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Welcome to Super-Blog Team Up!

Super-Blog Team Up is a quarterly event where pop culture and comic book blogs, podcasts, and vlogs team up to tackle one topic. Since 2015 is the year of DC Comics’ Convergence and Marvel’s Secret Wars, we’re kicking off 2015 by looking at parallel worlds and alternate realities.

If this is your first time visiting Between the Pages, THANKS for stopping by. Between the Pages is a blog about pop culture and the world’s greatest cakes. I hope you enjoy your visit and come back again. I hope you’re comfortable because we’re about to embark on a Trek to an alternate timeline.

The first time I encountered time travel, mirror universes, or alternate earths was on the television series – Star Trek.  One example is the classic episode – “The City on the Edge of Forever”.  In this episode, an accident results in time being altered. Captain Kirk and Spock must journey into the past and set history back on its proper path.

While attending a Star Trek convention, I learned that there were two versions of the classic episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” – The original screenplay written by Harlan Ellison and the famous television episode. Over the years, I heard different stories about Harlan Ellison’s original version.

Last year, I was thrilled when IDW announced that they were publishing a five issue mini-series of Harlan Ellison’s version. This series was approved by Harlan and Harlan would be reviewing everything before it was published.

 

 

Star Trek - Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge of Forever – The Original Teleplay

 

The mini-series was named “Star Trek – Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge of Forever – The Original Teleplay”. It was adapted to comics by Scott and David Tipton and the artwork was by J.K. Woodward.  A hardcover collection of this mini-series can be ordered from Amazon.

 

 

Star Trek: The Original Series – Season One

 

If you’ve never seen the classic TV episode, it is also available on Amazon as part of Star Trek: The Original Series – Season One.

So how did Harlan Ellison’s original screeplay differ from the classic television series?  To answer that, I’m going to break “The City On The Edge Of Forever” into five parts.

  1. On The Enterprise
  2. Traveling To The Past
  3. In The Past
  4. The Death of Edith Keeler
  5. Returning Home

But before we get started, I think it is time for cake!

 

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Captain Kirk Cake

This amazing Captain Kirk Cake was made by Cake Central member Spense.

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ON THE ENTERPRISE

Star Trek: The Original Series shows Star Fleet as an ideal utopian environment. There is no real crime within the crew of the Enterprise. In this world, the Federation no longer uses money and has effectively eliminated greed as a
reason for violent crimes. This is a “great, big, beautiful tomorrow” in its most ideal setting.

One of things which makes Star Trek such a joy to watch is the special bond, camaraderie, and friendly bantering between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. I’m not sure if it was planned by Gene Roddenberry or a result of the chemistry between William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley.  Watching the three of them together makes even some of the really bad episodes a lot of fun to watch.

Harlan Ellison’s original story isn’t set in a Utopian future.  Like so many of the television episodes, the first page of comic book begins with Captain Kirk’s log.

“Ship’s Log: Star-Date 3134.6. Our chronometers still run backward.  We have followed the radiation to it’s planet-source here at the rim of the galaxy, but something else is happening…”

“When we left Earth, each of the 450 crewmembers of the Enterprise was checked out stable.  But it’s been two years – so much stress on them.  We have continuous pysch-probes, but we know some have been altered.  Even some may have gone sour: We can’t know until the flaw shows up.”

“And by then, it’s too late…Much too late…”

It is a great introduction, but it also makes it clear from page one that this isn’t the Star Trek or Starfleet to which we are accustom.

Harlan’s Enterprise has drug dealers, drug addicts, and a member of the crew who has exploited helpless natives on some of the planets they have encountered. It is revealed that several members of the crew are drug users and addicted to Jewels of Sound – a dream-narcotic. It is expensive and illegal. A drug dealer in the crew, Beckwith, is one of the key characters in Harlan Ellison’s story.

Some of the crew have been addicted for at least one year.  One of the addicts is Mister Lebeque, who is part of the Enterprise’s bridge crew.  Sometime in the past, Beckwith forced Lebeque to arrange for Beckwith to secretly beam down to a planet.  If Lebeque didn’t comply, Beckwith would no longer supply Lebeque with Jewels of Sound.  While on this planet, Beckwith caused deaths while looking for personal riches and getting the natives hooked on illegal narcotics.

Lebeque shows up for his duty on the bridge while under the influence of Jewels of Sound.  He ignores warning signs and nearly destroys one of the starboard drives.  Lebeque confronts Beckwith and threatens to expose him.  Beckwith responds by killing him.

Beckwith is caught in the act. He grabs a weapon from the weapons locker, runs to the transporter room, and beams down to the planet they are currently orbiting.

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Enterprise Cake

 

This magnificent Enterprise Cake was made by Crazy Cakes.

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The classic television episode has a very different beginning.  The Enterprise is orbiting a planet which is the source of a time related disturbance.  Dr. McCoy is on the bridge attending to Mr. Sulu who has been severely shocked when his console blew out. McCoy administers a drug to stop Sulu’s heart flutter.  While this is going on, the Enterprise is rocked when it hits another large time disturbance.  During this, McCoy accidentally injects himself with a dangerously high dose of the drug. McCoy goes mad.  He beams down to the planet and hides. Thinking that everyone is out to get him, He calls them murderers and assassins.

In the comic version, Beckwith, a drug dealer and murderer, is the person who first beams down to the planet.  In the TV version, it is Dr. McCoy.  That isn’t the only place where the cast and crew differ in the two versions.  In the comic book, the established characters featured in this story are Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Yeoman Rand.  Dr. McCoy and Uhura make tiny cameo appearances. Not only are different characters used, but the characters behave differently.  Remember how earlier I was talking about the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.  That’s missing in the comic book version.  It isn’t until the final scene, that there is any camaraderie or friendship shown between the crew members.

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Star Trek Grooms Cake

Star Trek Grooms Cake

This spectacular Star Trek Grooms Cake was made by Cake Central member Cakesue.

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TRAVELING TO THE PAST

 

In both versions, the planet is a time vortex – a gateway to the past.

In the television version, the transporter just happens to be focused on the source of the time disturbance. One cannot help but wonder why anyone would want to set the transporter to the place of the greatest time disturbance on the planet.  While it doesn’t make much sense, it gives McCoy a convenient way to get to the Guardian of Forever.

In the comic book version, Beckwith beams down to the planet and heads toward the only landmark, the mountains. It is convenient that he arrives near the mountains and not far away from them.

I really like the comic book version of the Guardians of Forever.  In the comic book, the source of the radiation and time disturbance is a mountain range.  At the top of the mountain range, a mystical city is in view – A City on the Edge of Forever.

 

 

A City On The Edge of Forever

 

 

I’ve always thought that “The City on the Edge of Forever” was a great title, but it didn’t fit perfectly with the TV episode.  In the comic book, there is an actual city that fits the name of the episode. In this version, it makes so much more sense why the episode was given this title. In the television version, the city has to stand for either the ruins around the Guardian or New York City in the 1930s.  Neither fit.

In the comic book, in the mountain city are shapes of figures that look like old men. When asked, they say that they are the Guardians of Forever.  The visual of this is so much cooler than the ancient arch shown on TV.

 

 

The Guardians of Forever

 

 

In the television version, the Guardian is an odd donut shaped arch in the midst of ruins.

Kirk asks the Guardian of Forever: “Are you machine or being?”

“I am both and neither. I am my own beginning. My own ending.”

In both versions, the Guardian says “Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born.”  In the comic book, this is in response to how long the Guardians have lived in the city.  In the television show, it is the answer to how long the Guardian has awaited a question.

Instead of an odd donut shaped arch, the comic book shows the vortex as a bright light near the Guardians. It looks a lot like an Aurora Borealis.

Both versions of the vortex display pictures of the past. That is about all the comic book and television versions have in common.  The circumstances related to time travel and the description of the means of traveling to the past is one of the portions where the two versions differ greatly.

In the television version, McCoy, driven mad by an accidental overdose, jumps into the time stream and changes time.  After time is changed, the Enterprise no longer exists. The only crew left are Spock, Kirk, Uhura, Scotty, and two security people who had beamed down to the planet.

The Guardian offers the past at one set speed. Spock starts recording the replay of history on his tricorder. Spock estimates when to jump back in time so that he and Kirk arrive before McCoy entered the timeline and changed history.

In the comic book version, Beckwith, a murderer and a fugitive, jumps into the time vortex and alters time.  Kirk, Spock, Rand, and the security team that were on the planet beam back on board the Enterprise not realizing that time has been altered. To their surprise, the Enterprise has changed.  It has been replaced by a ship called the Condor and is filled with space pirates.

 

 

Space Pirates

 

 

Kirk and company manage to momentarily defeat the space pirates.  This gives them just enough time to secure the transporter room.  The scene ends with Kirk and Spock beaming back onto the planet, while Rand and the security guards try to hold off the space pirates.

 

 

Kirk and Spock Beam Back Down To The Planet

Yeoman Rand Defends The Transporter Room

 

 

It is a great cliff hanger.  Unfortunately, the comic book never returns to this part of the storyline.  There is only one more panel in the whole comic featuring this part of the story.  This great cliff hanger is left hanging.

Back on the planet, the Guardians are hesitant, but agree to send Kirk and Spock back to either before or after the time Beckwith journeyed to.  The Guardians say that it is not possible to go back to the exact time as Beckwith and that the period before cannot be accurately measured.

Before they journey to the past, the guardians give Kirk and Spock some cryptic clues.  The Guardians warn that Beckwith will seek that which must die and give it life.  Kirk and Spock must stop him. Then the Guardians say “Blue it will be. Blue as the sky of old earth and clear as truth. And the sun will burn on it, and there is the key.” 

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Star Trek 40th Birthday Cake

Star Trek 40th Birthday Cake

This wonderful Star Trek 40th Birthday Cake was made by Bake Cake Create.

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IN THE PAST

In both versions, Kirk and Spock go back in time to circa 1930.

In the comic book, Kirk and Spock appear in a street where a mob has gathered.  A person standing on a soapbox is telling the mob that foreigners are the cause of them not having jobs. He sees Spock, who is is obviously a foreigner with those ears and eye brows.  The speaker points at him, and calls out “There! There’s one!”. The mob see Spock and starts chasing him.

Kirk shoots a lamppost with his phaser.  The crowd turns to look at the vanishing lamppost and in the confusion Kirk and Spock run down an alley, jump over a fence, and find a basement to hide in.  There are clothes lines just outside the basement, so Kirk steal clothes for them to dress in.

What follows is one of my least favorite sequences in the comic.  When Spock and Kirk are in the basement, Spock begins complaining about how barbaric earth is in this time period.  He calls Earth “as violent as any aboriginal world we ever landed on.”  He talks about how superior Vulcans are:  “My race never languished in such ignorant behavior for thousand of years.” He even uses Beckwith as proof that humans are still barbaric in nature.  This scene is extremely important because it ties into the final scene in the comic book, but Spock is so out of character that I wanted to Gibbs slap him.  

This basement is owned by a building superintendent who tells them they can live in the basement if they will help clean the building and alley beside it.

Kirk asks the tricorder to integrate the data on old earth and the variables that caused the major alteration of history, and compute crisis points. The tricorder warns that this may lead to an overload. Kirk says do it anyway.  The tricorder finds six hundred and sixteen THOUSAND, five hundred, and ninety focal points!  Spock asks the tricorder to eliminate all but those within a ten kilometer radius of their coordinates, but the tricorder says its circuits were damaged in the calculation and it cannot narrow down the data to give them only the focal points that are near them. Then the tricorder dies.  Spock works to try and repair it. Unlike the television version, the tricorder repair work happens totally off stage.

Since the tricorder cannot give the specific data that is required, they only have the cryptic sayings of the Guardians to help them. The Guardians have told them that there is a focal point in time that is a person or object.

Spock is walking back from another job when he sees Edith Keeler for the first time.  She is dressed in a blue cloak, speaking truths, and wearing a golden sun broach. And her name is Kee-ler. Spock remembers the words of the Guardians and realizes that she is the focal point in time that Beckwith will be drawn to.

 

 

Blue It Will Be

And Clear As TruthThe Sun Will Burn On ItThere Is The KeyEdith Keeler

 

 

Since Edith is the focal point, Kirk and Spock start watching her.  They follow Edith and find out where she lives. In a scene that isn’t the least bit creepy, Kirk and Spock go to the roof of the apartment building next to Edith’s and lie down on the roof so they won’t be seen, and watch Edith through her apartment windows.  While spying on her, Kirk even comments to Spock about how lovely Edith is.  Like I said, there is nothing the least bit creepy in this scene. Smile 

In one of the funnier sequences, while Kirk is spying on Edith and commenting on how lovely she is, Spock is hungry and talking about food.  I’m not even sure it is meant to be funny, but it sums up both Kirk and Spock so well.

Spock points out that Kirk was born and raised on Earth, so he should be able to pretend to be from Earth in the 1930s.  Kirk agrees and instead of spying on her, he introduces himself to Edith.  They hit it off instantly and quickly become inseparable.  Spock realizes that Captain Kirk is falling in love with Edith Keeler. 

Later, Edith stumbles down the stairs. Kirk starts to catch her and remembers that she must die. He stops grabbing for her and watches her fall. She is not harmed.

Later that day, Kirk and Spock see Beckwith materialize outside a building and start chasing him. Spock catches him momentarily, but Beckwith gets away and starts running toward the milk kitchen where Edith Keeler works.

They continue to look for Beckwith. Spock pulls out a phaser.  Beckwith sneaks up behind him, Beckwith takes the phaser from Spock and runs off.

Kirk pays a wounded World War I veteran living on the streets to keep an eye out for Beckwith. The veteran, named Trooper, lost his legs at Verdun during WWI. 

Trooper spots Beckwith and tells Spock and Kirk. Beckwith is hiding in an alley.  When Spock, Kirk, and Trooper enter the alley, Beckwith fires the phaser at Kirk.  Trooper knocks Kirk out of the way.  The phaser shot hits Trooper and disintegrates him. Spock throws a trash can at Beckwith.  The trash can knocks the phaser out of Beckwith’s hand and Beckwith flees.

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Star Trek Cakes

 

These terrific Sulu and Spock Cakes were made by KupKake Tree.

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In the television version, Kirk and Spock steal clothes to blend in and cover Spock’s ears. They are caught by a policeman. There is a bit of humor with Kirk explaining Spock’s ears to the policeman as:

“My friend is obviously Chinese. I see you’ve noticed the ears. They’re actually easy to explain… He caught his head in a mechanical… rice picker.”

Kirk says to the policeman: ‘Oh, how careless of your wife to let you go out that way.’. Spock offers to brush off the policeman’s uniform, but in reality Spock disables him with a Vulcan nerve pinch.  Even though The City Of The Edge Of Forever is a serious television episode, there are plenty of small bits of humorous dialog to help the episode not be too bleak and dark. 

Once they run away from the policeman, they hide in the basement of the 21st Street Mission.

Kirk asks Spock about building some form of computer aid in the era they are currently in and persuades Spock in a friendly manner to work on a device to read the tricorder.

Spock responds ‘In this zinc plated, vacuum tubed culture?”

Kirk says ,“Well it would pose an extremely complex problem in logic, Mr. Spock. Excuse me. I sometimes expect too much of you.”

Spock gives him a funny how dare you look, and starts to look for ways to start building such a device.

Shortly after this humorous exchange, Edith Keeler comes down the stairs, greets them, and asks what they are doing there. They tell her that a policeman was chasing them because they stole the clothes they were wearing because they had no money.  Edith is in charge of the mission and shows compassion by offering them work and not turning them over to the police. She tells them to start by cleaning the basement of the mission. Spock asks the rate of payment for their labor so that he can buy radio tubes and other parts for his hobby.

Later, Edith Keeler tells Kirk that he and Spock did excellent work cleaning the basement and asks if they have a flop for the night. She tells Kirk about a vacant flop (apartment) in her building.

Then in more lighthearted conversation, Kirk says to Spock:

“We have a flop.”

Spock replies, ”We have a what, Captain?”

Kirk says, “A place to sleep.”

Spock answers “One might have said so in the first place.”

Spock conjectures that time is fluid like a river with currents, eddies, and backwashes and that maybe they will be swept to the same point in time as McCoy.  Remember, at this point Spock and Kirk have not yet identified the person who is the focal point in time.  They have to decode the tricorder video to see that Edith Keeler is the focal point and that she must die for history to be restored.

Spock works to find a way to read the data on the tricorder. There is a sequence with Spock building the device that is one of my favorite bits in all of Star Trek.

Spock totally straight faced says, “Captain I must have some platinum. A small block will be sufficient. Five to six pounds.”

Kirk replies, “Mr. Spock I’ve brought you some assorted vegetables. Bologna and a hard roll for myself, and I’ve spent the other nine-tenths of our combined salaries for the last three days on filling this order for you. This bag does not contain platinum, silver, or gold; nor is it likely to in the near future.”

Then Edith Keeler comes in and sees the vacuum tubes and asks Spock what he is doing.

He replies, ”I am endeavoring, ma’am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins.”

Like I said, it is a wonderful sequence.

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Spock Cupcake

 

This spectacular Spock Cupcake was made by Cake Central Member Yokko.

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Later on, Edith finds out that Spock stole fine detail tools for his “radio work” (i.e. his work reading the tricorder).  Kirk defends Spock.  Edith Keeler believes Kirk when he says that Spock would have returned the tools by the morning.

During this scene, Edith makes the statement that they belong in a different time or place.

Spock asks her, ”Where would you estimate we belong, Miss Keeler?”

Edith says, ”You? At his side, as if you’ve always been there and always will.”

Edith Keeler has the wonderful gift of being able to see through peoples’ acts and see what they are really like.  I think it is part of the reason she is such a compassionate person.

J.K. Woodward does an amazing job with Edith Keeler in the comic book, but he can’t top Joan Collins.  Joan Collins is sensational as Edith Keeler.  She plays the role so
well and she has real chemistry with William Shatner.  It is so easy to
see why Kirk falls in love with her. She is a visionary and a kindred spirit to Kirk. Her compassion is apparent. She comments about Spock and Kirk and their relationship.  She cares for McCoy and the others at the mission. She runs the mission to help people in need. Joan Collins’ Edith Keeler is one of those rare people who makes the world a better place.  

Edith Keeler is a visionary and is ahead of her time.  Not only does this define her character, but “being ahead of her time” is what makes her the focal point in history.  Edith being a visionary is best shown in a speech that she gives at the mission:

“One day soon, man is going to be able to harness incredible energies – maybe even the atom; energies that could ultimately hurl us to other worlds in some sort of spaceship. And the men that reach out into space will be able to find ways to feed the hungry millions of the world and to cure their diseases. They will be able to find a way to give each man hope and a common future… and those are the days worth living for.”

Her speech presents a future much like the United Federation of Planets that Kirk and Spock come from. One of the themes of Star Trek is that everyone has hope and a common future.

After creating such a wonderful character, the viewer finds out the awful truth – “Edith Keeler must die!”

Spock manages to get data from the tricorder before it fails.  The tricorder shows a newspaper headline from each timeline.  The first 1930 newspaper headline reads “Social Worker killed” in a traffic accident. Next a 1936 headline reads “F.D.R. confers with slum area ‘Angel’”. With this conflicting information, they realize that Edith Keeler is the focal point in time for both them and Dr. McCoy. McCoy is the random element.

The tricorder reveals that in one timeline Edith Keeler was the founder of a peace movement. Her peace movement in 1936 delayed the United States entry into World War II.  Because of this, Germany made the A-bomb first and won World War II.

Kirk lets Spock know that he is in love with Edith Keeler by saying,

“Spock… I believe… I’m in love with Edith Keeler.”

Spock replies, ”Jim, Edith Keeler must die!”

Later on, she stumbles down the stairs. Unlike the comic book, Kirk catches her and prevents her from falling.

At the end of the stairs incident, Spock says,”Save her – do as your heart tells you to do – and millions will die who did not die before.”

During all of this, Dr. McCoy ends up at the 21st Street Mission.  McCoy is still in really bad shape from the accidental overdose.  Edith Keeler nurses him back to health. While showing compassion and checking in on him, she chats with McCoy and tells him,

“I have a friend that talks about Earth the same way that you do. Would you like to meet him?”

McCoy responds, ”I’m a surgeon, not a psychiatrist.”

This meeting between McCoy and Edith’s friend is crucial to the story.

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Captain Kirk Birthday Cake

This terrific Captain Kirk Birthday Cake was made by A Wish and a Wisk Cakes.

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THE DEATH OF EDITH KEELER

In the television episode, Edith and Kirk are walking along when Edith mentions Doctor McCoy.  Kirk runs across the street and finds Doctor McCoy. Kirk and McCoy are thrilled to see each other.  Edith goes to cross the street and join Kirk and McCoy.  She doesn’t see a truck bearing down on her until it is too late.  McCoy sees the truck first and tries to saved Edith, but Kirk grabs him and prevents him from saving her.    

McCoy says to Kirk, ”You deliberately stopped me, Jim! I could have saved her! Do you know what you just did?”

Spock answers, ”He knows, Doctor…He knows.”

In the comic book, Edith crosses the street to join Kirk. She doesn’t see a truck bearing down on her until it is too late.  Kirk starts to run to Edith and stops.  Beckwith, who has never met Edith, sees the truck coming towards her.  He jumps into the street to rescue her.  Spock shoves Beckwith out of the way and Edit is struck and killed by the truck.

I have no problems with Beckwith risking his life to save a total stranger.  What I don’t like is that it is Spock, not Kirk, who stops Beckwith.  I prefer the televised version of this scene.  Kirk himself holds McCoy and keeps him from saving Edith Keeler. This is a more powerful statement because Kirk has to put his personal feelings aside for the better good of the universe. One catches a glimpse of the sacrifice he made and the agony he feels in order to set things right.

                   
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Klingon Bird of Prey CakeKlingon Bird of Prey CakeKlingon Bird of Prey CakeKlingon Bird of Prey Cake

 

I realize that the Klingon’s never appear in City on The Edge of Forever, but this cake was just too gorgeous to not include.  This stunning Klingon Bird of Prey Cake was made by Marie Porter, Celebration Generation.

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RETURING HOME

In the television version, they return through the portal. The Guardian says, ‘Many such journeys are possible. Let me be your gateway.’. I’ve always thought that line sounded like a plug for a television series featuring time travel stories.  Kirk and company beam back onto the Enterprise and the episode ends.

The comic book version is much longer. When Edith Keeler dies, the Enterprise reappears and Kirk, Spock, and Beckwith reappear through the portal.  Kirk and Spock are still dressed in their 1930 clothes and Spock is still holding Beckwith.

Beckwith breaks free of Spock and dives back into the vortex.

Spock calls out “He went back! It was all for nothing!”

The Guardians of Forever respond “No. The Vortex cannot be set for the same exact time twice.  He has created a fracture and plunged into it.”

“He wanted forever.  The vortex has given him forever.  Like the Mobius strip that has no end, that curves back on itself eternally, he is locked in time.”

“His forever will be in the heart of an exploding sun, a nova. He has named his own doom.”

 

 

Beckwith's Forever

 

 

The final scene in the comic book takes place back on the Enterprise with just Kirk and Spock.  Kirk looks completely devastated by Edith Keeler’s death. Spock, acting more like the television version, feels compassion for Kirk.  For the first time ever, Spock calls Captain Kirk by his first name, Jim.

Spock tells Kirk “On my world the nights are very long. The sound of the silver birds against the sky is very sweet. My people know there is always time enough for everything. You could come with me for a rest. You would feel comfortable there.”

Remember the scene, I didn’t like earlier where Spock was calling Earth of the 1930s barbaric and how Beckwith was proof that man was still barbaric? It all comes full circle.

Spock asks “But can you tell me something I need to understand? Something that defies all logic I know?”

“I would not intrude, but it…troubles me… I believe that is the phrase… it troubles me deeply.”

“You could not stop Beckwith. I understand that. But… Beckwith… amoral, evil, a killer, selfish, and capable of anything. Why-“

Kirk cuts him off “Why did he try to save her, at risk of his own life?”

“We look at our race, this parade of men and women, and the unbelievable harm and cruelty they do.”

“And we sigh, and we say “Perhaps our time is past, let the sharks or the cockroaches take over.””

“And then, without knowing why, without even thinking of it, the worst among us does the great thing, the noble deed, that spark of impossible human godliness.”

“And we say “Perhaps the human race is entitled to a little more sufferance.  Let them keep trying to reach the dream.””

Spock has the final line in the comic book “No woman was ever loved as much, Jim. Because no woman was ever offered the universe for love.”

Harlan Ellison was right.  His version and the version filmed really are very different stories.  I’m thrilled that IDW was able to publish this version and that I was finally able to see Harlan’s original story.

Which do I prefer? The television version.  First, I’d put the television episode in my top five favorite Star Trek episodes.  I’ve seen it over a dozen times.  It is familiar and comfortable.  Second, I was surprised by how little humor there was in the comic book version. 
Yes, The City On The Edge Of Forever is a serious story, but I love the little bits of humorous dialog in the television episode.  Third, those humorous bits of dialog also showed the relationship that Kirk and Spock have.  I felt like that was missing in Harlan’s original version. Lastly, Joan Collins is amazing as Edith Keeler.  J.K. Woodward does a great job with the comic book version of Edith, but she can’t hold a candle to Joan Collins’ version. 
The television version of Edith Keeler does a better job of showing her compassion, forward thinking, and peaceful intentions.  It is easier to see why Kirk falls in love with her. Both of really good stories, I just happen to prefer the television version.

Before I wrap up, I wanted to share one more cool thing with you.  Both the television and comic book version contain some really cool Easter Eggs.

Parts of the scenes set in the 1930s were filmed on the 40 Acres Studio Backlot.  One section of this backlot is a series of store fronts.  These store fronts were currently being used on the Andy Griffith Show.  The most famous of these store fronts was Floyd’s Barber Shop.  If you watch closely, while Captain Kirk and Edith are out strolling at night, they walk right past Floyd’s Barber Shop.

DeForest Kelley wore a pinky ring.  It had belonged to his mother and he wore it in remembrance of her.  He usually turned the ring around so that its blue stone wasn’t visible by the camera.  When McCoy first appears in the 1930s, there is a short bit where he grips a pole.  During that scene, you get a clear look at McCoy’s ring.

 

The comic book also has some really cool Easter Eggs.

Remember the picture above with the Space Pirates? Scott Tipton is one of them.

When Kirk and Spock first appear in the 1930s, they arrive near Ellison’s Theater.

 

 

Ellison's Theater

 

 

When they are fleeing the mob, they run past the Tipton Bros Deli.

 

 

Tipton Bros Deli

 

 

The basement Kirk and Spock hide in is covered in cobwebs.  Among the items covered in cobwebs are a laugh track and a poster from Queen’s Theatre for Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.

 

 

Discarded Laugh Track

I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream Poster

 

 

My favorite Easter Egg in the comic book is that Trooper, the World War I veteran, is Harlan Ellison. 

 

 

Harlan Ellison

 

 

The corner where he sells apples has a sign “Tick Tock Man’s We Serve Strange Wine Every Shatterday”.

 

 

Tick Tock Man’s We Serve Strange Wine Every Shatterday

 

 

I hope you enjoyed your visit to two different Cities on the Edge of Forever.  More journeys to parallel worlds and alternate realities are just a mouse click away.

Amazing Spider-Talk / Chasing Amazing / Superior Spider-Talk team-up to look at Spider-Man Reign

Bronze Age Babies presents Things Are a Little Different Around Here…

Firestorm Fan brings us Firestorm on Infinite Earths — Countdown Arena

Flodo’s Page brings us The
Ballad Of Two Green Lanterns
.

The Idol-Head of Diablo Frank brings us a special episode of his Martian Manhunter Podcast focusing on Martian Manhunter Multiversity

In My Not So Humble Opinion looks at The Many Worlds of Tesla Strong

Want more Star Trek? The Legion of Super-Bloggers looks at Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes.

Longbox Graveyard looks at X-Men #141 & 142: Days of Future Past

The Marvel Super Heroes Podcast discusses Epic Comics’ Doctor Zero

Mystery Vlog presents Marvel & DC’s Secret Crossover

Superhero Satellite looks at Marvel Comics forgotten line of children comics, Star Comics in Licensed Reality and Parallel Properties

The Ultraverse Network looks at Parallel Worlds: The Ultraverse Before and After Black September

The Unspoken Decade wraps things up with two posts:

The Ghost In The Machine: Robocop versus Terminator

 5 Batmen, 1 Superman, ZERO HOUR

All comic book artwork show in this post is owned by IDW Publishing. Star Trek is owned by CBS Studios, Inc.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Star Trek: A Tale Of Two Cities On The Edge Of Forever

  1. Harlan Ellison once commented “It is wrong to say, ‘Have your cake and eat it too.’ Oh, that’s real easy. Here is my cake. I have it. I have eaten it too. What you can not do is eat your cake and have it too.”
    Of course, now that we have *both* the television version of “City on the Edge of Forever” and the comic book adaptation of Ellison’s original, unedited screenplay, now we actually *can* eat our cake and have it too. (I thought I should try to work some sort of reference to cake in to my comments about your post!)
    This was a really interesting write-up. I enjoyed your analysis of the strengths & weaknesses of the two versions. When I have the available funds I will hopefully be able to purchase a copy of the IDW collected edition. The artwork by J.K. Woodward is amazing.

  2. Lovely! This seems like one of those happy accidents where the realities of shooting a weekly television series (on a limited budget) served to render a very-good-but-sprawling script down to essentials, creating one of the very best episodes of one of the finest TV series ever aired. By putting the focus squarely on what the audience cares about — the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy — and then knocking that relationship out of alignment with the introduction of Edith Keeler, we have real stakes and real tension, instead of another planet-of-the-week story where we know all will be put right by the end of the hour.
    It is a shame that Spock’s coda about bringing Kirk to Vulcan was cut from the show — that’s a nice bit.
    Very nice write-up, Karen! And since I’m a gentleman, I won’t even mention the ALTERNATE alternate universe version of this tale, where Spock is in love with Kirk, and contrives to have Edith killed so he can have Jim all to himself! No, I won’t mention that at all …!

  3. Excellent comparison piece, Karen. This is your best SBTU post yet! It’s been great learning about the evolutionary journey this story took from script to screen to comic. Your appreciation of all things Trek is contagious. That said, after reading your work I’m can’t help thinking all blogs really should feature more cake!

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