Monday, November 28, 2016

Unseen Trek: "The Alternative Factor" (SECOND DRAFT)

Still from "The Alternative Factor" (1967)
Written by Don Ingalls
SECOND DRAFT, November 7, 1966
Report and Analysis by David Eversole
Originally posted at Orion Press

This draft contains the Lazarus/Charlene Masters romance subplot. The one that was ordered dropped by nervous executives. Or was it from on high? Someone had it cut, but at this late date no one is sure who it was.

Perhaps it really was cut because a Black actress was hired to play Charlene.

Perhaps it was cut because it plays very very similar to the Khan/McGivers subplot in "Space Seed."

Perhaps it was cut because it is simply bad and embarrassing, with an adult professional woman swooning instantly over the manly Lazarus, and acting like a lovestruck schoolgirl in a seventeenth-rate romance novel.

Though Ingalls never overtly states Charlene's race in the draft, a passage describes her face as a "white cameo" beneath her hair. Most of the scripts from the 1960s which I own make a point of race only when it is to indicate that someone other than a Caucasian is desired for a major role. In the script for "Court Martial," for example, Commodore Stone is specifically described as a "Negro." 

That said, I'll transcribe a couple of the breathless passages and let you decide if the romance would have strengthened this much-in-need-of-something-God-knows-what-though script. 

The script is little different from what aired except for the Charlene stuff. She is described as a chemoscientist, and is romantically pursued by Spock's protégé, Lieutenant Larry Riddle. Riddle is described as the Enterprise's "UNDER-RESEARCH OFFICER," which mostly involves expository dialogue that would be delegated to Spock in the final, aired episode.

When Lazarus makes his first remarkable recovery, he astounds McCoy by jumping out of bed and heading for the ship's gym. There he engages in almost violent physical exercise, impressing onlookers, including Charlene. Riddle is not so impressed, tells Charlene she shouldn't be either.

Charlene's first major scene is in Act Two.


CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL Sulu holding the cup, turning and carrying it into the room looking for company. In b. g. various N. D. personnel come and go. Sulu spots Charlene Masters at a table alone and crosses to her.


                                       Not now.

He sits opposite her, studies her with mock seriousness.

                                       Something I've always wondered...
                                       what's a pretty girl like you
                                       doing in a place like this anyway?

She laughs, a small musical sound:

                                       Waiting for someone like...
                                                  (the smile fades as
                                                  her eyes go past him,
                                                  hold on someone o. s.)

Sulu beams.

                                       And here all this time I thought
                                       it was Larry Riddle. . .

Sulu reacts to her sudden shift of attention, breaks off, turns:


Lazarus has just entered and stands uncertainly looking about the room. His eye finds Charlene, and he starts toward her.


Sulu glances at Charlene.


Her eyes have never left Lazarus and there is that almost imperceptible something in her manner that comes alive when a woman sees the man approach her. ANGLE WIDENS as Lazarus reaches their table. He looks at Charlene and for the first time he smiles. A small, gentle little smile, softening the hawk-like features. . .

Sulu introduces them, and is soon shown the door. Lazarus describes his world to her, and she listens, enraptured.

Later, in engineering, Larry Riddle brings Charlene a rose, invites her to have coffee. She declines, but thanks him for the rose. Disappointed, he leaves.

Later the "good" Lazarus meets Charlene in Engineering and, behind her back, steals two Lithium crystals.

In Act Three, Charlene visits Lazarus in Sickbay (for God's sake, don't ask me which Lazarus...just one of them, okay, the bad one, I think).

From the script:

She stares at him, a strange look in her eyes. He stares at her. Then. . . softly:

                                       Come here. . . Charlene. . .

Slowly she moves toward him, stands before him. He reaches out, takes one of her hands.

                                       I have moved through eternity to find you.
                                       You know that, don't you?
                                       When we first saw each other...
                                       you must have felt it.

                              were like a wounded eagle...

                                       An eagle looks a long time for his mate...
                                       and once he finds her, he never leaves her.
                                       I have looked a long time...

Now he starts to pull her close. She draws back for a moment, but his force, though gentle, is relentless.

                                       You have no idea what it's like...
                                       eternity unrolling before you...
                                       and to be alone, through all time...
                                       and then I saw you...

Hungrily, he sweeps her into his arms, kisses her hard, violently. For a moment she resists...and then she melts. Finally, he lets her go.

                                       I knew it the moment I saw you.
                                       You belong to me. It is as inevitable
                                       as my struggle. You understand me?

                                       Yes... yes...

                                       Charlene... I can't be alone any more.
                                       When the Enterprise leaves here, I will stay.
                                       I want you to stay with me.

Lazarus then tells her since they have finally found each other, he needs a really big favor. Charlene waits to be told what her new darling wishes.

We soon find out. Charlene returns to her station, starts a fire to distract her fellow crewmen, steals two crystals, and beams down with Lazarus.

Kirk follows, and the script plays out very much as in the aired version, except Charlene stands around helplessly in the background as Kirk and Lazarus fight. Once Kirk is pushed through to the parallel dimension where the papier-mâché boulders are, Charlene begins to doubt her new love, but not enough to do anything about it.

When Kirk comes back and fights raving loonie Lazarus, and pushes him through, Charlene again stands helplessly in the background.

In the end, Kirk announces that she will have to face a court-martial for her actions. But she wants to talk to Larry Riddle. We leave them as Riddle approaches her, probably so desperate for even the time of day from a "real live girl" the poor bastard will take her back.

Maybe "The Return of The Archons" really is better than this script...

DON INGALLS (1918-2014): Like Gene Roddenberry, he was an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department in the early 1950s before writing for television from 1957 to 1986. Over the course of his career he served as a writer, story editor, producer, and even director. Series he wrote for include Have Gun — Will Travel (also story editor, associate producer, and finally producer), Bonanza, The Virginian (also a producer of select episodes), The Big Valley, Adam-12, Fantasy Island (producer of seasons 4-7 and also a director of two episodes) and T. J. Hooker (also a producer). For Star Trek he wrote "The Alternative Factor" and the story for "A Private Little War" (teleplay by Gene Roddenberry). Ingalls retired to Washington state in 1987, where he completed one novel (The Watchers on the Mountain was published in 2005). He died in 2014 after a long illness. His scripts and production files are publicly accessible at Pepperdine University.

Editor's Note: When this review was originally published, it misidentified this draft as Ingall's "first draft" of "The Alternative Factor" (the copy in David Eversole's possession was missing the title page with the draft date on it). After reviewing the script material on file at both UCLA and Pepperdine University, I can now confirm that this is in fact Don Ingall's second draft, dated November 7, 1966, and delivered to the producers of Star Trek on that date.

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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