Login or register
<-- Previous EpisodeNext Episode -->

Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever

Dr. McCoy receives an accidental overdose of a powerful medication and becomes dangerously paranoid. He escapes into Earth's past and there changes history in a way that prevents the Federation from ever having existed! Kirk and Spock must follow their deranged friend into the past to rescue him and set right whatever McCoy changed, or they will be stranded in the past forever.

Episode Info
Episode number: 1x28
Production Number: 6149-28
Airdate: Thursday April 06th, 1967

Director: Joseph Pevney
Writer: Harlan Ellison

Starring Roles
DeForest KelleyDeForest Kelley
As Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy
James DoohanJames Doohan
As Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
George TakeiGeorge Takei
As Lt. Hikaru Sulu
Nichelle NicholsNichelle Nichols
As Lt. Nyota Uhura

Guest Stars
Joan CollinsJoan Collins
As Sister Edith Keeler

Co-Guest Stars
John Harmon (1)John Harmon (1)
As Rodent
David L. RossDavid L. Ross
As Galloway
John WinstonJohn Winston
As Transporter Chief
Bart La RueBart La Rue
voiced Guardian Voice (as Bartell La Rue)
Hal BaylorHal Baylor
As Policeman

Bobby BassBobby Bass
As Scott's Stunt Double
David PernaDavid Perna
As McCoy's Stunt Double
Eddie PaskeyEddie Paskey
As Lt. Leslie
Carey LoftinCarey Loftin
As Truck Driver
Howard CulverHoward Culver
As The Drunk
Mary StatierMary Statier
As Edith's Stunt Double
Main Cast
William ShatnerWilliam Shatner
As Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy
As Commander Spock


The Enterprise follows unusual readings to an unexplored planet and is hit by waves of turbulence. Spock identifies the waves as ripples in time. Sulu’s panels short circuits and he’s badly injured. McCoy comes to the bridge and risks using a few drops of cordrazine despite the risks. Sulu recovers as one last time ripple arrives. When it strikes, McCoy accidentally injects himself with a full hypo of cordrazine. He goes berserk, accusing the crew of trying to kill him. He runs off of the bridge and security teams mobilize to try and capture him. McCoy makes his way to the tranporter room, knocks out the attendant, and beams down to the planet...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
The episode won the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Harlan Elliison won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Dramatic Episode for his screenplay.

Although Harlan Elliison received sole screen credit, Gene Roddenberry and D.C. Fontana did extensive rewrites (see below).

Although she does not even appear in it, this is Majel Barrett's favorite episode of the series.

This was DeForest Kelley's favorite episode of the series.

The filming of this episode began on February 3, 1967.

Harlan Ellison did not like the changes Gene Roddenberry made to his teleplay (in Ellison's version the problem was caused by a drug addicted crewman; Roddenberry felt there should not be a drug problem aboard his starship. Ellison's Guardian was a collection of statues, not a ring). Ellison asked to be credited as "Cordwainer Bird," a nom de plume he used for work he considered beneath his standard; Roddenberry refused. It started a feud between the men that lasted decades.

Episode Quotes
McCoy: Better risk a few drops of cordrazine.
Kirk: Tricky stuff. Are you sure you want to risk...?
(Sulu recovers)
McCoy: You were about to make a medical comment, Jim?
Kirk: Who, me, Doctor?

Kirk: Then what is it?
The Guardian: A question. Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.
Kirk: What are you?
The Guardian: I am the Guardian of Forever.
Kirk: Are you machine or being?
The Guardian: I am both and neither. I am my own beginning, my own ending.
Spock: I see no reason for answers to be couched in riddles.
The Guardian: I answer as simply as your level of understanding makes possible.
Spock: A time portal, Captain--a gateway to other times and dimensions, if I'm correct.
The Guardian: As correct as possible for you. Your science knowledge is obviously primitive.
Spock: Really?
Kirk: Annoyed, Spock?

Kirk: Strangely compelling, isn't it? To step through there, and lose oneself in another world.

Kirk: I've seen old photographs of this period. An economic upheaval had occurred.
Spock: It was called Depression, circa 1930. Quite barbaric.
Kirk: We seem to be costumed a little out of step with the time.
Spock: I'm afraid I am going to be difficult to explain in any case, Captain.
Kirk: Well, Mr. Spock, if we can't disguise you, we'll find some way of... explaining you.
Spock: That should prove interesting.

Kirk: You're a police officer. I recognize the traditional accouterments.
Spock: You were saying you'll have no trouble explaining it.
Kirk: My friend is obviously Chinese. I see you've noticed the ears. They're actually easy to explain.
Spock: Perhaps the unfortunate accident I had as a child?
Kirk: The unfortunate accident he had as a child. He caught his head in a mechanical... rice picker. But fortunately, there was an American missionary living close by who was actually a, uh... skilled plastic surgeon in civilian life.

Kirk: You were actually enjoying my predicament back there. At times, you seem quite human.
Spock: Captain, I hardly believe that insults are within your prerogative as my commanding officer.
Kirk: Sorry.

Spock: If only I could tie this tricorder in with the ship's computers for a few moments.
Kirk: Couldn't you build some form of computer aid here?
Spock: In this zinc-plated vacuum-tubed culture?
Kirk: Yes, well, it would pose an extremely complex problem in logic, Mr. Spock. Excuse me. I sometimes expect too much of you.

Edith Keeler: A lie is a very poor way to say hello.

Edith Keeler: Now, I don't pretend to tell you how to find happiness and love, when every day is a struggle to survive. But I do insist that you do survive, because the days and the years ahead are worth living for! One day soon, man is going to be able to harness incredible energy -- maybe even the atom. Energy that could ultimately hurl men to other worlds in some sort of spaceship. And the men that reach out into space will find ways to feed the hungry millions of the world, and to cure their diseases. They'll be able to find a way to give each man hope and a common future. And those are the days worth living for.

Spock: Captain, I must have some platinum. A small block would be sufficient--5 or 6 pounds. By passing certain circuits through there to be used as a duodynetic field core...
Kirk: Mr. Spock, I've brought you some assorted vegetables, baloney and rolls for myself, and I've spent the other 9/10ths of our combined salaries for the last three days on filling this order for you. This bag doesn't contain platinum, silver, or gold, nor is it likely to in the near future.
Spock: Captain, you're asking me to work with equipment which is hardly very far ahead of stone knives and bearskins.

Edith Keeler: What... what on earth is that?
Spock: I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins.

Edith Keeler: Oh, and don't give me that ''questions about little old us?'' look. You know how out of place you are around here.
Spock: Interesting. Where would you estimate we belong, Miss Keeler?
Edith Keeler: You? At his side, as if you've always been there and always will. And you... you belong... in another place. I don't know where or how. I'll figure it out eventually.
Spock: I'm finished with the furnace.
Edith Keeler: "Captain." Even when he doesn't say it, he does.

Kirk: "Let me help." A hundred years or so from now, I believe, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He'll recommend those three words even over "I love you."

Kirk: How are the stone knives and bearskins?
Spock: I may have found our focal point in time.
Kirk: I think you may also find you have a connection burning.
Spock: Yes. I'm overloading those lines.

McCoy: This looks like old Earth around 1920 or '25.
Edith Keeler: Would you care to try for '30?
McCoy: I am unconscious, or demented.
Edith Keeler: I have a friend that talks about Earth the same way that you do. Would you like to meet him?
McCoy: I'm a surgeon, not a psychiatrist.

Edith Keeler: Lots of people drink from the wrong bottle sometimes.

McCoy: Do you know what you just did?!
Spock: He knows, Doctor...he knows.

The Guardian: Time has resumed its shape. All is as it was before. Many such journeys are possible. Let me be your gateway.

Kirk: Let's get the hell out of here.

Episode Goofs
The song Goodnight, Sweetheart that was used in this episode actually came out in 1931, while this episode has Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the year 1930.

What Changed in the Remastered Version
Picture quality and sound improved as in other remastered episodes. The Enterprise and the planet that is the site of the Guardian were both replaced by better looking CGI images. A static screen on Spock's tricorder was replaced by a multi-color image. The phaser effect accompanying Rodent's self-disintegration is substantially cleaned up. Somewhat surprisingly, no changes were made to the images displayed within the Guardian.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorGene Roddenberry
Executive ProducerGene Roddenberry
ProducerGene L. Coon
Associate ProducerRobert H. Justman
EditorJames Ballas
CastingJoseph D'Agosta
Unit Production ManagerGregg Peters (1)
MusicAlexander Courage
Music EditorJim Henrikson
Music SupervisorWilbur Hatch
Costume DesignerWilliam Ware Theiss  |  Marge Makau
HairstylistVirginia Darcy
Make-upFred B. Phillips
GripGeorge Rader
Set DecoratorMarvin March
Property MasterIrving A. Feinberg
Script SupervisorGeorge A. Rutter
Post Production SupervisorBill Heath
GafferGeorge H. Merhoff
OtherEdward K. Milkis (Assistant to the Producer)  |  Herbert F. Solow (Executive in Charge of Production)  |  Julian Davidson (Music Coordinator)  |  D.C. Fontana (Script Consultant (Seasons 2-3))
Director of PhotographyGerald Perry Finnerman
Production SupervisorBernard A. Widin
Art DirectorWalter M. Jefferies  |  Rolland M. Brooks
Sound MixerDoug Grindstaff  |  Carl Daniels
Special EffectsJames Rugg
Main Title ThemeAlexander Courage
Missing Information
Click here to add Music
Click here to add Cultural References
Click here to add Episode References