Life is a funny thing. Human bodies are constantly deteriorating, and one day, our mortality catches up with us and we perish. On a distant planet, one which for some reason is an exact duplicate of our planet Earth, some crackpot scientists tried to prolong the inevitable… only to create a biological disaster instead.
This is a very good story with some very interesting questions to ask about mankind and the constant search for the so called “Fountain of Youth.” We are a culture, as much today as in the 1960s, of trying to look, act, feel and preserve being as young as we can. Some people get caught up in pursuit of vanity that, while it’s not the worst thing in the world about mankind, sometimes some people can go a little too far.
Kim Darby plays Miri, just another girl on this planet that befriends the landing party, particularly Captain Kirk. She takes a liking to him of course. She handles the role with great sensitivity. Darby would, or course, go on to play a more famous film role in the John Wayne movie “True Grit” in 1969. Michael J. Pollard plays Jahn, a rather old looking pubescent teenager. His later claim to fame was in the Warren Beatty classic “Bonnie and Clyde.”
But, there is always one baffling thing for me in this episode. It’s the shot of the duplicate Earth:
Look at that. Not a cloud or any sign of weather at all on this planet. That… is very odd. Now, granted, the special effects are a bit primitive and were the best they could do at the time, but come on, don’t you think they could have figured out a way to get some clouds on the planet? Now, for comparison sake, here is what they did in the “revised visual effects version” of this episode:
This is probably a rare thing in that revisionist history version of Star Trek that I think is an improvement. I however have to stick to my laurels as a purist and live with it.
Now, there is one more thing to mention. Me, the 1966 TV watcher, would have a tough time on this one. Yes, it’s a good story with potential. But, the first 30 minutes I would more than likely have been watching a special over on CBS (in place of the regular program My Three Sons)…
When I talked this programming decision quandary over with my husband Greg the other day, he said that he would watch the Peanuts special and hope for a repeat of Miri in the summer. I reminded him that that’s a risky chance as not all series episodes will get a summer repeat. In hindsight, luckily he was right, as Miri was indeed repeated on June 29, 1967.
The Great Pumpkin notwithstanding, this was a very memorable Trek, if not for the diseased adults, but certainly for the inane and annoying children saying BONK! BONK! BONK! repeatedly.
Next week, we delve into the mind and chew the scenery in one of the great guest starring performances in the whole series: