Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Unseen Trek: "The Cage" (REVISED DRAFT)

Still from "The Menagerie" aka "The Cage" (1964)
Written by Gene Roddenberry
REVISED DRAFT, dated November 20, 1964
Report and Analysis by David Eversole
Originally posted at Orion Press

This 74-page script is very narrative heavy — everything is described and explained. Again, very understandable, it was setting the scene, describing the Star Trek universe for the first time.

It is noted that Spock's limp and the bandages on the various crewmembers are a result of the recent battle on Rigel VII, thus laying to rest all the speculation that Leonard Nimoy was limping because of a real life accident. In this draft, the captain was briefly renamed James Winter, before reverting to Christopher Pike in the episode as filmed.

The Orion Slave Woman scene as scripted:

                                       ... he must wonder what it would be
                                       like to forget all that.


The transition catching him still seated. He's startled by the SOUND of strange music and wild merriment. He is now on a pillowed floor at a long low table piled high with exotic foods. His attire is rich silk robes, almost like those of an Oriental potentate. And he becomes aware he is being anxiously attended, even fawned upon, by two who have something of the "slave" in their garb and manner. Their skin has a color like Mr. Spock.

                                                        SPACE OFFICER'S VOICE
                                       You used to be Captain of the Enterprise,
                                       didn't you?

CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal the speaker is a uniformed space officer (not from the Enterprise) seated at the table. The other man is an Earth trader dressed similar to Winter but less luxuriously. Each of these men is being served by a slave woman. Around all this, a scene of barbaric splendor with an almost Oriental flavor. The MUSIC comes from a quartet seated near a fountain pool, playing unusual instruments. Here and there in the courtyard are richly exotic plants with unusual shapes.

                                                        EARTH TRADER
                                       Matter of fact he was. Used to stop
                                       here now and then...
                                                  (smiles at Winter)
                                       ...and then send Earth 
                                       a blistering report...
                                                  (pretended report)
                                       "The Orion traders are taking shocking
                                       advantage of the natives..."

Good-natured laughter interrupting this.

                                                        SPACE OFFICER
                                                  (to Winter)
                                       Do any of you have a green one? They're
                                       dangerous, I hear. Razor claws, and
                                       they attract a man like a sensation of
                                       irresistible hunger...

Winter is perceptibly startled by the familiar term: "Irresistible hunger". And why had Space Officer emphasized the words, and why is he giving Winter that searching look? The Earth Trader is also giving Winter a knowing look. He indicates Winter to the Space Officer.

                                                        EARTH TRADER
                                       Now and then comes a man who
                                       tames one.
                                                  (to Space Officer)
                                       He'd stumbled into this dark corridor,
                                       and then he saw flickering light ahead.
                                                  (to Winter)
                                       Almost like secret dreams a bored
                                       ship captain might have, wasn't it?
                                       There she was, holding a torch,
                                       glistening green...

Aware now the Talosians are definitely baiting him thru the images of these two men, Winter angrily rises. But his female servant is in his path. And in b.g., the male servant has moved to sound a NOTE on a hanging cymbal.

                                       Get out of my way, blast you!

The MUSIC changes now -- louder, a slow throbbing rhythm. Winter's attention is attracted by an exclamation of astonishment from the seated space officer. He turns to see:


Wild! Green skin, glistening as if oiled. Her fingertips are long gleaming razor-edged scimitars, her hair not unattractive but suggesting a wild animal mane. She is moving out to the open rectangle in front of the table, eyes wild. We feel she's larger than before, immensely strong. The female slaves have hurried off, frightened. But one is slower and Vina suddenly pivots with a CAT SOUND, bars a frightened female slave's escape. Winter's male servant has grabbed a whip, leaps out to intercede and Vina turns, snarling at him. The man slave swings back to lash at her.


Vina turns at the voice, eyes WINTER for a long moment.


returning the look, fascinated.


Now, her gaze riveted on WINTER, she moves to the center of the rectangle, lets the slow-powerful beat of the MUSIC reach her, the slow surging beat forcing movement out of her as a reed flute takes possession of a cobra. She SHRIEKS (dubbed wild animal cry) and the rhythm moves faster, her movements following the barbaric MUSIC.


unable to tear his eyes from her.


Now dancing wildly, animal beautiful.


as the Earth Trader looks up toward Winter, again meaningfully:

                                                        EARTH TRADER
                                       Wouldn't you say that's worth a
                                       man's soul?

Space Officer turns to eye Winter similarly.

                                                        SPACE OFFICER
                                       It makes you believe she could be
                                       anything. Suppose, you had all of
                                       space to choose from, and this was
                                       only one small sample of...

Winter tears himself from these words, turns and brushes past his retainers, hurrying into the exit door behind.

The rest is exactly as was shot.

Image courtesy of Trek Core.

This article was originally published by Orion Press and is reprinted by permission of publisher Randall Landers. All rights revert to the original authors.

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