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GustavoLeao

Rare 1965 Interview with Star Trek First Captain, Actor Jeffrey Hunter

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Source : TrekWeb

RARE 1965 INTERVIEW WITH JEFFREY HUNTER

In 1964, then-movie star Jeffrey Hunter ('The Searches', 'King of The Kings') starred as 'Captain Christopher Pike' in the first Star Trek pilot, 'The Cage'. Set 12 years before Kirk assumed command of the ship, 'The Cage' can be seen as a 'prequel' to the original series, featuring Pike in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, in which crewmembers still used 'lasers pistols', with an emotional science officer named Lt. Spock (a very young Leonard Nimoy).

Hunter died in 1969, long before Trek reference books and conventions and the fans never have the chance to hear his opinions about Star Trek. Untill now. In a January 1965 rare interview (re-printed in Starlog Magazine), Hunter told a Hollywood colummist that he hoped 'The Cage' would be picked up as a series, and seemed to really appreciate and enjoy Star Trek.TrekWeb reprints excerpts of this interview here as part of The Cage articles celebration.

"We run into pre-historic worlds, contemporary societies and civilizations far more developed than our own" Hunter told the interviewer "It's a great format because writers have a free hand - they can have us land on a monster infested planet, or deal in human relations involving the large number of people who live in this gigantic ship."

"We should know within several weeks whether the show has been sold. It will be an hour long, in color, with a regular cast of a half-dozen or so and an important guest star each week. The things that intrigues me the most is that it is actually based on the Rand Corporation's projection of things to come. Except for the fictional characters, it will be like getting a look into the future and some of the predictions will surely come true in our lifetime."

"With all the weird surroundings of outer space, the basic underlying theme of the show is a phylosophical approach to man's relationship to woman. There are both sexes in the crew and, in fact, the first officer is a woman ['Number One' played by Majel Barrett]"

Captain Pike remains a popular character with Trek fans. Pike and his crew appeared in several Pocket Books novels, the cancelled 'Star Trek Early Voyages' series from Marvel Comics. IDW published Star Trek Crew comics mini series, by John Byrne, which feature the story of Number One and Pike. And a rebooted Captain Pike (now played by Bruce Greenwood) appears in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies.

1462973_709978675681480_546156661_n.jpg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c8imbemv4g

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Oh, my dear Chris Pike. Always my second-favorite captain. :inlove:

All this makes me so sad. :( And yet I'm glad we got "The Cage". Jeffrey Hunter definitely did a wonderful job.

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As someone who himself can occasionally find rare gems, the stuff Gus finds amazes even me. Something like this is a gem. It's likely the only interview in existence with Jeff Hunter on the subject of Star Trek.

I mean, think about that. In one respect, he only did one episode that didn't even get to air. And on the other hand, he's the "what could have been, what might have been" and the ultimate mystery to all of us Trekkies because he died when Trek was nothing more than just one of a two or three dozen TV shows. A canceled, short-lived one at that.

What would he have thought, I wonder, had he lived and seen something he was on the ground floor of but left behind grow into what it is? What would he think of the fact that so many people remember him 40+ years after his death for, of all things, a single television pilot he did that didn't even get picked up. What would he think of the fact that there are action figures and books and comics of him as this character he played once, briefly, at the start of something he wasn't otherwise a part of?

I also wonder if we'd all still be so fascinated with him if he hasn't died so young. If he'd lived to see it all, to do the convention circuit, to maybe appear in an episode of TNG or something. Would we all be so taken with him, with Pike, if that had been? Or would we view him through the same manner we look at so many other actors who did a guest shot on TOS and are still with us, doing those conventions, maybe something else?

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Gus? You are incredible.

And yes, Hunter's Chris Pike is a fascinating character; more melancholy than Kirk, but not quite as reserved as Picard. Hunter played him just right. I often wonder if there is some alternate universe where ST ran for three years with Capt. Pike and crew at the helm. Would've been a very different kind of show; kind of a cross between "Forbidden Planet" and TNG rather than TOS ST.

Again, you serve us up some wonderful new surprises. Obrigado, meu amigo! :thumbup:

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What would he have thought, I wonder, had he lived and seen something he was on the ground floor of but left behind grow into what it is? What would he think of the fact that so many people remember him 40+ years after his death for, of all things, a single television pilot he did that didn't even get picked up. What would he think of the fact that there are action figures and books and comics of him as this character he played once, briefly, at the start of something he wasn't otherwise a part of?

I also wonder if we'd all still be so fascinated with him if he hasn't died so young. If he'd lived to see it all, to do the convention circuit, to maybe appear in an episode of TNG or something. Would we all be so taken with him, with Pike, if that had been? Or would we view him through the same manner we look at so many other actors who did a guest shot on TOS and are still with us, doing those conventions, maybe something else?

He sounds rather optimistic towards Trek, I think he would have done alright... but, of course, he would have found out that starring as the captain of a Trek series can be both a benefit and a burden. On the other hand, there are a lot of fans who say that TOS would never have become as iconic as it did without Shatner as Kirk. I tend to agree - Pike was the wrong kind of captain for the 60s. The audience needed an action hero space cowboy, not a rational, stoic and occasionally downright grumpy introvert.

I for one can only say that I would most likely have been quite taken with Pike if his character had remained roughly the same guy he was in the pilot. (With a few character developments, of course.)

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What would he have thought, I wonder, had he lived and seen something he was on the ground floor of but left behind grow into what it is? What would he think of the fact that so many people remember him 40+ years after his death for, of all things, a single television pilot he did that didn't even get picked up. What would he think of the fact that there are action figures and books and comics of him as this character he played once, briefly, at the start of something he wasn't otherwise a part of?

I also wonder if we'd all still be so fascinated with him if he hasn't died so young. If he'd lived to see it all, to do the convention circuit, to maybe appear in an episode of TNG or something. Would we all be so taken with him, with Pike, if that had been? Or would we view him through the same manner we look at so many other actors who did a guest shot on TOS and are still with us, doing those conventions, maybe something else?

He sounds rather optimistic towards Trek, I think he would have done alright... but, of course, he would have found out that starring as the captain of a Trek series can be both a benefit and a burden. On the other hand, there are a lot of fans who say that TOS would never have become as iconic as it did without Shatner as Kirk. I tend to agree - Pike was the wrong kind of captain for the 60s. The audience needed an action hero space cowboy, not a rational, stoic and occasionally downright grumpy introvert.

I for one can only say that I would most likely have been quite taken with Pike if his character had remained roughly the same guy he was in the pilot. (With a few character developments, of course.)

Good point about Pike being wrong for the time; this was the middle of the 'space race' in America, and there was a lot of post-Camelot Kennedy-esque feeling around. Kirk is clearly based on JFK; even if the family details are different. He is young, handsome, a ladies' man and he has a 'logical' very popular adviser (Spock almost reminds one of UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson).

Pike would've fit in better in the '70s; when the country was more about brooding antiheroes like MASH's Hawkeye, French Connection's Popeye Doyle, Serpico, or The Godfather.

Pike has a great career, is highly respected, and yet he has dreams of just chucking it all and 'dropping out' because he is haunted by deaths he feels personally responsible for. Kirk would've never allowed himself that luxury. His brooding was very ahead of its time.

But for right then, 1966 or so? Kirk was the better 'fit.' Though I still wonder what a TOS with Pike at the helm would've been like....

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But for right then, 1966 or so? Kirk was the better 'fit.' Though I still wonder what a TOS with Pike at the helm would've been like....

Kirk did brood at some points, he felt the weight of being a starship captain as well - but certainly not as thoroughly as Pike, I agree.

And thanks for wanting me to re-write TOS with Pike in charge now. :P Re-writing every single episode, just with Pike in charge. I think it would be very interesting. A lot of episodes would have much different outcomes.

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The fact is that Roddenberry (at the time) liked William Shatner very much for his appearances in science fiction like Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. The second pilot with Shatner was shoot in 1965 and the series first season in 1966, so they had time to "improve" the concept of the series.

Gus

Edited by GustavoLeao

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I honestly liked the way "The Cage" was done, I liked the serious tone of the episode and I would have liked for things to continue like that instead of the often rather comical TOS episodes that we got... "improve" really is a subjective term, lol.

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I honestly liked the way "The Cage" was done, I liked the serious tone of the episode and I would have liked for things to continue like that instead of the often rather comical TOS episodes that we got... "improve" really is a subjective term, lol.

I even like the silver/black color scheme of the bridge; looked less 'toy-ish' than the primary reds and blues they threw into it after the 2nd pilot....

TOSTheCage4.jpg4657999119_1f71449032_z.jpg

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Same here. Also, the landing party jackets. Why did they get rid of those? They looked insanely stylish. And particularly good on Pike, of course.

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Same here. Also, the landing party jackets. Why did they get rid of those? They looked insanely stylish. And particularly good on Pike, of course.

Those would look cool even today...

They tried to bring a version of them back in TMP, but they weren't quite as sleek or cool as the ones in "The Cage".

star-trek-tmp-2.jpgthecage230dl9.jpg

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HNNNNG, Captain Pike. :inlove:

I'd wear one of these jackets today, seriously. They're 'timeless' somehow. There was no need to get rid of them since Kirk and his fellows wore the same/much similar uniforms to the ones Pike and his crew had. They would have fit. Grrr. I want such a jacket now, lol.

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HNNNNG, Captain Pike. :inlove:

I'd wear one of these jackets today, seriously. They're 'timeless' somehow. There was no need to get rid of them since Kirk and his fellows wore the same/much similar uniforms to the ones Pike and his crew had. They would have fit. Grrr. I want such a jacket now, lol.

I agree.

I could very easily see someone wearing these today like a hi-tech version of a naval peacoat.

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HNNNNG, Captain Pike. :inlove:

I'd wear one of these jackets today, seriously. They're 'timeless' somehow. There was no need to get rid of them since Kirk and his fellows wore the same/much similar uniforms to the ones Pike and his crew had. They would have fit. Grrr. I want such a jacket now, lol.

I agree.

I could very easily see someone wearing these today like a hi-tech version of a naval peacoat.

I like the way you can rip them open, lol. Must not think about ripping open Pike's jacket now SELF NO

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I honestly liked the way "The Cage" was done, I liked the serious tone of the episode and I would have liked for things to continue like that instead of the often rather comical TOS episodes that we got... "improve" really is a subjective term, lol.

I even like the silver/black color scheme of the bridge; looked less 'toy-ish' than the primary reds and blues they threw into it after the 2nd pilot....

TOSTheCage4.jpg4657999119_1f71449032_z.jpg

Nice comparison pics. The darkness of the pilot's pic kind of reminds me of the Defiant. Thus - I approve heavily. :P

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HNNNNG, Captain Pike. :inlove:

I'd wear one of these jackets today, seriously. They're 'timeless' somehow. There was no need to get rid of them since Kirk and his fellows wore the same/much similar uniforms to the ones Pike and his crew had. They would have fit. Grrr. I want such a jacket now, lol.

I agree.

I could very easily see someone wearing these today like a hi-tech version of a naval peacoat.

I like the way you can rip them open, lol. Must not think about ripping open Pike's jacket now SELF NO

Hands off, dirty boy. :P You have to salute first before you rip open his jacket.... :laugh:

The darkness of the pilot's pic kind of reminds me of the Defiant. Thus - I approve heavily. :P

I was thinking the same thing. It also gives it a more sophisticated look. Though I could lose those gooseneck lamps.... :dontgetit:

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HNNNNG, Captain Pike. :inlove:

I'd wear one of these jackets today, seriously. They're 'timeless' somehow. There was no need to get rid of them since Kirk and his fellows wore the same/much similar uniforms to the ones Pike and his crew had. They would have fit. Grrr. I want such a jacket now, lol.

I agree.

I could very easily see someone wearing these today like a hi-tech version of a naval peacoat.

I like the way you can rip them open, lol. Must not think about ripping open Pike's jacket now SELF NO

Hands off, dirty boy. :P You have to salute first before you rip open his jacket.... :laugh:

I'd salute properly alright... he wouldn't know what hit him. :P

The darkness of the pilot's pic kind of reminds me of the Defiant. Thus - I approve heavily. :P

I was thinking the same thing. It also gives it a more sophisticated look. Though I could lose those gooseneck lamps.... :dontgetit:

I think the lamps add to the flavor somehow. :P And can we talk about how srs bsns like Pike stands there and is all I AM IN COMMAND. rrrrrrrr ignore me

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Think star trek would had been very different to what we known it to be if hunter did the series,when turnabout intruder air he would had already died,and we would going have those 79 epsiodes plus the pilot,and no movies or the other 4 series.

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Think star trek would had been very different to what we known it to be if hunter did the series,when turnabout intruder air he would had already died,and we would going have those 79 epsiodes plus the pilot,and no movies or the other 4 series.

But he died following an accident that occurred while making another movie. If he'd been doing ST instead of filming the movie overseas, he might've avoided the accident. Sadly, ST could've saved his life.... :(

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