Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Star Trek: By Any Other Name


Episode: "By Any Other Name"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 22
Original Air Date: February 23, 1968
via Memory Alpha
In "By Any Other Name," the Enterprise is hijacked by four Kelvans, beings from the Andromeda Galaxy bent on conquest.   The four are advance scouts, stranded and desperate.  They need the ship to report back to their home world. 

The Kelvans did not originate in human form.  They have taken on these "shells," as they describe their new bodies, because they are better suited to life aboard the Enterprise.  The Kelvans have taken the Vulcan concept to the extreme: they eschew not only emotion but all sensory perception in order to attain a higher state of intelligence.  For our heroes, solving the puzzle of their captors involves tricking them into appreciating the pleasures of the flesh: tasting good food, getting drunk with Scotty and, of course, smooching Captain Kirk.

This idea of aliens learning to appreciate human foibles was a fascination for creator Gene Roddenberry long before Star Trek.  In 1956, Roddenberry produced an episode of Chevron Hall of Stars in which two aliens (one played by Ricardo Montalban), disguised in human form, come to the same conclusion the Kelvans do.

*****
via Bespectacled Birthdays
Barbara Bouchet (Kelinda, this week's Shatner smoocher) has one of the more fascinating bios I've come across in these guest star features.  She was born Barbara Gutscher on August 15, 1943 in what is now the Czech Republic but was then Nazi-occupied Sudetenland.  After World War II, her family was resettled to the American zone in Germany, then emigrated to the United States under humanitarian provisions of the Displaced Persons Act.

The Gutschers settled in San Francisco.  She made her first show biz splash on local television as a teen dancer on The KPIX Dance Party.  When she moved to Hollywood, she changed her Germanic name to a French one.  Modeling jobs came before the acting ones.  Her highest-profile silver screen roles were 35 years apart: 1967's Casino Royale (very funny movie if you've never seen it) and 2002's Gangs of New York (not funny at all, but certainly good).  In between, she did most of her acting in Italy where she met her husband, producer Luigi Borghese.

28 comments:

  1. Since she didn't wear a red shirt I assume she is still alive.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I just double-checked and both character and actress have survived thus far. Bouchet turns 71 next week.

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  2. As I recall, this was an episode in which Shatner got to do his special kicky fight move a lot with the head Kelvan, all toward the secret goal of making friends with them. I liked that plot twist because it showed force --coercion into drunkenness, calculated seduction and incitement to jealousy-- could be made self-limiting and result in workable and productive compromise.

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    1. Interesting that it was jealousy that finally drove the head Kelvan over the edge, and looooooove that won him back.

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  3. Gangs of New York, very good movie.

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    1. That Martin Scorcese, he may have a future in this business...

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  4. The Kelvans sound cool. I don't remember that episode. Hmm....

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    1. There are definitely a few episodes that didn't make it into the syndication rotation and I wonder about this one.

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  5. 'they eschew not only emotion but all sensory perception in order to attain a higher state of intelligence.'

    LOVE this premise.

    And you're right, Bouchet's bio is intriguing.

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    1. Obviously, her family history is unusual but her career path was a bit out of the ordinary, too.

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  6. Replies
    1. Googled? You can google that? I made that up one day on the way home from school with my kids while watching a gang of 6 or 7 kids crossing the street on their bikes.

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    2. Independent film. I only saw an excerpt but it's kind of fun. No Daniel Day-Lewis, though.

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    3. There's a movie! Someone stole my idea!

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    4. Seriously! I posted it on FB, like, almost a year ago. Someone took it and made a movie!

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    5. Sorry man, all evidence says she beat you to it. Her book/DVD set was released 2005.

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    6. Now I feel like The Professor on Giligan's Island.

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    7. You mean Rescue from Gilligan's Island, in which he invents the skateboard among other things only to find they already exist?

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    8. That's exactly what I meant.

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  7. I remember that episode and its an amzing journey from the Czech Republic to here.

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    1. Especially considering the world history involved.

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  8. This was a cool episode... not just because of Scotty's classic "it's green" line. They actually conveyed some of the immense scale of what it would mean to travel to another galaxy, even with warp engines.

    That picture of Barbara Bouchet reminds me of the girl who recruited Greg Brady to be Johnny Bravo... I had to check to make sure it wasn't her. :-)

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    1. Brady Bunch reference! Somewhere, my sister is smiling.

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  9. Barbara what's-her-name was a beautiful woman, for sure. I assume her career didn't really go far from here.

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    1. Well, I wouldn't say that. She kept getting work and 34 years later, she scored a part in a Scorcese movie. She's no Audrey Hepburn but she's done better than 99.99% of those who go to Hollywood with nothing but talent and dreams.

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