Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Star Trek: Day of the Dove

Episode: "Day of the Dove"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3, Episode 7
Original Air Date: November 1, 1968
via Wikipedia
Distress calls bring both the Enterprise and a Klingon ship to Beta XII-A.  The malevolent superior entity that lured them plays puppeteer with both parties, fueling tensions.  The Klingons are brought aboard the ship.  Unwilling to be docile prisoners, they take over engineering.  All the while, the entity allows neither side to gain a permanent upper hand.  In time, our heroes deduce that this evil spirit feeds off of conflict and they can only defeat it by making peace with the Klingons.

Symbolism is heavy-handed indeed.  A memorable exchange during the initial Federation/Klingon confrontation:
Kirk: Go to the devil.
Klingon Commander Kang: We have no devil, Kirk.  But we understand the habits of yours.
Later, Kirk accuses the entity of having meddled in the affairs of others before, a perpetual force of evil in the universe.  Apparently the original script had the Klingons and Enterprise crew singing songs in a peace march.  Thankfully, sensibility prevailed and laughter was used to drive the entity away.

The heavy-handedness aside, "Day of the Dove" is a good episode for the development of the Klingons.  As with the Romulans in "The Enterprise Incident," we have glimpses of better cultural understanding amid the tensions:
Kirk (to Mara, Kang's wife, after Kirk threatens to kill her as a bluff to Kang): The Federation doesn't kill or mistreat its prisoners.  You've been listening to propoganda... fables.
Mara (later, to Kirk): We have always fought.  We must.  We are hunters, Captain, tracking and taking what we need. 
The end, while not hopeful exactly, does offer a possible path to long-term peace.

*****
via Memory Alpha
Michael Ansara (Kang) was born April 15, 1922 in Syria.  His family emigrated to the United States when he was two years old.  He took acting classes as a way to overcome shyness, then fell in love with it.

His long career ranged from Biblical epics to westerns to science fiction.  He played Judas in 1953's The Robe.  He had the lead roles in two 1950s TV series: Broken Arrow and Law of the Plainsman.  He played Kane in the Buck Rogers TV series.  He reprised the role of Kang in Deep Space Nine and Voyager episodes.  Hardly needing to add more to his geek cred, he was also the voice of Dr. Freeze for Batman: The Animated Series and its spinoffs.

While making Broken Arrow, the publicity department set Ansara up on a date with Barbara Eden, later of I Dream of Jeannie fame.  The two were married for 16 years, divorcing in 1974.  Their only son, Matthew, died of a heroin overdose in 2001.  Michael Ansara died in 2013 after a long illness.

18 comments:

  1. It would be wonderful if we could discover a floating ball of twinkling light responsible for all human conflict, and chase it off with laughter. This episode had a poetic structure to it that fixed it in my memory long ago.

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    1. Many have searched for such an embodiment, though, haven't they? Too often, the cure was far worse than the disease. If only they'd tried laughter instead...

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  2. Why did Q never try to solve this problem? Oh, right. Because creating problems was his main interest...

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    1. One might say Q was the problem. All of the powerful-takes-over-the-Enterprise stories are precursors to Q in their way. If we're going to apply a biblical metaphor, though, Q is more the vengeful, judging Old Testament God than the Devil.

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  3. I don't remember this one.
    I grew up watching Michael Ansara in movies and TV.
    What a wonderful actor.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. He is good, one of my favorites so far. He definitely owns the screen.

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  4. Michael Ansara was one of my favorite character actors. I had forgotten he had been in the original ST.

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    1. A big man: 6'3". Funny, his Wikipedia photo makes him seem shorter but he towers over Shatner at 5'10".

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  5. I didn't know that Michael Ansara was married to Barbara Eden or the sad fact about their son....I always learn something new here, Squidman.

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    1. It is my honor and pleasure to share what I learn.

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  6. The Klingons are memorable even in their first appearance. Masterful characterization there.

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    1. Several of the Klingon and Romulan episodes rank among my favorites.

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  7. Acting is so competitive, it's amazing that someone who just started taking acting classes to overcome shyness could have such a successful career!

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    1. I work with young actors quite a lot. The quiet ones can surprise you. They spend a lot of their lives watching people and it pays off on stage.

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  8. Michael Ansara looks familiar, so I just Googled him. Quite a career. I'm sorry he lost his son.

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