Thursday, March 13, 2008

THE QUESTOR TAPES (1974)

[Mild spoiler alert]

THE QUESTOR TAPES pilot echoed a lot of Gene Roddenberry's favorite ideas: an android trying in a Pinocchio-like way to understand what it is to be human, searching for its creator, and we even touch on a superior benevolent alien race that's attempting"to prevent Earth from destroying itself before it can mature into a peaceful society." Plus the movie has Dean Wormer (John Vernon), acting as bad guy, so it's got that going for it. Not to mention the ever-so-likable Mike Farrell and the commanding presence of Robert Foxworth as Questor.

The series, if it had been made, would have been a buddy series with Mike Farrell helping the android become a bit less of a fish out of water as they had a series of adventures.

The best of the post-TREK pilots, QUESTOR's themes were woven into the next 2 Roddenberry produced projects; principally the characters of V'ger from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE and, I know you all ready know it: Data, from NEXT GENERATION.

Richard Colla, the director, is quoted in Retrovision Magazine's fond and thorough overview of the pilot titled Gene Roddenberry's The Questor Tapes: The Unfulfilled Promise:

"It was a wonderful experience for me," he says. "We were kind of reinterpreting Spock and Kirk, because that's really what it was -- the emotional side of man and the intellectual side of man and they come into conversation with each other. So what you really have is a character talking to himself, and that's delightful."

Above: the cover to the novelization by D.C. Fontana. Below, the pilot, cut into its requisite YouTube wee chunks:

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 1

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 2

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 3

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 4

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 5

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 6

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 7

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 8

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 9

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 10


THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 11

THE QUESTOR TAPES Part 12

A note on the Gil Melle music that's heard at a minute plus in: yes, that theme is the same music that Melle used for the later 1970s NIGHT STALKER series. Melle was so fond of that cut, that rather than see it forgotten in this unsold pilot, he played it for STALKER's producer Dan Curtis, who agreed and used it in the main title for the short-lived series. This is all from my memory of reading TV’s Biggest Hits (Schirmer Books, 1996) by Jon Burlingame.

1 comment:

MrBaliHai said...

I haven't seen this in over 30 years. Thanks much for rounding up all the segments.

After watching this, it's apparent that Roddenberry recycled a lot of ideas from this show into the Trek films and TNG franchise.