Saturday, August 31, 2013

Whither Riley?

Bruce Hyde as Lt. Riley in 'The Conscience of the King' (1966)
I just have a short and somewhat trivial post today, as I continue work on further content for the weeks ahead. In the future I'm planning a lengthy review of Marc Cushman's new and controversial book, These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One (2013), a detailed article about the writing process of 'A Private Little War,' an examination of the oft-made claim that the infamous 'Spock's Brain' was conceived as a comedy, and a look at the production staff's amusing reactions to William Shatner's struggle with his weight during the series.

My post today results from reading Marc Cushman's These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One.  In the early pages of the book, the author makes the following claim about 'The Man Trap,' the first episode of Star Trek to air on NBC:
The second scene -- Kirk's first visit to the bridge in this episode -- features Bruce Hyde (as Lt. Kevin Riley) at the helm, a character introduced in the next episode.
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are the Voyages: TOS, Season One (2013), p.173.
A few pages later, in the chapter about 'The Naked Time,' Cushman repeats this unfamiliar claim:
We were given a glimpse of Lt. Kevin Riley in 'The Man Trap,' sitting at the helm, but with no dialogue (that shot was actually taken during the filming of this episode as a 'pick-up').
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are the Voyages: TOS, Season One (2013), p.184.
Memory Alpha certainly has no mention of this non-speaking appearance, either in its entry for actor Bruce Hyde or the character of Kevin Riley, but as a community-authored wiki, the website certainly isn't comprehensive.  When Hyde was interviewed for the website Star Trek History, Marc Daniels using him for a pick-up shot for 'The Man Trap' wasn't mentioned, either, but Hyde readily admits that his memory of Star Trek is a bit hazy, so the omission is hardly definitive.

Since Cushman and Osborn make no mention of any archival documentation in support of this claim, nor do they reference any interview comments from Hyde, Daniels, or any others in reference to it, it follows that the only way to confirm or debunk the claim would be to examine the episode itself.

In the scene from 'The Man Trap' identified by Cushman and Osborn -- Kirk's first visit to the bridge -- William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Nichelle Nichols are the only three actors to appear with the exception of one shot which occurs early in the scene and is pictured below:

Still from 'The Man Trap' (1966)
Dedicated Star Trek fans will immediately notice that the helm station isn't even seen in this shot. The actor in the foreground is sitting at the navigator's station. They'll also notice that the young man at the navigator's station isn't Bruce Hyde at all -- for one thing, his eyes are the wrong color -- but instead a background actor and occasional stunt performer by the name of Budd Albright, who later appears in a different uniform as another poor victim of the salt vampire.

Perhaps the book misidentified the scene in question? I entertained this possibility, but the episode doesn't bear it out. The navigation and helm stations are seen in the opening of the episode, but they are manned by Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Leslie (Eddie Paskey). The helm is seen one last time near the end of the episode, but there it is manned by Mr. Sulu (George Takei). The arm of someone at the navigator's station can be barely seen, but I have my doubts that it belongs to Bruce Hyde.

Images courtesy of Trek Core.


These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One (Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, 2013)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Harvey. I look forward to your upcoming articles.

    Dave Eversole