Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Star Trek: The Squire of Gothos


Episode: "The Squire of Gothos"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 17
Original Air Date: January 12, 1967
Trelane via Memory Alpha
"Charlie X," the second Star Trek episode to air (reflection here), is the first story on a path to the creation of the franchise's most beloved and fascinating recurring character: Q.
Q via Memory Alpha
Q is a godlike being who can't resist toying with his favorite space explorers, beginning with Jean-Luc Picard and his Enterprise crew in The Next Generation series.  One important Q predecessor is the character Trelane in "The Squire of Gothos."

Trelane, a being with superior powers, kidnaps both Sulu and Kirk right off the Enterprise bridge as they're passing his rogue planet.  Decked out in fancy-shmancy 18th century garb, Trelane welcomes the investigating away team to his Earth-style manor where he collects (creates?) various trinkets, including a harpsichord.  He claims a fascination with Earth, though the time period he favors suggests that he hasn't accounted for the speed of light delay for the images to reach his own world.

Several story elements foreshadow the coming of Q: characters teleported instantly from place to place, Trelane's jovial manner, his fascination with Earth and a brief courtroom scene.  Trelane is never heard from again in the televised Trek universe, though he does make appearances in the Star Trek novels with a more firmly established relationship to Q.

*****
via Memory Alpha
William Campbell (Trelane) was born October 30, 1923 in Newark, New Jersey.  He made his film debut in 1950's The Breaking Point.  In 1956's Love Me Tender, he became the first person to sing onscreen with Elvis Presley.  By the late '60s, he was making his living starring in B-movies like Dementia 13 and Blood Bath.  "The Squire of Gothos" was his first of three appearances on Trek.  He returned as Klingon Captain Koloth for two episodes: "The Trouble with Tribbles" in 1967, then 30 years later on DS9's "Blood Oath."

26 comments:

  1. Nice movie. I like the little bio of William Campbell at the bottom. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. My pleasure, Lady L! Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. It never occurred to me that the origin of Q stemmed to the original series. Of course, that might be because of how long it's been since I've seen any of them.

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    1. The idea of a superior being assuming control of the ship is one the franchise mines over and over again, well beyond Q. The similarities with Trelane, though, are unmistakable - my wife caught it just passing through the room without any prompting.

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  3. Yeah...Do you know I have so many of these books, the Compendiums, The Nitpicker's Guides, the autobiographies, the art and technical manuals, and the novels...I'm a big big big Star Trek geek. But I don't remember reading in any of my books these interesting little notes on the character actors that you're giving us. Thank you so much for not only refreshing my memory on these TOS episodes, but also telling me about these actors. The fact that Campbell was on DS9 is awesome!!

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    1. Excellent! One obvious pitfall in posting about Trek is that most of the material is well covered territory for the devoted. I'm delighted to have found a way to provide something a little different. Thank goodness for Wikipedia!

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  4. I have seen this Star Trek episode but I think I have seen William Campbell in some other TV show or movie. But I have never seen any of the movies you mentioned.
    Getting old is a hoot you never remember what you want to remember or think you remember.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Campbell also made appearances on Perry Mason and The Wild Wild West.

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    2. awwwwwwww, thanks it must be on the old Perry Mason's

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    3. He was on two episodes: "The Case of the Artful Dodger" and "The Case of the Ill-Fated Faker."

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  5. I enjoyed watching Star Trek years ago, but I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but your post certainly had a lot in it for fans
    I wasn't sure if I'd have time to write a book review for the 27th, but have just finished an ebook while travelling. I'll get a review done...

    Denise

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    1. Sounds like your having a marvelous trip! I'm looking forward to your review.

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  6. Great post!
    I never caught the similarities before.

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    1. Thanks, David! It was a fun discovery for me, too.

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  7. I was going to center my whole comment on Q. Now what do I do? You thwart me, squishy one.

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    1. So, I just looked up John de Lancie on Wikipedia. Fascinating guy! He wrote a fan fic novel about Q - now that's devotion to character.

      His father was a professional oboist.

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    2. He and Leonard Nimoy did a convention thing where Q and Spock debated each other. Fascinating juxtaposition...

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    3. Oh, I'm sure! The next episode, "Arena," also has some interesting Q allusions. More on that soon.

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  8. There were a lot of connections with Q and this episode and that's probably why he's a fan favorite.

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    1. Definitely. Apparently Campbell was quite popular on the convention circuit.

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  9. Of course!! that makes perfect sense. We often repeat that phrase Trelane said to his parents.."I coulda done..." or something close to that.

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    1. "You always stop me when I'm having fun!"

      That's the line I like.

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  10. The old star trek episodes were pretty arch.

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    1. That's really half the fun of my little stroll - seeing where the overarching themes got their start.

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  11. I adore Q; when we rewatch old TNGs we always look for Q episodes. I did not realize there was a predecessor in TOS. Cool beans.

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    1. As I noted in my response to Andrew, the basic story formula is a very common one for Trek, even beyond Q. Trelane's physical trappings, though, are unmistakably similar.

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