Genesis II

Genesis IIIn 1979, NASA researcher Dylan Hunt volunteers to become the first human test subject of a process of suspended animation that he has helped to develop for long space journeys. Rather than freezing its subjects, Hunt’s process relies on a special combination of drugs and a chamber pressurized with a mixture of gases that shut down the body’s metabolic processes without killing the subject. During the pressurization of Hunt’s sleeping chamber, a major earthquake strikes the underground facility, forcing the scientists there to evacuate. Dylan Hunt is left behind, buried alive beneath Carlsbad Caverns.

Hunt is awakened by a team that obviously isn’t working for NASA, and is told that it is now 2133. The underground caverns are occupied by an organization called PAX, but Hunt’s caretaker, Lyra-A, isn’t a member of PAX. She’s a mutant – as can be seen by her second navel – and claims that PAX is a civilization of warmongers, masquerading as pacifists, lurking underground and waiting to strike at the more civilized people who live on Earth’s surface. Hunt accepts Lyra-A’s offer of an escape to her city, Tyrannia, only to find an oppressive mutant regime enslaving humans.

written by Gene Roddenberry
directed by John Llewellyn Moxey
music by Harry Sukman

Genesis IICast: Alex Cord (Dylan Hunt), Mariette Hartley (Lyra-a), Ted Cassidy (Isiah), Percy Rodrigues (Primus Kimbridge), Harvey Jason (Singh), Titos Vandis (Primus Yuloff), Bill Striglos (Kellum), Lynne Marta (Primus Harper-Smythe), Harry Raybold (Slan-n), Majel Barrett (Primus Dominic), Leon Askin (Overseer), Liam Dunn (Janos), Scott Graham (Tyranian Teacher), Ed Ashley (Wehr-r), Linda Grant (Astrid), Robert Swan (Lahyn-n), Beulah Quo (Primus Lu Chan), Dennis Robertson (General), Ray Young (Tyranian Teacher #2), Tom Pace (Brian), Teryl Willis (Cardiologist), David Westburg (Station Operator), Robert Hathaway (Shuttle Car Operator), Tammi Bula (Teenager)

Genesis IINotes: If Gene Roddenberry liked working with you that one time, Gene Roddenberry will hire you again. Cases in point: Ted Cassidy played Ruk in the Star Trek episode What Are Little Girls Made Of?, while Mariette Hartley guest starred in one of the final original Trek episodes, All Our Yesterdays. Percy Rodrigues put Captain Kirk on trial in Court-Martial, and appeared in other genre series such as The Starlost and the television incarnation of Planet Of The Apes before going on to become one of the 1970s’ most frequently employed movie trailer voice-over Genesis IIartists. Dylan Hunt would be recast in his next TV adventure (1974’s Planet Earth), and would be renamed (but not recast) for one last try-out in the 20th century, 1975’s Strange New World; Roddenberry’s Dylan Hunt/PAX concept wouldn’t be revisited further until a space-based revamp transformed it into the 21st century syndicated series Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, for which all of the earlier attempts nearly 30 years earlier can be regarded misfired pilots.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Questor Tapes

The Questor TapesFollowing the mysterious disappearance of its creator, Nobel-prize-winning physicist Dr. Emil Voslovik, work continues in his absence to complete his final creation: a sentient android. A team of university researchers with corporate and international sponsors attempts to complete construction of the Questor android, but decide not to use the programming prepared by Voslovik. Voslovik’s assistant, engineer Jerry Robinson, protests the sudden swap of programs, but it turns out that his fears are unfounded: Questor does not activate after receiving the substitute program. Even when the correct program is loaded, Questor shows no signs of life. The team constructing Questor adjourns, with team leader Darrow suggesting that the android should be dismantled, as the advanced technology developed by Voslovik still has some value. Unknown to the scientists, Questor gains consciousness later that night, using specialized tools to mold his plastic appearance into a much more human form, but his speech and mannerisms remain robotic. As part of his programming, he immediately seeks out Jerry Robinson to ask for help in finding Dr. Voslovik.

Initially skeptical of Questor’s identity and his purpose, Robinson reluctantly gives in to the android’s demand to travel to London to search for Voslovik, finding out along the way that Questor has enormous strength and agility, but no capacity for emotion, and a near-total reliance on Robinson for moral guidance. Darrow, having grown suspicious of Robinson even before Questor’s surprise awakening, instigates an international manhunt for Questor and Robinson, and the two have to lie low in London. Their search leads them to the estate of Lady Helena Trimble, a woman with far-reaching connections but, seemingly, no political ambitions. In a secret chamber on her estate, Voslovik has constructed (and, apparently, abandoned) a surveillance center capable of peeking in on governments, individuals, and nations, with an interface specifically designed for Questor. Unnerved by the implications of this, Robinson loses his nerve and tips off Darrow to Questor’s location.

Questor reveals that he is designed to self-destruct within three days, via a catastrophic overload of his internal nuclear furnace, unless he locates Dr. Voslovik, and Robinson warns Darrow of the impending disaster. Having expressed a fascination with boats for the entire duration his search, despite repeated assurances that Voslovik wasn’t fond of going near water, Questor suddenly pieces the clues together and demands passage to Turkey, where he and Robinson climb to find a vast, hidden chamber within Mt. Ararat, trailed by Darrow the entire time. Questor finally locates Dr. Voslovik, moments away from death, and learns of his origins, a secret directly tied to the future of the human race.

teleplay by Gene Roddenberry and Gene L. Coon
story by Gene Roddenberry
directed by Richard A. Colla
music by Gil Melle

The Questor TapesCast: Robert Foxworth (Questor), Mike Farrell (Jerry Robinson), John Vernon (Dr. Darrow), Lew Ayres (Dr. Voslovik), James Shigeta (Dr. Chen), Robert Douglas (Dr. Michaels), Dana Wynter (Lady Helena Trimble), Majel Barrett (Dr. Bradley), Ellen Weston (Allison Sample), Reuben Singer (Dr. Gorlov), Fred Sadoff (Dr. Audret), Gerald Saunderson Peters (Randolph), Walter Koenig (Administration Assistant), Eyde Girard (Stewardess), Alan Caillou (Immigration Official), Lal Baum (Colonel Hendricks), Patti Cubbison (Secretary)

The Questor TapesNotes: Co-writer Gene L. Coon was one of the driving creative forces behind the original Star Trek, responsible for such episodes as Arena, Space Seed, The Devil In The Dark, Errand Of Mercy, and Metamorphosis; under the pseudonym Lee Cronin, he also contributed later scripts such as Spock’s Brain. He is often credited as the creator of the Klingons and the contributor of such concepts as the Prime Directive. He died of cancer in 1973, several months before the premiere of The Questor Tapes. Walter Koenig gets a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it walk-on as the assistant who gives Jerry Robinson’s credentials to Darrow – it’s easy to miss him behind the giant ’70s sideburns and moustache.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Planet Earth

Planet EarthA PAX expedition to California runs into trouble, encountering a savage sect of mutant “Kreegs” who try to take the team’s technology for their own savage ends. Pater Kimbridge takes a shot from a 20th century rifle, and Dylan Hunt leads the team back to the safety of PAX’s central city. Kimbridge will require life-saving surgery, and PAX’s only two surgeons qualified to perform the procedure have both gone missing. Hunt decides to lead a team to a community where men are enslaved by women, hoping to follow up on a sighting of the missing Dr. Connor there. What Hunt doesn’t know is that it won’t be as easy as masquerading as a new male slave: the water and food given to men is laced with a drug that ensures their obedience to – and fear of – their mistresses. Hunt manages to avoid the drug for some time, but his insubordination to women gives him away and he is forcibly dosed. Now he has to fight off the effects of the drug as he tries to carry through his plan to find Dr. Connor and free the enslaved men; worse yet, the Kreegs are about to launch an attack on the female-dominated community, already aware that its men will not fight back.

teleplay by Gene Roddenberry and Juanita Bartlett
story by Gene Roddenberry
directed by Marc Daniels
music by Harry Sukman

Planet EarthCast: John Saxon (Dylan Hunt), Janet Margolin (Harper-Smythe), Ted Cassidy (Isiah), Christopher Cary (Baylok), Diana Muldaur (Marg), Sally Kemp (Treece), Johana de Winter (Villar), Claire Brennen (Delba), Corrine Camacho (Bronta), Majel Barrett (Yuloff), Jim Antonio (Jonathan Connor), Aron Kincaid (Gorda), John Quade (Kreeg Commandant), Rai Tasco (Pater Kimbridge), Sara Chattin (Thetis), Lew Brown (Merlo), Raymond Sutton (Kreeg Captain), Joan Crosby (Kyla), James Bacon (Partha), Craig Hundley (Harpsichordist), Robert McAndrew (First Dink), Bob Golden (Second Dink), Susan Page (Little Girl)

Planet EarthNotes: Planet Earth is based on a story idea that Gene Roddenberry had mooted as a “possible future episode” of both the original Star Trek and, later, for a prospective Genesis II series. More familiar faces are found behind the scenes; Marc Daniels directed the first Star Trek episode broadcast, The Man Trap, as well as fan favorites The Naked Time, The Menagerie, Court-Martial, Space Seed, The Doomsday Machine, and Mirror, Mirror. At the time of this movie’s TV premiere, he had also turned his hand to writing, including the animated Star Trek episode One Of Our Planets Is Missing. And finally, Roddenberry’s right-hand man for almost all of the original Star Trek, Planet Earthproducer Robert Justman, is credited as the producer of Planet Earth as well. Diana Muldaur had appeared in the original Star Trek episodes Return To Tomorrow and Is There In Truth No Beauty?, and Roddenberry would call upon her again to play Dr. Katherine Pulaski in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Craig Hundley, who appeared as Tommy Starnes in …And The Children Shall Lead, appears as a harpsichordist here – perhaps the midway point between his early acting ambitions and his later musical leanings, which would lead him to devise the Blaster Beam instrument that was heavily used by Jerry Goldsmith in the soundtrack of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Strange New World

Strange New WorldCaptain Anthony Vico is the leader of a team of researchers aboard a space station operated by the scientific agency PAX, conducting experiments in subjecting human beings to suspended animation. The station is moved into a different orbit when a swarm of asteroids is detected nearing Earth, and the computer is set to awaken Vico and his crew in a few days is given new orders: don’t revive them for another 180 years, and then give them instructions to return to Earth to reunite with any PAX remnants that may still exist. Upon
returning to Earth, Vico and his team follow an intermittent PAX homing signal until they’re all but sitting on top of its source, at which point another signal renders them unconscious.

When Vico and his team awaken, they find themselves in an idyllic city populated entirely by young, fit people, whose leader seems intent that the PAX team should stay there. Vico loses his patients and attempts to escape, discovering that the seemingly young population consists of humans kept alive by cloning; as their organs age or fail, they are replaced by organs harvested from the clones. The PAX team is imprisoned to serve as a supply of fresh blood, with a strong immune resistance, for the clones, until Vico leads them in an escape.

The PAX survivors then run across a desert oasis filled with fresh fruit and spring water, but this find is naturally too good to be true: two primitive tribes battle over the resources of this small area of land, and one of the groups takes PAX navigator Allison Crowley hostage, leaving Vico and PAX’s Dr. Scott little time to negotiate her release – or start a local war by trying to free her before she comes to harm.

written by Ronald F. Graham, Alvin Ramrus and Walon Green
directed by Robert Butler
music by Richard Clements and Elliot Kaplan

Strange New WorldCast: John Saxon (Captain Anthony Vico), Catherine Bach (Guide), Norland Benson (Hide), Martine Beswick (Tana), Reb Brown (Sprang), Keene Curtis (Doctor Scott), Dick Farnsworth (Elder), Gerrit Graham (Daniel), Bill McKinney (Badger), Kathleen Miller (Allison Crowley), James Olson (Surgeon), Ford Rainey (Cyrus), Cynthia Wood (Arana)

Strange New WorldNotes: Produced without any participation from Gene Roddenberry, Strange New World is Warner Bros.’ third and final attempt to launch the PAX saga as a series, since the studio owned the rights to the format Roddenberry developed. To avoid legal entanglements, the character of Dylan Hunt was renamed Anthony Vico, though John Saxon was again cast in the role. The only other common element is the name of the PAX organization (used as a proxy for NASA here), and the basic premise of Hunt/Vico being frozen in suspended animation, only to be revived in a destroyed world which he vows to rebuild to its former glory. This was the last attempt to bring Dylan Hunt to TV in the 1970s; the next attempt, the 2000 premiere of the Strange New Worldposthumously-produced Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, restored Hunt’s name and retained the “man frozen in time awakens to rebuild his world” log line, but shed the PAX concept and the not-so-distant-future-of-Earth setting. The writing talent brought to bear on this final attempt to salvage the Genesis II concept was considerable: Walon Green co-wrote the classic western The Wild Bunch (1969), while Ronald F. Graham (1941-2010) wrote many episodes of UK TV series like The Professionals, The Sweeney, and Dempsey & Makepeace. Al Ramrus wrote episodes of Rat Patrol, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and The Avengers.

8LogBook entry by Earl Green

Spectre

SpectreDr. “Ham” Hamilton is summoned to the home of his friend and colleague, investigator William Sebastian, where he learns that Sebastian’s latest criminal investigation extends into truly otherworldly territory. Sebastian’s torso is scarred, and he has no detectable heartbeat: the work, he claims, of the devil. A visit from an attractive woman quickly turns horrifying when Sebastian reveals her to be a succubus attempting to thwart his investigation into the unusual behavior of a British business tycoon named Cyon. Sebastian needs Hamilton’s help, and is even willing to do him a favor in exchange: Sebastian’s mysterious assistant Lilith uses a form of magic to cure the doctor of his alcoholism almost instantly.

The trip overseas is eventful, with Cyon’s freewheeling younger brother Mitri piloting Cyon’s personal jet. No sooner have Sebastian and Hamilton arrived in London than Sebastian’s contact in the Cyon case literally goes up in flames. Sebastian salvages a book from the scene, hoping that the clues will help him crack the Cyon case. The Cyon mansion is staffed by beautiful young women, and even Mitri admits that his brother’s “personal magnetism” has increased inexplicably. Sebastian and Hamilton discover a buried cavern beneath the Cyon estate, with evidence of human sacrifices, and indications that a very real demon has broken free. The two men begin planning their endgame against who they believe may be the demon Asmodedus, but they must remain wary: the actions of everyone around them may be ploys to keep them from defeating their supernatural enemy.

screenplay by Gene Roddenberry and Samuel A. Peeples
based on an original story by Gene Roddenberry
directed by Clive Donner
music by John Cameron

SpectreCast: Robert Culp (Sebastian), Gig Young (Dr. Hamilton), John Hurt (Mitri), James Villiers (Cyon), Majel Barrett (Lilith), Ann Bell (Anitra), Lindy Benson (Third Maid), Sally Farmiloe (Fourth Maid), Angela Grant (Butler), Penny Irving (First Maid), Gordon Jackson (Inspector Cabell), Michael Latimer (Co-Pilot), Vicki Michelle (Second Maid), Jenny Runacre (Sydna)

SpectreNotes: A familiar leading man at the movies and on TV, Robert Culp (1930-2010) appeared in such genre fare as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., guest shots as three different characters in the 1960s Outer Limits series (including the Harlan Ellison-written episode Demon With A Glass Hand), and a starring role in The Greatest American Hero. John Hurt (1940-2017) starred as Caligula in the 1976 BBC-TV production of I, Claudius before gaining big-screen fame as the star of The Elephant Man (1980) and as Winston Smith in the 1984 adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. He appeared as Ollivander in the Harry Potter movies, provided the Spectrevoice of the dragon in the 21st century Merlin series, and appeared as a mysterious iteration of the Doctor during the 50th anniversary year of Doctor Who (The Name Of The Doctor, Day Of The Doctor). Spectre was one of the final roles for Gig Young, who died in 1978. Director Clive Donner was busy behind the camera on both sides of the Atlantic, having already directed episodes of the 1960s series Danger Man, starring Patrick McGoohan of The Prisoner fame. This was the last of Gene Roddenberry’s 1970s TV pilots before he redirected his attention full-time to reviving Star Trek.

8LogBook entry by Earl Green

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