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teleplay by Gilbert A. Ralston and Gene L. Coon
story by Gilbert A. Ralston

Review, Analysis, and Report by Dave Tilotta

Apollo and Palamas

"Who Mourns for Adonais?," a title borrowed from a line in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s eulogy for John Keats, is a terrific episode from Star Trek's second season. It treats us to some memorable dramatic moments: we see Scotty fall for a woman for the first time, an "alien" who is complex and non-melodramatic, and Chekov with a sense of humor. Interestingly, this final draft script, completed two weeks before the start of shooting, is quite different from the aired version. In fact, if I were forced to use one word to describe this script, that word would have to be "rough."


There are several major differences between this draft and the aired version, so let’s start off by examining those before looking at the details in the various acts. First on the list: Spock is used differently in the script. Specifically, he accompanies the landing party to the planet along with Kirk, Scotty, McCoy, and Chekov. In the broadcast version if you recall, Kirk leaves Spock on the ship because he reminds Apollo of Pan (a line, incidentally, that Apollo uses in the script when he first sees Spock on the planet). When rewriting the script to keep Spock on the ship, his dialogue was given mostly to Sulu. And in turn, McCoy and Chekov were given Spock’s scripted planet-side dialogue in the aired version. Overall, I think the script works fine with Spock on the planet, though Chekov is somewhat underutilized in it. Clearly the broadcast version gives our newly-introduced ensign much more to do.

Another major difference between the scripted and aired versions is the proper names used in the teleplay. Specifically, many of the names in the script were altered – often to correct factual gaffs –as the script progressed to the final shooting draft. It’s unknown as to whether Ralston and Coon made the changes themselves or whether they were suggested by Kellam DeForest research, but, in my opinion, all of the changes were good. Here are examples of some of the more prominent differences:

Finally, I’ll note that the landing party’s communicators are not destroyed with the phasers in the script and are working throughout its story. As we’ll see, Kirk regularly talks with Sulu and this significantly affects the action.

The Teaser

The scripted teaser contains the same basic dramatics elements as the broadcast version but it is far less refined. Specifically, the dialogue is awkward and not always appropriate to the character. For example, here is an excerpt of an exchange concerning Scotty’s interest in Carolyn that just doesn’t quite ring true:

Would you believe this thistle-hearted Hibernian
is showing signs of the grand passion?

Even from here I can tell his pulse rate is up.


Ah, now…

I find it rather disappointing. I would expect Mr. Scott
to share his meals with a reactor or a generator, but not a woman.

Also, for inexplicable reasons, Uhura does not appear in the teaser. Chekov speaks all of her lines in the broadcast version.

Someone's thrilled to be on the Star Trek set! "Note the stage wall visible behind the set in the upper right corner.

Act I

There are relatively few differences between the scripted and aired versions of this act. Some of the major ones include:

What's that behind Scotty's leg and the corner of the temple?

Act II

Of all the acts in the script, this one is the most different from those aired, mainly because many of its scenes are juxtaposed. Some of the other variations include:

But we have our weaknesses. When a god is not needed…
when his worshippers are gone… his spirit weakens, like a fading candle.

Jay Jones, stuntman for James Doohan, prepares to be "zapped" by Apollo.


The scripted scenes in act III are essentially the same as those broadcast, just rearranged. Here are some of the differences:

She is as if hypnotized. As he pulls her closer, she looks up at him, and her expression shows that she is looking into the infinite. Something so huge as to dwarf her.


What can I do…


His lips are upon hers. For a moment she is stiff and resisting in his arms… and then she melts against him, returning the kiss. When he finally releases her…

Oh, yes… yes…


His arms are around her, holding her close as we


Note the reflection of the set lights on Spock's station.

Act IV

With the exception of the tag omitted from the broadcast (discussed below), the differences between the aired and scripted versions of this act are fairly minor:


Mr. Spock, I suspect we are dealing with a woman in love.
You are a man of many talents and skills, but what you
know about love I could put under the eyelid of a gnat
and not make it blink.

Ouch –a very poor joke in my opinion.



moving rapidly through the wide field of stars.


Spock and Kirk are in conference at the command chair. McCoy enters from behind them, looking somewhat bemused. He approaches them, stops. Kirk and Spock look at him.

Yes, Bones?

You might be interested. Carolyn Bassett managed
a picturesque faint at breakfast this morning.


Just after the smell of coffee made her slightly ill.

Kirk and Spock stare at him.

Should that be of significance to us, doctor?

I don’t expect it to be to you.

(to Kirk)
But it should mean something to you.

Something going around?

I certainly hope not. I just finished examining her. She’s pregnant.


Even Spock looks surprised.

You heard me.


Apollo. Positively.

Kirk and Spock look stunned. McCoy continues, dryly.

Now I’ll give you an interesting question to chew on.
What will the child be. Man? Or God?

(beat – to Spock)
You want to try that on your computer for size, Spock?

Kirk joins McCoy in staring at Spock. Spock’s eyebrows rise. He is at a loss for words. Kirk stares back at McCoy. McCoy shrugs, as we


Speeding forward into the eternity of stars.


A fascinating and thought-provoking ending, but one that may have pushed the bounds of propriety for 1960’s television.


To conclude this review, there are a lot of differences between the final draft of this script and the aired episode: Chekov gained a sense of humor, Spock was relegated to the bridge, and we lost a god-child--just to name a few. In many regards, this draft reminds me of a first draft rather than a final. No matter though, the script for "Who Mourns For Adonais?" was eventually polished to a high gloss enabling the episode to take its place as one of Star Trek’s best.

Gilbert A. Ralston (1912-1999): Producer and writer during the 1960s and 1970s. During his career, he wrote more than 50 screenplays including 2003’s Willard. He was also responsible for co-creating the television series The Wild Wild West.

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