Watching the Cage, you can't help but wonder what the series would have been like if the network had liked the first pilot.
It's actually a lot more clear from "The Cage" that they were directly ripping off Forbidden Planet
. By the time we got the second pilot "Where No Man..." and into the season, it was more credibly "Wagon Train to the Stars", although still had that spirit of Forbidden Planet
It was much more of a military "feeling" operation and the opening scenes had much more of the feel of a ship at sea, or a submarine - which TOS would capture later with "Balance of Terror" and perfected as nearly as possible in TWOK on the big screen.
However, I find this material to be a little claustrophobic or confining. Whether it was the setting, the subject matter or just that much of the episode occurred in Pike's imagination - a sort of forced mental illness, I've always been a little unnerved by The Menagerie/The Cage.
But it is one of the best. As we have discussed before, most shows struggle to find its sea legs for a season or more. TOS was hitting homeruns in the first season, and about half of the very best episodes come during this run - including The Menagerie.
In particular, The Menagerie is one of the best examples of a great cost-cutting epsiodes. It combines elements of a bottle show and a clip show. They had Malachi Throne as both Mendez and the illusion of Mendez film new scenes, but he was the voice of The Keeper from The Cage.
This would also have been the first airing of Janos Prohaska (although his scenes for this were filmed during the production of The Cage itself) - as both the bird and ape in the titular "menagerie". He would later appear as the mother Horta, the Mugato and Yarnek.
This post was edited on 8/28 at 9:06 pm