The reality is this: Star Trek might not be what it is today and might not have ever celebrated its 50th anniversary as a living, breathing franchise, were it not for “Space Seed,” the Star Trek: The Original Series episode that debuted on February 16, 1967 — or 50 years ago today. It was “Space Seed” that inspired Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and it was The Wrath of Khan that “saved” Star Trek and paved the way for all that’s come since. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d indulge in some facts, figures and anecdotes about “Space Seed.”
“Space Seed” first rolled camera on December 15, 1966.
120 Scenes? Yes, 120 Scenes
According to StarTrek.com guest bloggers Maria Jose and John Tenuto, who wrote an extensive six-part series of pieces for us a couple of years ago about the making of the episode, there were a total of 120 scenes, and it took the crew and actors about 66 hours to film the entire 51-minute episode.
Directed By Marc Daniels…
Marc Daniels directed “Space Seed.” He’d collaborated with Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant. One of his episodes of The Lieutenant, “In the Highest Tradition,” featured three future Star Trek actors, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett and Gary Lockwood. Daniels directed a total of 14 TOS episodes and penned the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode “Once Upon a Planet.” Daniels passed away in 1989 at the age of 77.
The Wrath of … Ericcson?
Khan’s original name was supposed to be Harold Ericcson, with Ericcson spelled several different ways throughout pre-production, until the name became Khan. Oh, and Ericcson, according to Memory Alpha, was meant to be a Nordic superman.
Craft Services Costs More Now…
The budget for “Space Seed” was $192,654. Per the Tenutos, it actually cost less than that, thanks to the efficient work of producer Robert Justman.
Choke Me or Cut My Throat!
Memorable bit of dialoge #1: “Well either choke me or cut my throat!” Dr. McCoy shouted at Khan. “Make up your mind!”
Montalban and Rhue BEFORE “Space Seed”
Did you know that Ricardo Montalban, who played Khan, and Madlyn Rhue, who played Marla McGivers had once before played husband and wife? It’s true, and they did so in a 1960 episode of Bonanza titled “Day of Reckoning,” an hour with echoes of The Wrath of Khan’s revenge storyline.
Khan Changed Outfits FIVE Times
“William Ware Theiss’ costume design work on ‘Space Seed’ is remarkable for its iconic nature and its interesting symbolism,” the Tenutos wrote on in a StarTrek.com guest blog. “Even with limited time, the costumes of ‘Space Seed’ say something symbolic. Khan, for example, changes his outfit five times. Two are reuses of previously designed costumes (Gary Mitchell’s blue medical costume and an engineering costume). As an interesting aside, Khan does seem to like wearing Starfleet regalia: he does so in ‘Space Seed, in The Wrath of Khan (wearing both the broken Starfleet insignia and Starfleet jacket) and in Star Trek Into Darkness (as John Harrison in the black Starfleet shirt).
A Superior Line
Memorable bit of dialogue #2: “Superior ability,” Spock notes, “breeds superior ambition.”
A Missing Scene
Khan, when he makes his move against the Enterprise, first beams to the Botany Bay with Marla’s help to pick up his crew. In the episode as edited and aired, the Tenutos note, “Khan greets his people on the Botany Bay, and the next sequence occurs on the bridge as the episode shows the effects of Khan taking over ship systems. In the filmed episode, we would have seen Khan and his people actually returning to the Enterprise in the transporter room. We never do see that, but luckily there is a photograph of this moment preserved on a Lincoln Enterprise slide fans could purchase during the 1970s.”
Memorable bit of dialogue #3: “We can be against him and admire him all at the same time,” Kirk said to a befuddled Spock.
I Love Lucy, We All Love Lucy
It was during the production of “Space Seed” that Roddenberry learned that NBC had decided to keep Star Trek on the air for the full season. Dated October 5, 1996, the letter came from Lucille Ball, the boss at Desilu Studios, and it read: “Dear Gene and the rest of you hardworking people. Just heard the good news, and want you to know how proud and happy I am. Looks like you have a real hit on your hands, and we appreciate your efforts.”
A World to Win…
Memorable bit of dialogue #4: “And I’ve gotten something else I wanted,” Khan utters at his hearing. “…A world to win, an empire to build.”
Chekov And Sulu Went to Lunch?
Walter Koenig and George Takei were MIA in “Space Seed.” Of course, in The Wrath of Khan, the vengeful Khan somehow remembered Chekov.
Did Spock Foresee Wrath of Khan?
Memorable bit of dialogue #5: “It would be interesting, captain, to return to that world in 100 years,” Spock presciently says to Kirk, “and to learn what crop has sprung from the seed you planted today.”
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