about it, I can see some distributor picking up "The Cage" for a drive-in double feature, possibly at a bargain price.
     
  18. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Only NBC would feel THE MAN TRAP to be a worthier premiere episode than WNMHGB.

    Those who saw the first three aired episodes might have scratched their heads at the sudden wardrobe alterations, lack of skirts included, as well as older-looking technology. Another thing it's got which MAN TRAP and CHARLIE X don't is Mr. Scott.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thanks to The Outer Limits and the Irwin Allen shows, the presumption of the network suits was that sci-fi shows were about monsters. "The Man Trap" was the only monster-centric episode they had in the can. You could count Scary Balok Puppet as a monster, but the FX on "Corbomite" weren't done yet.


    They'd have done the same if WNM had come first, just in the other direction. And I don't think 1966 viewers would've seen it as "older-looking." We just perceive it that way because "The Menagerie" defined it as being from 13 years earlier. If anything, I'd say that at least one pilot detail, the gooseneck communication screens, looked more advanced than the big boxy monitors we got in the series proper.

    Anyway, it surely wasn't the first time in TV history that something had inexplicably changed between pilot and series, or that a change happened between episodes without explanation. Viewers back then weren't as literal-minded as today; they understood that TV was artifice, a theatrical production that only approximated reality to a relative degree and was subject to imperfections and adjustments along the way. The age of live TV would've still been in fairly recent memory, so viewers would've been used to productions where blatant errors occurred and the actors just went on regardless, or where the main actor in a live soap opera might be replaced with an understudy for a week or so.
     
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  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    I like the Cage, largely for Pike, and the strange, otherworldliness of the Talosians. That said, as a pilot for a TV show it didn't really connect for the characters on an emotional level. Pike is highly serious and depressed, but we don't really see that joy of life fully return.

    WNMHGB feels like the crew have more relationships going than the crew in "The Cage."