Read a lost Star Trek script by the writer of "The Doomsday Machine"

Illustration for article titled Read a lost Star Trek script by the writer of "The Doomsday Machine"

Prolific novelist Norman Spinrad wrote two scripts for the original Star Trek — but only one of them was produced, "The Doomsday Machine." The other one, "He Walked Among Us," was scrapped, and nobody's been able to read it — until now.


The sad tale of Spinrad's "He Walked Among Us" is like an object lesson in the sort of thing that often went wrong with Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry had commissioned it as a vehicle for Milton Berle, who Roddenberry believed had serious acting chops — and Spinrad's script was designed to show what Berle could do with more straight-up dramatic material. But then producer Gene L. Coon saw that they were doing a story for Milton Berle and decided to rewrite the whole thing as a comedy. Spinrad was disgusted with the results, which he showed to Roddenberry, begging him to kill the story — and Roddenberry agreed.

Spinrad didn't hang on to a copy of his original script, which he wrote on a typewriter, and he'd thought it was lost forever. Until, as Spinrad explains:

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

He's uploaded that PDF to Amazon and other sites, so you can buy it for the Kindle and other e-book readers for just $9. [via]


Okay, it's a bit unfair to identify Coon solely as the author of "Spock's Brain" and "Wink of an Eye"—especially since he took his name off both of those episodes. Why not not mention that he also wrote "The Devil in the Dark," "Space Seed," "Errand of Mercy," "Arena," "A Piece of the Action," and various other classic episodes?

I realize it's funnier and fits the narrative better to make him the loser who wrote "Spock's Brain," but it gives the wrong impression of how much Coon really contributed to Star Trek.