Thu
Apr 29 2010 5:53pm

Star Trek Re-Watch: “A Piece of the Action”

“A Piece of the Action”
Written by David P. Harmon
Teleplay by David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon
Directed by James Komack

Season 2, Episode 17
Production episode: 2x20
Original air date: January 12, 1968
Star date: Unknown

Mission summary

Enterprise is in orbit around Sigma Iotia II, a remote, pre-warp planet that was “contaminated” over a hundred years ago by a visit from the USS Horizon, a Federation ship. The Horizon was lost shortly after leaving the system and its conventional radio signal only recently reached Starfleet. Because the Horizon arrived before the Prime Directive, Starfleet is concerned about the progress of the local culture, which was just becoming an industrial society when Horizon visited. Kirk has been sent to investigate what, if anything, has gone wrong. (Spoilers: both what and anything have gone wrong.)

Uhura makes contact with the apparent leader Bela Okmyx, who calls himself “Boss,” and instructs Kirk to beam down for his “welcoming committee.” Sounds like fun! Kirk takes Dr. McCoy and Spock with him, and they beam in the middle of an intersection on an urban street. Okmyx’s men greet him—with tommy guns.

Sigma Iotia II is some kind of warped version of Chicago in the 1920s, controlled by “bosses” who demand a percentage from the locals and in turn “take care of them.” Everyone has a weapon—men, women, drivers—and Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are quickly disarmed by Kalo, a lackey. Within moments a drive-by shooting kills some of the lackeys, and Kalo explains that it was Krako, Okmyx’s chief rival. He won’t say anything else and leads the crew to see Boss Okmyx. The Boss is in a gorgeous old-fashioned study, complete with wood desk, pool table, bathtub gin, and a blank-looking attractive young assistant. Propped on a music stand is a book titled Chicago Mobs of the Twenties, which Spock notes was published in 1992. The obvious source of the contamination! This highly imitative culture latched onto this book as a model upon which to build their society, a twisted blueprint.

OKMYX: I don’t want any more cracks about the Book.
KIRK: Did they leave any other books?
OKMYX: Sure. Some text books on how to make radio sets and stuff like that, but, look, I brought you here so you could help me, not for you to ask me questions.

Okmyx’s plan surprises no one: he wants a plentiful supply of futuristic “heaters” (weapons) so that he can unite the planet under one banner—his own, natch.

KIRK: Now let me get this straight. You want us to supply you with arms and assistance so you can carry out an aggression against your neighbors?

Okmyx won’t take no for an answer, though, and gives Kirk, Spock, and McCoy eight hours to change their minds before he’ll kill them. Kalo takes them away for confinement (sorta...) and Okmyx tries his hand at a confiscated communicator. (Kirk is able to dissuade him from playing with the phaser.) Okmyx is able to hail Mr. Scott and present the same demand of “heaters,” or else Kirk, Spock, and McCoy will be killed. He laughs and closes the communicator.

MR. SCOTT (with absolute calm): Lieutenant Hadley, check the language banks and find out what a heater is.

Meanwhile, our intrepid threesome is being held hostage by three idiot gangsters, led by Kalo. In the background (and entirely within earshot of their captors, but let’s not nitpick) they’re already trying to formulate a solution to elevate the gangster planet to progressive bliss. Mr. Spock believes that while Okmyx’s motives are questionable, the need to unite the planet is a pressing one. But with no access to his “sociological computer” (...his what??), he’ll have to come up with a solution on his own. Kirk makes it clear that because the contamination of ideas is the fault of the Federation, it’s the Federation’s responsibility to fix it, and washes his hands of the Prime Directive once more.

Kirk has an idea to get them out, though. The three captors are playing cards, and Kirk decides to rile them up with a classic insult to their masculinity. He accuses them of playing “a kid’s game,” and says that he knows a real game—a man’s game—that the inhabitants of Beta Antares IV play called Fizzbin. The rules are deliberately baffling and nonsensical, and Kalo is so perplexed trying to wrap his head around the gameplay that when Kirk “accidentally” drops a card, he bends over to pick it up—giving Spock enough time to nerve-pinch him and McCoy and Kirk enough time to take out the other two men. Kirk orders Spock and McCoy to return to the ship while Kirk goes after Okmyx himself. The blue shirts reluctantly agree, and Spock is able to find an AM radio that he re-tunes (somehow...) to hail Uhura and get them beamed out of there. Kirk high-tails it out of the warehouse—only to be stopped moments later by one of Krako’s men, who forces him into a car.

Kirk is led to meet Krako, the competing mob boss, who wants essentially the same thing as Okmyx but is willing to give Kirk a third. (A third of what, exactly?) Kirk again declines, and suggests instead that they all sit down and talk about it. Krako isn’t interested in therapy and tells Kirk, “The Book tells us how to handle things.” He has Kirk thrown “on ice” with the threat of imminent death until he changes his mind.

They put him in what looks to be a guest room, complete with office furniture and a radio. Kirk quickly begins disassembling the radio and uses an internal cord to create a trip wire. He screams for help and watches as his captors trip on the wire, allowing Kirk the chance to knock them out and steal a tommy gun.

Meanwhile, Spock and McCoy are promised a “truce” by Boss Okmyx, if they would just beam back down to the surface and look for Kirk together! Being suddenly total morons, Spock and McCoy agree, and within seconds of their arrival back on Sigma Iotia II are effectively kidnapped again. Luckily Kirk has escaped from the clutches of Krako and shows up just in time to save them. He orders two lackeys to disrobe (woooo!), and he and Spock don the period costume to “put the bag on Krako.”

They run out and find a 1920s-era sedan, which Kirk attempts to drive. Hilarity ensues. Eventually (miraculously, more like it) they manage to make it to Krako’s place, but the front door is guarded. They don’t know how to get in without attracting unwanted attention. A young boy comes up and offers to help them, in exchange for “a piece of the action.” Hey, that’s the title! Kirk agrees, and the boy goes up to the guards and starts screaming that he wants his father. Kirk takes his cue and pretends to rescue the boy, giving Spock a chance to nerve-pinch one while he takes out another. They sneak into Krako’s base of operations and.... are promptly kidnapped again!

Paragons of competency, these two.

Kirk comes up with a new plan: putting on an atrocious gangster accent, he tells Krako that the Federation is taking over, and if Krako wants any cut at all he’s going to have to cooperate. Krako mysteriously agrees. Kirk smugly sits in Krako’s chair and puts his feet on his desk, and instructs Scotty in the most unsubtle method imaginable to beam Krako aboard the ship. Scotty understands him (despite his code! Amazing!) and does so.

SCOTT: It looks like we put the bag on you, doesn’t it.
KRAKO: I got rights.
SCOTT: You’ve got nothing. You mind your place, mister, or you’ll be wearing concrete galoshes.
KRAKO: You mean cement overshoes?
SCOTT: Er. Aye.

Kirk and Spock make their way back to Okmyx’s place, and tell him the same thing: the Federation is taking over and he’ll have to cooperate or else. Okmyx agrees, and reluctantly calls each of the other major mob bosses on the planet. Scotty is able to lock onto the coordinates of all of them and successively beam each one over to Okmyx’s place, including Krako. The place quickly begins to resemble a speakeasy as all the mob bosses argue loudly with one another. Kirk explains that they’re all going to be under the control of the Federation, which wants a 40% cut. What they’re going to have to do is form a syndicate, with Okmyx as the top man and Krako as the lieutenant. The mob bosses are pretty skeptical of this arrangement, especially considering they haven’t seen more than three “Feds” since this whole thing started. Krako mentions that he saw men on the ship, but again, only three, and they’re not convinced of the strength of this invisible Federation.

Suddenly gunfire is heard—Krako’s men have come to put a hit on Okmyx. Kirk decides to let this be a demonstration of the Federation’s power and tells Scotty to use the ship’s phasers on stun for a one block radius around their present location. Though the people in the room are unscathed, all of the gangsters outside have fallen down unconscious. Perfectly convinced at this point, the mob bosses break open the booze and decide to celebrate the new syndicate.

Back aboard the Enterprise, Spock seems displeased with the way things have turned out, and Kirk calls him on it:

KIRK: Ah, yes. I understand that. You don’t think it’s logical to leave a criminal organization in charge.
SPOCK: Highly irregular, to say the least, Captain. I’m also curious as to how you propose to explain to Starfleet Command that a starship will be sent each year to collect our cut.
KIRK: Yes, that’s a very good question, Mister Spock. I propose our cut be put into the planetary treasury and used to guide the Iotians into a more ethical system. Despite themselves, they’ll be forced to accept conventional responsibilities. Isn’t that logical?

...er, not really, but OK. McCoy also seems a little upset, and he reluctantly reveals to Kirk that he’s left his communicator on the planet! (Again: paragons of competency, these folks.)

SPOCK: Captain. If the Iotians, who are very bright and imitative people, should take that communicator apart—
KIRK: They will, they will. And they’ll find out how the transtator works.
SPOCK: The transtator is the basis for every important piece of equipment that we have.
KIRK: Everything.
MCCOY: You really think it’s that serious?
KIRK: Serious? Serious, Bones? It upsets the whole percentage.
MCCOY: How do you mean?
KIRK: Well, in a few years, the Iotians may demand a piece of our action.

Analysis

I had been really looking forward to this one and I wanted desperately to love it, but I mostly only barely liked it. Let’s start with the good: this has some of the best comic performances in the series, from Kirk not being able to explain what a “galaxy” is in the very beginning to the Kirk/Spock dynamic throughout. I loved their back and forth and the fizzbin scene is laugh out loud funny. I liked that Kirk didn’t know how to drive, unlike in most TV shows where people can just hop on a motorcycle or fly a plane with no training whatsoever. And who can argue with Kirk and Spock in some really snappy zoot suits?

But comic performances aside, the script is a plot wasteland. It’s one of those stories that relies on every person in it acting in the stupidest possible manner, because if anyone in this episode had an ounce of common sense the plot would unravel. Kirk manages to get kidnapped a total of four times. Four times! Spock and Bones fare no better, taking the criminal mob boss at his word and beaming down with no security detail for a friendly peaceful chat. The gangsters are the worst, complete idiots who fall for every single trick in the book. Twice. I can’t abide television (or film, or books, or any other form of entertainment) that relies on people acting like living brain donors. There’s no tension, there’s no strength of character, there’s no rooting for the good guy. If you had never seen another Star Trek episode you would think that these guys were the Inspector Gadgets of the Federation. I like my heroes resourceful and clever, not moronic and naïve.

I’m also not taken by the premise itself, which seems to posit that sentient beings are slaves to literalism. People think abstractly, in ideas. The comparison to the Bible was just weird: our society isn’t a literal reinvention of the world portrayed in the Bible. And the book is clearly a history book. This isn’t Galaxy Quest, it’s not like the authenticity of that book as a work of historical non-fiction is in question at all. Plus Okmyx says that the Horizon left behind a bunch of other books—why latch onto this one? I just don’t buy that any reasonably sentient race would take a history book and use it as a blueprint for society and everyone else would be totally on board for that, even if they are an “imitative” people. (All people and all species are imitative!)

While I thought the episode began amusingly, it devolved into embarrassing camp very quickly as Shatner’s performance progressed. His accent is absolutely wince-worthy, and thank god he learned a few things before Star Trek IV, where he puts on essentially the same schtick only without the awful scene-chewing. He was so over-the-top here that I felt like I was in some bizarro world, i.e. season three.

Of course, there’s also the moral issue of allowing a mob-controlled crime syndicate become a government. Whatever happened to ideals of democracy? And what exactly is the Federation going to get a cut of each year?

Torie’s Rating: Warp Factor 3 (on a scale of 1-6)

Eugene Myers: I’ve been looking forward to this one a lot. “A Piece of the Action” is remembered as one of the best of the funny Star Trek episodes, but it’s also a thoughtful one. It highlights the importance of the Federation’s non-interference directive by showing us the slightly exaggerated consequences of cultural contamination. Leaving behind a book, or a communicator, or even a soda bottle can have a huge impact on a developing, impressionable culture. For once, Starfleet returns to clean up one of their messes, and Kirk actually has an excuse to get involved in planetary politics this time around.

Basing an entire civilization on 1920s gangster-run Chicago is not only an opportunity to save some money (those sets and suits were probably readily available on another Paramount stage) but it gave the actors a chance to act out of character while also remaining in character. Kirk’s first reactions are mixed amusement and annoyance at the Iotians’ rough methods, but as he understands them he learns to beat them at their own game. He’s completely comfortable in such a clearly illogical setting, and one of his proudest moments is his fizzbin ruse—a game as illogical as only Kirk can make it, which in retrospect is probably unnecessary to get the drop on their captors but is certainly fun. (I seem to recall that fizzbin later develops into an actual game, providing further cultural contamination, unless I’m making that up.) William Shatner really shines as he hams up his mobster persona, gradually assuming a thicker accent and more of the unique lingo; Kirk is also extremely clever and adaptable in this episode, especially when he rigs that tripwire to overpower his kidnappers.

Of course, as comfortable as Kirk is on Sigma Iotia, Spock is notably out of his element. Kirk’s scenes are memorable, but I was surprised at how much humor Spock contributes as the perfect foil for his captain. Nimoy’s subtlety plays well against Shatner’s flamboyance, and their banter is the stuff of comedy. The driving scenes are hilarious, and their back and forth “Right?” “Check.” “Check?” “Right.” is brilliant. It just makes it even funnier when Spock finally seems to “get it,” when he says, “I would advise youse to keep dialing.” (As a side note, given that Kirk clearly has never driven a car before, it seems that his childhood joyride in J.J. Abrams’ film never happened in this universe... Somehow Nero’s interference reintroduced automobile’s to 23rd century Earth?)

Since I first saw this episode as a kid, I have learned more about gangsters and the 1920s, mostly from classic Howard Hawks and Fritz Lang films, so the references to the Federation as “the Feds” was much funnier this time. Similarly, Oxmyx’s claim that he “distilled” alcohol himself actually meant something to me. There were other slight touches that I appreciated, including Kirk calling McCoy “Sawbones” and a lot of the politics and economics of the mob. Because I remembered that McCoy was going to leave his communicator behind at the end of the episode, his line at the very beginning that “We’re going down to recontaminate them,” seemed like either good foreshadowing or irony. It was also gratifying to see some consideration of how Starfleet was going to respond to Kirk’s solution on the planet, and there’s every indication that they will return every year to collect their percentage. (Though they probably won’t, and the Iotians will be screwed.) I was hoping they would cut that scrappy kid in for a piece of the action, but if they do, it happens offscreen.

I had a couple of niggling questions, of course. How did Oxmyx intend to keep the upper hand if he’s demanding Kirk send down a hundred phasers with troops to show them how to use them? Seems like the tables would turn pretty quickly. Who made all those pinball machines? Where do all those bosses operate? They all seem to be fighting over a territory the size of...well, Chicago, but this is some kind of planet-wide conflict, isn’t it? Still, if these are the worst of the shortcomings, this is a very good episode indeed—and I think it has the best punchline of any episode in the series, especially immediately after its delivery, the frame freezes and cuts to the credits instead of lingering for their usual collective laughter.

Eugene’s Rating: Warp Factor 6

Best Line: KIRK: Yes, but what you’re after is a royal fizzbin, but the odds in getting a royal fizzbin are astron— Spock, what are the odds in getting a royal fizzbin?
SPOCK: I have never computed them, Captain.

Syndication Edits: None, it seems like.

Trivia: The original idea for this episode came from Roddenberry himself, who wrote a one-sentence summary—“President Capone”—on the first page of the first Star Trek series proposal in 1964.

The original draft of the script was titled “Mission into Chaos” and involved negotiating an alliance with Dana Iotia 2, on the border of the Neutral Zone. The Romulans found out Kirk was talking to Okmyx and sent two emissaries (“Rorek” and “Ramo”) with weapons (“morkons”) to make a deal with Krako. Kirk escaped Okmyx using a card game called “farfel” and eventually got his hands on the Romulan weapons. The Romulans, being warmongering jerks, sent down a squad that was promptly surrounded by an Enterprise security crew. Okmyx decided to go with the Federation, because the Romulans seemed a little...aggressive. In the end each of the twelve bosses voted for himself as the ambassador to the Federation, inadvertently creating the council of twelve.

As I mentioned in my “Trials and Tribble-ations” post, an early concept for the homage episode was going to have the DS9 crew return to Sigma Iotia II to find that they had all imitated 23rd-century TOS-era Starfleet, based on Kirk’s encounter in this episode.

Other Notes: Anthony Caruso, who played Okmyx, played a gangster frequently on television. Talk about type-casting.

Vic Tayback, who played Krako, is most famous as the cook Mel in the Scorcese movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and the later TV series Alice.


Next episode: Season 2, Episode 18 - “The Immunity Syndrome.” US residents can watch it for free at the CBS website.

Check the Star Trek Re-Watch Index for a complete list of posts in this series.


Torie Atkinson couldn’t help but keep thinking of that “Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta” scene in Office Space throughout the entirety of this episode.

Eugene Myers spent a lot of time eyeing the period costumes in this episode, since he’s going to a 1920s theme party next week to celebrate the release of a Prohibition-era vampire novel called—wait for it... Moonshine.

78 comments
WonderGirl
1. WonderGirl
Oh, the lulz. I have to agree with Torie about the plot's being too dependent on stupidity (as well as too repetitive), but I'm tempted to say that the fizzbin scene, plus a be-pinstriped Spock saying "youse," is almost worth the price of admission. Almost. I'd call it a 4.


Something else to add to the bonus trivia is that Sheldon Collins, The Kid, also had a bit of a recurring role on The Andy Griffith Show. . . .
j p
2. sps49
Torie, come on, ya gotta bend some rules in a comedy.

Eugene, how dare you refer to That Movie?! But y'all's insights like McCoy's foreshadowing comment before the beam-down are why I respect you two so much.

At least the planet gets unified. The Feds will send professionals to work out the small stuff. Yes, like they did for the Triskelions, People of Vaal, and elsewhere.

This is an example of what the Prime Directive is for. Not the crap with cultures that are equal to or superior to the Federation that people get all bent out of shape for on TNG.

EDIT: I like one more contrast between Kirk & Spock- Spock uses a radio to contact the Enterprise, Kirk uses a similar radio to furnish an unsophisticated tripwire.
john mullen
3. johntheirishmongol
Fun episode, definately a comedy episode which ST did very well. Shatner is very deft in comedy and Nimoy being the straight man work perfectly. It's a good episode, much better than most of those that are all about moralizing about one thing or another.
Teresa Jusino
4. TeresaJusino
Oh, Torie! I think you're being WAY too hard on this one! You're allowed to like things even if they don't make complete rational sense. :) That's why they call it science FICTION. Sometimes I think people latch on to the science part and not onto the part where you get to MAKE STUFF UP JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN.

Also, I personally think the best line is Kirk saying "You're a penny ante operator! Now, siddown!" :) This episode always makes me happy, "plot holes" or no.
Eugene Myers
5. ecmyers
I'm surprised you didn't like this more, Torie!

I like my heroes resourceful and clever, not moronic and naïve.

I was impressed by their resourcefulness repeatedly in this episode. Using the radio transmission to contact the ship, breaking a radio to create a tripwire, bringing the mob bosses together and playing them against each other. Maybe it was stupid to get caught four times, but he also escaped four times! Though there is some genuine danger for our crew, I had the feeling that Kirk and the others were humoring Oxmyx and the other gangsters, just playing along and having fun. They could have gotten off the planet easily at any time, but they had to do more than get away, they had to fix a bad situation and leave the Iotians in better condition than they found them in, without doing any more damage. Kirk certainly accomplished that, and he couldn't have if they'd beamed down, heaters blazing.

I can’t abide television (or film, or books, or any other form of entertainment) that relies on people acting like living brain donors.

Get ready for... "Spock's Brain"!

@2 sps49
I like one more contrast between Kirk & Spock- Spock uses a radio to contact the Enterprise, Kirk uses a similar radio to furnish an unsophisticated tripwire.

Great point!
WonderGirl
6. Mercurio2
Definitely one of the funniest episodes that allows Kirk to ham it up. The multiple kidnappings were meant to be amusing, I thought! I'd split the difference in your scores and give it a 4.5.
Torie Atkinson
7. Torie
@ 1 WonderGirl

It does get repetitive. They basically pull the same stunt four times. It felt kind of like "The Alternative Factor" in that way, where you keep getting deja vu that you just saw that scene...

@ 2 sps49

I dunno, these people may have infrastructure, but they're going to be under the thumb of exploitative, violent leaders. I think they're worse off than the average "elevated" Star Trek planet.

@ 3 johntheirishmongol

The two make a great comic duo in that regard. I especially loved the way that Kirk manages to coax cooperation out of Spock, from the fizzbin scene to the "Right?" "Right." exchange.

@ 4 TeresaJusino

...I'm not sure what you're referring to. I don't have any beef with the "science" of this episode (there isn't any). Fiction doesn't get a pass for internal consistency; comedy doesn't either. "The Trouble With Tribbles" had an internally consistent and completely sensible plot. This episode relies on characters behaving stupidly to achieve plot progression, and that's my complaint. I'd rather have characters facing actual challenges, rather than just being too dense to catch on to the obvious solution.

@ 5 ecmyers

I was SHOCKED you gave this a 6. The same league as "City on the Edge of Forever" and "The Trouble With Tribbles"? No way!

See, I didn't see that as resourceful. Kirk decides to make a big ordeal of creating a trip wire, instead of just using the radio (or the typewriter on the desk!) to bonk the guy on the head. Spock's instant ability to re-tune an AM radio to subspace frequency felt like "Wizard did it!" to me. I'm reminded of "Time's Arrow," where Data has to go through hell and high water to adapt antique technology to his uses. It felt too tidy to me, too easy.
Sean Fagan
8. sef
It always struck me as a Hokas story, without, you know, any money to make Hokas.
Eugene Myers
9. ecmyers
@6 Mercurio

I thought! I'd split the difference in your scores and give it a 4.5

I'm not allowed to assign decimals! I came close to making this just a 5, but I had too much fun with the episode. I was aware of the flaws, I just didn't care, and there's something to say about a story that can do that.

@7 Torie

bonk the guy on the head

Heh. "Bonk! Bonk on the head!"

I just think this episode functions under different rules from your average Star Trek story, and I was okay with that for once. I may have been overly enthusiastic about it in reaction to last week's disappointing episode, so I can see myself lowering my rating by a warp factor in the season summary.
Jeff Soules
10. DeepThought
Yeah -- I must add, I thought the episode had a lot going for it in a campy, funny way, but as delightful as it is to see the cast getting to do that for once (and as ominous as it is for Season Three), I found the serial-incompetence-as-plot-driver part just too much to enjoy the episode fully. It winds up being distracting and shows rather diminishing returns -- particularly with the exact same melodramatic music clip played every single time a farcical kidnapping happens. I thought that was a poor directorial choice; it implied that the show was trying to take these predictable, repetitive, easily-preventable capturings seriously, and wasn't in line with the silliness of the later scenes.

All told, I've had put it at Warp 3, maybe Warp 4.
lane arnold
12. lanearnold
---mindless entertainment--that is how i would classify this episode--it's also an opportunity to involve kirk and spock in more examples of stock characters--they are gangsters in this episode, they were nazis, they were roman gladiators, kirk was a cherokee, and a whole ensemble of outlaws in "spectre of the gun"---i can't help thinking of the musical "guys and dolls" for some reason--maybe it's kirk's neat felt hat--and scotty's line about "concrete galoshes" has to be one of the geekiest things he's ever said--i think warp 3 is about right---here is something new to look at friends, gene's original pitch for star trek, and a concept foreshadowing this episode---http://www.comicbookgalaxy.com/Star_Trek_Is_by_Gene_Roddenberry_11_March_1964.pdf
David Levinson
13. DemetriosX
I can't help it, I just love this episode. Yes, it has its flaws, but it's just too much fun. It's at least a 5. One point about Spock retuning the radio: Uhura was very likely monitoring the radio bands, since that was how they had already communicated with Oxmyx. There's no need for him to have converted it to subspace frequencies.

I've always wondered what became of the Iotians. The original suggestion for the DS9 homage probably wouldn't have worked, though. I think the best would have been to replace Neelix with an Iotian on Voyager. Probably one of the maquis crew, sort of a cross between Radar O'Riley and a third generation Corleone, a scrounger, a swindler, a conman. He'd have been a great foil for Harry Kim. It could have been awesome. "Nice little planet you got here. Shame if anything happened to it."
Mike Conley
14. NomadUK
Well, as usual DemetriosX gets in just ahead of me, this time to point out that Spock didn't have to play wizard to get the radio working. I will, however, say that I believe he explicitly states somewhere along the line that Uhura is monitoring the planet's radio, so he would expect her to be able to pick up his broadcast.

Now, whether the broadcast area picked it up or not is another question.

And, coming late to the game (as usual, it seems), I don't have much more to add. I like this episode a lot, especially Shatner's delivery. Yes, over the top, but it's meant to be that way. And the last line, delivered with his emphasis on our, and the instant cut to the end title and trumpets, was perfect.

Yes, some of the action/comedy was a bit forced, but that's typical for Star Trek (see 'The Trouble with Tribbles' and 'I, Mudd'), and has to be taken in context. I, too, got a little tired of the particular music theme used when Kirk was driving, but there you go.

As far as what the kid got in return for helping them, he got what he asked for: a piece of the action.

Anyway, I liked it better than Torie did!
Torie Atkinson
15. Torie
@ 13 DemetriosX and @ 14 NomadUK

Good point! I hadn't thought about that. The radio is less silly now.

DemetriosX, replacing Neelix with ANYONE would have been an improvement to the show. It could've been Captain Pike just backing up/beeping away for seven seasons.

NomadUK, I can see the appeal, but I just couldn't get past how ridiculously he was hamming it up. At least they seemed to have fun with it?

The felt hat was also very distracting.
Torie Atkinson
16. Torie
Additional note: Eugene and some of you seem to be spelling it "Oxmyx," which is certainly how it's pronounced, but there's a poster in the show that spells it "Okmyx"! Was that just a typo?
Marcus W
17. toryx
When I was a teenager, hanging out with my fellow Star Trek geeks, we all agreed that this was the second most entertaining episode of the series. It's like an April Fools episode really, where everyone is just having a really good time. And that's what makes it easy for geeks like myself to like the episode so much.

We even went so far as to create our own version of Fizzbin and used to regularly play it for laughs.

Now that I'm older and have a lot more experience with shows, story telling and performance, I'm more inclined to be critical of "A Piece of the Action." But it's still fun to watch. I just watch it with my suspension of disbelief filter on high.

Though I'm glad that DS9 decided to go with the Tribbles, I'd still have loved to see them do the episode they were playing around with. That would have been a blast as well.

I'd probably give it a Warp 5, just for entertainment value alone.

Torie @ 16: DemetriosX, replacing Neelix with ANYONE would have been an improvement to the show. It could've been Captain Pike just backing up/beeping away for seven seasons.

I so TOTALLY agree.
jon meltzer
18. jmeltzer
#13, #14: In fact Uhura says "Mr. Spock, what are you doing on this frequency?"
David Levinson
19. DemetriosX
Torie @16: Apparently you are correct and all of us are wrong. According to Memory Alpha, it's Okmyx.

I was going to suggest that Iotians would make great negotiators for dealing with the Ferenghi, but then I realized how dangerous that could be. As for Neelix, well, the biggest problem was that he was stuck this totally unbelievable love interest with Kes (who was ten times more useless than he was, though she was at least better to look at). Once she was gone and they got out of the region he was familiar with, there was just no point to him. But an Iotian scrounger would have been great.
Mike Conley
20. NomadUK
Torie@15: Oh, I think they must have had a ball with it.

Really, though, I think Shatner was doing what my dad (and probably everyone of that generation) did when trying to be gangster-like: an over-the-top imitation of Jimmy Cagney, with a bit of Edward G Robinson thrown in. Even Kirk's zoot-suit is Cagney-esque (and I could swear I remember him hunching his shoulders once or twice!).

As for the hat, well, yes, it's a big one. But Shatner's a bit height-challenged, and standing next to Nimoy in his hat — well, I mean, who's the star of this show, anyway?!
Torie Atkinson
21. Torie
@ 17 toryx

You have to share the rules with us! I would totally play virtual fizzbin with you folks!

@ 19 DemetriosX

That would be pretty dangerous, yes.

I was about to say, the only person more useless than Neelix was Kes. That whole love triangle was deeply uncomfortable-making (and impossible to believe). But hey, that can wait for the Voyager re-watch, eh?

@ 20 NomadUK

Totally fair. He did hunch his shoulders a few times! The suits were fantastic.
Eugene Myers
22. ecmyers
@15 TorieA

replacing Neelix with ANYONE would have been an improvement to the show

I disagree. Do you remember Tuvix? *shudder*
David Levinson
23. DemetriosX
That's a good point by NomadUk@20. Shatner is doing a (rather cheesy) typical gangster movie accent/drawl/whatever. Where he learned it is a different matter. If they'd gunned him down, would he have said, "This is the end for Little Tiberius"?

Torie, try Googling fizzbin rules (it even autocompletes!). There are several versions out there, but rather like Mornington Crescent or Calvinball, the point is to make them up as you go along.
Torie Atkinson
24. Torie
@ 22 ecmyers

No. I don't remember Tuvix. That never happened. Never ever ever la la la la la la la

@ 23 DemetriosX

Heee, that would've been great.

Yeah, I know, but I wanted to know toryx's rules! I've played enough games of 1000 Blank White Cards to be excited by the possibilities.
Mike Conley
25. NomadUK
It actually occurs to me that Shatner probably had even more fun in this episode than one might imagine, as his childhood nickname was 'Toughie', and he spent a lot of time getting into fights with the local Catholic kids. I imagine he probably wished he was Jimmy Cagney once in awhile back then!
Torie Atkinson
26. Torie
@ 25 NomadUK

...kind of like the way I played "Star Trek" on the playground? Only, since it was Star Trek and not gangsters, we negotiated peace agreements and shot phasers at misunderstood life forms.

Aw man, now you've got me empathizing and liking this episode more.
Mike Conley
27. NomadUK
Torie@26

Now, there, see? I knew you could be reasoned with!

(My brother and I made transporter pads out of cut-up cardboard boxes and beamed into our back garden with sticks for phasers....)
Marcus W
28. toryx
Torie @ 21:

I'm going to have to go searching through some old boxes and see if I can find the rules. It's been about twenty years since I played but I'm pretty sure I wrote them down somewhere.

As far as playing Star Trek in our youth, I recall rolling out of the La-Z-Boy in the living room quite a lot when Enterprise got hit by a Klingon disruptor. That seemed to be pretty much the extent of the game...jolting around in the chairs and wondering why we didn't have seatbelts.

Re: Voyager - All I know is that Neelix and Kes were enough to make me turn off Voyager early in the first season and never go back. *shudder*
David Levinson
29. DemetriosX
I just had this sudden contrast of the way they use the slang here and in the first Dixon Hill episode of TNG. Here, they all caught on fairly quickly. Sure, they stumble now and then, like Scotty's "concrete galoshes" and Spock's problems with "right" and "check" (not to mention his use of "youse" as a singular), but on the whole they pick it up fairly quickly. OTOH, the TNG crew are continually baffled by the slang of the Dixon Hill holodeck program. Even Picard, who is supposed to be such a fan.

I suppose it's a reflection of their times. TOS watchers would have grown up watching gangster movies, while the 40s/50s slang of Dixon Hill would have been somewhat more obscure to most of the TNG audience.
Torie Atkinson
30. Torie
@ 27 NomadUK

Curses! You've persuaded me by appealing to my humanity!

That's kind of amazing. Ever since I saw this transporter art installation I have been dying to get one of my own! SO COOL.

@ 28 toryx

That sounds about right. For the Federation!

Oh, the Voyager hate. I haven't seen it since first run, and as I've said I have a fondness for it as My First Trek, but I'm a little scared to revisit it. It had so many promising ideas--the Maquis, being out on their own with no accountability and having to make tough decisions, totally new alien races--and yet I remember disliking pretty much all of the characters.

Maybe I should re-watch...
Torie Atkinson
31. Torie
@ 29 DemetriosX

I remember Picard totally loving it but the rest of the crew not really getting the hang of it. I think noir was probably a lot more familiar to folks in the early 90s than gangster movies. It was celebrating a kind of resurgence from Raging Bull to Basic Instinct.

Makes you wonder: I bet a contemporary Trek show would probably have a lot of heist holodeck programs, since that seems to be the big action genre of the last ten years.
WonderGirl
32. Lsana
Re: Voyager:

I have to disagree that Kes was more useless than Neelix. Kes was the nurse and field medic. She helped out on surgeries and set broken bones. Her telepathic powers rarely showed up, but when they did, she was able to do more than say, "That alien who is snarling at us and throwing things? I sense he is really angry." By the standards of Voyager, she wasn't bad. Admittedly, this is "tallest building in Wichita" territory, but I'd probably pick her for my team before Harry Kim.

Neelix, on the other hand, was a guide who mostly passed on inaccurate information and got people killed. He was a cook whose cooking poisoned not only the crew but the ship. Even by the standards of Voyager, he was a disaster.
Church Tucker
33. Church
Definitely a six.

I think the problem with the crew wasn't so much incompetence, but arrogance. It's a culture stuck in the twenties, should be a cakewalk, right? (Check.) Only, not so much...

As for the book thing: All the other books were technical manuals of some kind. The gangster book was the only one that dealt with culture, so they modeled after it. (And yeah, IRL it would probably be filtered through their indigenous culture, but we've only got forty-odd minutes here.)

I admit that I was dumbfounded when I found out there was a fan version of Fizzbin. Aside from the whole point that Kirk was making it up, the rules he states on screen (so, the canonical rules) are contradictory! Never put it past a fan, though.
Mike Conley
34. NomadUK
Church@33, et al: Regarding the extra books, I was always of the impression that they were the basis for the Iotians technology as well. Remember, when Horizon's crew contaminated their culture, it was at the beginnings of industrialisation. Such a culture doesn't build radio stations, automobiles, or machine guns. They must have taken that knowledge from the books Horizon left behind, and, being the uniquely imitative people that they were (are? will be?), made a quantum leap from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th.

(This is why their acquisition of McCoy's communicator is of such concern.)

The gang bosses weren't so much interested in those books; they were interested in the one upon which their power structure was modelled. Not entirely unlike priests who don't care much about the structural engineering that keeps their steeples from falling on their heads, or presidents who don't know how the Internet or tills work.
j p
36. sps49
Star Trek- inspired, head and shoulders over much of the 60s, feet of (60s) clay.

TAS- not bad, especially if you are a tweener.

TNG- gabby, unexciting at first, but then boom!

DS9- stifling, promising, left before JemHadar stuff so dunno how good (isolated eps like "Tribble-ations" looked vg)

Voyager- great premise executed poorly- never acted like they were a looong way from infrastructure support, should need new guides as distance was covered, too far removed from Roddenberry's influence.

ST:E- took a crap on fans for 3 years, 4th season was too late, but nice.

Next time- the movies!
WonderGirl
37. trekkiechick
This has always been one of my favorite episodes. Yes, it can be silly, but it's funny and interesting. I love the performances, especially Spock as Kirk's straight man. Spock's comment about never having computed the odds of a royal fizzbinn is hilarious!
And, Eugene, your comment about young Kirk's joyride in the movie...Nero's interference could have changed Kirk's experience with cars. We can assume that George Kirk never owned an "antique" car, but Kirk's stepfather (at least, that's who I assume is yelling at him while he's driving) does have one. All part of messing with the timeline! Darn Romulans.
Eugene Myers
38. ecmyers
@36 sps49

Voyager- great premise executed poorly- never acted like they were a looong way from infrastructure support

This was one of my disappointments as well. In the first episode they mentioned the number of photon torpedoes they had, and I was looking forward to them running out at some point. It could have used a little more realism a la Battlestar Galactica in terms of looking for supplies and resources. They made some alliances and stole some technology along the way, but it would have been cool if the ship had been nearly unrecognizable by the end of the series.

Though they were away from Roddenberry's influence, I recall that in an early episode Janeway gives a speech about the old days, how captains like Kirk were on their own in frontier space, far from Starfleet. This is about when she started to bend the rules more and stop holding them strictly to the Starfleet code of behavior. Though that had mixed results, I appreciated the spirit of it--they were on their own. It just never quite fulfilled its premise because they weren't willing to completely cut themselves off from Star Trek's roots. When they found a way to bring Ferengi and a Romulan on the show, I knew it was doomed.
Marcus W
39. toryx
sps49 @ 36 and ecmyers @ 38:

I was turned off by the Voyager concept in the beginning. There've just been too many shows whose entire premise depends on efforts to achieve a goal that cannot be accomplished or the show itself ends. That's one of the reasons I never bothered with Lost either, though I will watch the DVDs once this season is done.

I had no interest in a Star Trek version of "Lost in Space."

However, if the result had been darker and more gritty, perhaps the next step down from where DS9 ended up going at times, it might have had some promise. Unfortunately, Neelix punctured those hopes for me from the beginning.
David Levinson
40. DemetriosX
I was just noticing that Nimoy really rocks that suit. Shatner not so much, more like a rumpled noir detective. But Nimoy projects a lot of cool, very dapper. It reminds somewhat of this picture that's floating around of him in his Spock costume, taking a cigarette break and leaning on his muscle car. Who knew Leonard Nimoy was so hip?
Torie Atkinson
41. Torie
@ 40 DemetriosX

Before you call him hip, remember the Bilbo Baggins song.

But otherwise, yes, that is one rockin' suit.
David Levinson
43. DemetriosX
@41 Torie

Good point. That was another suppressed memory (like Tuvix). Actually, that whole album was dreadful. But the man could style.
Russ Van Winkle
44. rvanwinkle
@Torie, 31:
I bet a contemporary Trek show would probably have a lot of heist holodeck programs

DS9 did this in their last season.

Edit: just noticed at the bottom of that page, Wikipedia has a category for all Star Trek holodeck-story episodes. Boy, some people have *way* too much time on their hands.
David Levinson
45. DemetriosX
Actually, I think a contemporary Trek holodeck story would be more like an MMO. Most of those are fantasy-based, aren't they?
Marcus W
46. toryx
Torie @ 41:
Before you call him hip, remember the Bilbo Baggins song.

Well, he was young and needed the money.

DemetriosX @ 40:

I've seen that picture. It really sort of puts a whole other context to Leonard Nimoy, the actor. Who'd have ever thought that Spock would smoke, much less own a muscle car?
David Levinson
47. DemetriosX
toryx @46

There's another picture I've seen of him smoking in full costume on the bridge set, while Nichelle Nichols and Majel Rodenberry are doing some sort of kissy-face thing in the background. It's even more incongruous. It's hard to remember that people just smoked in those days. It wasn't as common as a few years earlier, but it was still almost a default.
Tim May
48. ngogam
Regarding Okmyx/Oxmyx:
I looked this up on memory-alpha.org after reading this and wondering why Torie & Eugene used different spellings. The page for Bela Okmyx says
His surname has appeared in many subsequent texts ... as the way it was pronounced throughout the episode: "Oxmyx". The correct spelling, as seen on posters throughout the episode, was in fact "Okmyx".

The "Okmyx" spelling is also found in the 'Final Draft' of the shooting script ... Although pronunciation is provided for other characters in this episode, no such guidance is provided for "Okmyx."
This doesn't really explain the discrepancy, but I'm inclined to think you'd be justified in using whichever you like.
Mike Conley
49. NomadUK
I don't have my James Blish novella-isation of the episode to hand; I wonder what spelling he used?
Russ Van Winkle
50. rvanwinkle
@49 NomadUK

At least in the US edition of Star Trek 4, it's "Okmyx."

I have to imagine these adaptations would be a lot harder sell these days, competing against DVR'd reruns, DVDs, etc. Back in the day, friends and I made cassette recordings of the audio from the TV - VCRs didn't make it to the home until about a decade later.

OTOH the "tie-in" novels (not limited to the ST franchises) are doing brisk business, to the point that some authors complain that they take up all the shelf space in the SF section.
Church Tucker
51. Church
@50 rvanwinkle "I have to imagine these adaptations would be a lot harder sell these days, competing against DVR'd reruns, DVDs, etc."

The beauty of those novels (and later, the photonovels) was that they *were* the VCRs of their day. It could sometimes trip you up, though. The GF was confused that the full (DVD) version of "Journey to Bable" was missing a part of a scene that she 'remembered.' Turned out to have been a Blish embellishment.
Mike Conley
52. NomadUK
@50&51: I have the entire set of the Blish adaptations; I loved reading those when I was younger, and remember waiting eagerly for the next one in the series to be published. I thought the cover art on the paperbacks was really cool, too.

If I memory serves, his wife helped with the last couple, and even wrote most (all?) of the last one ('Mudd's Women'? I forget, and currently they're boxed up in the loft), as Blish died before the entire series could be completed.

rvanwinkle@50: I recorded the entire series on to audio cassettes, too! I thought I was the only kid obsessive enough to do that. I remember having to jump up in the middle of dinner to run out to my parents' bedroom to flip the tape over during a commercial break. I had a microphone sitting next to the television speaker (audio output jack? what's that?).

But tell me: did you make multiple recordings of the same episode in order to catch bits that might have been edited to make room out for commercials? And then splice the bits together to make the recording more complete? And label each cassette box with Dymo labels using a catalogue system consisting of the number of the episode followed by two characters from its title (e.g., 01-MT for 'The Man Trap'?).

Those tapes are all gone now; I remember trying to play some several years ago and finding that it had degraded in storage and was nothing but static. A shame, really; all that effort. Ah, misspent youth!
Eugene Myers
53. ecmyers
Re: Okmyx/Oxmyx: I finally had a chance to consult my copy of The Star Trek Encyclopedia, and they list him as "Oxmyx, Bela".
Torie Atkinson
54. Torie
@ 44 rvanwinkle

I am sad because it looks like the Deletion Police have found it and gotten rid of it, but there used be a Wikipedia article called "List of Problems Solved by MacGuyver." Talk about having too much time on your hands!

@ 45 DemetriosX

Good call, though I'd say about half are SF.

@ 50 rvanwinkle and 52 NomadUK

My SF collection used to have audio tapes of all the episodes! I threw them all out... most of the tapes had disintegrated. But you weren't alone!
David Levinson
55. DemetriosX
@54 Torie

I suppose they are, but the big names are mostly fantasy. I'm having a really hard time imagining what SF would look like in the Star Trek universe, so I suspect fantasy would be a lot more likely.
Russ Van Winkle
56. rvanwinkle
@52 NomadUK

Being something like 12 years old when recording the audio from reruns, I hadn't yet learned the term "syndication edit" so it didn't occur to me to go to that level of effort! And a handwritten episode title sufficed for the label. As an adult in the broadcasting industry, I learned the joys of editing audiotape with a razor blade and cutting block - a lost art, no doubt. Kids, lawn, &c.

I, too, have the entire set of Blish adaptations (the last completed by J.A. Lawrence as you noted), as well as the Alan Dean Foster adaptations of TAS and a goodly number of the "non-canon" novels set in the TOS timeframe. I gave up trying to keep up with the ever-growing number well before the TNG novels made their arrival. Looking at the shelf, I see a number of my favorite authors dipped their toes into the ST universe at least once.

@ 51 Church

It's been a while since the above-mentioned TAS novelizations came off my shelf, but IIRC Foster embellished even further than Blish, to the point where one half-hour episode was only the first part of an entire novel in the later volumes.
Marcus W
57. toryx
Ah, the Blish novels. Those really were an excellent substitute for the non-existant VHS tapes. I never did get a whole collection but I did read and love them all.

I don't think I ever read the Alan Dean Foster adaptations, though.
Mike Conley
58. NomadUK
And don't forget that Blish wrote the first Star Trek novel, Spock Must Die!, whose plot escapes me at the moment, but involved the creation of a duplicate Spock. I remember that Blish spent a fair bit of time explaining tachyons and warp travel in dialog involving Scotty, giving everything a much harder physics than the series ever did. But, then, he would, wouldn't he?

The one scene that sticks in my head is the landing party trying to break into a shuttlecraft which might have been booby-trapped by the anti-Spock, with the real Spock sitting there with a tricorder as he turned a screw (with a screwdriver, by the way, and not a sonic one) on the hatch control panel a quarter-turn at a time, checking for any anomalous reading.

(Blish seemed to have a thing for inserting more-or-less contemporary technology into the 23rd century. In one of the series adaptations, I distinctly recall the bridge crew pulling rolled-up charts out of a rack to check their position or chart course for another system.)

Geez, how did we get here from 'A Piece of the Action'? And is 58 comments a record for the Star Trek Rewatch thread?
David Levinson
59. DemetriosX
Spock must Die was basically the exact same plot as "The Enemy Within", but with Spock being split into good and evil instead of Kirk.
Marcus W
60. toryx
I have to say that the concept of a genuinely evil Spock is far scarier than an evil Kirk.
Torie Atkinson
61. Torie
@ All

I have a lot of extra Blish and ADF adaptations currently in boxes in my apartment, so once I get around to it, I'll be happy to give away extra copies to anyone who wants them. You have gotten me sufficiently curious to want to go digging for them and read them.

@ 58 NomadUK

I think it is a record! But you know, it's essentially pub chat, so I don't mind if we get distracted as long as it's reasonably on-topic.

I could always say that the alacrity with which we snapped up another topic and stopped talking about the ridiculous plot of this episode supports my conclusion that it's a Warp 3...

@ 60 toryx

Yeah, that's absolutely terrifying. Logic to the extreme. Imagine the ruthlessness!

They essentially did this in TNG with Data's "twin" Lore, who was scary as hell.
Mike Conley
62. NomadUK
Torie@61: Well, it would be proper pub chat if we were sitting around an old wooden table in a nice, cosy little establishment and working away on pints of decent ale... say a Black Sheep, or Hobgoblin, or Old Hookie. But I take your point.

And for the sake of Galactic peace, I'll pretend not to notice that last dig at this fine episode.

toryx@60: Well, isn't it just the 'Mirror, Mirror' universe Spock? I need to go dig up that Blish novel again, I guess.
WonderGirl
63. ***Dave
1. Man, I'm glad I'm not the only one who audio-taped TOS episodes. I have (or had) vast swathes of dialog memorized, not to mention musical cues, from obsessively repeated listening to those things. Who needs rock & roll when I've got "Good Night, Sweetheart" in "City on the Edge of Forever"?

C-90s were just long enough to tape on one side (pausing at commercials) the syndicated cuts on KCOP 13 in my youth, though if I didn't cue the tape up past the lead at the front, I'd miss the first 10-15 seconds of dialog (drats!).

2. I remember being amazed when someone introduced me to the "real" fizzbin while in high school. "If it were dark on Tuesdays!"

3. Re the actual territory being fought over -- yeah, it sounds like the bosses rule the world, but they're all in the same city.

My assumption is that "Chicago" was the old Iotian world capitol, and the bosses are the descendents of the governors/senators, ruling over their national territories while residing in the hometown (probably each with their own local neighborhoods to boot). A screwy-sounding setup but the episode as a whole doesn't bear much closer examination ...
David Levinson
64. DemetriosX
OK, I guess I'd better confess. I didn't make audio tapes of TOS (though I suppose I could have like ***Dave @63; not sure if they were KCOP or KTLA at the time, though). I did, however, tape the original run of TAS. (Hey, I had only just turned 11!)
Torie Atkinson
65. Torie
@ 63 ***Dave

That sounds about right. Good thing this planet doesn't have the IRS?

@ 64 DemetriosX

You're forgiven.

General food for thought: This episode would have been improved if, like ander & Ebb's Chicago, it had been a musical.

Y/Y?
David Levinson
66. DemetriosX
@65 Torie

Dear God, NO! We've heard Shatner and Nimoy "sing". Anything but that!

I don't think you've thought your cunning plan all the way through.
Mike Conley
67. NomadUK
DemetriosX@66: Au contraire, mon frère: In this little ditty, at the very least, Shatner is nothing short of brilliant.

The video is quite good, as well.
Mike Conley
68. NomadUK


DemetriosX@66: Au contraire, mon frère: In the little ditty at YouTube, tagged as NStRuFFH34Y, at the very least, Shatner is nothing short of brilliant.

The video is quite good, as well.
David Levinson
69. DemetriosX
NomadUK@68: I think you've got the wrong tag there. I tried it and got a British political video with music by Jarvis Cocker. But I've suffered through the Shat's renditions of "Lucy in the Sky" and "Rocket Man" often enough. And Nimoy's musical stylings make Shatner look like freaking Pavarotti.
Marcus W
70. toryx
Yeah, I'm not keen to see Shatner and Nimoy singing any more than they already have. But I bet Sulu would do a truly awesome song and dance number.
Mike Conley
71. NomadUK
DemetriosX@69: Nope, listen again. Who's doing the non-singing vocal bit?
Torie Atkinson
72. Torie
@ 70 toryx

This idea blows my mind. Uhura also has a lovely singing voice!

@ NomadUK and DemetriosX

Mostly I just wanted someone to recognize my Chicago reference in the cut tag, but I kind of like where this fight is going.

I just assumed it would be like in Disney movies where the leads have different folks singing their parts. So Shatner and Nimoy would have the speaking bits, but like, Donny Osmond would jump in for the musical numbers.
Mike Conley
73. NomadUK
Torie@72: Actually, I'm thinking one of the surreal episodes of Moonlighting, a song-and-dance number with Shatner and Nimoy, Bruce Willis as one of the bosses (probably Okmyx), and Cybill Shepherd as the gun moll.

But ... Donny Osmond? Oog.

How about Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor? (Well, I mean, besides the fact that they're dead.)
David Levinson
74. DemetriosX
NomadUK@71: I'll be. How'd they talk him into that one?

But a sort of talking blues/rap isn't the same as a full-on musical. Also, over the years, he's gotten a little less egotistical about his singing. He knows it's bad and has fun with it. Back then?

Torie@72: Donny Osmond would have been a lot too young at the time (like 6 or 7). But I bet they could have gotten Davy Jones to dub for Chekov. I also suspect the James Doohan could sing. Whether he could do it with an accent is another question.

If they'd started singing, it would just have been too Guys and Dolls. Don't get me wrong, I loved those surreal Moonlighting episodes and some of the musical things that have started to become overdone lately. But for this, I'm happy with Shatner channeling Cagney about as well as he sings.
Marcus W
75. toryx
Torie @ 72:

Okay, we can dub in someone for Shatner and Nimoy. Takei could totally do his own singing. I wonder if Deforest Kelly could hold a note? Somehow, I wouldn't be surprised. I think Doonan probably had a good voice too.

DemetriosX @ 74:

I love the idea of Davy Jones singing for Chekhov.

Now I'm imagining opposing duets between McCoy and Spock, ala Xander and Anya from the Buffy musical.
Torie Atkinson
76. Torie
@ 73 NomadUK

Osmond only popped to mind because I kept thinking of him in Mulan, singing that "Be a Man" song (which might be Kirk's anthem).

@ 75 toryx

I like the opposing duets idea. I think McCoy's would have a country/bluegrass feel to it, too.

But where were all of you during the Klingon song contest? (Not you, toryx.)
Church Tucker
77. Church
@Torie 61 "I have a lot of extra Blish and ADF adaptations currently in boxes in my apartment..."

How the hell does a TOS virgin have JB and ADF adaptions?

And Ben Folds makes everything better. You'd probably be happy hearing *me* sing, if he was involved.

OTOH, I haven't heard from him. So, maybe not.
WonderGirl
78. Emiliana
I always thought that the problem wasn't that Kirk couldn't drive, but that he couldn't drive stick, or that 23rd century cars are so different from early 20th century cars - we've already got push-button starts and joystick controls for a handful of specialty car models. So, it didn't seem improbable to me that he had simply never driven a car like that before.
WonderGirl
79. Keith Sampino
About Kirk not being able to drive the car...I've haven't seen the Star trek prequel movie, so I don't know about this, but it's not that Kirk can't drive a car, but the fact that he doesn't know how to drive a stick-shift car with a clutch. This is a talent that I've only recently mastered and many people I know still can't do this, so to my mind, the whole Kirk not being able to drive is not that much of a stretch. Just my 2 cents.

P.S. I should have read the previous comments before I posted this

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