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Star Trek: The Savage Curtain

Strange readings are detected by Spock while scanning the planet, Excalbia. These reading lead Spock to believe there is carbon cycle life forms on the planet. The scans are thought to be faulty because the surface is covered by a molten substance. However, the crew is surprised when deceased U.S. president Abraham Lincoln appears on the screen and invites them down.

Episode Info
Episode number: 3x22
Production Number: 60043-077
Airdate: Friday March 07th, 1969

Starring Roles
James DoohanJames Doohan
As Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
George TakeiGeorge Takei
As Lt. Hikaru Sulu
Nichelle NicholsNichelle Nichols
As Lt. Nyota Uhura
Walter KoenigWalter Koenig
As Ensign Pavel Chekov

Guest Stars
Lee BergereLee Bergere
As Lincoln

Co-Guest Stars
Bob HerronBob Herron
As Kahless
Phillip PinePhillip Pine
As Col. Green
Arell BlantonArell Blanton
As Chief Security Guard
Nathan JungNathan Jung
As Ghengis Khan

Bart La RueBart La Rue
voiced Yarnek
Bill CatchingBill Catching
As Lincoln's Stunt Double
Bob OrrisonBob Orrison
As Spock's Stunt Double
Janos ProhaskaJanos Prohaska
As Yarnek
Jerry SummersJerry Summers
As Green's Stunt Double
Phil AdamsPhil Adams
As Capt. Kirk's Stunt Double
Roger HollowayRoger Holloway
As Mr. Lemli
William BlackburnWilliam Blackburn
As Lt. Hadley
Gary EpperGary Epper
As Surak's Stunt Double
Troy MeltonTroy Melton
As Genghis Khan's Stunt Double
Main Cast
William ShatnerWilliam Shatner
As Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy
As Commander Spock
DeForest KelleyDeForest Kelley
As Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy


The Enterprise is sent to investigate the planet Excalbia, a planet with a surface of molten lava and an unbreathable atmosphere. Spock detects traces of carbon-based life forms and they pick up advanced power readings but no one responds to their hails. As Kirk prepares to order the Enterprise to its next assignment, someone on the planet scans them. After a few moments, a figure appears on the view screen: 19th century U.S. President Abraham Lincoln...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
This episode marks the final appearance of Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) on the series. It is also the final time that all seven cast members appear together until Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as Walter Koenig (Chekov) did not appear in Star Trek: The Animated Series.

Arell Blanton is referred to but not credited as Lt. Dickerson.

"Yarnek" is never referred to by name on-screen or in the closed captioning. His name comes from the script.

Episode Quotes
Abraham Lincoln: No need to check your voice telegraph device. Do I gather that you recognize me?
Kirk: I recognize what you appear to be.
Abraham Lincoln: And appearances can be most deceiving, but not in this case, James Kirk. I am Abraham Lincoln.

Spock: Fascinating.
Abraham Lincoln: I have been described in many ways, Mr. Spock, but never with that word.

Scotty: I'd have expected sanity from the ship's surgeon, at least! President Lincoln, indeed! No doubt to be followed by Louis of France and Robert the Bruce.
Kirk: If so, we'll execute appropriate honors to each, Mr. Scott.

Abraham Lincoln: A most interesting way to come aboard, Captain. What was the device used?
Kirk: An energy-matter scrambler, sir. The molecules in your body are converted into energy, then beamed into this chamber and reconverted back into their original pattern.
Abraham Lincoln: Well, since I'm obviously here, and quite whole, whatever you mean apparently works very well indeed.

Abraham Lincoln: What a charming Negress. Oh, forgive me, my dear. I know in my time some used that term as a description of property.
Uhura: But why should I object to that term, sir? In our century, we've learned not to fear words.

McCoy: Where the devil are they?
Scotty: Probably looking up haggis in the galley. They've been everywhere else.

McCoy: Jim, I would be the last to advise you on your command image...
Kirk: I doubt that, Bones, but continue.

Scotty: Lincoln died three centuries ago hundreds of light-years away.
Spock: (pointing helpfully a different way) More that direction, Engineer.

McCoy: You're both out of your heads!
Scotty: Aye, sir.
Kirk: And you're on the edge of insubordination!
McCoy: Would I be on the edge of insubordination to remind the captain this smells of something happening to him that I might not be able to patch together again?
Scotty: Aye!

Surak: Live long and prosper, Spock. May you also, Captain Kirk.
Spock: It is not logical that you are Surak. There is no fact, extrapolation of fact or theory which would make possible...
Surak: Whatever I am, would it harm you to give response?
Spock: Live long and prosper, image of Surak, father of all we now hold true.
Surak: The, uh, "image of Surak" read in your face what is in your mind, Spock.
Spock: As I turned and my eyes beheld you, I displayed emotion. I beg forgiveness.
Surak: The cause was more than sufficient. Let us speak no further of it. In my time, we knew not of Earth men. I am pleased to see that we have differences. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.

Yarnek: We ask you to observe with us the confrontation of the two opposing philosophies you term good and evil. Since this is our first experiment with Earthlings, our theme is a simple one. Survival, life and death. Your philosophies are alien to us, and we wish to understand them and discover which is the stronger. We learn by observing such spectacles.
Kirk: What do you mean, "survival"?
Yarnek: The word is explicit. If you and Spock survive, you return to your vessel. If you do not, your existence is ended.

Kirk: Anyone hurt?
Abraham Lincoln: I fear my clothing is somewhat damaged, but how delightful to discover at my age that I can still wrestle.

Abraham Lincoln: For an illusion, my opponent carried a considerable punch. Oh, I forgot. You consider me an illusion too.

Abraham Lincoln: Mmm. Do you drink whiskey?
Kirk: Occasionally. Why?
Abraham Lincoln: Because you have qualities very much like those of another man admire greatly--General Grant.

Spock: Logic dictates that we consider another course.
Kirk: We don't have much time, Spock.
Surak: In my time on Vulcan, we also faced these same alternatives. We'd suffered devastating wars which nearly destroyed our planet. Another was about to begin. We were torn. But out of our suffering some of us found the discipline to act. We sent emissaries to our opponents to propose peace. The first were killed, but others followed. Ultimately, we achieved peace, which has lasted since then.
Kirk: Circumstances were different then, Surak.
Surak: The face of war has never changed, Captain. Surely it is more logical to heal than kill.
Kirk: I'm afraid that kind of logic doesn't apply here.
Surak: That is precisely why we should not fight.

Kirk: Your Surak is a brave man.
Spock: Men of peace usually are, Captain. On Vulcan, he is revered as the father of our civilization. The father image holds much meaning for us.
Kirk: You show emotion, Spock?
Spock: I deeply respect what he has accomplished.

Abraham Lincoln: James. Remember, I was something of a backwoodsman. I doubt that you could do what I was bred to.

Abraham Lincoln: One matter further, gentlemen. We fight on their level. With trickery, brutality, finality. We match their evil. I know, James. I was reputed to be a gentle man. But I was commander in chief during the four bloodiest years of my country's history. I gave orders that sent a hundred thousand men to their death at the hands of their brothers. There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war except its ending. And you are fighting for the lives of your crew.
Kirk: Your campaign, Mr. President.

Kirk: How many others have you done this to? What gives you the right to hand out life and death?
Yarnek: The same right that brought you here--the need to know new things.
Kirk: We came in peace.
Yarnek: And you may go in peace.

Episode Goofs
When Abraham Lincoln asks Kirk do they still measure time in minutes, he responds "We can convert to it". However, in every other episode of the series and the subsequent spin-offs, minutes and hours are the standard units used for measuring time.

Yarnek says they have four hour until the Enterprise explodes. After the commercial break, Scotty makes a log saying they have two hours left, while on the viewscreen Kirk and Spock are in the same positions as when Yarnek said they had four hours.

In the syndication cut of the remastered version, the scene at the beginning of the Excalbians probing the Enterprise is omitted. This render Spock's later references to the ship being probed meaningless.

Episode References
Zora is mentioned as conducting experiments on Tiburon. This planet is the point of origin for Dr. Sevrin in "The Way to Eden." Zora's hairstyle makes it impossible to tell if she has the same distinctive ears as Dr. Sevrin. Arthur Heinemann scripted both episodes.

What Changed in the Remastered Version
General improvements cited on the main series page. The orbital shots of Excalbia get a surface upgrade. When the earthlike area appears later is is clearly visible, spreads relatively slowly instead of appearing instantly, and is much more distinct.

Kahless Reimaged

This episode introduces Kahless the Unforgettable, a driving force of the Klingon Empire. The character will later be cloned and used as a political figurehead in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Rightful Heir." The version has a talent for voice mimicry that is never mentioned for the later version. The version seen here is based on Starfleet's database and the crew's memories, personal beliefs, and 23rd century prejudices, rather than reality, accounting for many of the differences. Thus he is wearing a 23rd century Klingon fleet uniform and is infected with the Klingon augment virus first unleashed in the ST: Enterprise era. It's not clear why the Federation or the crew would believe Kahless is skilled at impersonating voices, however.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorGene Roddenberry
Executive ProducerGene Roddenberry
ProducerFred Freiberger
Associate ProducerGregg Peters (1)  |  Edward K. Milkis
CastingJoseph D'Agosta  |  William J. Kenney
Unit Production ManagerGregg Peters (1)
Costume DesignerWilliam Ware Theiss
HairstylistPat Westmore
Make-upFred B. Phillips
GripGeorge Rader
Set DecoratorJohn M. Dwyer
Property MasterIrving A. Feinberg
Script SupervisorGeorge A. Rutter
Re-Recording MixerGordon L. Day
GafferGeorge H. Merhoff
OtherArthur H. Singer (Story Consultant)
Director of PhotographyGerald Perry Finnerman  |  Al Francis
Art DirectorWalter M. Jefferies
Sound MixerCarl Daniels  |  Doug Grindstaff
Special EffectsJames Rugg
Main Title ThemeAlexander Courage
Executive Vice President In Charge Of ProductionDouglas S. Cramer
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