It was meant to be a vehicle designed for actor Milton Berle. Instead, it ended up in Gene Roddenberry’s wastebasket — at the insistence of the original scribe — and was considered lost forever.
But now a lost “Star Trek” script is back, and despite his feelings on it, Norman Spinrad wants to ensure fans have a chance to see not only the good, but the bad in Star Trek.
Spinrad, who wrote the popular “Star Trek” episode “Doomsday Machine,” had written another script as well — “He Walked Among Us.” Spinrad wrote the script in 1967 for the show’s second season. According to Star Trek wiki Memory Alpha, a Federation health food nut takes over a planet, and in violation of the Prime Directive, becomes a god on the planet, and makes it almost impossible to have him removed without disrupting the entire planet.
The story was meant to bring Milton Berle into the fold, a comedic actor who had expressed a huge interest in making an appearance in “Star Trek.” Spinrad wrote the script as a serious subject, but late producer Gene L. Coon decided to take a different approach as a way to complement Berle’s comedic strengths. The end result was far less than what Spinrad had hoped for.
“This is so lousy, Gene, that you should kill it,” Spinrad said he told Roddenberry in a recent blog post. “You can’t, you shouldn’t, shoot this thing. Read it and weep.”
Roddenberry agreed with Spinrad and killed the episode, “which, down through the years, has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost residuals,” Spinrad said.
The script popped up recently when Spinrad was signing autographs for fans, and one held in his hands a faded copy of Spinrad’s script. Spinrad signed it, under the condition the fan would scan it in and let him have a copy of it. That copy is now being sold to fans through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Spinrad is probably much better known for his literary works, including 1969’s “Bug Jack Barron.” It was published in the British magazine “New World,” and was a bit controversial because of its use of language and its disdain for politicians.
Like many shows, “Star Trek” did have its fair share of unproduced scripts that have become a bit noteworthy (or even infamous) over the years. One was “Deep Mudd,” what was supposed to be a third story involving the character Harry Mudd from “Mudd’s Women” and “I, Mudd.” Stephen Kandel, who wrote the previous two Mudd episodes, wrote this one, but it was never shot because the actor who played Mudd — Roger C. Carmel — was not available.
Another would’ve been a sequel to “The Trouble With Tribbles” in the show’s third season called “More Troubles, More Tribbles.” The third season showrunner, Fred Freiberger, apparently hated the original David Gerrold story from earlier in the series because of its comic approach, and was not interested in bringing the popular characters back.
That episode was made later on, however, for “Star Trek: The Animated Series.”
You can read more about some of the lost scripts of “Star Trek” by visiting Memory Alpha.