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‘Star Trek’ Mystery Solved – Isis Actress From “Assignment: Earth” Identified
| March 12, 2019 | By: Anthony Pascale 50 comments so far
Once again our friends at Roddenberry Entertainment have unearthed a piece of Star Trek history. Today’s episode of Larry Nemecek’s The Trek Files solves a casting mystery that dates back to Star Trek: The Original Series .
A Star Trek mystery
One of the memorable performers from the second season finale of Star Trek: The Original series had no lines and shared billing with a cat, but is still enduring to this day. That season finale, titled “Assignment: Earth,” was a sort of backdoor pilot from Gene Roddenberry as a backup plan in case Star Trek didn’t get a third season. It was a time travel show, with the Enterprise traveling back to 1968, the year the second season was on the air. The focus of the episode was on the mysterious character Gary Seven, trained by aliens to save the Earth from itself. Gary’s constant companion was a shapeshifting pet cat named Isis. While Isis seemed to speak telepathically with Gary Seven, the actress who played Isis in her human form never spoke. As such, she was one of many extras who was never credited, leaving her identity a bit of a mystery.
Kirk, Gary Seven and his cat Isis in “Assignment: Earth”
For years Playboy pinup and actress Victoria Vetri was associated with the role, even garnering her a page on Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki. TrekMovie even did an article about Vetri back in 2010 when she ran into some legal trouble. However, in 2018 the actress and model revealed she was never part of Star Trek , and her credit was subsequently removed from Memory Alpha , leaving the identity of the performer as “unknown.” Star Trek history knew the name of one of the cats who played Isis (Sambo), but the name of the human actress remained a mystery. Until today.
Isis in her human form in “Assignment: Earth”
Combing through Gene Roddenberry’s archive of documents from Star Trek: The Original Series , the team from The Trek Files came upon documents for “Assignment: Earth.” These documents regarding production details for the episode could finally solve this mystery of the Isis actress. The standard actors call sheet for January 5th – the one day Isis was on set in her human form – includes a listing for a performer to be on set 10:00 AM, but only lists that performer as “1 Female (New)” under “Atmosphere and Standins.”
Actor call sheet for “Assignment: Earth” doesn’t give the name for the “new” actress due on set at 10:00 am
However, the “Extra Talent Call Sheet” for that day was the key. Along with other familiar “Standing” background extra actors such as Eddie Paskey , there is a listing for “1 Cat Girl” to be on set at 10:00 AM. Importantly, it includes the performer’s name as April Tatro. Tatro herself was contacted by The Trek Files and confirmed she played Isis in human form for “Assignment: Earth.” According to the sheet, Tatro was budgeted to be paid the standard rate for all the extras of $29.15 for the day, plus the cost for time for being fitted with her costume and body makeup. An additional production report unearthed by The Trek Files shows her adjusted rate of $84.51.
Extra Call Sheet for “Assignment Earth” identifies actress who played Isis as April Tatro
April Tatro worked mostly as a contortionist , performing on stage and on television. Just months after her work on Star Trek she appeared again on NBC, on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson . Tatro also appeared on Laugh-In, Fernwood Tonight and The Gong Show . Her career on television ran through to 2001, appearing again as a contortionist on an episode of Malcolm in the Middle.
April Tatro in a 1997 episode of the sitcom Ellen
Isis actress April Tatro interviewed by Trek Files
Larry Nemecek had a chance to speak to April Tatro about her time working on Star Trek’s “Assignment: Earth” on the episode of The Trek Files released today. Nemecek tells TrekMovie: “This week’s episode is one of those that makes the whole concept of The Trek Files worthwhile. We’re going to be solving a Star Trek mystery.”
Larry Nemecek with April Tatro (The Trek Files)
On the podcast, Tatro talked about her fitting for her rather skimpy costume, saying, “I’d never had so much attention in all my life.” Speaking of attention, Tatro also reveals that Star Trek star William Shatner asked her out. Even though she was engaged to be married in just two weeks, she accepted the offer and went out to lunch with Shatner.
Get all the details by listening to the podcast available on iTunes , or you can warp on over to podcasts.roddenberry.com .
You can download the “Assignment: Earth” production documents on Google Drive . For more on April Tatro in “Assignment: Earth” and other Trek Files head on over to the program’s hub on Facebook.
Keep up with all our coverage of Star Trek history at TrekMovie.com .
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“Tatro also reveals that Star Trek star William Shatner asked her out. Even though she was engaged to be married in just two weeks, she accepted the offer and went out to lunch with Shatner.”
Of course, Shatner was married as well. But lunch seems innocent.
His marriage was already over at that point; papers may not have been yet been signed, but it was done.
WOW WOW WOW! What an incredible find. Larry Nemecek is truly the Jeffrey Burton Russell of Trekdom.
That is really good.
Very neat trivia. Shatner, you Rascal! :)
Oh, cool! It’s so amazing that we’re still learning new things about TOS after all the time. I mean, it’s not as if there haven’t been innumerable books and articles published about the show already. :-)
Corylea TOS has a gold mine of information we don’t know yet.
That is a incredibly cool trivia! What a neat find! It’s stuff like this that makes me proud to be a Trek fan, that we love the show so much and want to know every possible bit of information about it. I should start to listen to Larry’s podcast!
What a cool bit of trivia. Good work Detective Nemecek.
So odd that this has taken this long to come out. For years I fought the notion that it was Victoria Vetri. I never understood that. Didn’t look like her to me.
Again, a really cool bit of trivia to know here.
And now that I’ve seen her contortionist video it seems they cast well….an actress as, or more, flexible than a cat.
What ever happened to starships time traveling to the past all willy nilly for “historical research” anyway?
So there was some inner Kirk in Shatner himself :))
He did this for a lot of the women. The bellydancer from Wolf in the Fold has an account in her book of her being shocked when he came to pick her up without his toupee. He was married as well.
What a great find. Great story!
Oh. Pondering if the aliens who sent Gary Seven could be the Red Angels in Discovery? Or if there’s some connection between those aliens and the ones behind the Red Angels.
Maybe Gary Seven is the Red Angel!
spock said the red angel was human and female
Larry, thanks for this Trek Files episode that reveals the true identity of Isis. I see the article mentions that in 2018 Victoria Vetri denied being Isis. I would like to point out that way back in 2012, I revealed that Vetri was not Isis in my self-published comic, 3-D Pete’s Star Babe Invasion Comics, issue 3. I corresponded with her while she was in prison! I tried to let the Trek world know, but no one would listen! Anyway, thanks for the scoop! Mike Fisher Instagram: galacticfishproductions
What a great discovery, especially since “Assignment: Earth” is one of my favorite episodes! Listening to the podcast, Miss Tatro sounds like such a kind person. :}
Any relation to the late Richard Tatro, who played Norman in “I, Mudd?”
The same question occurred to me. Can somebody call her back and ask her?
Or composer Duane Tatro, who scored episodes of Quinn Martin’s superb ’60s TV series, THE INVADERS?
This is a strange synchronicity. I was just thinking about Gary Seven yesterday. I had an image of the British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor playing him on the new Philippa georgiou section 31 series. Interesting coincidence.
His semblance to Robert Lansing is indeed quite uncanny. :P
This is amazing — what a find!
You know there are whole pages dedicated to the watch Gary Seven wore (evidently was a Rolex – I’d never even noticed or thought about it) http://www.rolexmagazine.com/2008/11/start-trek-rolex-gmt-master-at-nasa.html https://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=83222 http://rolexdiamond.blogspot.com/2011/07/ https://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/watches-star-trek-4674575-2.html
There’s even a crazy guy who wrote and recorded music and put together opening credits for what an Assignment: Earth show might have been like…. http://supervisor194.com/
All forms of minutia the internet and fandom feed into and off of, but I’m still very surprised this bit of information never came out.
All those wasted years she could have been on the convention circuit! She’s a legit Star Trek legend!
I was thinking that. Hopefully she’ll get a lot of bookings now.
Did she not realize what a big deal this is? Who knows, maybe not. She has to have known what Star Trek became.
What a neat story. She looks good today.
Shatner took her to lunch? I wonder if that worked out to be an entry for his captain’s log!
What, nobody has a comment for my double entendre??
oooooh, nasty, man! How much you wanna bet he buttered her muffin at lunch?
Very cool. Nice detective work, Roddenberry Entertainment.
She really was perfect for that role…such supernatural feline grace ! Old Cat-Man .
You call that a skimpy outfit? Even with the stricter rules of the times, there were women on Star Trek who wore more revealing costumes than that.
What a great story! She looks wonderful today and as many said here, it’s nice to learn new things about TOS all these years later. The question that was never answered: Is she a woman, is she a cat, ot a shapeshifter? GREAT article, thanks :)
Interesting bit of Trek hisstory. I wonder why there was so much pussy-footing around this casting issue for years. Though, it was classy of Tatro not to pounce on the false attribution.
I see what you did there :)
Oh come on., She’s didn’t want to come off like a clawed.
Gary Seven is one of the intriguing corners of TOS that has never been explored on screen beyond the one episode. I wonder if the Discovery team is sniffing around story possibilities for ol’ Gary and Isis.
I hope not.
I would have felt that way too until I saw how elegantly they revisited The Cage. Probably they won’t touch Gary Seven as he would not have shown up in the Discovery timeline yet.
TOS, Fernwood tonight AND the Gong Show!
sorry that english not my first language.
my feeling are, as usual, mr shatner was a very naughty rascal!
Now identified, instant elevation to iconic role.
https://www.vidoevo.com/video/MXlwbDVWcWuRpWVhlZEU/april-tatro-show My friend, Jim found this video on YouTube of April Tatro performing on the Gong Show. And as Chuck Barris notes, she’s from my home town of Astoria, Oregon.
dang she missed out on so many star trek conventions…
I’m surprised that Marc Cushman missed that detail when he researched his very thorough and complete ‘These Are The Voyages’ volumes.
Redshirts Always Die
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 6: Actress Teri Garr arrives at The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 55th Annual Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards at the ATAS' Goldenson Theatre on September 6, 2003 in North. Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Why Teri Garr walked off the Star Trek set
Teri Garr wasn’t fond of her time on Star Trek
Teri Garr appeared in one episode of Star Trek: The Original Series , playing secretary Roberta Lincoln in Assignment: Earth which was meant to be a spin-off series for Robert Lansing. It didn’t get picked up, and in an interview she did with Starlog Magazine , she said she was glad the backdoor pilot didn’t go to series. The interview includes some unkind words Garr has about Star Trek fans as well, but she had an unpleasant experience on the set of Star Trek which probably shaped her opinion of the franchise.
According to a story Lance Parkin, the author of The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry, wrote, Teri Garr ended up walking off the set off Star Trek when Gene Roddenberry wanted her skirt to be even shorter than it already was. If you’ve seen the episode, you know there wasn’t a whole lot more material that could have been removed to shorten it even more.
Gene Roddenberry’s request had Teri Garr walking off the set
Roddenberry’s desire to have the skirt lose another inch or two led to the then 20-year-old Garr putting some distance between her and Roddenberry. Though she finished her role on that episode, she refused to have anything to do with Star Trek after her one-time appearance. In fact, Garr has said that she mostly denies she ever did it [the episode].
In the book about Gene Roddenberry, Parkin added that Garr “hated the experience so much that she continues to refuse to be involved with Star Trek in any capacity, including discussing it in interviews.” In fact, Bill Warren, who interviewed her in 1990 for Starlog, warned his editor that the interview with Garr was “akin to a bad date.”
Whether or not Garr’s opinion of Star Trek has changed in the 31 years since that interview, we don’t know, but she made it very clear that she did not want to be associated with Star Trek in the future. Perhaps Roddenberry’s request was the straw that broke the camel’s back for her. Whatever the case, Garr got her wish and hasn’t been in a Star Trek production since.
- Published on 05/29/2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
- Last updated on 05/29/2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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Origins & Analysis
Welcome to the web's only complete reference to Assignment: Earth (Æ) .
This episode of the original Star Trek was intended to spin off into a series of its own.
Thanks to everyone who has written in. Your comments are always appreciated. This site first appeared on the net in 1998 – this is the seventh major revision – and its growth is due, in part, to those people who wrote in and said, "Hey, did you know…?" Well, no, no I didn't, but now I do, and thanks for your help. If you have info, please feel free to @ me.
– Scott Dutton
The Original Pilot Script : November 14, 1966
Gene Roddenberry developed the first version of Æ as he worked on Star Trek 's first season, and pitched it to Desilu in a 47-page script.
Gary Seven is a man sent back in time from the 24th century, the only Earth man to ever survive the transit. His goal is to defeat the Omegans, a race of shape-changing aliens who have sent agents back in time to change Earth's history so they can defeat Earth in the future. Harth and Isis would be the primary Omegan antagonists. Roberta Hornblower is described as she appeared in the final episode, but as a 20 year old.
Seven's cover in the 1960s is The -7- Agency, a private investigations firm. We meet Roberta as she enters the office looking for Mister Seven. The gadgets from the final episode are here, including the servo, and a pair of working x-ray glasses. She sits down at the typewriter to leave him a note. Roberta had nearly been killed by a falling chunk of a building, and had been pushed out of the way by a woman who instead died. The woman looked very much like her, and Roberta found Seven's address on her body.
Seven and Roberta meet and come into conflict with Isis and Harth, setting up the series' premise. After their initial adventure together involving going back in time to reset a mishap and Roberta transporting instantly around to different locations, Seven tells Roberta he needs an assistant.
The Series Proposal : December 5, 1967
While developing the script, they also generated a 13-page series proposal.
Now conceived of as a Star Trek spin-off pilot, the new Æ had Roddenberry and Wallace selling themselves as individuals respected in the business who were teaming up for the series. They made the clear distinction that while futuristic like Trek , Æ would be set against modern-day 1968.
One of Roddenberry's strengths and benefits was to go to specialised individuals and organisations (like NASA) and ask them, "What if?" By going outside entertainment circles, he gave his work a depth and credibility that became a model for a better-informed process.
Some of the connecting-the-dots promotion of the series' ideas to already known commercial quantities is a bit funny to read now. Having done enough creative briefs and seeing the tell-tale signs in this proposal, I get the feeling studio execs have the same thought processes as other businessmen.
The First-Draft Trek Script : December 4–20, 1967
In the middle of Star Trek 's second season, Roddenberry and writer Art Wallace reworked the Æ premise:
"Assignment: Earth is interesting in a sense," Wallace points out, "because I had gone to Paramount and pitched a series idea to them. They had said that Gene Roddenberry had come up with a very similar idea. So I saw Gene and we decided to pool the idea, which was about a man from tomorrow who takes care of the present on Earth. That was intended to be the pilot, although it was never made into a series. It was a good pilot and it's a shame, because I think if they had done it as a series with just Gary Seven, it would have been a very successful show." Source: Captain's Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages.
There were some differences from the final episode in this version:
No black cat! Isis – either human or feline – is nowhere to be seen.
Gary Seven's transporter beam came from even farther across the galaxy than it did in the episode.
After Seven was confined in the Enterprise brig, he revealed his mission to Dr. McCoy, turning the tables on Bones by asking him to think like a doctor, not a mechanic.
Roberta London, recruited by Mr. Seven, was beamed up to the Enterprise for interrogation. The frightened Roberta was soothed by Uhura, who reassured her that she was still among Earth people.
About 30–50 per cent of the Seven-Lincoln-Isis story is not developed yet. It feels much more like a Trek episode with Seven and Lincoln as guest stars, instead of the back-door pilot it became. A lot of re-writing was done over the holidays by Art Wallace to deliver the episode we know.
The Final-Draft Trek Script : January 1, 1968
Notable changes from the final-draft script to the produced episode include:
The supplemental Captain's log which immediately follows Seven's capture where Kirk describes "A man in a 20th-century business suit. What is he? Not even Spock's…etc." was not in this script.
In the briefing room, a line by Spock is cut:
Spock: Medi-scanners indicate it is a cat, Captain. Female… as we've seen, remarkably intelligent…
McCoy was to enter the briefing room scene earlier, with Kirk showing impatience with him to report.
Just before the Beta 5 says, "In response to nuclear warhead…" an exchange between Seven and the Beta 5 is cut:
Seven: Computer, how much longer? Beta 5: Useless questions will only prolong search. Seven: Are you a one-relay machine? Clear a circuit; describe present mission of agents 201 and 347.
Immediately following Seven saying, "That's the same kind of nonsense that almost destroyed planet Omicron IV," a line has been cut:
Seven: Balance of power won't work. The other side will launch still more, they'll end up with the sky full of H-bombs waiting for just one mistake.
The scene where we first see Roberta Lincoln was scripted to include Kirk and Spock in the background, following her. In the episode we see Roberta make a comedic entrance, and Kirk and Spock travel the same sidewalk a few minutes later.
When Seven poses as a CIA agent to Roberta, some of the dialogue was softened to make it a more friendly exchange. Originally, it was to be more combative, as it was in the first part of this scene.
After Seven transports out from his vault, the scene with Kirk, Spock and Roberta has been restructured. The three were scripted to come into Seven's private office together, they weren't aware of the vault transporter, and it was Spock who found the map of McKinley Base. In the episode, Kirk rushes into the office alone, sees the vault close before he can reach it, and brings the map back out to Spock and Roberta in the outer office.
During the scene with Sergeant Lipton phoning in the security check on Seven, Isis was scripted to be following Seven. Knowing cats, this was most likely impossible to accomplish on set, and so Seven carried Isis and the unscripted line for Seven to put down the cat was necessary to have her under foot to finish the scene as written.
Seven and Isis on the gantry arm is unscripted, though what they're doing is detailed. As written, Seven and Isis walk out of the elevator in one scene, and in the next Seven is removing the panel. Perhaps Wallace did not describe the exact environment because he knew that it would depend on matching the stock footage supplied by NASA with the sets that Desilu would build in response, and that happened after the scripting process was completed.
The cigar box Roberta uses to konk Seven in the back of the head was originally scripted to be a heavy art object. Given Teri Garr whacked Robert Lansing with the small padded box hard enough for the actor to see stars, it's probably just as well.
The call from Scotty to Kirk about all powers being on alert was scripted for Spock earlier in the scene.
Roberta was to lower the servo on her own, rather than having Seven intervene. As shot, the scene works better, building trust between Seven and Kirk.
Roberta's plea to Kirk, "He's telling the truth." was to have another piece:
Roberta: A woman feels things about a man. Spock: A point against him, Captain. They are usually 100 per cent wrong.
Probably a good idea to have excised all that.
Kirk says, "Spock, if you can't handle it I'm going to have to trust him." As scripted:
Kirk (agony): Spock, it's all mankind at stake. No man should have to make this decision.
During the wrap-up, a whole piece of the scene was removed:
Kirk (glancing at Roberta): One other thing is needed to maintain history as it is supposed to go, Mr. Seven. A permanent secretary. (indicates) Our historical records indicate that one Roberta Lincoln resided at this address many years. Roberta: 'Resided'? Now wait just one minute, friend… Seven: Living here will be no threat to your 20th century moral code, Miss Lincoln… Seven: It's a separate adjoining apartment which was leased for Agent 201… You'd find it quite luxurious…
Much of this happens while Roberta is looking at the human Isis, and as such, it probably didn't work because everyone else's attention was on Roberta and they would have seen Isis too.
After the "Simply my cat, Miss Lincoln" gag, Roberta's living arrangement dialogue continues:
Seven: Can you use the apartment? It would be convenient for the new agents to have a secretary nearby. Seven (to Kirk): I expect to be replaced shortly. Your record tapes showed other names listed at this address. (waits, then frowning) They did, didn't they, Captain? Kirk: I afraid we can't tell you everything we've learned, Mr. Seven. (glancing at Roberta, back at Seven) It might change history if you knew too much.
The line Spock says about "interesting experiences in store for Seven and Lincoln" is absent from the script, and was most likely used to replace the longer explanation for a quicker and cleaner wrap up, and perhaps to leave things more open ended for how Æ might eventually be produced.
"Assignment: Earth" aired as the last episode of Star Trek 's second season. It failed to generate interest, and the series never materialised.
Roads Untaken : 2013
Adam Riggio Ï is a writer/philosopher, and he created a series of posts for his blog on his version of an Æ series. Fascinating stuff.
Available as a PDF above.
The episode has been released as part of the numerous video series by Paramount/CBS. The remastered version can also be purchased as a download through iTunes Ï and Amazon Ï . The trailer is below.
The first servo appears to be the original prop. The antennae are curved and the knurled rings are flush with the barrel. It has a chromed finish.
The second is a typical replica made for the collectors' market. The antennae are straight and the knurled rings are raised.
The last is from the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, and is a third version of the servo.
Map and IDs
Courtesy of Michael Davis, fantastic re-creations of the map to McKinley Rocket Base and Gary Seven's IDs. (For personal use only.)
Roberta Lincoln's distinctive dress was a sore spot for actress Teri Garr. The dress' hemline started out being more modest, but the powers-that-be kept that hem rising until it was almost a micro skirt instead of a mini.
"This dress was important since it was worn by the Roberta Lincoln character, who was intended to be the co-star of a new television series. The mid Sixties are reflected visually whenever Roberta appears. The colours and material [William Ware] Theiss used for this dress, although mildly psychedelic, are really quite mainstream for the time." Source: The Star Trek Sketchbook: The Original Series .
This started out as me wanting to re-create the set plans for the episode and it quickly got out of hand. The script called for an attached apartment Roberta would live in, so that was next. And with Seven and Isis remaining on Earth, they'd need more space.
Available as a PDF above, with layer control to focus on different details.
James Blish adapted the episode as one of the stories included in the Star Trek 3 anthology. In his version, the Trek characters dominate. When I came to do mine, I went in the opposite direction, writing the story from Seven, Isis, and Lincoln's point of view, leaving out the Trek crew's scenes which didn't include the Æ characters.
Both are available as ebooks above in ePUB (iBooks, etc.) and KF8/MOBI (Kindle) formats.
The original series episodes were adapted into short story form by noted science fiction author James Blish ( Cities in Flight , etc.), with Æ appearing in the third volume.
The three novels have been authored by Greg Cox. While one might hope for an Æ project that isn't tied to Trek , we'll take what we can get. Assignment: Eternity is fun and involved, and we get to see a possible outcome for the team of Seven and Lincoln.
The Eugenics Wars pair open in 1974. Gary Seven watches with growing concern as the children of a top secret human genetic engineering project called Chrysalis grow to adulthood. In particular, he focuses on a brilliant youth named Khan Noonien Singh. Can Khan's dark destiny be averted, or is Earth doomed to fight a global battle for supremacy?
The Strange New Worlds series is an annual collection of fan fiction. Each of these volumes contains a story with Gary Seven as a major or supporting character.
Beginning in the 1980s, DC Comics held the licence to publish Star Trek comic books. Previous publishers included Gold Key and Marvel Comics. However, DC produced a consistent, high-quality product, and the books remain fan favourites.
To celebrate the 50th issue of Star Trek , they decided to bring back Gary Seven. An interesting story, it adds some new elements to his tale.
The trade paperback collects Star Trek 22–24 with Harry Mudd, and 49–50 with Gary Seven and Isis.
Veteran comic book artist and writer John Byrne Ï produced a five-issue mini series (also collected in trade paperback) which showed his version of what an independent Æ series might have been like.
These credits sequences were made by Andy Patterson Ï and friends, and are ideas for a non- Trek opening for Æ . They combine episode footage with new pieces.
This video – with Roberta Lincoln and the Beta Five desk cube – was made by The Outer Rim Ï (formerly Star Trek Anthology).
It has been a number of months since Miss Roberta Lincoln has been working for Agent Gary Seven. Her duties have tended to consist of 90 per cent boredom, 10 per cent chaos. In this vignette, we get a glimpse of that 90 per cent, but all of that is about to change…
Mego Action Figures
These fantastic custom figures were made by James "Captain Dunsel" Brady and are featured on his Mego Madhouse Ï website.
Playmates Action Figures
Here's another set of nicely-done custom figures. Seven, Lincoln, Isis and the Beta 5 done in the style of the Playmates line by customiser Matthew Hackley Ï . And check out the Sixties orange shag carpet.
These photos and info come courtesy of James Sawyer's A Piece of the Action Ï blog.
CBS commissioned Juan Ortiz Ï to create an original print for each Star Trek episode.
Robert Lansing had already established himself as a stage, movie and television actor in leading roles when Gene Roddenberry asked him to appear in this back-door pilot. In the interview below, he speaks about his Assignment: Earth experience, and the bio goes into detail on his entire career.
Join the Robert Lansing group on facebook Ï . Ï , created and maintained by Paige Schoolcraft. -->Lansing also has IMDB Ï and Wikipedia Ï entries.
Approached by Gene Roddenberry to guest star as Gary Seven in "Assignment: Earth," Robert Lansing at first refused. "At the time," he confides, "Gene was a good friend, but I was a New York snob actor, come out to Hollywood. Many folks in my self-perceived position didn't do Star Trek because it was considered a kid's show, or a young show at any rate. Gene said, 'I'm writing this for you and we can play with it. It might be a series.' He said, 'Well, you don't have to, but just do this one thing for me.' So, I did. It was a damn good script and a lot of fun. "What Gene had done," Lansing continues, "was to go to futurists and scientists and ask them what advanced societies out in space might do towards more primitive societies like ours. "One of the futurists said that they would probably kidnap children from various planets, take them to their superior civilisation, raise them, teach and enlighten them, and then put them back as adults to lead their worlds in more peaceful ways. That was the idea behind Gary Seven. "The fun with that show," he discloses, "was working with the cats." With obvious pleasure, Lansing confesses that whenever he meets fans, he always asks them, "What was the name of my cat?" "We had three black cats. That was because in those days, the theory was that you couldn't train cats. Cats would have a certain propensity: One would like somebody, would want to follow them around, so that day, you would release the cat that would probably do what you wanted it to do. One of the cats took a great liking to me. It was always loose on the set when I was working, so it happened that the stuff on the rocket gantry was all ad lib. I would say something like, 'Isis, come on, you're getting in the way. You know, there is a bit of a hurry. This is not the time to be jealous.' We added meows in later." Not a practical joker himself, Lansing confirms that the Star Trek set was still full of fun and pranks. "William Shatner and I would get mixed up and start 'camping' a scene," he remembers. "We did plenty of outtakes." Of his fellow guest, Teri Garr, Lansing recalls, "She hadn't had much experience then, but she had this kooky personality that certainly worked. Gene saw that very early on and dressed her for it and worked her with it. "She had a terrible time with this bit where she had to hit me with a box and knock me out. It was a small box and it was padded, just a box. She was so nervous that finally I said, 'Teri, hit me.' And she gave me such a clobber that she nearly did knock me out. Gene said it didn't look right and we had to do it again. "I was never asked to do another episode. That was my Star Trek swan song. "It turned out, though, that I'm better remembered for Star Trek than any of the Broadway plays I've done," he says with a bemused smile. Source: Starlog 149. The full interview can be read by clicking on the thumbnail above.
The following biography was written by Jeanne DeVore Ï , who was kind enough to grant me permission to reprint it here. It was written as a tribute and to help raise money for cancer research Ï .
Robert Lansing was born Robert Howell Brown on June 5, 1928, in San Diego, California, and died October 23rd, 1994 in New York of the cancer he had been suffering from for some time. His career spanned more than a generation, in film, on stage, and on television.
Born at the dawn of the Great Depression, Robert Lansing's early years were spent traveling around the country with his salesman father. When he was nine, he snuck under a loose flap into a visiting tent show in Texas and fell in love with the make-believe world of the theatre. Determined to become an actor, he volunteered for his grammar-school play, and immediately began driving himself with total commitment.
Back in California a few years later, he kept polishing the dream, appearing in every amateur theatrical he could. He dropped out of high school to enlist in the army, served his two years, and started hitchhiking from Los Angeles to Broadway.
Stopping in Fort Wayne, Indiana to visit an aunt, he became an actor with a local civic theatre group, a radio announcer, and a teen-age husband. Two years later, the Lansings took off for New York. Using his GI Bill benefits, Robert enrolled at the American Theatre Wing's dramatic school.
These were lean years, as he struggled to make a living. He and his first wife divorced, and he married actress Emily McLaughlin (best known as nurse Jessie Brewer in General Hospital ).
Soon after, their fortunes changed. Cast as the psychiatrist in Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer , Robert Lansing was named one of that season's two best off-Broadway actors (the other was George C. Scott). That success led to his first Hollywood TV part in Alcoa Presents .
His first Broadway role was in 1948 in Stalag 17 , and his first feature film was 1959's The 4-D Man . His career encompassed all genres, though he was well-known to science fiction fans through his appearances in cult films like Empire of the Ants , and his appearance as Gary Seven in the Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth."
Lansing's television work won him critical acclaim, if not financial success. Of his role as Detective Steve Carella in the series 87th Precinct (based on the books), author Ed McBain was reported as saying, "He is Carella." And his replacement as the lead in the series 12 O'Clock High caused a great deal of furor. TV Guide critic Cleveland Amory, who liked to refer to himself as a curmudgeon, wrote, "Make no mistake about it. Robert Lansing is magnificent."
Robert Lansing's final television role was that of Police Captain Paul Blaisdell, on the series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues . Executive Producer Michael Sloan, who had been friends with Lansing since both men worked together on Sloan's series The Equalizer in the 80s, wrote the part expressly for Lansing, who had already been diagnosed with the cancer which would eventually kill him. Despite failing health, Lansing appeared in almost two dozen episodes during the series' first two seasons. But eventually, the strain became too much. The final episode of the second season "wrote out" the character of Blaisdell, though left the door open for his return, should Lansing's health rally. As it was, the episode "Retribution," filmed in February of 1994, was Lansing's final appearance. It aired a month after Lansing's death and was dedicated to his memory.
Robert Lansing was survived by his wife, Anne, and two children from previous marriages: Robert Frederick Orin Lansing and Alyiki Lansing West.
Biographical information source: "The General Died at Dusk," Jerry D Lewis, TV Guide , May 15, 1965. The full interview can be read by clicking on the thumbnail above.
Teri Garr started off as a dancer, but it was this early acting appearance as Roberta Lincoln that set her on her future path.
After Assignment: Earth , Teri Garr went on to become a star. Her films include Young Frankenstein , Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Tootsie . She also played Phoebe's mom on Friends . In 2002, she went public with her battle with multiple sclerosis.
Garr's IMDB Ï and Wikipedia Ï entries.
In a 1991 interview, Teri Garr expressed a negative opinion of her Star Trek experience:
Teri Garr appeared in "Assignment: Earth". However, Garr responds, "I have nothing to say about it. I did that years ago and I mostly denied I ever did it." She does admit that she would have been in the TV series that the episode was a pilot for, but it didn't sell. "Thank god," she says with genuine relief. "Otherwise, all I would get would be Star Trek questions for the rest of my natural life – and probably my unnatural life. You ever see those people who are Star Trek fans? The same people who go to swap meets." How about Marc Daniels, who directed that episode? "He's dead. I liked Gene Roddenberry, but I don't remember those people. I really don't want to talk about Star Trek . That's what I told them about this interview. If it's a science fiction magazine, they're going to ask me about this stuff I don't—" She breaks off abruptly. So much for that line of inquiry. Source: Starlog 173.
In her 2005 autobiography, Garr took a more neutral position:
And then I got my first big break as an actress. A friend in my acting class told me that they were casting a guest role on Star Trek .… This role was supposed to spin off into its own series – Assignment: Earth . It was going to be tough to get an audition – all the big agents were clamouring to get their clients seen, and my agent wasn't in that league.… Luckily my friend from acting class had an in and helped me get through the door. I never thought I would get the part because I was still really just a dancer.… I had no real credibility as an actress.… Then I read the script and saw that in the first scene my character was flustered because she was late. I thought: Well, I'm always late. I can do late. After I did the reading they asked me to come in for a screen test. I'd never had a screen test before! They cut my hair short and put me in front of a camera. They had me turn in a circle very slowly. Then they asked me easy questions.… I was overjoyed to be having a screen test. I didn't dare hope I'd get any further, but the next thing I knew, they were calling me to appear on set. I was dizzy with joy – and that dizziness helped me get into character. …Had the spin-off succeeded, I would have continued on as an earthling agent, working to preserve humanity.… But it was not to be. Source: Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood .
A number of Trek -related sites – including this one – previously identified Victoria Vetri as the human version of Isis. Turns out we were mistaken. Thanks to the folks at The Trek Files podcast Ï , we now know that contortionist/actress April Tatro played Isis.
Of her cameo in “Assignment: Earth,” she said, “I’d never had so much attention in all my life.”
In addition to her role on Trek , Tatro appeared in Laugh-In , Wonder Woman , Big Top Pee Wee , as well as other films and TV shows.
Tatro's IMDB Ï entry.
Courtesy of collector William McCullars Ï , an NBC press release dating from the original broadcast names Sambo as the cat who played Isis.
According to Robert Lansing:
"We had three black cats. That was because in those days, the theory was that you couldn't train cats. Cats would have a certain propensity: One would like somebody, would want to follow them around, so that day, you would release the cat that would probably do what you wanted it to do. One of the cats took a great liking to me. It was always loose on the set when I was working, so it happened that the stuff on the rocket gantry was all ad lib. I would say something like, 'Isis, come on, you're getting in the way. You know, there is a bit of a hurry. This is not the time to be jealous.' We added meows in later." Source: Starlog 149. The full interview can be read by clicking on the thumbnail in the Robert Lansing section.
I think it's safe to say that it was Sambo he developed the working relationship with.
Roddenberry's 1970s Pilots
In between the original Star Trek series and Star Trek Phase II (which would become Star Trek - The Motion Picture in 1979), Roddenberry tried to sell three concepts as ongoing series: Genesis II/Planet Earth , The Questor Tapes and Spectre . All three had their merits.
Sources: Some materials courtesy of John Fraraccio and Frank Stone.
Assignment: Earth , Star Trek and all prominent characters are © & ® CBS Studios Inc. Ï All Rights Reserved. Beta Five source render © Geoffrey Edwards Ï . Design and original material © Scott Dutton Ï , who is in no way affiliated with CBS Studios Inc., but would consider any offers.
Star Trek The Original Series S02E26 Assignment Earth 
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The Enterprise has used the "light speed breakaway" technique to travel to Earth in the year 1968, to study how humans survived the desperate problems of that era. Then, they intercept a man beaming back to Earth from at least a thousand light years away, a technical feat beyond even Federation science! Who is Gary Seven, how did he get access to such advanced technology, and why has he come to Earth? He has a story, but Kirk has trouble believing it. Worse, he has trouble knowing whether he should allow Seven to pursue his agenda, or try to stop him. One of those choices is certain to destroy the future... but which?
This episode was a "backdoor pilot" for a Roddenberry concept about interventionist aliens whose goal is to ensure the survival of less advanced races, including humans. The network passed.
ASSIGNMENT EARTH CAST MEMBER PICTURES
ASSIGNMENT EARTH CAST MEMBER PICTURES
The ‘Star Trek’ Spin-Off That Never Was – ‘Assignment: Earth’ Geek Culture. Robert Bellach. By the end of Star Trek‘s second season, it looked as though the show would be canceled. Word spread among cast and crew in the summer of 1967, as episodes continued to be filmed. Low ratings and network disputes with show creator Gene Full Cast & Crew: Assignment: Earth (1968) Cast (21) William Shatner. Capt. Kirk Leonard Nimoy. Mr. Spock DeForest Kelley. Dr. McCoy Robert Lansing. Gary Seven Teri Garr. Roberta Lincoln (as Terri Garr) James Doohan. Scott George Takei. Sulu Nichelle Nichols. Uhura Walter Koenig. Chekov Don Keefer. Cromwell Morgan Jones. “Assignment: Earth” is the twenty-sixth and final episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Art Wallace (based on a story by Wallace and Gene Roddenberry) and directed by Marc Daniels, it was first broadcast on March 29, 1968.
The Enterprise travels back in time to 1968, where the crew encounters the mysterious Gary Seven who claims to be sent by advanced beings trying to help Earth. (Season finale) After Captain Kirk finishes his log entry, suddenly the Enterprise is rocked, and Spock reports that they appear to have Star Trek TOS Photos Mr. Spock in “Assignment Earth” I demand more suited up-Spock! Spock, the man, the myth, the legend. so spock! so hot! Assignment: Earth See more. The world has just lost another beloved Star Trek Original Series cast member with the passing of Grace Lee Whitney on Friday, May at th. That season finale, titled “Assignment: Earth,” was a sort of backdoor pilot from Gene Roddenberry as a backup plan in case Star Trek didn’t get a third season.
It was a time travel show Assignment: Earth Cast Brian Bean as Gary Seven Sarah Mitiguy as Roberta Lincoln Rebecca Larken as Isis Shadow as Isis Production Team: Brian Covault (Executive Producer) Kimberly Ann Remsen (Production Assistant) Mark Strock (Studio Security) Willie Yee (Grip and Electric) Continue reading → When the Enterprise is assigned to observe Earth’s history in 1968, suddenly it intercepts a transporter beam which originates at least a thousand light-years from Earth, bringing aboard a humanoid alien’agent Gary Seven’ holding a black cat called Isis, who warns them to step back and let him go to accomplish his mission to save Earth; initially phaser-struck down, he manages to beam himself After Assignment: Earth, Teri Garr went on to become a star. Her films include Young Frankenstein, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Tootsie. She also played Phoebe’s mom on Friends. In 2002, she went public with her battle with multiple sclerosis.
Garr’s IMDB Ï and Wikipedia Ï entries. “Star Trek: The Original Series” Assignment: Earth (TV Episode 1968) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more.
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Gary Seven was the code name for a Human male whose ancestors were abducted from Earth around 4000 BC and taken to another planet . He was a Class 1 supervisor , and listed as Supervisor 194 . He was grown and conditioned in some way which allowed him to have a completely healthy and flawless body; furthermore, he was insensitive to the effects of the Vulcan nerve pinch .
- 1 Biography
- 2.1 Background information
- 2.2 Apocrypha
- 2.3 External links
Biography [ ]
He was sent to Earth in 1968 to discover why his superiors lost contact with Agent 201 and Agent 347 . When he discovered they were killed in an automobile accident , he assumed their mission.
Using advanced alien technology, including the Beta 5 computer hidden in his office in Apartment 12B at 811 East 68th Street in New York City , he continued the dead agents' mission to make sure mankind did not destroy itself with nuclear weapons .
While en route to Earth, his transporter beam was inadvertently intercepted by the USS Enterprise , which made it appear as if the Enterprise crew would prevent him from stopping the upcoming launch of a nuclear missile . Seven's efforts were eventually successful, as he used the Beta 5 exceiver circuits to cause the third stage of the American rocket to malfunction. It veered off course and the warhead exploded 104 miles above ground. This caused the nuclear powers to re-assess the risks of an orbiting nuclear platform.
He remained behind on Earth to carry out other missions with his assistants: Roberta Lincoln , a Human female from Earth of that time period to whom he accidentally described his mission, and Isis , his mysterious cat . ( TOS : " Assignment: Earth ")
In 2024 , during his encounter with the watcher Tallinn , who also described herself as a supervisor, Jean-Luc Picard recalled how "Kirk's Enterprise crossed paths" with Gary Seven. Picard explained that Seven, like Tallinn, " was recruited by superior beings as an agent who would, in [her] words, protect the tapestry of history. " ( PIC : " Fly Me to the Moon ")
Appendices [ ]
Background information [ ].
Gary Seven was played by actor Robert Lansing . He was intended to be the lead role of an unproduced spin-off of Star Trek , with "Assignment: Earth" acting as a pilot.
Apocrypha [ ]
Gary Seven was a central character in the first two Eugenics Wars novels, beginning with the discovery of a secret laboratory beneath the deserts of India in 1974, where Khan Noonien Singh and his fellow Augments were created. Seven, who had rescued Khan and his fellows from the laboratory before its destruction, had hoped to groom him as part of his work to safeguard Earth, but Khan's superior ambition led to the two men eventually becoming adversaries. During the Eugenics Wars of 1992 - 1996 , Seven worked to prevent the conflict between Khan and his superhuman opponents from endangering the world, and ultimately provided Khan and his followers with the SS Botany Bay after his defeat. He retired shortly after Khan's departure, leaving his supervisory position on Earth to Roberta Lincoln.
He also appeared in the novel Assignment: Eternity along with Roberta Lincoln, the short story "The Aliens Are Coming!" from Strange New Worlds III , the short story "Seven and Seven" in Strange New Worlds VI , the short story "Assignment: One" in Strange New Worlds 8 , and the short story "Rocket Man" in Strange New Worlds 9 . Gary Seven was no stranger to Star Trek comics , appearing in four issues from DC Comics , " The Peacekeeper Part One ", " The Peacekeeper Part Two: The Conclusion ", " Split Infinities ", and " Future Imperiled ". He was seen in the IDW Publishing series Star Trek: Assignment Earth , written and drawn by John Byrne.
He is mentioned (and makes a brief appearance in) From History's Shadow , as well as its follow-up, Elusive Salvation .
Star Trek: Year Five, Issue 17 reveals that Gary Seven's real name is Caleb Howell and that he assumed his current name after the death of his predecessor Gary Six.
External links [ ]
- Gary Seven at StarTrek.com
- Gary Seven at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Gary Seven at Wikipedia
- AssignmentEarth.ca – a complete reference to the episode
- 1 Sito Jaxa
- 2 Nick Locarno
- 3 The Inner Fight (episode)
Assignment: Earth (Q3487499)
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Star trek : assignment: earth (1968), directed by marc daniels / gene roddenberry.
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Synopsis by Judd Blaise
Characteristics, related movies.
Assignment: Earth – Episode 55
Assignment: Earth was the twenty sixth episode of Star Trek’s second season to air, with an intergalactic secret agent battling to stop a twentieth century nuclear holocaust. In this episode Gerry and Iain discussed the appropriate clothing for time travellers.
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On a mission to observe a key period of Earth history, the Enterprise intercepts Gary Seven ( Robert Lansing ) and his cat Isis as they attempt to travel to the planet from a distant world. Seven makes his escape and heads to the United States where a critical weapons launch is due to take place.
Despite interference from Seven’s secretary Roberta Lincoln ( Terri Garr ), Kirk and Spock make it to the launch site where they are waylaid by Launch Commander Cromwell ( Don Keefer ) and others as they attempt to stop the sabotage Seven says is vital to Earth’s survival.
Assignment: Earth was directed by Marc Daniels , the thirteenth of his fourteen episodes in the chair. The writer was Art Wallace , the second of his two scripts for the show.
In this episode Gerry and Iain considered the wisdom of using your fountain pen as a secret switch.
The discussion continues in the comments below and please keep in touch with us on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram where we’re @trekpodcast.
You can listen to the show here on the website, on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , YouTube , Pocket Casts , TuneIn , Stitcher , Google or wherever you find your podcasts.
Assignment: Earth was released in 1968. It is 50 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Paramount+ in the United states, Netflix in the UK and is available on DVD and Blu Ray in other countries, including a comprehensive remastered set of all three seasons released by Paramount Home Entertainment.