Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1, Episode 12
Original Air Date: January 11, 1988
|via Memory Alpha|
"The Big Goodbye" is the first major holodeck episode. Captain Picard is a fan of the Dixon Hill stories, a meta-fictional mystery series. The newly updated holodeck generates an entire 1940s San Francisco scenario for him to explore as Hill. Data, Dr. Crusher and Dr. Whalen (David Selburg), a visiting historian, join Picard on the adventure. Naturally, something goes wrong. First, our heroes are trapped in the holodeck. Then the safety controls go off. Whalen is shot by one of the gangsters in the story and is left in genuine peril.
The episode was the first of three in TNG's first season to win an Emmy, in this case Outstanding Costumes for a Series for Bill Theiss. It's interesting that he should win for this one as his creations for the story are uncharacteristically modest by his standards. Maybe it was the Academy trying to tell him something as it was the only Emmy he ever won over a long career in television. "The Big Goodbye" is also the only episode in the entire Star Trek run to win a Peabody Award.
Screenwriter Tracy Tormé - son of legendary songwriter Mel - incorporated film noir elements drawing most of his inspiration from the classic Bogart movie, The Maltese Falcon, in turn derived from a Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name. The title, however, is likely a mash-up of two Raymond Chandler books: The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye.
The holodeck episodes are fun. It's amusing to think that people embarking on what could only be one of the greatest adventures imaginable still have need for an active fantasy life. It's interesting to learn over time, too, of the many practical applications for the technology.
|via Memory Alpha|
Lawrence Tierney (Cyrus Redblock, the gangster boss) was born March 15, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. He made a long career out of playing mobster tough guys and the like. He broke through as the title character in 1945's Dillinger, bookended near the end of his career with the role of crime lord Joe Cabot in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1991).
If anything, Tierney was even scarier off the screen than he was on. He battled alcoholism for years. As he put it, he "threw away about seven careers through drink." He also had numerous arrests with charges of assault and drunken disorderly. In 1951, he spent 90 days in jail for breaking a man's jaw. Late in his career, he made a much-heralded appearance on Seinfeld as Elaine's father. While he was considered for a recurring role, everyone was terrified by him so they never asked him back. Apparently, at one point he pulled a knife on Jerry. In jest? I don't know.
Tierney passed away in 2002 at age 82 in a nursing home in LA. He'd been in poor health for many years after a mild stroke in 1995. Pneumonia was the cause of death.