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Star Trek: The Animated Series: The Practical Joker

After avoiding a Romulan ambush by entering a strange energy cloud, the Enterprise finds itself at the mercy of an insane ship's computer that indulges in a series of increasingly aggressive practical jokes.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 2x3
Production Number: 22021
Airdate: Saturday September 21st, 1974

Guest Stars
James DoohanJames Doohan
voiced Search Party Crewman
Lou ScheimerLou Scheimer
voiced Romulan Commander
Majel BarrettMajel Barrett
voiced Enterprise Computer
Norm PrescottNorm Prescott
voiced Romulan Crewman
Main Cast
William ShatnerWilliam Shatner
voiced Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy
voiced Commander Spock
DeForest KelleyDeForest Kelley
voiced Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy
James DoohanJames Doohan
voiced Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, Lt. Arex
Nichelle NicholsNichelle Nichols
voiced Lt. Uhura
George TakeiGeorge Takei
voiced Lt. Hikaru Sulu
Majel BarrettMajel Barrett
voiced Nurse Christine Chapel, Lt. M'Ress


The Enterprise is on a geological survey near the Neutral Zone and finishes ahead of schedule. As they check the last asteroid, three Romulan ships open fire on them. Outnumbered and damaged in the initial salvo, Kirk orders a course away. Uhura contacts the Romulan commander, who claims that the Enterprise is trespassing in Romulan space. When Kirk threatens to report the violation, the Romulan commander reminds him that violating the Neutral Zone is a capital offense and signs off. The Romulan ships continue their bombardment as the Enterprise passes an unidentified energy field. Kirk orders Sulu to take them in so they can duck the Romulans...

Read the full recap
Episode Quotes
Spock: Amazing. This deck is covered with ice.
Kirk: And it was almost covered with us.

Spock: Question; why are we unable to communicate with crew members McCoy, Sulu and Uhura?
Enterprise Computer: Answer; that is for me to know and for you to find out.
Kirk: Did I hear that right?
Spock: Affirmative. The dysfunction is more severe than I thought. Question; are you deliberately holding our missing crew members prisoner?
Enterprise Computer: I'll never tell.
Kirk: Let me try. This is Captain James T. Kirk speaking. You are programmed to obey any direct order I may give, correct?
Enterprise Computer: Correct.
Kirk: Very well, I order you to release McCoy, Sulu and Uhura immediately.
Enterprise Computer: Say "please."
Kirk: Well, I'll be...
Spock: I suggest compliance, Captain.
Kirk: Please.
Enterprise Computer: Say "pretty please... with sugar on top."

Romulan Commander: Turn off those food synthesizers! We're knee-deep in deserts and they're still pouring out!
McCoy: Shall we tell them how they can reverse the effects of the field, Jim?
Kirk: Yes. But later. Let's not spoil their fun just yet.

Episode Goofs
When McCoy, Sulu, and Uhura enter the holodeck rec room, the initial shot shows Christine Chapel.

Later shots correctly show Uhura.

When Sulu bring up the beach program and McCoy says "It is lovely..." there is a black tricorder strap on his left shoulder, even though he doesn't have a tricorder.

The strap appears and disappears throughout the episode, in the forest...

and on the bridge.

Somehow the computer create a substantial pit in the floor of the rec room.

When the Romulans attack the balloon Enterprise, they are facing in three different directions, but all move in the same direction.

Episode References
This is the first episode in any incarnation of Trek to introduce the idea of the holodeck that would be prevalent in later series. Here it is only referred to as at the "rec room."

Other Episode Crew

CreatorGene Roddenberry
ProducerLou Scheimer  |  Norm Prescott
Associate ProducerD.C. Fontana
MusicNorm Prescott  |  Ray Ellis
Story EditorD.C. Fontana
Art DirectorDon Christensen
Supervising DirectorHal Sutherland
Background ArtistDon Peters (1)  |  Karen Shaffner  |  Paul Xander  |  Maurice Harvey  |  Tom O'Loughlin  |  Pat Keppler  |  Curt Perkins  |  Boris Gorelick  |  Rolando Oliva  |  Janet Brown (2)
Production ManagerRock Benedetto
Executive ConsultantGene Roddenberry
Special EffectsReuben Timmins
Editorial SupervisorJoseph Simon  |  Doreen A. Dixon
Camera SupervisorR.W. Pope
LayoutCliff Voorhees  |  Robert Kline (2)  |  Virgil Raddatz  |  John Perry (1)  |  Carol Lundberg  |  Malcolm Weizer  |  George Goode  |  James Koukos  |  Tom Burton  |  Martin Muller  |  Jim Willoughby  |  Wes Herschensohn  |  Ken Leonard  |  Lorna Smith  |  Les Kaluza  |  George Jensen  |  Dick Hall (1)  |  Warren Marshall  |  Wendell Washer  |  George Wheeler  |  Maria Bennett  |  Glen Keane  |  Christopher Lane (1)
Key Assistant AnimatorMike Hazy  |  Bill House
StoryboardJack Miller (1)  |  Louise Sandoval  |  Michael O'Connor (5)  |  Ken Southworth  |  Dawn Huntley  |  Paul Fennell  |  Sherman Labby  |  Dale Hale
Director Of ColorErvin Kaplan
Key LayoutAlberto De Mello  |  Kay Wright  |  Herb Hazelton
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