Star Trek: The Alternative Alternative Factor

kelloggs2066's picture

A new book has been released by Marc Cushman on the original Star Trek. Apparently the first of three volumes this is "These Are The Voyages, TOS, Season One" While I do not have a copy yet, there are a couple of excerpts online. They give some detail and anecdotes into the production of the early episodes. One episode covered explains the mystery of why "The Alternative Factor" really really really sucks.

Apparently, it was re-written at the last minute when the NBC Producer said they would refuse to run or pay for the story as written.

Now, while the article does not say what the original story was supposed to be it does give a few details such that we can piece together what might have been.

NBC objected to what was going to be the first interracial kiss on TV. Apparently, the script called for Lazarus to have a romantic relationship with a black female officer (Not Uhura) on the Enterprise. The script was re-done to remove that whole element from the show.

Well, the actor who'd been hired, and fitted into the costume quit in protest and a new actor was brought in the night before to replace him. Unfamiliar with his lines, his acting came off as terrible, but he had only just been handed the script.

The black female officer was played by Janet MacLachlan, was still in the episode. She's Lt. Masters, who's engineering station catches fire when Lazarus sabotages it to steal the Dilithium Crystals.

I can only imagine that the original script had Lazarus romancing Masters out of the crystals, in a shade of how Khan earlier romanced Lt. McGivers into releasing him.

The rest of the episode pretty much fails.
Too rushed.
Not sufficiently gaffed.
Not well thought through.

The effect of Lazarus being trapped for all eternity was badly rushed and the result stinks. While the effect shows the two Lazarus's (Lazarii?) wrestling, the description of what was to have happened was:

"One of them leaps away, clawing at the walls, trying to escape. The other Lazarus leaps on him, pulls him back, and they fall away together ... the two of them facing eternity ... and we HEAR A SOUL-SHATTERING HOWL OF ANGUISH."

Kirk's mourning of Lazarus being trapped at the end seems a rather sudden change in Kirk toward the man who, moments before was trying to kill them all and destroy the universe.

But, if one had taken those words out of William Shatner's mouth and put them into the mouth of a pretty girl mourning the loss of her lover...?

Well, I think it would have made the ep much much better.

The excerpt in question:

Available on Amazon: