Yesterday, September 8th was the 53rd Anniversary of Star Trek, and aren’t we lucky to have had this happyplace in our lives? Wishing Happy Anniversary to the surviving cast of The Original Series, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei and Walter Koenig, and happy memories of our beloved other cast members, Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelley, James Doohan, Majel Barret, Grace Lee Whitney, and of course the creator, Gene Roddenberry. The dream of a better future lives on with Star Trek in all of it’s incarnations! May its vision of a peaceful and caring society truly live long and prosper!
One thing I loved about the original series is that even though not all characters had equal time, there were countless little moments where we’d see the human (or otherwise) nature of characters that would give us a peek into their personalities. Little quirks anyone could understand. In honor of 53 years of Star Trek, here are 53 moments of my favorite TOS episodes, 🙂
Also, more coverage of my visit to TreKonderoga in August coming this week!
Vina gets her wish in The Cage
“Jim.” A sad second of helplessness from Gary Mitchell.
“I can hear it too!”
Uhura bored at a meeting in Corbomite Manuever
Spock nearly apoligizing to Kirk in Corbomite Manuever
Christine hears Corby for the first time in years
Eve tells Ben Childress what to do with his pots and pans
And he does.
Spock grins while playing his harp.
Uhura sings the charms of Spock
Riley in full cowboy mode
Spock collapses against door
Spock’s first mind-meld.
Jim’s beautiful eyes.
RUk lifts Kirk like a baby.
Sulu casually says ‘No’ to Trelane’s food.
Uhura does NOT like Trelane’s
“They are as high above us as we are above the ameoba.”
McCoy and his fantasy showgirls
“With all due respect to the young lady…”
“You’re holding a knife at your physcian’s throat.
Marla entranced by Kahn
‘WE offered the world ORDER!”
“You couldn’t pronounce it”
Kirk misty-eyed after Edith’s kiss.
McCoy gently giggles with Edith.
“Athena! You were right!”
Evil Spock’s first appearance.
Jim reminding Marlena how a lover should kiss.
“Why are you monitoring my communications Mr. Sulu?”
UPDATE! (7-4-2021) I found another one! In The Omega Glory, the Kohm servant has a naked navel, but the moment is so quick, you may not have noticed! Sneaky!
In crazy times like these, perhaps we should contemplate our navels; or at least the ones on TOS.
As someone who loves costume design, I’ve always been curious as to the battles that costume designers face, be it making the costumes under budget and on time, to keeping within any restrictions given by the studio or network.
When the Original Series aired from 1966-69 on NBC, the network’s Standards and Practices (S&P) team were recruited to assure that rules were being followed to avoid censorship. For some reason, a woman’s navel was considered too sexy for family time, which is why Barbara Eden’s costume on NBC’s I Dream of Jeannie kept the waist of her harem pants high.
So how did William Ware (Bill) Theiss, master of the costume universe, keep to this rule? Well, he didn’t; just enough that the S&P didn’t notice! Bill figured no one would care about navels in the future, and slipped in the scary umbilicus whenever he could. But who won the battle of censorship? Let’s keep score – TOS vs. S&P:(and my scoring system is total nonsense!)
Exhibit A: The Cage.Theiss designed the iconic costumes from The Cage (1964) onward. And in The Cage, everyone knew Vina as the green Orion in a shiny reptile skin, with no navel exposure but lots of cut-outs. HOWEVER, there were also servers and other dancers in the background in harem-ish costumes with exposed navels:
SCORE: TOS – 1 S&P – 0
Exhibit B: The Corbomite Maneuver & Charlie X The network had no trouble with the good Captain exposing his navel, and practically welcomed it. Probably to present Kirk as the macho alpha male. Both sides win. Look at that nice flat tummy. Put a pin in these pictures for now.
SCORE: TOS – 2 S&P – 1
Exhibit C: Mudd’s Women.
Although Harry Mudd’s ‘escorts’ were quite stylish, none had exposed navels (although there were hip, thigh and cleavage slashes).
SCORE: TOS – 2 S&P – 2
Exhibit D: The Naked Time.
The S&P need not worry at the episode’s title, as Sulu (George Takei) was the only one who was half naked, but even his navel was covered with a high modest waistband!
SCORE: TOS – 2 S&P – 3
Exhibit D:What Are Little Girls Made Of.
Andrea the Android (Sherry Jackson) exposed plenty with her X-shaped jumpsuit bodice, but not her navel! Theiss gets a half point for it’s daring.
SCORE: TOS – 2.5 S&P – 4
Exhibit E: Shore Leave
McCoy’s Showgirls may have worn fluorescent Tribbles for brassieres, but their dangerously inappropriate navels are plugged up with teeny tiny Tribbles; making them safe for democracy. Half point for cleverness.
SCORE: TOS – 3 S&P – 4.5
Exhibit F: A Taste of Armageddon
Mea 3 (Barbara Babcock) and the women of Eminiar VII exposed their flanks in fancy togas, but not their navels!
SCORE: TOS – 3 S&P – 5.5
Exhibit G: Catspaw
In Sylvia’s (Antoinette Bower) little fashion show for Kirk, she exposes her rib cage, but no navel! 1/2 point for daring.
SCORE: TOS – 3.5 S&P – 6.5
Exhibit H: Who Mourns for Adonais?
Who could forget Carolyn Palamas’ iconic candy pink toga? It exposed Leslie Parrish’s entire back, right arm, some leg and a considerable amount of torso and hip, but no navel. There are two conflicting stories about this stunning creation. Theiss stated in The Making of Star Trek , the costume held in place without any need for anchoring tape, while later I read that Ms. Parish did have to be taped in to avoid censorship. I’m still giving this one a full point for just being beautifully designed and engineered! They each get a half point because I want to round up the score!
SCORE: TOS -5 S&P- 7
Exhibit I: Wolf in the Fold
There was a big trend in 1960s movies and TV for belly dancers and harems (maybe inspired by I Dream of Jeannie?). Trek was no exception. The first person we see in Wold in the Fold is Kara (Tanya Lemani) in her magnificent belly dancer garb, complete with plastic used-car-lot fringe! Beautiful! But she dare not show her navel so a little pink flower was plunked in there! Must be a good adhesive because despite Kara’s shimmy, it never falls out! Btw, Tanya is one of my Facebook pals, and Tanya, if you’re reading this, <3 Hi! <3 Tanya is still dancing these days and she rocks! Love ya, girl! TOS gets a half star for daring.
SCORE: TOS – 5.5 S&P – 8
Exhibit J: The AppleWell, the S&P must have had that week off, because all the natives of Gamma Trianguli VI had nekkid navels! Three points for Bill Theiss getting away with it! TOS inches into the lead!
SCORE: TOS – 8.5 S&P – 8
Exhibit K: Mirror, Mirror With this blatant display of the alternate universe female uniform, it is said that the crew lured the S&P member off the set with a big lunch to film Uhura’s bridge scene! But how did he not notice Marlena? By now it was 1967, maybe the Summer of Love got the censors less uptight! (Now if only Spock was allowed to wear his tunic open!). Two points for each actress getting away with it!
SCORE: TOS – 10.5 S&P – 8
Exhibit L: I, Mudd For heaven’s sake! Even Norman had a navel! (maybe a charger port…or three?) But the Alices and all the other female android series kept theirs hidden! 1 for S&P!
SCORE: TOS – 10.5 S&P – 9
Exhibit : Bread and Circuses The network never seemed to complain of exposed hip bones on minor characters like Drusilla here, but no navel. Clever (and a bit creepy) credit for use of chain as an accessory here, 1/2 point to TOS for originality, 1 Point for S&P.
SCORE: TOS – 11 S&P – 10
Exhibit M: A Private Little WarNona (Nancy Kovak) may have been a Kanutu Woman, but she was also a perfect precursor to 60’s hippie girls! Between her low slung leather bell bottoms (with the emphasis on bell) and her macrame necklace she was ahead of the Woodstock generation by 2 years! Of course, California is usually ahead of the curve fashion-wise from the rest of the country, so Theiss was probably surrounded by this in LA. Even so, she’s proud of her navel and you better not cross her S&P, she’s armed! 1 point for TOS!
SCORE: TOS – 12 S&P – 9
Exhibit N – The Gamesters of Triskellion
Everyone remembers Shahna (Angelique Pettyjohn) for her aluminum bikini, but despite it’s boldness and its possibility as a popcorn popper, it still modestly hides her navel. And that bikini is also a marvel of engineering. Whereas all the other drill thralls (and the Enterprise crew) wore their harnesses on the outside, Shannah’s harness is incorporated into her bikini; which means she can’t wear one without the other. Well, at least she could tuck her matching gloves into it when she wasn’t using them. Half point to TOS for its skimpiest costume yet, but a full point to S&P.
SCORE: TOS – 12.5 S&P – 10
Exhibit O – Patterns of Force
Well well, two navels appear here, although the Captain’s we’ve seen before, (see above), blessedly, this will be the last time we see Kirk’s navel for the rest of the series.* The good Captain is not quite as fit as he was in Season 1, but then, ANYONE would look a bit doughy next to Spock’s remarkably lean frame. TOS gets a 1/2 point for finally letting Spock lose his shirt. *and YES, I know that Kirk was stripped to the waist in The Empath, but we only see his front from the pectorals up!)
SCORE: TOS – 13 S&P – 10
Exhibit P – The Omega Glory and The Savage Curtain Did you ever notice that Sirah of Omega Glory and Zora of Savage Curtain both wore the same tattered two-piece? Zora added a fur piece, but there was no denying that Theiss had cleverly covered their navels (just barely) with a convenient flap? Of course in battle scenes, the flap would flip up, but censors didn’t catch it! One point for TOS recycling!
SCORE: TOS – 14 S&P – 10
Exhibit Q: Assignment: Earth We only see her for a second, but when Isis (April Tatro) is revealed as a woman, she’s breaking the rules, as any good cat would. 1 point for TOS sneaking it in!
SCORE: TOS – 15 S&P – 10
Exhibit R: Elaan of Troyus The warrior Elaan got to wear 4 different gorgeous costumes while on the Enterprise, all stunning and suggestive, but none with the dreaded navel. Her silver appliques here blot it out. S&P gets 4 points for still getting their way with 4 different costumes!
SCORE: TOS – 15 S&P – 14
Exhibit S: That Which Survives Losira (Lee Meriwether) might have been for Mr. D’Amato, but her pants were purely for modesty. High-waisted with a ridiculous anti-navel flap, the S&P had won again! And we’re tied.
TOS – 15 S&P 15
Exhibit T – For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.
For the leader of a civilization, it’s a shame Natira had only oneglorious gown (maybe Elaan used up all the budget!) But despite her prestigious title, she was beholden to the network S&P, with her navel wrapped up like a very fancy mummy. Still quite gorgeous. Kudos and a point to Theiss for continuing to work with metallic fabrics (which he loathed!) and a point to S&P for winning again! Like Natira’s gown, we’re still tied up!
TOS – 16 S&P 16
Exhibit U: The Cloud Minders I think by this time in Season Three, Theiss was getting pretty sick of navel restrictions. By the time they filmed The Cloud Minders, the 74th episode of the last season, I don’t think S&P were too vigilant anymore. Hence, Theiss let ’em have it with two prominent displays here. 2 points for TOS! Someday I want a tummy like Vanna again – (Droxine, please eat something!) <3
TOS – 18 S&P 16
Exhibit V: The Way to Eden
Gotta let Hippes be Hippies. Yeah, the episode was dated, but Irina’s gown was impeccable! With a lonely little navel in the flower patch, it’s Hippie chic! One point for TOS.
TOS – 19 S&P 16
Exhibit W: All Our Yesterdays Zarabeth’s covering is little more than rags tied around her body, but she still keeps her navel modestly covered. Kudos for remaining remarkably clean in a damp cave! Theiss gets a full point for leading the way in TV costume, S&P get’s a point for still getting their way.
I always loved when we’d see a glimpse of Spock with his lyre. It would be nice to see him with it in the next movie. (But wait, that would mean a moment of quiet meditation and you can’t have that in a blockbuster action picture!) Anyway, here’s Spock at his best musical self…
Sweetest scene ever!
A scene sadly cut from the original series. From Elaan of Troyus.
Keeping it handy in his quarters
This always made me cringe…
The Platonians were sadists, but it was nice of them to think of Spock’s musical side…
One aspect of the Original Series production design that always intrigued me was the use of openwork grids as dividers in crew quarters, engineering, and other areas on the Enterprise and sometimes on planets. The honeycomb grids were often repainted in different colors and used wherever needed. They were definitely reflective of mid-century style, which was probably considered most futuristic. Yet somehow, as industrial as the grids looked, I somehow found them strangely cozy; maybe it was the way they were lit or especially the way their shadows fell on the characters at stealthy or dramatic moments.
All the grid-work inspired me to manipulate screen caps into this little collage, along with some other fancy openwork panel dividers that set the mood! If you zoom in on this, you can see some of the characters. 🙂
I got to looking at some stills from Season 1 of Trek and I gotta tell you, I think the lighting in season 1 was some of the most beautiful in the history of television. The lighting had film noir quality with lots of shadows and ‘baby’ spotlights on the eyes. By Season 3, the budget was tighter than ever and the lighting just wasn’t as ethereal and painterly as it was in the first two seasons.
Anyway, here’s some sublimely lit Spock for you…
By the way, have you ever wondered why the background color on this site is lavender purple? Now you know! All the walls of the Enterprise sets were painted gray, but the lighting gave them their beautiful pastel shades. Kudos to Director of Photography Jerry Finnerman for his light artistry.