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"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" -- 47 Years Later

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" -- 47 Years Later

Many fans and historians credit the enduring appeal of Star Trek: The Original Series to its smart storytelling, intriguing sci-fi and thought-provoking morality plays that tackled taboo topics. Case in point, "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," which aired on this day -- January 10 -- in 1969. Depending on whom you talk to, however, "Battlefield" is either Trek at its best or waaaay to heavy-handed in the delivery of its message. In it, Kirk and the Enterprise crew encounter Lokai (Lou Antonio) and Bele (Frank Gorshin), two Cheron males who despise each other. Both have skin that's black on one side and white on the other, but what differentiates them, and serves as the root of their hatred, is that Bele is black on the right side and white on the left side, while Lokai is is black on the left side and white on the ride side. Even after a harrowing conflict aboard the Enterprise, the two are left on the surface of their decimated homeworld -- a homeworld torn asunder by the same hatred and bigotry roiling within them -- to determine their own fates.

  • Spock's comment that "Change is the essential process of all existence" remains one of the most memorable lines of dialogue ever uttered on Star Trek.

  • That shot of Chekov's hand operating the decontamination of Ariannus? It's actually a reused shot from "The Doomsday Machine"... of Kirk's hand.

  • Gorshin's turn on Star Trek came after he completed his run as the recurring baddie the Riddler on Batman.

  • Robert Justman, co-producer of Star Trek, departed his position following this episode. Same with Gene L. Coon, who received story by credit as Lee Cronin.

  • Gorshin passed away in 2005 at the age of 72.

  • Lou Antonio appeared in several other projects with William Shatner, including The Naked City, For the People and Sole Survivor. Antonio eventually traded acting for directing and, among his credits were several episodes of Shatner's series Boston Legal. Antonio will turn 82 years old on January 23.