10 Star Trek: The Original Series Episodes That Were Almost Made

9. “From The First Day To The Last”

The Joy Machine Star Trek
CBS Studios, Inc.

Story editor John D.F. Black and producer Gene Roddenberry had a contentious relationship. Roddenberry had promised Black he would not rewrite the experienced freelancers working on Star Trek, but he did rewrite them, often heavily.

Things got worse when Roddenberry, without telling Black, did a complete rewrite of Black’s own script for “The Naked Time.” Black left the show when his thirteen episode commitment was up, with “The Naked Time” as his only writing credit.

Black’s name can be found on a second script for the series, however, that was not produced. When it became clear that the production was lagging behind schedule and there was a risk of missing an airdate on NBC, a plan was hatched to write an “envelope” that would allow the series to repurpose its first pilot episode (which had a different cast, with the exception of Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock) into a two-parter. Black called his version “From The First Day To The Last.”

Black’s script features many of the same ideas that would be recycled by Roddenberry when he took his own stab at the two-parter, which he called “The Menagerie.” The framing story takes place in a hearing room where much of the time is spent watching Star Trek’s first pilot episode.

The issue at hand is whether a heavily-injured Captain Pike will be able to return to Talos IV (like in the finished episode, there’s a Starfleet regulation in place forbidding anyone from returning to that planet). And a late episode twist is that the officer presiding over the hearing turns out to be a Talosian illusion.

There are key differences, however. Spock does not steal the Enterprise to help his former Captain, and as a result, he is not subject to a court martial. Instead, he asks Kirk for help getting Pike to Talos IV, and the hearing is called to discuss whether or not this request may be granted.

In this version, Commander Jermaine presides over the hearing, and before he is revealed to be a Talosian in disguise, we learn that he wrote the very regulation that forbids travel to Talos IV. The hearing is resolved much sooner than in the filmed version, which leaves time for a scene where Spock escorts his former Captain to the bridge and shows him his upgraded workstation, as well as time for Kirk to beam down to Talos IV and watch Captain Pike return to the Talosians and Vina.

Black felt his contributions to the script entitled him to half the writing credit. Roddenberry disagreed, and the script went to arbitration. The WGA sided with Roddenberry, who ended up with the full “written by” credit on the two-parter, and all the residuals that came with it.


Michael is one of the founders of FACT TREK (www.facttrek.com), a project dedicated to untangling 50+ years of mythology about the original Star Trek and its place in TV history. He currently is the Director of Sales and Digital Commerce at Shout! Factory, where he has worked since 2014. From 2013-2018, he ran the popular Star Trek Fact Check blog (www.startrekfactcheck.blogspot.com).