written by David P. Harmon and Gene L.
FIRST DRAFT, September 28, 1967
report & analysis by Dave Eversole
Since this is a first draft and there is a good deal of difference between it and the episode that was eventually filmed as "A Piece of The Action," instead of continually highlighting the differences, I will simply provide an act-by-act synopsis of the script, only occasionally noting changes, and allow the readers of this page to compare the two.
We quickly learn, via a scene in the Briefing Room, that Federation orbital surveys show Dana Iotia Two, a planet on the border between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, to be moderately industrialized. Since the Federation fears the Romulans will move in and use it as an outpost, Kirk has been ordered to make contact with the natives and initiate a friendship treaty, one which will offer protection from the encroaching Romulans.
Kirk speaks with Bela Okmyx, self-identified as the "Leader," and agrees to meet with him. As in the aired episode, once Kirk, Spock and McCoy materialize on the city street, they are surrounded by Belas hitmen.
As Kalo, Belas main henchman, and his boys escort Kirk, Spock and McCoy down the street to Belas headquarters, they are hit by Krakos boys, but escape, make their way finally to Bela. He informs them that the Romulans have been to Dana Iotia Two ahead of them and are trying to initiate a treaty with Krako and the other Bosses, all of whom want him out of the picture. Bela is prepared to throw in with the Federation if they will supply him with all the weapons and men he desires. And, whats more, Bela wants the Enterprise in the bargain.
Kirk, dumbfounded, naturally declines. Bela orders his henchmen to "bag em."
Kirk, Spock and McCoy are held hostage in a luxurious room of Belas summer house. As Kirk and McCoy pace, Spock speed-reads all the books Bela has, learns that this culture is based upon the gang system.
Unlike the final episode, there was no contamination from the Horizon, no Chicago Mobs of the 1920's book left behind. This culture is simply another example of parallel development. Unlike Earth, where the violent gangs were suppressed and eliminated, here they took over every aspect of the planets society.
Uhura attempts to hail Captain Kirk. Bela answers Kirks confiscated communicator, tells Mr. Scott that the Enterprise better be ready to play ball. Scotty thinks he is offering to hold an athletic contest.
Kirk plays the card game "farfel" with their guards, overpower them much the same as aired. Kirk orders Spock and McCoy to use Belas radio/broadcasting equipment to attempt to contact the Enterprise. After that, they are to meet him at Belas headquarters.
Kirk grabs a tommygun, attempts to make his way back to Belas headquarters. Angry citizens, thinking he is now working for Bela, stop him and present their complaints about the way Bela is running things. Kirk promises to bring their grievances to Bela, gets away from the mob, only to be "bagged" by Krakos boys, and forced into a car.
At Krakos headquarters, we learn that Krako is close to making a treaty with the Romulans. As he informs Kirk of this, Rorek and Ramo, two Romulan military officers, enter the room, stare ominously at Kirk.
Despite Kirks pleas, Krako accepts the Romulans offer of weapons and troops. Though the Romulans avow they simply wish to trade goods and interact peacefully with the Iotians, they also say that they would like to establish a military outpost there as well "to watch the sneaky Federation." The Romulans promise to start beaming down weapons immediately. Kirk is locked inside a small room, helpless.
Spock and McCoy transmit a message to the Enterprise from the radio, ask that phasers and communicators be beamed down to their location.
Spock and McCoy return to Belas headquarters, hold Bela at phaserpoint as they await Kirks arrival.
Kirk escapes from Krakos hapless guards using the wiring from the radio to trip them, much as in the aired episode.
Kirk meets Spock and McCoy at Belas, calls the Enterprise and instructs Scotty to broadcast M rays at the Romulan vessel, causing its transporters to malfunction.
At Krakos, Rorek and Ramo explain that their transporters are mysteriously malfunctioning, and they cannot beam down the weapons as promised, but as a gesture of good faith they give Krako their own personal phaser-like weapons, called "morkons."
Krako is delighted, says that he will test this weapon on Bela right away!
Bela Okmyx asks Kirk for help. He knows that all the other gang Bosses will fall in with Krako and the Romulans and "bag" him.
Krako and the Romulans, and two of Krakos boys, approach in separate cars. Krakos boys engage Kirk, Spock and McCoy in a pitched phaser/morkon shootout in the street outside Belas headquarters. Kirk and his boys easily vaporize Krakos hoods and their car. Krako, Rorek and Ramo manage to escape in their car.
The terrified Bela again demands weapons and troops from Kirk. But Kirk has other plans, asks how many Bosses there are, anyway.
Rorek and Ramo decide to bring a squad of Romulan troops down to kill Bela as soon as they can figure out what is wrong with their transporter system. Krako begins to realize that he is in over his head with these cold-blooded Romulans.
As in the aired episode, Kirk calls all of the dozen-or-so Bosses on the phone and has Scotty lock in on them and transport them to Belas headquarters. Kirk also instructs Scotty to wait a few moments, and then discontinue the M ray bombardment of the Romulan vessel. He further instructs Scotty to then call him and say that the ship is drained of power, and they have been forced to discontinue to M ray bombardment.
Kirks plan works. The Romulans overhear Scottys faux call to Kirk, and immediately Rorek and Ramo beam down to the street outside with six fully-armed Romulan soldiers. They approach Belas headquarters.
Suddenly a detail of Enterprise security men materialize, surrounding the Romulans. Rorek and Ramo reluctantly order their soldiers to drop their weapons. Kirk allows them all to return to their ship and leave orbit.
The Bosses all agree that they would much prefer to make a treaty with the fair-dealing Federation. Onboard the Enterprise, Kirk, Spock and Scotty await the beam-up of Dana Iotia Twos newly elected Ambassador to the Federation of Planets. Uhura informs them that the ambassador is aboard and on his way to the bridge. Kirk, Spock and McCoy idly wonder which Boss was elected.
The turbolift doors snap open, and out tumble Bela, Krako, and every single Boss of the various gangs. Bela explains that since every Boss had one vote, each Boss, naturally, voted for himself.
Kirk eyes Spock, shakes his head, mutters, "Boy, oh boy, oh boy!"
Lissen up, youse guys! This would have made a perfectly fine episode, but Im glad we got the whimsical "A Piece of The Action." As with most first draft scripts, this one is dialogue-heavy (Kirk, Spock and McCoy tediously ruminate over the origins of the Iotian society for three or four pages in the "farfel" scene). The humor is barely hinted at in this draft.
The threat from the Romulans is very real, and the menace drives this story. When they were excised from the script, it was time for the heaters, a device known as a clutch, the zoot suits and Shatners remarkably bad gangster accent.
Know what I mean, pally?
DAVID P. HARMON (1918-2001): A prolific television writer whose career spanned 1953-1983. Some of the more familiar programs boasting scripts from him were The Untouchables, Burke's Law, Gilligan's Island (he also wrote two of the reunion films, Rescue From Gilligan's Island and The Harlem Globetrotters On Gilligan's Island), The Brady Bunch, The Rookies, Ironside, and Hotel. For Star Trek, he penned this episode and "The Deadly Years." For the animated Star Trek series, he wrote "The Eye of The Beholder."
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