Like many shows of the time period, many of the episodes written for the original series of Star Trek were conceived as vehicles for special guests stars. So it was with Norman Spinrad‘s screenplay, He Walked Among Us, intended to showcase Milton Berle. That’s right, “Mr Television” Milton Berle was being actively solicited to be a guest star on Star Trek the original series.
Not surprising considering that Berle was perhaps the all-time biggest TV personality and certainly the first real TV star, Gene Roddenberry wanted to feature him on Trek.
Unfortunately, the script never made it to air. According to Spinrad himself:
“This original version was rewritten into an unfunny comedy by the line producer Gene Coon apparently unaware that Uncle Miltie was also a serious dramatic actor and a good one. It was so bad that I complained to Roddenberry… and he agreed with me. I killed my second Star Trek, which, down through the years has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost residuals.”
Spinrad always thought the original script was destroyed, and was surprised when he recently met a fan with a hard copy. In return for Spinrad’s signature, the fan made a PDF of the whole thing, and now it’s been published for the Kindle.
It might not make up for the lost residuals, but one would expect hardcore Trek fans will be snapping up enough to give Spinrad a few gallons of gas.
A quick read shows the story to be about a self-made god who needs to be taken down a peg or two by Kirk and co. Milton Berle as a self inflated ego maniac? Sounds like he could have had fun with that.