Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Star Trek: The Doomsday Machine

Episode: "The Doomsday Machine"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 6
Original Air Date: October 20, 1967
via Memory Alpha
In our story, the Enterprise crew encounter a weapon of mass destruction from another galaxy.  The object, which looks an awful lot like a tin foil windsock, demolishes entire solar systems, then gobbles up the debris for fuel.  In one of Trek's less subtle commentaries on Cold War diplomacy, Kirk and Spock compare the device to the "H-bombs" of the 20th century.

The windsock actually looks a lot less tin-foily than it did when I first watched this episode back in the '70s.  When the series was re-mastered digitally, "The Doomsday Machine" was given the most thorough make over of the whole lot.  The space effects in general are a lot more impressive than they used to be.

*****
via Memory Alpha
William Windom played the role of Commodore Matt Decker, commander of the USS Constellation, a ship that fell victim to the windsock.  Windom was born September 28, 1923 in New York City.  His great-grandfather, of the same name, served as Secretary of the Treasury under Benjamin Harrison.  The younger Windom was a paratrooper during the Second World War.

Windom had a long career in television, covering nearly half a century.  He won a Best Actor Emmy for My World and Welcome to It in 1970.  He made his big screen debut in 1962 as the prosecuting attorney in To Kill a Mockingbird.  He died in 2012 of congestive heart failure.

26 comments:

  1. This was a great episode and William Windom was a terrific actor.

    Thanks! jean

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  2. I do not actually remember that episode.

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    1. This one was definitely in the rotation back in the day. I remember the eye roll-inducing special effects quite well.

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  3. I remember this episode, like all the other ones vaguely.
    Where did you find this series ?

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Do you mean originally? Syndication on a local station in DC. As for now, I'm watching them via Netflix streaming.

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    2. I thought it was netflix.
      Thank You.

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    3. My pleasure. Feeling inspired to watch?

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  4. This one, I had to find and watch. Most intriguing. Especially like how Kirk's closing lines --one doomsday machine "is sufficient"-- paraphrase Robert Frost's Poem, "...I hold with those who favor fire, but if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate to say that for destruction ice is also great, and would suffice."

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    1. And, of course, your comment sent me scrambling to see if there was any intended allusion to Frost there. I couldn't find anything. Moby Dick seems the main literary inspiration, particularly for the Decker character.

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    2. Yes, Decker=Ahab. Well done,you!

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    3. Interestingly, Windom said he didn't realize the comparison himself until years later.

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  5. Captain Decker/William Windom redeemed himself at the end of that episode. A feel good noble ending.

    He was a good actor. Murder, She Wrote with Angela Lansbury and William Windom (as the country doctor) had a long run, and I enjoyed both actors.

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    1. My parternal grandmother loved that show. I always think of her when it comes up.

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  6. A great adaption of a classic novel. The enhanced special effects in the Blu-Ray are nice, but I prefer the look of the original.

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  7. I have a fondness for the (few) TOS episodes that revolve around space battles... back in the day, we pored over every bit of them to get inspiration for games. I haven't seen the remastered version of this one, but the original shots of Decker's wrecked ship were chilling to me at age 10 or whatever... there but for the grace of god goes the Enterprise...

    William Windom had one of those classic voices that you'd recognize instantly... I wonder if he was big in radio prior to movies and TV.

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    1. I couldn't find anything about a radio career, though that doesn't mean it didn't happen. He was certainly the right age for it. Most of his early work was on the stage.

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  8. Of course there must have been a prosecuting attorney in Mockingbird, but I can only remember Atticus Finch!

    We haven't watched this TOS episode yet. Will add to my list.

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    1. Atticus is the best father character in literature or film, period. I don't remember the prosecutor either.

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    2. And G. Peck portrayed him IM-peccably.

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  9. Just read a book I really enjoyed. Thinking about signing up for the Coffeehouse next week if I can just quit being lazy and write up the post. :)

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