“Captain’s Log: Star Date 4117.3. We are orbiting the planet Jugal, in System NGC 489… a routine periodic check on a developing culture… and we have made a disturbing and extremely unusual discovery.” Do those words, spoken by Captain Kirk sound familiar?
William Shatner never got to utter them. He nearly did almost 45 years ago, but it never came to pass. And here’s what happened. Norman Spinrad, the noted science fiction author, penned two episodes of Star Trek for Gene Roddenberry, namely “The Doomsday Machine” and “He Walked Among Us,” the latter about a primitive race, the Jugali, inexplicably employing technology well beyond their capabilities. That first episode was produced, but “He Walked Among Us” – at Spinrad’s urging -- went un-purchased and unproduced. And then the teleplay, along with that Captain’s Log, went missing… for 45 years.
Now, that “lost” script has been found. A fan recently presented a copy of it to Spinrad and the author has made it available for purchase, for Kindle, at Amazon.com. Spinrad, on his Facebook page, filled in the details of the “He Walked Among Us” saga. Distressed by Trek producer Gene L. Coon turning “He Walked Among Us” into a comedy vehicle (and TOS guest shot for Milton Berle), Spinrad convinced Roddenberry to ditch the idea entirely. He told Roddenberry “to read it and weep.” Roddenberry did so and agreed with Spinrad.
“I killed my second Star Trek, which, down through the years has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost residuals,” Spinrad wrote. Then, explaining the disappearance of the script and its subsequent discovery, Spinrad noted, “I thought the text of my original version – written on a typewriter! – was lost forever until recently a fan asked me to autograph a faded copy he had bought somewhere. I did, and in return he sent me a pdf off a scan, and that’s what I’ve put on Amazon. Not a great copy, maybe, but the only one that exists or probably can exist.”