I was never a big fan of the original Star Trek series. It seemed like during the summers a kid it was on TV all the time, and I couldn’t get past how cheesy it seemed. I am much more camp Piccard than camp Kirk. This is an interesting story about the original Star Trek, and if you’re a fan of the original series, you may remember “The Doomsday Machine” episode. That episode was apparently one of the more popular episodes of the original series and was written by Norman Spinrad.
Spinrad wrote that one episode only, or so most fans thought. It appears that the writer also penned another episode titled “He Walked Among Us” which was intended to be a dramatic episode. The episode was written around Milton Berle as the star. Apparently, a producer named Gene L. Coon didn’t see Berle as a dramatic actor and instead rewrote the episode as a comedy.
Spinrad says that the rewrite was so bad that he begged series creator Gene Roddenberry to kill it. Apparently, Roddenberry read through the episode and agreed, and it was never filmed. At some point, the original script was lost and ended up in the hands of a fan. That fan returned the script to Spinrad 45 years later. If you’re a fan of the original series and that single aired Spinrad episode, you will be positively giddy that Spinrad plans to publish the episode script, as he originally wrote it, as an e-book you can purchase for your Kindle. There is no word on when the book will be available. You can read Spinrad’s version of the events below.
This original version was rewritten into an unfunny comedy by the line producer Gene Coon apparently unaware that Uncle Miltie was also a serious dramatic actor and a good one. It t was so bad that I complained to Roddenberry.
“This is so lousy, Gene, that you should kill it!” I told him. “You can’t, you shouldn’t, shoot this thing! Read it and weep!”
Gene did, and he agreed with me. I killed my second Star Trek, which, down through the years has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost residuals.