Friday, September 16, 2016

Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) - Episode 29. The City on the Edge of Forever


Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS)

Episode 29. The City on the Edge of Forever

Story, Script & Trivia


Episode 29. The City on the Edge of Forever

Season:    1
Air Date:    1967-04-06
Stardate:    3134.0
Writer:    Harlan Ellison
Director:    Joseph Pevney
Guests:    Joan Collins (Edith Keeler), Bartell LaRue, John Harmon

As the Enterprise investigates ripples in time which are resulting in spatial disturbances, Sulu has a heart flutter after his control panel short circuits. Bones gives Sulu cordrazine, a mind-blowing drug at high dosages but a valuable cardiac medicine in small dosages. Sulu immediately recovers, but McCoy accidentally injects himself with the remainder of cordrazine in the hypo when the Enterprise passes through a particularly strong space disturbance. McCoy freaks out and becomes extremely paranoid, knocking out the transporter chief and beaming down to the planet to escape the ship of "murderers."

The transporter had been locked in on the center of the time ripples, and when Kirk, Spock, and a landing party follow McCoy down, they discover 10,000 century-old ruins surrounding the annulus-shaped structure from which the time distortions are emanating. The structure talks with the landing party, identifying itself as the Guardian of Forever, and is apparently a time portal. Spock finds the crazed McCoy and nerve pinches him, but McCoy recovers and rushes through the portal before anyone can stop him.

Communication with the Enterprise immediately ceases, and the landing party concludes that McCoy's actions changed the past, affecting the present. To return the present to what it was, Spock and Kirk enter the time portal at a time shortly before McCoy did so that they may find McCoy and prevent him from changing history.

They materialize in America during the 1930s Depression, and are forced to steal clothes so as not to draw attention to themselves. When questioned by a policeman, Kirk explains Spock's ears by claiming that Spock was caught in a mechanical rice picker as a child. After escaping and hiding in what they think to be a deserted building, they meet Edith Keeler (played by Joan Collins), guiding light of the 21st Street Mission. They agree to do odd jobs for her to obtain the funds necessary for Spock to construct a mnemonic memory circuit to read the information in the tricorder and discover what historical events McCoy has changed. They discover that Keeler is the link, either dying in a traffic accident or meeting with the U.S. President.

Unbeknownst to Kirk and Spock, Bones appears and is given shelter at Edith's mission. After his arrival, he accosts a man on the street and then falls down unconscious. The man then accidentally vaporizes himself using McCoy's phaser. McCoy recovers from his cordazine trip, and tells Edith he is chief medical officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise. At first he does not believe he is in 1930 America, but soon realizes that indeed he is.

After hours of careful work using primitive vacuum tube circuits, Spock discovers that McCoy, if not stopped, will prevent Keeler's death. Keeler will then found a peace movement which will delay U.S. entry into World War II and allow Germany time to develop the atom bomb and conquer the world.

On his way to see a Clark Gable movie with Edith, Kirk learns from Edith that Dr. McCoy is in town and then immediately sees Bones across the street. Despite his love for Edith Keeler, Kirk holds Bones back to prevent him from saving Keeler as she crosses the street in front of a truck.

The past is returned to what it had been before, and Kirk, Spock, and McCoy return to the planet of the Guardian where their landing party has been waiting, but for only a few seconds of real time. Communications with the Enterprise are restored, and when the Guardian asks if anyone else desires to make a journey in time, Kirk responds "Let's get the hell out of here."


[Alarm Sounds]
Stay on top of it, Mr. Sulu.
We're holding orbit, sir.
The helm is sluggish.
Control circuits threatening to overload, Captain.
Understood, Engineer.
Mr. Spock.
We can't avoid these areas of turbulence.
I believe we'll have them plotted
in a few more orbits.
Sick bay, to bridge.
Switching to manual, Captain.
Do we maintain this orbit?
Mr. Spock?
This is of great scientific importance.
We're actually passing through ripples in time.
Maintain orbit.
Open the channel to Starfleet Command.
Yes, sir.
Precautionary measure, Lieutenant.
Broadcast to Starfleet Command
my past week's log entry,
starting with the unusual readings on the instruments
and how they led us here.
Inform Starfleet Command that apparently...
something or someone down on this planet...
can effect changes in time,
causing turbulent waves of space displacement.
Some heart flutter.
Better risk a few drops of cordrazine.
Tricky stuff. Are you sure you want to risk--
You were about to make a medical comment,Jim?
Who, me, Doctor?
We're guiding around most of the time ripples.
Mr. Spock?
All plotted but one. Coming up on it now.
Seems to be fairly heavy displacement.
Back to your positions.
The hypo, Captain.
It was set for cordrazine.
Communications, emergency medical team.
Killers! Assassins!
I won't let you!
I'll kill you first!
I won't let you!
You won't get me! Murderers!
Security alert.
Space-- the final frontier.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Its five-year mission--
to explore strange new worlds,
to seek out new life and new civilizations...
to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Captain 's Log. : supplementalentry.
Two drops of cordrazine can save a man's life.
A hundred times that amount
has just accidentally been pumped
into Dr. McCoy's body.
In a strange, wild frenzy,
he has fled the ship's bridge.
All connecting decks have been placed on alert.
We have no way of knowing
if the madness is permanent or temporary
or in what direction it will drive McCoy.
Continue alert,
decks 4 through 11 .
The medical department knows as little as we do.
In dosages approaching this,
there's some record of wild paranoia.
Confirmed by the library record tapes, Captain.
Subjects failed to recognize acquaintances,
became hysterically convinced
that they were in mortal danger,
and were seeking escape at any cost.
Extremely dangerous to himself
or to anyone else who might --
Bridge, Security. Alert, alert!
Bridge here. Go ahead.
Security 054, sir.
We just found the transport chief injured.
Captain, Dr. McCoy has beamed himself down to the planet.
The transporter at that time, Captain,
was focused on the time disturbance.
So whatever's down there,
McCoy's in the heart of it.
Set up a landing party.
Let's go get him. Kirk out.
These ruins extend to the horizon.
Begin recording.
Recording, sir.
And of considerable age --
on the order of 10,000 centuries old.
Detail, fan out.
What is this thing, Mr. Spock?
It seems to be pulsating with power of some kind.
Analysis, please.
Unbelievable, Captain.
That's funny.
This single object is the source
of all the time displacement.
I can't.
For this to do what it does
is impossible by any science I understand.
It is operating even now...
putting out waves and waves of time displacement,
which we picked up millions of miles away.
Landing party to Enterprise.
No sign of Dr. McCoy.
Search progressing.
Incredible power.
It can't be a machine
as we understand mechanics.
Then what is it?
A question.
Since before your sun burned hot in space
and before your race was born,
I have awaited a question.
What are you?
I am the Guardian of Forever.
Are you machine or being?
I am both and neither.
I am my own beginning,
my own ending.
I see no reason
for answers to be couched in riddles.
I answer as simply as your level of understanding
makes possible.
A time portal, Captain--
a gateway to other times and dimensions,
if I'm correct.
As correct as possible for you.
Your science knowledge is obviously primitive.
Annoyed, Spock?
A gateway to your own past, if you wish.
Killers! I won't let you get me!
I'll kill you first!
I won't let you get me! Assassins! Murderers!
If that is a doorway back through time,
could we somehow take Bones
back a day in time, then...
Relive the accident,
this time be certain that the hypo accident is avoided?
Look at the speed
with which the centuries are passing, Captain.
To step through on precisely the day we wish...
Can you change the speed at which yesterday passes?
I was made to offer the past in this manner.
I cannot change.
Strangely compelling, isn't it?
To step through there
and lose oneself in another world.
I am a fool.
Our tricorder is capable of recording
even at this speed.
I've missed taping centuries of living history
which no man has ever --
Dr. McCoy!
Bones, no!
Where is he?
He has passed into...
what was.
Captain, I've lost contact with the ship.
I was talking to them.
Suddenly, it went dead.
No static, just nothing.
Kirk to Enterprise.
Nothing wrong with the communicator, sir.
Your vessel,
your beginning,
all that you knew
is gone.
has somehow changed history.
You mean we're stranded down here?
With no past,
no future.
I'm frightened.
Earth's not there,
at least not the Earth we know.
We're totally alone.
Captain 's Log. : no stardate.
Forus, time does not exist.
McCoy, back somewhere in the past,
has effected a change in the course of time.
All Earth history has been changed.
There is no starship Enterprise.
We have only one chance.
We have asked the guardian
to show us Earth's history again.
Spock and I will go back into time
and attempt to set right
what ever it was that McCoy changed.
I was recording images at the time McCoy left --
a rather barbaric period in your American history.
I believe I can approximate Just when to jump,
perhaps within a month of the correct time.
A week, if we're fortunate.
Make sure we arrive before McCoy got there.
It's vital we stop him
before he does whatever it was
that changed all history.
If we are successful...
Then you will be returned.
It will be as though none of you had gone.
Captain, it seems impossible.
Even if you were able to find the right date...
Then even finding McCoy would be a miracle.
There is no alternative.
when you think you've waited long enough,
each of you will have to try it.
Even if you fail,
at least you'll be alive
in some past world somewhere.
Seconds now, sir. Stand by.
Good luck, gentlemen.
Happiness at least, sir.
I've seen old photographs of this period.
An economic upheaval had occurred.
It was called depression, circa 1930.
Quite barbaric.
We seem to be costumed
a little out of step with the time.
I'm afraid I'm going to be difficult to explain
in any case, Captain.
Well, Mr. Spock, if we can't disguise you,
we'll find some way of... explaining you.
That should prove interesting.
Let's get out of here.
[Horn Honks]
Look out, will you?
Why don't you watch where you're going?
Theft, Captain?
Well, we'll steal from the rich
and give back to the poor later.
I think I'm going to like this century--
simple, easier to manage.
We're not going to have any difficulty explaining--
You're a police officer.
I recognize the traditional accouterments.
You were saying
you'll have no trouble explaining it.
My friend is obviously Chinese.
I see you've noticed the ears.
They're actually easy to explain.
Perhaps the unfortunate accident
I had as a child.
The unfortunate accident he had as a child.
He caught his head in a mechanical...
rice picker.
But fortunately,
there was an American missionary living close by
who was actually a, uh...
skilled plastic surgeon in civilian life.
All right, all right!
Drop those bundles
and put your hands on that wall there! Come on!
How careless of your wife
to let you go out that way.
Oh, yes, it's quite untidy.
Here, let me help you.
[Whistle Blowing]
You were actually enjoying my predicament back there.
At times, you seem quite human.
Captain, I hardly believe
that insults are within your prerogative
as my commanding officer.
Time we faced the unpleasant facts.
First, I believe we have about a week
before McCoy arrives,
but we can't be certain.
Arrives where-- Honolulu, Boise, San Diego?
Why not Outer Mongolia, for that matter?
There is a theory.
There could be some logic
to the belief that time is fluid,
like a river-- with currents, eddies, backwash.
And the same currents
that swept McCoy to a certain time and place
might sweep us there, too.
Unless that is true, Captain, we have no hope.
Frustrating-- locked in here
is the place and moment of his arrival,
even the images of what he did.
If only I could tie this tricorder in
with the ship's computers for a few moments.
Couldn't you build some form of computer aid here?
In this zinc-plated vacuum-tubed culture?
Yes, well, it would pose
an extremely complex problem in logic, Mr. Spock.
Excuse me.
I sometimes expect too much of you.
Who's there?
Excuse us, miss.
We didn't mean to trespass.
It's cold outside.
A lie is a poor way to say hello.
It isn't that cold.
We were being chased by a policeman.
For these clothes.
We stole them.
We didn't have any money.
Well, I could do with some help around here --
doing dishes, sweeping, general cleaning.
At what rate of payment?
I need radio tubes and so forth. My hobby.
15 cents an hour for 10 hours a day.
What are your names?
Mine is Jim Kirk.
His is...
I'm Edith Keeler.
You can start by cleaning up down here.
Excuse me, miss.
Where are we?
You're in the 21st Street Mission.
Do you run this place?
Indeed I do, Mr. Kirk.
Radio tubes...
and so on.
I approve of hobbies, Mr. Spock.
Good evening.
You'll be sorry.
You expect to eat for free or something?
You got to listen
to goody two-shoes.
Now, as I'm sure somebody out there has said,
it's time to pay for the soup.
Not that she's bad-looking,
but if she really wanted
to help out a fella in need --
Shut up.
Shut up.
I want to hear what she has to say.
Yes, of course, Captain.
Now, let's start by getting one thing straight.
I'm not a do-gooder.
If you're a bum,
if you can't break off of the booze
or whatever it is that makes you a bad risk,
then get out.
I don't pretend to tell you
how to find happiness and love
when every day is a struggle to survive,
but I do insist that you do survive
because the days and the years ahead
are worth living for.
One day soon...
man is going to be able to harness incredible energies,
maybe even the atom.
Energies that could ultimately hurl us
to other worlds some sort of spaceship.
And the men that reach out into space
will be able to find ways
to feed the hungry millions of the world
and to cure their diseases.
They will be able to find a way
to give each man hope and a common future,
and those are the days worth living for.
Our deserts will bloom.
Development of atomic power is years away.
Space flight, years after that.
Speculation. Gifted insight.
But it will come.
I find her most uncommon, Mr. Spock.
Prepare for tomorrow. Get ready.
Don't give up.
Mr. Kirk.
You are uncommon workmen.
That basement looks like it's been scrubbed and polished.
Then we can do other work?
Yes. 7:00 in the morning.
Do you have a flop for the night?
A what?
You really are new at this, aren't you?
That's a place to sleep.
There's a vacant room where I live
for $2.00 a week.
I could take you there.
Thank you.
We have a flop.
We have a what, Captain?
A place to sleep.
One might have said so in the first place.
Captain, I must have some platinum.
A small block would be sufficient --
5 or 6 pounds.
By passing certain circuits through there
to be used as a duodynetic field core --
Mr. Spock, I've brought you some assorted vegetables,
baloney and rolls for myself,
and I've spent the other 9/10
of our combined salaries for the last three days
on filling this order for you.
This bag doesn't contain platinum, silver, or gold,
nor is it likely to in the near future.
Captain, you're asking me to use equipment
which isn't far ahead of stone knives and bearskins.
McCoy will be along in a few days,
perhaps sooner.
There's no guarantee that these currents in time
will bring us together.
This has to work.
Captain, in three weeks, at this rate,
possibly a month,
I might reach the first mnemonic memory circuits.
[Knock On Door]
Your cap.
If you can leave immediately,
I can get you 5 hours' work at 22 cents an hour.
What -- What on Earth is that?
I am endeavoring, ma'am,
to construct a mnemonic memory circuit
using stone knives and bearskins.
for finely detailed work.
That toolbox was locked with a combination lock,
and you opened it like a real pro.
Why did you do it?
I needed the fine tools for my radio work.
They'd have been returned in the morning.
I can't --
If Mr. Spock says
the tools would be returned tomorrow morning,
you can bet your reputation on that,
Miss Keeler.
On one condition...
walk me home?
I still have a few questions
I'd like to ask about you two.
Oh, and don't give me
that ''questions about little old us?'' look.
You know how out of place you are around here.
Where would you estimate we belong, Miss Keeler?
At his side,
as if you've always been there and always will.
And you...
you belong...
in another place.
I don't know where or how.
I'll figure it out eventually.
I'll finish with the furnace.
Even when he doesn't say it, he does.
'Goodnight, sweetheart'
'Though I'm not beside you'
'Goodnight, sweetheart'
'Still my love will guide you''
Why does Spock call you "Captain"?
Were you in the war together?
We served together.
And you don't want to talk about it?
I --
Did you do something wrong?
Are you afraid of something?
Whatever it is, let me help.
"Let me help."
A hundred years or so from now,
a novelist will write a classic using that theme.
He'll recommend those three words
even over "I love you."
Centuries from now?
Who is he? Where does he come --
Where will he come from?
Silly question.
Want to hear a silly answer?
A planet...
circling that far left star in Orion's belt.
How are the stone knives and bearskins?
I may have found our focal point in time.
You may also find you have a connection burning.
Yes. I'm overloading those lines.
I believe we'll have our answer on this screen.
And, Captain...
you may find this a bit distressing.
Let's see what you have.
I've slowed down the recording we made from the time vortex.
"February 23, 1 936."
Six years from now.
"The president and...
Edith Keeler...
conferred for some time today -- "
How bad?
Bad enough.
The president and Edith Keeler.
It would seem unlikely,Jim.
A few moments ago,
I read a 1930 newspaper article.
We know her future.
Within six years from now,
she'll become very important,
nationally famous.
Or, Captain,
Edith Keeler will die this year.
I saw her obituary.
Some sort of traffic accident.
You must be mistaken.
They both can't be true.
Edith Keeler is the focal point in time we've been looking for,
the point that both we and Dr. McCoy have been drawn to.
She has two possible futures then,
and, depending on whether she lives or dies,
all of history will be changed.
And McCoy...
Is the random element.
What does he do?
Does he kill her?
Or perhaps he prevents her from being killed.
We don't know which.
Get this thing fixed.
We must find out before McCoy arrives.
suppose we discover
that, in order to set things straight again,
Edith Keeler must die?
What planet is this?
Don't run!
I won't kill you!
It's they who do the killing!
Don't run! I won't kill you!
What is so funny about man reaching for the moon?
How do you know?
I just know, that's all.
I -- I feel it.
And more --
I think that one day,
they'll take all the money they spend on war --
And make them spend it on life?
You see the same things that I do.
We speak the same language.
The very same.
I --
I'm glad you got away, too.
Yeah, I -- I --
Why do you think they want to kill us?
Look, you take too much of that old wood alky, and --
Where are we?
The constellations seem right, but --
Explain this trick.
I -- I...
Biped ...
small ...
good cranial development.
No doubt, considerable human ancestry.
Is that how you're able to fake all of this?
Very good.
Modern museum perfection...
right down to the cement beams.
Very, very good.
Oh, I'd give a lot to see the hospital.
needles and...
All the pain.
They used to hand-cut and sew people
like garments.
Needles and sutures...
all the terrible pain!
[Pitch Increases]
How long before we get a full answer?
I'll need two more days
before I dare make another attempt.
McCoy could have been in the city a week now
for all we know,
and whatever he does
that affects her and changes history
could happen tonight, tomorrow morning.
our last bit of information
was obtained at the expense of 30 hours' work
and fused and burned circuits.
I must know whether she lives or dies, Spock.
I must know what to do.
Extra! Extra! Get your morning paper!
Get your paper, read all about it!
Oh, miss...
that coffee, it just smells wonderful.
You look terrible!
You better sit down. Come on.
I can't. I got to keep moving.
I can't let them find me.
There's a cot in the back room.
They won't find you there. Come on.
This is how history went after McCoy changed it.
the late 1930s -- a growing pacifist movement
whose influence delayed the United States' entry
into the Second World War.
While peace negotiations dragged on,
Germany had time to complete its heavy-water experiments.
Germany --
fascism, Hitler.
Sieg heil!
They won the Second World War...
because all this lets them develop the A-bomb first.
There's no mistake, Captain.
Let me run it again.
Edith Keeler, founder of the peace movement.
But she was right. Peace was the way.
She was right, but at the wrong time.
With the A-bomb,
and with their V-2 rockets to carry them,
Germany captured the world.
And all this because McCoy came back
and somehow kept her from dying in a street accident,
as she was meant to.
We must stop him,Jim.
How did she die?
What day?
I can estimate general happenings from these images,
but I can't trace down precise actions
at exact moments, Captain.
I'm sorry.
Spock ...
I believe ...
I'm in love with Edith Keeler.
Jim, Edith Keeler must die.
Hey, now, come on.
You're not ready to take on any tigers just yet.
Lie down.
The most common question to ask would be,
where am I?
I don't think I'll ask it.
Why not?
The only possible answer
would conclusively prove that I'm ...
either unconscious or demented.
This looks like old Earth around 1920 or '25.
Would you care to try for '30?
I am unconscious ...
or demented.
I have a friend that talks about Earth like you do.
Would you like to meet him?
I'm a surgeon,
not a psychiatrist.
I am Leonard McCoy,
senior medical officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
I don't mean to disbelieve you,
but that's hardly a navy uniform.
It's quite all right.
It's quite all right, dear ...
because I don't believe in you, either.
Get some rest.
Are you following me, sir?
With ulterior motives.
Does that please you?
I hope it means what -- Oh!
How stupid! I've been up and down those stairs a thousand times.
I could have broken my neck.
Captain, I did not plan to eavesdrop.
No, of course you didn't.
I must point out that when she stumbled...
she might have died right there,
had you not caught her.
It's not yet time. McCoy isn't here.
We're not that sure of our facts.
Who's to say when the exact time will come?
Save her -- do as your heart tells you to do --
and millions will die who did not die before.
[Knock On Door]
Come in.
Well, you look just fine, Doctor.
Thank you.
I thought you might like to see the evening paper.
No, not particularly.
You know, I've convinced myself
that this is all in a cordrazine hallucination,
but I've decided you're not.
That's reassuring.
But if you're not, what are you?
A friend.
When you showed up here,
you looked like you could use one.
I don't doubt it.
What about this place? You run it?
I try to.
It's necessary.
Well, it was for me, at least.
You may have saved my life.
Lots of people drink from the wrong bottle sometimes.
Not as wrong as the bottle I drank from.
Allow me to show my gratitude.
Perhaps there's something I can do around here
to thank you.
We can talk about that later. I have to go.
My young man is taking me to a Clark Gable movie.
A who movie?
A Clark Gab--
Don't you know?
Well, I know what a movie is, but...
That's very strange.
You get some rest. I'll see you later.
[Horn Honks]
[Honk Honk]
If we hurry, maybe we can catch
the Clark Gable movie at the Orpheum.
Dr. McCoy said the same thing.
Leonard McCoy?
Well ...yes.
He's in the mission. He's --
Stay right here.
Stay right there!
What is it?
McCoy! He's --
- Jim! - Bones!
[Tires Screech]
You deliberately stopped me,Jim.
I could have saved her.
Do you know what you just did?
He knows, Doctor.
He knows.
What happened, sir?
You only left a moment ago.
We were successful.
Time has resumedits shape.
All is as it was before.
Many such journeys are possible.
Let me be your gateway.
Captain, the Enterprise is asking
if we want to beam up.
Let's get the hell out of here.

Episode Trailer

Episode Trailer


Episode 29. The City on the Edge of Forever

What happened to Spock's superior Vulcan hearing? He was only a few feet away when McCoy first enters the mission and talks to Edith.
Why does Spock "borrow" the fine tools by picking the lock instead of just asking permission? Edith Keeler already knew that he was working on a "radio" on his off-hours, was there some reason he thought she wouldn't let him use them?
Spock clearly determines earlier that Edith dies in a street accident. However, when Kirk saves Edith from a fall inside a house, Spock says that might have been the accident he foresaw. Even with the various unpredictable factors Spock mentions earlier, there doesn't seem to be any way he could confuse a street accident for a house accident.
Although Spock and Kirk are both present when the Guardian says it will show them "their" history, it only shows Earth's history.
In the scene a deranged McCoy confronts the homeless man just after arriving in 1930, DeForest Kelley is wearing a ring on his left pinky. It wasn't there before and afterward.
The Guardian of Forever would later reappear in the "Star Trek: The Animated Series" episode "Yesteryear".
This episode contains the only line of dialogue in the classic series where someone swears when Captain Kirk says "Let's get the hell out of here."
McCoy is knocked out on the planet, then wakes up a few minutes later and makes it into the Guardian...with a phaser. Assuming the landing party intelligently decided to disarm him after they captured him, where'd he grab the phaser?

When William Shatner and Joan Collins are walking together on the street, they pass in front of a shop with the name Floyd's Barber Shop clearly painted on the window. This is the same Floyd's Barber Shop which is often seen on The Andy Griffith Show (1960), adjacent to the sheriff's office, in the town of Mayberry.
28 of 28 (Trivia Rating)

To emphasize on the extremely high age of the Guardian in the upper millions, or well into the billions, the starfield of its planet is surrounded by red dwarfs and red giants.
23 of 23 (Trivia Rating)

One of only two times in the original series a "curse word" is heard, when Kirk says, "Let's get the hell out of here" at the very end. The second is in Star Trek: The Doomsday Machine (1967), when Kirk sees the Enterprise being drawn into combat, he says; "[What] the hell's going on?".
26 of 27 (Trivia Rating)

When asked in February 26, 1992 interview whether the makers of this episode consciously intended it to have the contemporaneous anti-Vietnam-war movement as subtext, associate producer Robert H. Justman replied, "Of course we did."
17 of 17 (Trivia Rating)

In Harlan Ellison's original story, Beckwith's change of the past is revealed by members of the Enterprise team who are beamed back to the ship, only to find it is now a pirate vessel named the Condor. This idea was later used in Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror (1967).
24 of 25 (Trivia Rating)

One of William Shatner's favorite episodes.
23 of 24 (Trivia Rating)

This was the most expensive episode produced during the first season, with a budget of $245,316, and also the most expensive episode of the entire series, except the two pilots. The average cost of a first season episode was around $190,000. Also, production went one and half days over schedule, resulting in eight shooting days instead of the usual six.
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Early drafts for Harlan Ellison's teleplay "City on the Edge of Forever" included a guest character, Beckwith, an Enterprise crew member who dealt in addictive "Jewels of Sound". It was Beckwith who escaped into the past, via the Guardian of Forever. Gene Roddenberry asked him to change this element, on the grounds that no member of *his* crew would ever use or deal in illegal drugs. According to Ellison's account in the book "Harlan Ellison's the City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became the Classic Star Trek Episode", for years after the series was canceled, Roddenberry said Ellison's original draft had been unusable because "he had Scotty dealing in interplanetary drugs" - although Mr. Scott does not even appear in that draft.
18 of 19 (Trivia Rating)

Widely considered by both fans and critics to be the best episode of the series.
18 of 19 (Trivia Rating)

Harlan Ellison's original story had the time portal manned by people who were the real guardians of time, rather than a machine entity.
15 of 16 (Trivia Rating)

When Kirk gazes upwards, the star pattern changes. This was mistaken as an error before the fade-out of Act One. The starscape effect was to visualize for audiences that no starships (at least from Starfleet) exist in the present.
14 of 15 (Trivia Rating)

Clark Gable, who was by no means a leading man in 1930, was not the original choice of reference. The final shooting draft of this script has Edith reference "a Richard Dix movie", but the crew on the set felt Dix's name wouldn't be familiar to viewers in the 1960s.
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Leonard Nimoy characterizes the episode as a high-water mark in the series, calling it "good tragedy".
14 of 15 (Trivia Rating)

After Kirk and Spock talk about the "flop", the scene changes to a street view, where a kosher meat store, with a conspicuously large Star of David on its front, is displayed in the center of the scene. This is one of the very few times a human (Earth) religious symbol is displayed in this series.
18 of 20 (Trivia Rating)

Harlan Ellison's original story also described the architecture of the city of the time portal as "covered with strange runes". Somehow, this was interpreted as intending for the city to be depicted as being covered by the remnants of architectural ruins when visualized for the filming on set.
13 of 14 (Trivia Rating)

In Harlan Ellison's very first story outline, Beckwith was sentenced to death after he murdered LeBeque, and Kirk ordered his execution to take place on the next deserted planet the Enterprise comes across. Hence, they beam down with Beckwith and a firing squad to the Guardian Planet. This was very soon eliminated from the story.
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The footage seen through the time portal is, for the most part, lifted from old Paramount films.
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This episode takes place in 2267 and 1930.
8 of 8 (Trivia Rating)

Harlan Ellison's original script was extensively rewritten by D.C. Fontana at Gene Roddenberry's behest. Ellison was very unhappy about this, even though the episode won numerous awards (including Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation) and is regarded as one of the classics.
16 of 18 (Trivia Rating)

The title of this episode refers to both the dead city on the time planet and New York itself, where the timeline will either be restored or disrupted. In Harlan Ellison's original script, Kirk, upon first seeing the city sparkling like a jewel on a high mountaintop, reverently says it looks like "a city on the edge of forever". In Ellison's first treatment for this episode, the city they travelled back in time to was Chicago.
12 of 13 (Trivia Rating)

Harlan Ellison also wrote scenes in which the regular characters acted very much unlike their usual behavior. For example, Kirk and Spock got into a heavy argument when Spock, witnessing a street speaker calling out against foreign immigrants, called the human race barbaric. Kirk then claims he should've just left Spock to be lynched by the mob.
11 of 12 (Trivia Rating)

Originally, then-story editor Steven W. Carabatsos got the job to rewrite Harlan Ellison's script, but his draft was not used. Instead, Ellison agreed to make a rewrite himself, which was again deemed unsuitable. Producer Gene L. Coon also got himself into the rewriting. Finally, the new story editor, D.C. Fontana got the assignment to rewrite Ellison's script and make it suitable for the series. Fontana's draft was then slightly rewritten by Roddenberry to become the final shooting draft. Much of the finished episode is the product of Fontana, who went uncredited (as did all the other writers) for her contribution. Only two lines from Ellison's original teleplay survive in the final episode, both spoken by the Guardian: "Since before your sun burned hot in space, since before your race was born," and "Time has resumed its shape."
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Harlan Ellison's original script later won the Writers' Guild of America Award.
13 of 15 (Trivia Rating)

Edith Keeler tells McCoy his blue uniform hardly looks like it's from the United States Navy. DeForest Kelley filmed naval training videos in real life.
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Gene L. Coon is mainly responsible for the small comical elements of the story, including the famous "rice picker" scene, which Harlan Ellison reportedly hated.
9 of 10 (Trivia Rating)

This episode was chosen by Eugene W. "Rod" Roddenberry (Son of Gene Roddenberry) to be his favorite episode.
8 of 9 (Trivia Rating)

The network heavily objected to Kirk's last line, "Let's get the hell out of here" and wanted it to be removed from the episode. The word "Hell" was used four times in The Original Series, the other three being Star Trek: Space Seed (1967), when Kirk quotes Milton, "It is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven", Star Trek: The Alternative Factor (1967), when Lazarus tells his counterpart, "I'll chase you into the very fires of hell!", and Star Trek: The Doomsday Machine (1967), when Decker describes the berserker as "right out of hell." This marks the only time that the word was used as an expletive, rather than a reference to the domicile of the damned.
3 of 3 (Trivia Rating)

In one scene in this episode, a poster can be seen advertising a boxing event at Madison Square Garden featuring "Kid McCook" vs. "Mike Mason". For Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Past Tense: Part 2 (1995), scenic artists Doug Drexler and Michael Okuda created a near replica of this boxing poster for a scene set in 1930 San Francisco; the DS9 poster features the same boxers, and says that it is "their first rematch since Madison Square Garden".
3 of 3 (Trivia Rating)

William Shatner recalled that he attempted to talk to Harlan Ellison during the writing dispute to try and calm things down. According to Shatner, Ellison responded by yelling at him.
3 of 3 (Trivia Rating)

First appearance of Spock's body hair.
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At the very end of the storyline, the crew transports back up to the ship, with the Guardian portal in the background. In the old original edit, the wisps of smoke emanating from the portal freezes at the moment the crew begins to dematerialize, and then the smoke begins moving again as the crew finally disappears. Obviously due to the limitations of the special effects techniques of the 1960s. In the newer released version, with updated special effects edits, the wisps of smoke from the portal continue to move smoothly, throughout the whole transport sequence.
2 of 2 (Trivia Rating)

Director Joseph Pevney couldn't complete all scenes scheduled to be filmed at 40 Acres on schedule. However, the backlot was already booked for filming by The Andy Griffith Show (1960), so the arrival of McCoy to the past and Rodent's death had to be filmed on a studio alleyway behind Desilu Stage 10.
2 of 2 (Trivia Rating)

During the speech scene in the Mission where Kirk and Spock have sat down with their soup, the director repeated (and slowed down) several close-up shots of Spock and Kirk, taken from later in the scene, and used them as reaction shots during Edith's prognostications.
2 of 2 (Trivia Rating)

Alfredo Pedillo Jose was born in 1909 and murdered by Bobby Cabe in 1930.
2 of 3 (Trivia Rating)

In The Star Trek Compendium, Allan Asherman suggests that the name "Keeler" is derived from the "keel" of a ship, the longitudinal element of a vessel that keeps it held together - much as Keeler herself keeps the time continuum from coming apart. It also could be interpreted as a hybrid of "killer" and "healer"--a reference to her dual role as the focal point of the time flow. In Ellison's first treatment for this episode, Edith's last name was Koestler.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

Harlan Ellison's original story outline and first draft script did not feature Dr. McCoy, but an Enterprise crewman named Beckwith, who was dealing drugs among the crew. Beckwith murdered a fellow crewman named LeBeque, who was on the verge of turning him in, escaped to the planet the ship was orbiting, and went through the Time Vortex, operated by a mysterious ancient race called "The Guardians" and changed history. The Enterprise was gone, and a savage pirate ship called the Condor was in its place, full of renegade humans. Kirk and Spock follow Beckwith through the time portal to 1930 New York City, where Kirk falls in love with young social worker Edith Keeler (Koestler in the story outline). Finally, with the help of a legless World War I veteran called Trooper (who dies during the episode's action), they find Beckwith. In the end, Kirk does not stop him saving Edith: he freezes at the crucial moment and Spock prevents her rescue. In a brief epilogue, Spock visits Kirk in his quarters and attempts to console him, saying that "No other woman was offered the universe for love."
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

The alley in which Kirk steals the clothing from the fire-escape is the same alley seen in Star Trek: Miri (1966), in which Spock and the guards have debris dumped on them by the children.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

Desilu Stage 11, usually not a Star Trek (1966) stage, was used for filming the mission interiors. The stage was occupied by My Three Sons (1960) previously, but as that series was moved to another location, it became available for the crew to film.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

The Guardian of Forever was designed by Art Director Rolland M. Brooks. Normally, set design was the purview of his colleague Matthew Jeffreys, but due to illness, Brooks took over his chores for the Guardian. When Jefferies returned to his duties and saw the donut-shaped set piece for the first time, he reportedly exclaimed, "What the hell is this?!", according to D.C. Fontana. Special effects artist Jim Rugg was responsible for the light effects for the Guardian.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

Fred Steiner takes credit for scoring new music (although sparse - only a few cues) for this episode. Most of the episode was tracked with prior music, including Joseph Mullendore, Gerald Fried, and Alexander Courage. Also, music from Star Trek: Shore Leave (1966) is heavily present, including the score for the police chase, and some humorous cues in certain scenes. Most of the music accompanying the romance of Kirk and Edith Keeler are taken from Star Trek: The Conscience of the King (1966).
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

Stock footage from Star Trek: Dagger of the Mind (1966) and Star Trek: The Naked Time (1966) is used for Kirk's and Spock's reaction shots to McCoy's cordrazine overdose on the bridge.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

The close up of the tricorder showing the "rewinding video" is used several other times throughout the series.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

Gene Roddenberry apparently denied Harlan Ellison's pseudonym request because he knew everyone in the science fiction community was aware that the "Cordwainer Bird" credit was Ellison's way of signalling his dissatisfaction with the way production people treated what he wrote. It would have meant that Star Trek (1966) was no different than all the other "science fiction" shows in mistreating quality writers, and could have resulted in prose science fiction writers avoiding contributing to the program.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

This is the first mention of Nazi Germany in Star Trek. A race which adopted a Nazi-style regime also appears in Star Trek: Patterns of Force (1968). The theme is reprised in later shows: on Star Trek: Voyager: The Killing Game: Part 1 (1998) and Star Trek: Voyager: The Killing Game: Part 2 (1998), where Hirogen take over USS Voyager and use the holodeck to recreate Nazi Germany, and then in Star Trek: Enterprise: Zero Hour (2004), and Star Trek: Enterprise: Storm Front: Part 1 (2004) and Star Trek: Enterprise: Storm Front: Part 1 (2004), when agents from the Temporal Cold War send Captain Archer and the Enterprise NX-01 back to the Second World War.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

TV Guide ranked this episode #80 on their list of the Top 100 Episodes.
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

With regards to this episode, Joan Collins has stated, "To this day, people still want to talk about that episode - some remember me for that more than anything else I've done. I am amazed at the enduring popularity of Star Trek and particularly of that episode." Collins adds, "At the time none of us would have predicted the longevity of the show. I couldn't be more pleased - or more honoured - to be part of Star Trek history." Ms. Collins' memory of her Trek experience seems hazy, however. In her 1985 autobiography, Past Imperfect (p. 248) she makes a few errors regarding the episode: for example, in addition to the common mistake of referring to Mr. Spock as Dr. Spock, she identifies her character as Edith Cleaver instead of Edith Keeler, and she also claims that Spock, not Kirk, allowed her character to be killed - a plot point that was not in the version of the script that was actually shot. Most significantly, she claims Edith tried to "prove to the world that Hitler was a nice guy."
1 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

Bobby Cabe was born in 1907.
1 of 2 (Trivia Rating)

This is listed as one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" of Star Trek (1966) in the 2008 reference book "Star Trek 101" by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann.

Harlan Ellison's script was unusable for the series for many different reasons. Gene Roddenberry objected to the idea that drug usage would still be a problem in the 23rd century, and even present among starship crews. Also, the production staff was heavily against Kirk's final inactivity. It seemed that being unable to decide and act, viewers could never be able to accept him as the strong leader figure in later episodes. Elements, such as the Guardians and the Condor and its crew were simply impossible to create on the series' budget.

Together with Matthew Jeffreys, Jim Rugg was also responsible for Spock's computer-aid to access the information in his tricorder for the episode, as Jefferies recalled, "When a script came out, Roddenberry would say, "I need something that supposedly does such and such...come up with something." So we would work together on the workbench with Jimmy Rugg and see what we could cobble together.", to which Rugg added, "We got a bunch of antique vacuum tubes-real '30s types-and added a few blinking lights among them." Rugg subsequently oversaw its destruction in the episode.

No stardate is logged in the episode. Bjo Trimble assigned a stardate of 3134 based on Harlan Ellison's original teleplay, which covered stardates 3134.6-8.

The portal is revisited in Star Trek: The Animated Series: Yesteryear (1973) and numerous books.

The first Star Trek episode to be released in Fotonovel format (live action photos in a comic-book-style layout).

Joseph Pevney was chosen to direct on this episode because of his experience in directing more than twenty feature films.
0 of 1 (Trivia Rating)

Double-exposures allowed Kirk and Spock to leap out of brick walls in this episode.
0 of 2 (Trivia Rating)

In Harlan Ellison's original story, Kirk and Spock are aided in the 1930s by a vagrant called Rodent who reveals himself to be a veteran of the Battle of the Somme. In the final product, Rodent is the bum who incinerates himself with McCoy's phaser.
16 of 16 (Trivia Rating)

The original script by Harlan Ellison had Spock, not Kirk, make the decision that led to Edith Keeler's death.
10 of 11 (Trivia Rating)

Rodent's death is deleted in some rebroadcasts, but is intact in home video editions. When McCoy meets Rodent holding the milk bottle, the scene ends with McCoy collapsing, then cuts to McCoy meeting Keeler in the Mission. In the complete scene, after McCoy collapses, Rodent picks McCoy's pocket and takes his hand phaser (which he took from the transporter chief) and accidentally sets it on overload, killing himself.

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