Saturday, December 20, 2008

Third season "Star Trek" bloopers

Someone has finally tracked down a blurry copy of the Season Three blooper reel of "Star Trek".

Blooper reels are traditionally made as annual entertainment for the cast and crew of series TV (or theatrical features) at their Christmas party, and were never really inended to scape into the public domain. Then along came TV specials and series, such as "TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes", but "Star Trek" has rarely been featured on such shows.

Trek bloopers became a feature of the early Star Trek conventions, a special treat for fans when Gene Roddenberry himself was in attendance. However, rumour has it, one convention committee, entrusted be GR to "mind" the reels overnight, managed to create their own hasty copies of the Season One and Two bloopers so they'd always have a copy on hand. And thus, bootlegs of bootlegs of bootlegs were distributed, much to the alarm of the cast.

The fans even made their own blooper reel, which is often called the third reel, but it's a cannibalisation of previously released footage, a little new stuff someone located, and reconstructed into a bit of a coherent story. And there was an infamous Season Three bloopers bootleg LP record, released by Blue Pear, which is made up of vocal track tapes found in a Paramount trash can.

The actual Season Three blooper reel has remained elusive. GR was more careful about keeping it close to his chest at conventions - supposedly Leonard Nimo wrote a memo asking if the cast shouldn't be receiving royalties each time it played - and fans who were lucky enough to see the reel at one of Roddenberry's US university performances in the 70s usually remember a sequence with Commissioner Bele (comedian Frank Gorshin, aka The Riddler of 60s "Batman" fame) and Lokai chasing each other through the Enterprise corridors, until they finally crash into each other. And it's there, along with Mr Gorshin calling himself "Belly" by mistake. Also Yarnek the rock creature singing "Mammy", some erotic Vulcan navel flirting (follow Nimoy's finger!), and footage featuring a pre-TNG Diana Muldaur.

After the bloopers, there are some (rare) alternate TOS titles and "coming attractions" ads. Who knows how long this particular entry will stick around on Youtube? So... enjoy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never knew that the 1st Season Blooper Reel w/ the "story" was fan created. I thought that the other "1st Season" reel was from August 1966 the Friday after "Miri" was filmed for the "wrap party" before they went on a two-week break. This was the same wrap party in which Grace Lee Whitney details in her autobiography that she was raped by the person she will only identify as "the executive". She was fired a week after they returned to filming.

I thought that this 2nd reel was from the season wrap party in Februray 1967. Considering that the new footage was from the 2nd half of the season, this seemed logical.

I was one of the lucky people to see one of Gene Rodenberry's lectures in the '70s. The only blooper reels he showed (the actual ST crew called them "The Goodie Reels") was the 1st, 2nd and the elusive 3rd season. I never saw this 2nd version of the 1st season until the 1980s, (and I went to a lot of ST conventions 1973-1979) so the fan created story explains why Roddenberry didn't show it and it wasn't at conventions at the time.

I've had a better quality copy of the 3rd season reel for about 10 years now (when it began showing up at conventions). I also made an audio recording of the whole Roddenberry lecture, including the bloopers and have some interesting notes to compare the YouTube copy, my copy and what Rodenberry used to show.

My copy does not have the NBC bird at the begining (which is in the GR tape) but not on YouTube, but on mine (and on the GR tape) is the opening credits, with outakes of the three actors after their names. The clip used for DeForrest Kelly is on the YouTube - it is just missing the credit. Mine has a longer clip of the Melkotion wearing glasses laughing, just like the GR tape, but mine is missing Shatner doing karate and the "there is a vessel out there" with the nude woman on the screen, on both the GR tape and YouTube. Otherwise, they are the same.

A few of the clips from the middle of this reel did appear on NBC's Funniest Bloopers in the late '80s. Pretty clear copies, although they censored the nude woman on the screen.

Also on YouTube are more raw footage outtakes and bloopers but with no sound from all three seaons. I never have seen these before.