(Thanks to Star Trek: Renegades for posting a pristine
version of this on You Tube. I love you all.)
Planet X Studios and Sky Douglas Conway presents a Tim Russ Film
(Black and white
television images of cowboys sitting on a rock. Probably Wagon Train.)
MAN [on TV]: This is the strangest planet I've ever encountered.
MAN 2 [on TV]: Fascinating, Captain. They appear to have adapted
culture from the late nineteenth century.
(An alarm goes off. A man sits on his sofa and begins typing. Working
title - To The Stars pilot episode by Gene Roddenberry. He has a sketch
of what might
generously be described as NCC1701 nearby for inspiration. The man
turns on his radio.)
RADIO: And apparently the culprit struck again last night, stealing red
shirts right off the backs of different three people.
(The man returns with a mug of coffee, now wearing a Los Angeles Police
RADIO: The suspects narrowly escaped capture by Officer T J Hooker, who
sustained minor hot coffee burns to his leg while giving chase. Police
otherwise have very few leads.
(The telephone rings.)
RADIO: Into what many are now calling the Red Shirt Bandit.
(He turns the radio down and answers the phone.)
RODDENBERRY: Hello? Hey. Yeah, yeah, I'm still working on the third
act. You know, where the wagon train is attacked by indians, but the
indians turn out to be outlaws disguised as indians. Yeah. Yeah, I
should have the script finished by the end of the week. Yeah, well,
I've put off the science fiction thing for a while. Haven't been able
to find time to finish it. It's still missing something. I don't know.
Maybe it needs more elements. I want to make it deeper, more meaningful
than anything else on the air right now. No, no, I'm still working on a
title. How about Star Man? Yeah, yeah, that's stupid. Star Search? You
know, like a sci fi version of The Searchers? Yeah, yeah, that's not
quite right. Star Wars? No, that's too corny. Okay, okay, I'll think
(He puts the phone down. The doorbell rings. He opens the small hatch
in the door to reveal Walter Koenig.)
LOFCHECK: You are behind in your rent, Mister Roddenberry.
RODDENBERRY: Mister Lofcheck, I don't think so. There must be some kind
of mistake. I've always paid my rent on time.
Maybe you're getting me confused with Mister Mudd in number two?
I am not confusing. I check off all my tenants in this little black
book. This little black book that you capitalists call a little black
book. But do you know that the original little black book was inwented
by a little old lady from Uzbekistan?
RODDENBERRY: No, I, I didn't know that.
LOFCHECK: Why don't you use Russian cowboys in your Wagon Train?
RODDENBERRY: Russian cowboys.
Yes, we have all the weapons. We got MiGs and Kalashnikovs and Jakob
Smirnoff. And there is more than one kind of redskin.
RODDENBERRY: It's an idea.
LOFCHECK: Do you know orche chornaya?
RODDENBERRY: Not personally, no.
LOFCHECK: (sings) Orche chornaya, orche guchya, orche yasnaya, ipre
dons his white helmet and mounts his police motorcycle.)
(Out on patrol, he is
waiting at lights when another biker with massive dreadlocks and a full
beard pulls up
alongside. The back of his jacket proclaims him a member of
Kliguns. Roddenberry watches him ride away thoughtfully. Further on, a
latino man runs into the road and waves him down. Hello, Robert
SHIRTLESS MAN: Mister Police! Mister Police.
RODDENBERRY: Just calm down, sir.
SHIRTLESS MAN: He has stolen my red shirt.
RODDENBERRY: All right, just calm down. Can you give me a description?
MAN: Yeah, it was a sweat shirt, large, one hundred percent cotton,
with a little embroidered dart right here on my chest.
RODDENBERRY: I meant the perpetrator, sir.
SHIRTLESS MAN: Oh. Medium, I think. Yeah, medium. Everything medium.
RODDENBERRY: Can you give me anything more?
SHIRTLESS MAN: Well, it's hard to see when you've got some maniac
pulling your shirt over your head, you see?
(As Beltran pulls up his vest, a car trailing lots of smoke cruises
RODDENBERRY: I see that, sir. I'll call it in right away.
SHIRTLESS MAN: Oh, forget it. Is there a Sears around here? Or a
(Roddenberry drives off after the car.)
SHIRTLESS MAN: I'll settle for a Woolworths!
(The smoking car has stopped further up the road and a man in an
overall is working under the bonnet, sorry, hood.)
RODDENBERRY: Excuse me. Are you the owner of this vehicle?
(The man has a strong Scottish accent.)
SCOTT: Aye, I've got a bit of a problem here.
RODDENBERRY: This car is in no condition to drive.
SCOTT: Aye, she won't do more than thirty five. I've got no power. I'm
holding her together as best I can.
RODDENBERRY: Well, you're going to have to get it fixed.
SCOTT: I tell you, she's got no power. I might get a wee bit more.
(As Roddenberry is writing the ticket, two more policemen walk up.)
OFFICER 2: Well, look who's here. If it isn't Officer Spaceman.
OFFICER 1: How's life on other worlds, Roddenberry?
OFFICER 2: Take me to your leader at warp speed.
(The second, shorter man is Robert O'Reilly - Gowron - and he makes the
now-Vulcan hand sign.)
RODDENBERRY: Laugh all you want, boys, but I'm really onto something.
Science fiction isn't just rocket ships and ray guns. It's just a
setting to explore serious issues. War, race, culture and ideas.
OFFICER 2: You just keep thinking, professor, and I'll keep watching
Have Gun Will Travel.
(They laugh again and walk off.)
OFFICER 2: Have you seen the way he handles that six gun? Boone must
have been a cop.
(Roddenberry comes out
of a cubicle, zipping up, when he is accosted by Richard Herd.)
KIRKUS: Status, Roddenberry. Status.
RODDENBERRY: Well, sir, this week so far I've got seventeen parking
tickets and I've caught about forty two speeders.
KIRKUS: No, no, no. I'm talking about that new show that you're
writing. Do you have any takers?
RODDENBERRY: Well, Captain, I
KIRKUS: As you know, my daughter is pursuing an acting career, and you
know she would be perfect for anything that you're developing, I know
RODDENBERRY: Well, I've had a couple of meetings at the network.
KIRKUS: That's excellent, Gene, that's just excellent. You keep me
advised. And there's always, you know, this is just between the two of
us, our little secret, and I consider that a prime directive,
Roddenberry. Prime Directive.
(He is gazing at a
poster of Deadly Riders while Nichelle Nichols sings the theme to Star
Trek. She wears a large delta-shaped brooch on her red jacket.)
GRACE: Oh, Mister Roddenberry, you're already here. Welcome. I'm Grace
Johnson, Mister Gorn's executive assistant. He'll be with you shortly.
Is there anything I can get you? Coffee?
RODDENBERRY: Thanks, no. I'll be fine.
GRACE: Well, I'll be right over here if you need me.
RODDENBERRY: You have a lovely voice.
GRACE: Oh, well, thank you. Music is my first love. You know Ye Little
Club in Beverley Hills.
GRACE: I'll be singing there for the next two weeks.
(The intercom rattles.)
GRACE: Excuse me. (picks up telephone) Yes? Oh, right away, sir.
Certainly. (phone down.) Mister Roddenberry, Mister Gorn's ready for
you now. You can go right in. Good luck.
RODDENBERRY: Thank you.
(Ethan Phillips watches
Roddenberry making whooshing noise whilst waving a piece of delta
shaped plastic around.)
GORN: Flying ashtray?
RODDENBERRY: It's a ship, Mister Gorn, like in the Navy. Each week they
fly through space, land on a new planet, help the people and move on to
the next planet. And they go out in space, through the stars. It's a
trek. Star Trek.
GORN: I don't get it.
RODDENBERRY: A team of explorers, each representing a different
species, race, or culture, travelling together like, like Lewis and
Clark, but in space. (big silence) It's like a Western where the
settlers keep going. They never get to the end of the country because
there's always more country, more worlds to explore.
GORN: Like Wagon Train.
RODDENBERRY: Exactly. Just think of it as Wagon Train to the stars.
GORN: Which stars? I mean, like Lucille Ball or something? She doesn't
RODDENBERRY: It's more like Wagon Train in space, then.
GORN: Er, Gene, you know horses don't fly. Wagons don't fly. Cowboys
don't fly. And I'll tell you something, Lucille Ball does not want to
fly. You should come back with something about cops or lawyers or
doctors, or something like that. You know, our studies show that TV
audiences are not that er, how do I put this. Well, they're dumb, Gene.
They're dumb. They don't really want to think about what they're
watching. It's er, oh hey.
(He picks up a furry ball that trills and coos.)
GORN: You should stick one of these in your show. My beatnik daughter
has been making these. They're all over the house. I'm just sick of
them. Make a show out of that, huh? Why don't you come back
with a Sit-Com, huh? How about a Sit-Com.
RODDENBERRY: Thanks for your time, Mister Gorn.
(Roddenberry leaves with the tribble.)
GORN: It'll never fly.
(Grace is on the phone,
using a headset. The transmission has a lot of whistles in it.)
GRACE: Hello, Mister Gorn's office. Oh yes, he's expecting. Hello? Can
you speak louder? Hold on, please. Can you hold?
(She presses a button and the hailing whistle sounds.)
GRACE: Mister Gorn, your Tokyo call is coming in, but there's too much
static to get a clear reception.
GORN [OC]: Well, see if you can get somebody to fix it.
GRACE: Right. I'll call Miss Tomlin down in Communications Department.
Oh, Mister Roddenberry, how did it go?
RODDENBERRY: Well, we'll see. I'll try to catch your show sometime this
GRACE: I'll be looking for you. Goodbye now.
(Roddenberry is typing
into the night, with a Western show running behind him.)
MAN [OC]: We're here to collect our piece. Our piece of the action.
(He gathers his pages together.)
(A man in a red shirt
has been knocked down by a car. A doctor runs an early
tricorder over him. Patrolman Roddenberry runs over to Robert Picardo.)
RODDENBERRY: Doctor Richards? What happened?
DOCTOR: He's dead, Gene.
RODDENBERRY: Did you see who did it, Bill?
DOCTOR: Dammit, Gene, I'm just an old country doctor, not an
WOMAN: I saw the whole thing. A car just came through, hit him, and
took off that way.
RODDENBERRY: Thanks, ma'am. I'll radio ahead for an ambulance.
DOCTOR: He's still dead, Gene. Dammit, who am I going to bill for this?
[By a dumpster]
(Cruising on his motorcycle, Roddenberry sees a man
throwing red shirts from the boot, truck, sorry again, of his car into
a dumpster. He pulls over and approaches, gun drawn. Tim Russ hears him
and pulls his own gun.)
BANDIT: Get away from me.
RODDENBERRY: You can't kill me. I'm not wearing a red shirt.
(They circle each other to classic Trek fight music, then the bandit
throws a red shirt to Roddenberry.)
BANDIT: Here, put that on.
RODDENBERRY: If you shoot me, you'll blow us both up.
BANDIT: What are you talking about? Are you crazy?
RODDENBERRY: Not at all. Look at where we are. Look around. This place
is covered in, in corbomite, the most explosive substance known to man.
The government's been shipping it in secretly from the moon.
You shoot at me and KaBOOM! you destroy us both.
RODDENBERRY: Look it up sometime.
(He throws the red shirt back.)
BANDIT: I can't die yet. There's still work to be done. Lots of, lots
of red shirts to destroy.
RODDENBERRY: I know a place where there's lots and lots of nice red
BANDIT: Let's go there, away from all this, this corbomite stuff.
(Roddenberry handcuffs the Red Shirt Bandit.)
(Roddenberry screws up
another typed page and picks up the coffee jug. It has left a nice big
ring on the front of his space rocket sketch. Suddenly all the ideas he
has been presented with during the day coalesce in his mind.)
RODDENBERRY: These are the voyages.
(He puts fresh paper into his typewriter and goes to work as we are
treated to the deep voice of George Takei.)
NARRATOR [OC]: Los Angeles California, the final frontier for
television writers. This is the voyage of Officer Eugene Roddenberry.
His five year mission, to sell a science fiction series to an uncaring
network. To explore new worlds with new, original characters. To boldly
live on in syndication.
This film is dedicated
to "The Great Bird of the Galaxy"
A visionary who inspired us to boldly go where no man has gone before...