"Balance of Terror" -- 50 Years Later

"Balance of Terror" -- 50 Years Later

Widely considered one of the best Star Trek: The Original Series episodes, "Balance of Terror" debuted on December 15, 1966 -- or 50 years ago today. The hour gave fans their first looks at the Romulans and also at Mark Lenard, who played the formidable Romulan Commander. As you soak in the fact that it's the 50th anniversary of "Balance of Terror," consider these facts, figures and anecdotes...

  • "Balance of Terror" was the 14th episode of season one.

  • Writer Paul Schneider successfully evoked war stories and submarine dramas, a la the film The Enemy Below, in his teleplay. As the Star Trek Compendium puts it, think of the Enterprise as a "surface vessel" and the invisible Romulan ship as a "submarine" and you've got the basic concept.

  • Schneider also wrote the TOS episode "The Squire of Gothos" and The Animated Series episode "The Terratin Incident." He passed away in 2008 at the age of 85.

  • Memorable line #1: "Leave any bigotry in your quarters. There's no room for it on the Bridge," said by Kirk to a doubting Stiles in defense of Spock and his loyalties.

  • Lenard played the Romulan Commander in this Vincent McEveety-directed installment, and returned to Trek later on to play Spock's father, Sarek, in TOS, The Next Generation and several of the TOS features. He also played a Klingon captain in The Motion Picture. Lenard passed away in 1996 at the age of 72.

  • Lawrence Montaigne, who plays Decius here, later portrayed the Vulcan Stonn in the TOS episode "Amok Time." Montaigne, now 85 years old, has written books and remains a popular guest at Star Trek conventions.

  • Memorable line #2: "Your and I are of a kind," the Romulan commander told Kirk. "In a different reality I could have called you friend."

  • According to Memory Alpha, "A shot filmed, but cut from the finished episode shows Kirk saluting the Romulan commander before he destroyed his ship."

  • Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. Phasers are fired and referenced in "Balance of Terror," but the special effect you see on screen is that of photon torpedoes launching.

  • According to Memory Alpha, "In the James Blish adaptation of this story, presumably based on an earlier draft of the script, Stiles dies. In addition, Robert Tomlinson and Angela Martine actually marry, in a second ceremony late in the story. When the Enterprise fires on the Romulan ship for the final time, the latter explodes immediately, with the conversation between Kirk and the Romulan commander being omitted."

  • Wah Chang designed and built the Romulan warship, but didn't receive on-screen credit for his work. Actually, he never earned a credit for his Trek efforts.
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