Catching Up with "The Cage" Talosian, Felix Silla

Catching Up with "The Cage" Talosian, Felix Silla

The Star Trek entry on Felix Silla's resume is really just a blip, but what a blip. Silla, a man who's been a part of The Addams Family as Cousin Itt, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as Twiki, Return of the Jedi as a hang-gliding Ewok, and also appeared in Battlestar Galactica, a Tim Burton Batman film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and so many more movies and TV shows, has the distinction of appearing as a Talosian in the first Star Trek: The Original Series pilot, "The Cage." He appears... walking down a corridor. That's his bit. No dialogue. And remember, NBC rejected the pilot, which few people ever saw until, first, Gene Roddenberry showed a B&W version of it at conventions, and, then, when the color iteration of "The Cage" at long last reached home video. And so it is that Silla is part of the Star Trek universe, not to mention a popular guest at conventions worldwide. He's set to appear at Star Trek Las Vegas, which will be held August 2-6 at the Rio Suites Hotel, and StarTrek.com recently spoke with Silla about his life today, his career and memories of Trek, and more. Here's what he had to say...

If we’ve got our facts straight, you’re retired, living in Las Vegas and spend many a weekend attending conventions and autograph shows. Sound about right?


Star Trek Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

You've been in The Addams Family, Star Trek, Star Wars, Buck Rogers in the 25th CenturyBattlestar Galactica and Batman and more. What does it mean to you to be a part of so many popular franchises?


Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Addams Family, Batman Returns, Planet of the ApesA Ticklish Affair

Let's go back to late 1964. How did you land your role in "The Cage"?


We did an interview. I was not the only one there. There were two or three little guys, and the makeup was crazy. We wore these weird bubblehead things. It was like they grew around our face, around our ears. I remember that when we went to lunch we didn't even have a chance to talk to each other because we could not hear each other talking. We went to lunch every day at the commissary and then we used to do like sign language to each other, the little guys, but we didn't even know what the hell we were talking about.

What else do you recall about your time on the episode?

I remember that Jeffrey Hunter was there. He was the main actor, and he was a wonderful man, professional guy and really nice, but I was brand-new in the business. To me, when I went to work, I did my job and I went home and I forgot all about it that day. It was just a job and I got paid for it, and it was very, very enjoyable.

How many days did you actually work on Trek?




All for that one quick shot of you in the corridor? Can we assume you shot scenes that got cut?

Return of the JediStar Trek

How did you hear that NBC had not picked up the pilot?



What was it like, then, to see Star Trek explode into a phenomenon? And not just that, but for you, an uncredited actor in a rejected first pilot, to be swept up in the phenomenon?

I have one picture of me from Star Trek. It took almost two years to finally find this photo that I have. It's a long shot, way back in the tunnel, like I was talking about. They couldn't find anything else. They kept sending me all these photos, and I kept saying, "No. It's not me. It's not me." They finally found one. I never imagined that, 53 years later, people were going to talk about me being on Star Trek, or asking me to sign that photo, you know? Like I said, man, I just went along, I did my job, and that's it. So, it’s 53 years later and now Star Trek is one of things – like with The Addams Family and Buck Rogers – that people come up to me at my table and talk about and say, "Oh, I grew up with you.” I love it.

Star Trek Las Vegas will be held August 2-6 at the Rio Suites Hotel. Go to www.creationent.com for details.

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