Star Trek: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Harry Mudd
Thief, swindler, con man, liar, rogue, intergalactic matchmaker and importer of Klingon coffee.
Harcourt Fenton Mudd is one of Star Trek's most memorable characters. He is a, to quote Captain James T Kirk: "Thief, swindler and con man, liar and rogue". A forerunner to other intergalactic chancers like Quark, Harcourt (Harry for short) first appeared in the very third episode of The Original Series, Mudd's Women. He's introduced as a human trafficker who arrives with a group of beautiful women whom he refers to as cargo, rather than crew. It might sound like a typically sexist plot for an old TV show, but the network themselves were concerned about the portrayal of a space pimp.
However, Roger C Carmel's performance is so overblown and extravagant that he can't help but be charming in a roguish way. And, ultimately, he always gets punished for his schemes, even if he does connive a way out. The character appeared in future episodes of both TOS and The Animated Series.
Decades later, the character returned for two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, attempting to steal the titular ship's revolutionary spore drive by triggering a catastrophic time loop. It was quite an elaborate scheme by the con man, who perhaps learned his lesson and settled for more low-key scamming by the time he met Kirk and the Enterprise crew. Here are 10 things that you may not know about the Star Trek villain.
10. Roger C Carmel Also Played A Niche Batman Villain
Harry Mudd isn't the campest antagonist played by actor Roger C Carmel in a much-loved 1960s TV show. That honor goes to Colonel Gumm, the foreman of the Pink Chips Stamp Factory. Like many of the 60s Batman villains to face Adam West, he had a very niche criminal interest - stamps. His main crime was the counterfeiting of stamps and he also had various stamp-themed implements of torture like the Enlarged Perforating and Coiling Machine, presumably designed to turn Batman and Robin into stamps.
Colonel Gumm appeared in Batman a year after Carmel's first appearance as Harry Mudd in Star Trek. It's likely that it was Carmel's performance as Mudd that caught the attention of Batman casting agents. Both Mudd and Gumm were inherently dishonest men with a keen interest in financial gain, be it stamps or latinum.
Unlike Mudd, however, Gumm didn't stick around for long. The character only made one appearance in the Adam West and Burt Ward series and has never appeared again. However, with Nicolas Cage stating an interest in playing a similar niche villain, Egghead, in a future Batman movie, perhaps Rainn Wilson or Greg Grunberg could revive the role of Colonel Gumm opposite Robert Pattinson's Batman.