This blog starts with everyone’s favorite, Lt. Riley (Bruce Hyde). But really, pity poor Kevin Riley, a character with some of the worst luck in Star Trek. First, his parents get wiped out by Kodos the Executioner on Tarsus IV. Even Captain Kirk was only visiting when he lived through that horrific time. Still, you kinda wonder what special qualities old Kevin had that made Kodos spare him but not Mom and Dad. We already know it wasn’t his singing voice.
So, with his whole family pushing up quadrotriticale, things ought to be looking up for our Irish lad. Enough tragedy for any poor soul. And even with that, he’s still a cheery sort, joking around with Sulu. Well, Lt. Riley was on his way up for a while, rising to Lieutenant in Star Fleet and taking the position of navigator. Unfortunately, in “The Naked Time” doesn’t he happen to be one of the first crew members to get infected by the inhibition-freeing virus from PSI-2000? And that happens because he joins Sulu in trying to save Joe Tormolon!
Anyway, one minute, he’s playing that navigation panel like a maestro, the next he’s taking over the engine room, controlling all ship’s functions, then ordering all female personnel to wear their hair “loose and about their shoulders” and ice cream to be served to the crew (except for Lt. Uhura for being a killjoy by trying to cut him off the com).
Oh, he also shuts down the engines, dooming the entire crew to shriveling up in an atmosphere-entering flame out of the Enterprise. But all of that’s nothing compared to his subjecting the entire ship’s contingent to an excruciating rendition of “I’ll Take You Home, Kathleen” over the ship-wide com. Repeatedly.
Once cured, do Lt. Riley’s tribulations end? Uh-uh. He comes back in “Conscience of a King” to relive his horrific experience on Tarsus IV, with a disguised Kodos the Executioner doing Shakespeare on the ship. Then, he’s nearly murdered by Kodos’s nutcase daughter who surreptitiously spritzes a milky poison into his cow juice. Apparently, Uhura has forgiven Riley for his no-ice-cream edict, for she had been serenading him via the intercom with a magical version of “Beyond Antares.” Fortunately, the com link was open and the people in the rec room heard Riley gasping for life after a sip of his murderous milk.
Next, after overhearing McCoy recording the fact that ole Kodos is actually Karidian on board the Enterprise, Riley decides that he’s no Prince of Denmark and is going to exact revenge forthwith. Fortunately, Kirk heads him off in the flats behind the stage and prevents Kevin from ruining his life by committing murder (however, well justified it may seem).
Riley’s placement on the Enterprise gets a little confusing in this episode. Earlier, we’d seen him as navigator, now Spock mentions he’s in the Communications department. Kirk then transfers him “back to engineering,” as Spock says. The poor lieutenant’s head must have been spinning. And after the last time Riley was in engineering, you’d think it would be the last place they’d want him to be in again. At least he let Lt. Uhura do all the singing this time.
Actor Bruce Hyde who gave us the never-boring Irishman (even when uninfected), was under contract to Desilu for multiple performances. So, when Hyde was cast in the role of Daiken, someone remembered that he’d played Riley earlier. Consequently, the character’s name was switched to Riley for consistency. Too bad we never got to enjoy more exploits by this lively guy, though let’s hope without musical accompaniment. The Riley character also appeared in several of the Star Trek novels published over the years, moving up the ranks in Star Fleet into the diplomatic core.
Hyde earned a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and taught there and at the Theater of Film Studies and Dance at St. Cloud University in Minnesota, where he served as Department Chair. And, hey folks, he was an English major at Northwestern University! Here’s a tip of the hat to Kathy Healey for this link to an interview with the late Bruce Hyde. You can see that he’s a neat guy.
Lt. Angela Martine-Teller-(Baker?)-Lisa (Barbara Baldavin) Wondering why I included “Baker” in her list of last names? Don’t worry; I’ll get to that. Angela does have almost as many surnames as there are crew members on the star ship. Well, there are reasons for that. When it comes to marriages, she’s kind of the Zsa Zsa Gabor of the Enterprise.
In her first appearance, in “Balance of Terror,” Specialist 2nd Class, Ensign Angela Martine is on her way to marry Lt. Tomlinson, whom she met as a co-worker in the forward phaser-room. She rates so highly that Mr. Scot is giving her away! However, even as Captain Kirk was starting the ceremony some pesky Romulans rudely choose this time to break through the neutral zone, wipe out some forward Star Fleet bases, and go after the Enterprise. Some beings have the worst timing! Before the Romulans end up making our girl a widow before she can become a wife, we do see her exchange some sassy banter with her husband on the job, telling him “You don’t get off my hook that easily. I’m going to marry you, mister.” We also see that she’s quite efficient at her job making sure those phasers fire.
Unfortunately, though Mr. Spock rescues the bigoted Mr. Stiles, thus neutralizing his anti-Vulcan/Romulan bias against him, Lt. Tomlinson is too far gone and succumbs to poisoning by phaser-coolant leak from a hit on the Enterprise. At least we don’t have to add Tomlinson to Angela’s lengthy chain of names. Still, the poor guy is the only Enterprise death from the encounter? And he wasn’t even wearing a red shirt.
Memory Alpha, Memory Beta, and Tales of the Unknown Redshirt offer some interesting background info on the wedding ceremony from the original script. The direction calls for Tomlinson not to kneel “according to his beliefs” but for Angela to kneel at the altar (no mention of beliefs written in). From that information, several sources have described Angela Martine as a Catholic, though no conclusions are clearly drawn about what Tomlinson’s beliefs are: Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, really reformed Protestant? Your guess is as good as mine.
The penultimate scene where Angela sits in the chapel, alone, until comforted by Kirk is poignant, an emotion created partly by the words they share and their hear-felt expression. Yet, perhaps the most effective technique is the framing of Angela in profile when Kirk enters. It’s one of those images that always haunts me.
The next time our girl appears is in “Shore Leave,” filmed several episodes later but broadcast the following week. Angela is still in her command gold, but now her hair is a little more reddish, while the wiglet and side curl have disappeared into a bob. She suddenly has the last name Teller, but she’s romantically involved with Lt. Esteban Rodriguez. Wait?! What?! Tales of the Unknown Redshirt points out here’s where big controversy arises, with some fans looking at Angela as quite a tootsie, not only moving on too fast from Tomlinson to some Teller person, but having ditched Teller to get all flirty with Rodriguez, even when hiding from a tiger. The author raises the point that sometimes great emotional loss leads to rebound romance, while also kind of paraphrasing the sentiment of the MST3K theme: “Repeat to yourself it’s just a show. I should really just relax.” I might also add, we’re never quite sure exactly how long the time span is between the events of episodes. Anyway, let’s not get too hard on the girl. She does get strafed and killed when the overly imaginative and voluble Rodriguez starts talking about WWII stuff on a planet where what you imagine comes true. She is resurrected (don’t ask me to get into metaphysics here), but, sheesh, dying is pretty tough on a girl. Why rag on her about anything else, at this point?
Her re-appearnce is also kind of interesting. We see the revived McCoy walk in with two show girls. However, Angela has no visible entrance. One minute Sulu, Barrows, and Rodriguez are standing in a line, the next Angela is cuddling up to Rodriguez. She just kind of “appears”! That mystery may be explained by the fact that a line of hers had been cut, which may have been filmed as part of her entrance. However, she and Esteban are verrrrry friendly, as you can see.
Interestingly, the character originally had a different name, Mary Teller, but it was changed when someone remembered that Barbara Baldavin had already played Angela. Apparently, it didn’t get changed in Shatner’s script, so he called her Teller rather than Martine, where everyone did call her Angela. Anyway, yes, MST3K-theme philosophy applies.
So, when do we see Angela again? In “Turnabout Intruder,” two years later in the final episode of the series. Now, she’s switched departments and moved to communications; has a new hair style and slightly different color; and, you guessed it, a new last name! Now she’s Lt. Lisa. Who knows what happened to Teller and Rodriguez?! Apparently, being around our Angela is more hazardous than visiting your friend Jessica Fletcher in Cabot Cove, Maine. As communications office on duty, Angela Lisa doesn’t show off the same technological capabilities as Uhura or Palmer, like repairing and rewiring an entire communications station. Still, she’s not a slouch. She’s our court reporter for the Janice-Lester-in-Kirk’s-body Queeg-style court martial of his senior officers. She even has the gumption and integrity to join Sulu and Chekov, ahead of other members of the bridge crew, in refusing to follow the possessed Kirk’s whacko orders. So, with her promotion, her new department, and new coiff, let’s hope that Angela has found happiness at last with Mr. or Ms. Lisa. Let’s just hope she hasn’t been watching Double Indemnity lately. Interestingly, Memory Alpha breaks from most Star Trek sources to list Lt. Lisa as a different character from Angela Martine-etc-.
Ah, here’s the Baker story. According the Tales of the Unknown Redshirt, apparently, Barbara Baldavin filmed a scene with Marla McGivers (Madlyn Rhue) in “Space Seed” that was cut before the final broadcast. She is listed as “Baker” for that episode. Now, her hair’s long again! She’s still in command gold, though. Lord knows what happened to Baker to make room for Lisa. Anyway, do you think she was giving Lt. McGivers romantic advice about Khan? That would explain a lot.
Barbara Baldavin is quite interesting, herself, though she doesn’t have nearly as many names as Angela. She was married to Joseph D’Acosta, Star Trek’s casting director and later became a casting assistant and associate, herself. I remember being pleasingly surprised to see her name in that credit on Trapper John, M.D. She also worked in casting on Dynasty and Matt Houston. Her acting career included a stint as Nurse Holmby on Medical Center. If you check out her photo on Rotten Tomatoes you can see she still has that sassy smile. I especially like the fact that she is a home girl to my state of Massachusetts, being born in Quincy. I wonder if she ever strolled on Wollaston Beach, as I and my husband do now?
We all know about the main supporting cast of Star Trek. Lt. Uhura, Lt. Sulu, Ensign Checkov, Nurse Chapel, Yeoman Rand, and Mr. Scott were all regular players with important roles in the action of the original series. However, the show also created a sense of verisimilitude with another level of players, supernumeraries. These spear, or phaser, carriers may not have had lines (though many did) but they appeared in multiple episodes as crew members, thereby creating continuity. Sometimes, though, that continuity might have been set askew by outfitting them in different uniforms and occasionally having them show up as aliens or civilians filling out the background. After working my way through the series this year, I thought it would be fun to create a run down on the cast supporting the supporting cast.
My first entry is Dr. M’Benga (Booker Bradshaw). This sawbones made such an impression that many people, myself included, were surprised to realize that he only appeared in two episodes. In “A Private Little War,” his background interning in a Vulcan ward provided him with the knowledge that in order to bring Mr. Spock out of a healing trance, the first officer needed a good sock in the kisser. Poor Nurse Chapel, following Dr. M’Benga’s instructions, ended up in a tussle with Scotty, who didn’t understand why she was smacking Spock around. Fortunately, Dr. M’Benga arrived on the scene to slap Mr. Spock back to consciousness.
We might wonder if Mr. Spock thought the good doctor had been a little too good with his rough prescription. In “That Which Survives,” Spock verbally slices down the doctor for being a bit too cheery about pronouncing he has no idea why a crewman had died from having every cell in his body exploded. Then again, when crewman are dropping left and right (some not even in red shirts!), maybe a playful attitude about your ignorance deserves a cool comeuppance.
Even after the series ended, Dr. M’Benga’s popularity in the Star Trek universe lived on. He has been a major character in Star Trek novels and some non-canonical works. Everybody and his brother has a first name for him. Memory Alpha provides a nice bio of the character with more details. Actor Booker Bradshaw has the intriguing background of graduating from Harvard University, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and acting as talent manager for The Supremes (IMDB and Find a Grave)!
Lt. Palmer (Elizabeth Rogers): Uhura has to sleep sometime! So, in two episodes, we find Lt. Palmer taking over for her at the communications panel: “The Doomsday Machine” and “The Way to Eden.” With her blonde beehive and patrician features, Palmer remains stoic and efficient in times of adversity, be it an omnivorous space Hoover, a nutso commodore commandeering the Enterprise, or really obnoxious space hippies. She must be fairly high in Communications, because she’s the only member of the department who, like Uhura, knew how to repair the Communications equipment. Enterprise GRRRLS do science!
In one Star Trek short story, her first name was revealed to be Elizabeth – a tip of the hat to the actress who played her. In at least one of the appearances, Palmer replaced Uhura because Nichelle Nichols had a singing commitment to fulfill. Reports differ as to which episode this was, but Rogers herself said that she was used as “an instant ‘threat’ replacement.” This last statement is according to Wikkipedia, which I am loathe to quote because they’re frequently soooo wrong about stuff; however, the writer of the article did cite These Are the Voyages, Season Two as the source.
Rogers is an interesting actress. On Star Trek, she also voiced “The Companion” in “Metamorphosis.” If you watch much sixties or seventies TV, you are likely to see her in a guest-starring role. Further, she was a friend of producer Irwin Allen and played in The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. I didn’t catch her in the second film (though I’ll be sure to look for her next time), but I remember her in The T.I. She’s the first one to ride the captain’s chair across the cable strung between two skyscrapers – and she’s screaming all the way! Planet-devouring doomsday weapons and pain-in-the-ass space hippies are nothing to her – but heights? That’s another matter! Memory Alpha and Memory Beta are solid sources for more information on the character and the actress.
Mr. John Farrell (Jim Goodwin) Like Dr. M’Benga, Mr. Farrell only appeared in a limited number of episodes. Three to be exact. Usually, he was navigator, though the gold-shirted young officer with reddish hair and slightly protruding eyes did take a turn at Uhura’s console in “Miri.” This installment of “Phaser Carriers,” we just seem to keep catching our girl Nyota off-shift! We discover that Farrell’s first name is John when Sulu refers to him as “Johnny-O” after they both have been knocked off kilter by the hormone-stimulating drugs of “Mud’s Women.” In this episode, poor also John Farrell gets schnoockered out of a communicator by one of Mudd’s gals, Magda. Interestingly, according to Memory Alpha and The Lost Redshirt sites, some dialogue cut from the scene reveals that Farrell had a girlfriend and was thinking of growing a mustache! Anyway, he’s not doing too well in the formal inquiry of Harcourt Fenton Mudd and his hotties, is he?
Also like M’Benga, Mr. Farrell made it into Star Trek short-story adaptations of episodes and other fiction. Though Farrell was scheduled for more appearances, his character was replaced in “Charlie X” and “The Naked Time.” Hmm, if it had been Farrell instead of Riley who’d been infected with the inhibition-freeing virus, maybe we would have discovered what his girl friend’s name was, with him singing, “I’ll take you home…?” James Goodwin, who played Farrell, was friends with associate producer John D.F. Black, so when Black left the series, our actor’s connection disappeared – and so did Farrell. Interesting to other New Englanders, Goodwin was from Boston and passed away at fifty years young in Beverly, Mass. There’s great detail on the character at Memory Alpha, Memory Beta, IMDB, and at the tale end of Tales of the Unknown Redshirt.
Images: author’s screen shots from original episodes (no copyright infringement intended, informational and educational use only)