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written by Art Wallace
Story by Gene Roddenberry and Art Wallace
REVISED FIRST DRAFT, dated December 20, 1967

report & analysis by Dave Eversole 

After Gene Roddenberry failed to sell his pilot script version of an Assignment: Earth series, he teamed with writer Art Wallace who had also unsuccessfully pitched a series to NBC about a man from the future helping Earth of the late-1960s. The two writers pooled their ideas and wrote a series proposal, dated December 5, 1967. The proposal is very much like the script which followed only a couple of weeks later, though they did briefly rename their lead character Anthony Seven.

Wallace’s script is very close to what aired, except for several sequences in the latter part of the third act and the beginning of the fourth.

TEASER

The teaser is longer, owing to a little humorous bit that was cut. After Kirk’s opening log explains why they have traveled back in time to 1968, we cut to the bridge of the Enterprise. Sulu, Chekov and Uhura are staring in awe at the off screen viewscreen. We hear the sound of hoofbeats.

Kirk enters the bridge, sees that his crew is watching an episode of the television series Bonanza. Not realizing what it is, Kirk remarks that Sulu must have overshot and taken them back to 1868 instead of 1968. Uhura tells Kirk it is a television broadcast and the chagrined Sulu explains:

SULU
. . .it seemed rather, ah,
educational, sir. . .

CHEKOV
(nods)
. . . a story of hardy Russian
pioneers, Captain. . .

SULU
(to Chekov)
It was a Western drama. . .

CHEKOV
(to Sulu)
We invented the Western!

The rest of the Teaser is basically the same as the aired version, save that Gary Seven’s cat Isis does not appear in this draft.

ACT ONE

Very close to the aired version. Gary Seven does not realize the Enterprise is from the future by spotting Spock, a Vulcan, working with Humans. Instead, he strolls to the transporter console and readings he sees there convince him the ship is from the future.

A scene between Doctor McCoy and Gary Seven is scripted, but was either not filmed or cut. McCoy comes to the brig, stands outside and conducts a medical scan to determine if Seven is Human. Seven attempts to convince the good doctor that he is on a mission benefiting mankind. In one annoyed moment, he turns the tables on the good ol’ boy humanist and shouts at him, "Are you a doctor or a mechanic?"

ACT TWO

The script does not introduce Roberta London (Lincoln in the aired version) dodging past pedestrians as she runs for the entrance to Seven’s apartment building. We first see her when she enters the office.

The agents Seven has come back to check up on did not die in an automobile accident, here. Instead, they died due to their continued proximity to "nuclear emanations from the rocket warhead."

The act ends much as we saw. After Kirk and Spock barge in, Seven uses his personal transporter and beams to the rocket base, leaving Roberta behind.

ACT THREE

As the police officers who responded to Roberta’s call pound at the door, Kirk decides that in order to find out more about Seven’s true goals, he will transport Roberta back to the Enterprise with himself and Spock.

The gag of the officers beaming up, then straight back down is therefore not present in this draft.

On the Enterprise, Roberta gets her first view of Spock’s ears and believes she is on a "flying saucer." Kirk summons Uhura to help calm the young lady.

Kirk attempts to question her, uses some of the same tactics Gary Seven used -– your planet needs you, we’re here to help, and so on. She lets slip that Gary had maps and plans for the rocket base. Kirk and Spock beam down, are themselves captured.

Unlike the aired version, Scotty locates Seven fairly quickly and beams him up from atop the rocket gantry, has him searched and redeposited in the ship’s brig.

The third act ends as it did on air with Kirk and Spock, prisoners, watching as the rocket with the nuclear warhead blasts off.

ACT FOUR

Scotty calls Uhura, orders her to take Roberta London to the brig as well. He hopes that confined together, they may talk, and he will overhear anything they say via the brig’s wall communications panel.

Once Roberta is thrown into the brig, we see that Gary has been using his belt buckle to pry the wall-mounted communications panel loose. He gets it free without the guard noticing and quickly begins tearing at its internal wiring, recrossing and rehooking several different wires.

Uhura reports that the channel to the brig has gone dead. But before anything can be done, we cut back to the brig and see Seven place the communications unit on the floor and push it against the brig’s forcefield. A terrific EXPLOSION destroys the forcefield, knocks out both Roberta and the guard. Seven sprints down a corridor.

At the rocket base, Kirk grabs his communicator and is able to call for a beam-up as shown in the aired episode. On the Enterprise, they learn that Seven has escaped and again beamed down to his apartment.

Kirk and Spock beam down to Seven’s apartment and the rest of the script agrees with the aired episode until the tag. Seven, Kirk and Spock talk, and Spock notes that historical records do show that one Roberta London lived at this address for many years. They have no choice, Spock tells Kirk. They must return her and hope that she does not contaminate the timeline.

Roberta is beamed back down to the apartment, and she opines that working with Gary Seven will be a real "gas." Spock explains this usage of "gas" to the befuddled Seven, and Kirk accuses Spock of developing a flair for the dramatic as they beam up.

 

This is neither a great Star Trek episode, nor a terrible one. It is a fairly decent "Gary Seven" episode, as good as Roddenberry’s 1966 pilot script.

It all comes down to the writers. Had this hypothetical series been able to secure the talents of television scenarists on the order of Fontana, Coon, Lucas, Ellison, Matheson, Sturgeon, Johnson, Bloch and Spinrad, it would have perhaps been a classic, remembered today along with its parent program.

Most likely, the same guys pitching drivel (sometimes highly enjoyable drivel, but drivel, nonetheless) to Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel and The Invaders would have penned the first thirteen episodes, and it would be forgotten today, save for the fact that it spun-off from Star Trek.


ART WALLACE: Extremely prolific television writer whose career lasted from the late-1940s until 1997. Series he wrote for include: Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, Combat!, The Lieutenant (created by Gene Roddenberry), Planet of The Apes (the short-lived 1974 series), and Space: 1999. Wallace is best remembered for the extensive amount of writing he did for Dark Shadows (one of his short stories was half of the basis for the series). For Star Trek, he also wrote "Obsession." More on his work on Dark Shadows can be found here.  


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