This is a selection of reader mail, including questions and comments about the Star Trek films and this site. Although I try my best to answer all E-mail, it is not possible to post all of it on the site itself.

Please note that I do not consider myself an expert on any and all things Trek. While I may try to find the answers, I usually do not have very much information on Deep Space Nine or Voyager, for instance, as I do not regularly watch these programs. My specialty is classic Star Trek, particularly the films. If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or corrections, please feel free to write me.

Kevin: My query is regarding a scene in Star Trek VI in which McCoy and Spock are performing surgery on a photon torpedo so that it can track the plasma trail from Chang’s bird of prey. The line in question is that when Chang is quoting Shakespeare “I am constant as the northern star,” McCoy or Spock says “I’d pay real money if he shut up.” Could you tell me which one it is? I say it’s McCoy and my friend Chris says it is Spock. I know it sounds stupid, but there’s a bottle of beer riding on this bet.

Troy: Tell Chris he owes you a beer. It is indeed Bones who speaks the line “I’d give real money if he’d shut up.”

Walter: Can you please provide me with information on Merritt Butrick or a place I can get info. Thanks for whatever you can give me. By the way your site is very interesting and informative, thanks.

Troy: Unfortunately, Merritt Butrick passed away in 1989. In addition to his role as Kirk’s son, Dr. David Marcus, in Star Trek II: The Wrath Khan and Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Butrick also appeared in The Next Generation episode “Symbiosis” as T’Jon. For a complete list of his movie appearances, please see his listing on the Internet Movie Database: The Internet Movie Database: Merritt Butrick

Ken: What is the destruct sequence for the original Enterprise? I think it is 4 steps.

Troy: From Star Trek III: The Search For Spock:

Kirk: “Computer, this is Admiral James T. Kirk, request security access . . . Computer, Destruct Sequence One, Code: 11A”
Scott: “Computer, Commander Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineering Officer, Destruct Sequence Two, Code: 11A2B”
Chekov: “Computer, this is Commander Pavel Chekov, Acting Science Officer, Destruct Sequence Three, Code: 1B2B3”
Computer: “Destruct Sequence completed and engaged. Awaiting final code for one-minute countdown.”
Kirk: “Code: 000 Destruct 0”
Computer: “Destruct Sequence is activated.”

The same codes were used in the original series episode “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield,” with Spock giving the science officer codes rather than Chekov.

Jasper: Excellent site! But isn’t the picture of Eddie Murphy from The Nutty Professor? It’s the scene in which he cries out: “I’m thin!” Besides, if he’s an professor in English, why does he need the test-tubes and a chemistry-jacket?

Troy: Good eyes! Yes, the picture of Murphy I chose to use was from The Nutty Professor. There are no pictures of Murphy in costume for Star Trek IV, since his role in the film never made it that far. I used that picture just to give people the general idea, although – as you pointed out – an English professor is not likely to need test tubes and a chemistry jacket. In the entire time the site has been up, you’re the first person to notice this. So…good job!

R.J.: Please help out a non-Trekkie. Who was the actress who played in a Star Trek movie (the first, I think), who had to shave her head completely, and who took out insurance against the risk of her hair not growing back. Thanks much.

Troy: This model-turned-actress was Persis Khambatta, who portrayed Lieutenant Ilia in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Illia was a Deltan, a sensual race whose only body hair were their eyebrows. She should have taken out insurance on her acting career, for she never appeared in anything else of significance. Instead, she was left with B-movies such as Warrior of the Lost World. Khambatta passed away in 1998.

Corin: I’m trying to find any information on the band “Edge of Etiquette.” The punk on the bus in Star Trek IV was playing them on his stereo. If you know anything, let me know.

Troy: The punk on the bus in Star Trek IV was played by Kirk Thatcher, an Associate Producer on the film. The song which his boom box was playing, “I Hate You,” was written by Thatcher and performed by Edge of Etiquette, his band. I don’t have any other information on the band, but I hope this helps.

Clint: I gotta ask you a question: In Star Trek V, why are Spock, Kirk, and McCoy saying that they ate too many marsh melons? Was it ever explained why that happened? Was it an actors’ screw up? Did Shatner want to invent a new food? Why?

Troy: The “marsh melons” line was intentional, and it referred to the food known as “marshmallows,” not an exotic 23rd century variation. Spock started it at the campfire scene, and McCoy picked up on it and played along – since apparently the Vulcan actually made a mistake.The film novelizations often include cut scenes that didn’t make it into the final films. They also tend to include “original” scenes made up by the novelization authors – so it’s sometimes hard to tell which is which. So, for what it’s worth, in the Star Trek V novelization, it turns out that McCoy altered the Enterprise computer entry on campfire customs in order to trick Spock into saying “marsh melons” rather than “marshmallows.” Spock, of course, knew all along and was just playing along to annoy the good doctor. From the novelization of the second campfire scene:

Spock: “When I attempted to access information on camping out – as you clearly surmised I would – the data revealed a number of most interesting errors . . . such as the term ‘marsh melons.’ The next time you attempt such a practical joke, Doctor, I recommend you take the time to also alter the cross-index files.”
McCoy: “I never touched the computer. . . You know me, I don’t know a dad-blamed thing about computers. . . I paid one of the engineering maintenance workers good money to do it. Sounds like I better ask for a refund.”
Kirk: “You’re incorrigible.”
McCoy: “Me? What about Spock? He’s the one who dragged this out, pretending to play along! I swear, the two of you-”
Kirk: “Could drive a man to drink.”

I actually found the whole “marsh melons” bit in the film to be rather funny – especially since it was sort of subtle. Some people watch the movie over and over without noticing. I’ve even had a couple people write to tell me that the word is misspelled on the Star Trek V page, where the lines are quoted. I call them “marsh melons” all the time now, and most people never notice. When they do, though, I get a strange look – which is always fun!

Jayson: My brother and I have been having an argument that maybe you can shed some light on. He says that Ricardo Montalban has a “plastic” or “rubber” chest on him the whole movie and I think it’s his real chest. Do you have any idea?

Troy: You are indeed correct. According to Leonard Nimoy in his autobiography, I Am Spock, Ricardo Montalban’s chest in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was real.

Dave: Please help, I am trying to find the name of the actress who played the Romulan representative in Star Trek V.

Troy: Cynthia Gouw played Caithlin Dar in Star Trek V. Find out more information about her at:
The Internet Movie Database: Cynthia Gouw.

Mark: I was surprised to hear you giving Star Trek: Insurrection such a bad review. I thought it was terrific. The film brings back the old characters’ personalities and everything that we loved about them while TNG was prospering. This film developed the characters very well, something all the other Trek films failed to accomplish.

Troy: Thanks for writing and sharing your opinion. I’m glad someone enjoyed the movie, even if I didn’t. The reviews have definitely been mixed on Insurrection.

Web: Just read your Insurrection review and I must say that I completely agree. I saw the film the first weekend just as I have with every Trek since Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (my personal favorite). I wish that I had read your review prior to seeing this movie.

Troy: Thank you for the support. Hopefully Paramount will try a little harder for Star Trek 10.

Sal: Could you please tell me from which Trek movie was Picard made a Borg?

Troy: Actually, this occurred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television episode “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1.” The Borg are featured in the movie Star Trek: First Contact, though, and some flashback scenes in that film show Picard as a Borg.

Paul: Who was Amanda in the first movie?

Troy: Amanda was not in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Jane Wyatt played her in the original series episode “Journey to Babel” and in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Cynthia Blaise played the young Amanda in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Janet: Please provide me some information on how I can purchase all nine of the movies at your earliest convenience.

Troy: All nine movies can be found at many video stores, including Suncoast. You can also order them online from various locations, such as Reel. If you do buy them, I would suggest you purchase the widescreen/letterboxed editions, so that the left and right sides of the picture are not chopped off to fit your television screen. Widescreen, once you get used to it, is the best way to watch films in their true glory. Otherwise, you are losing half the picture. The black bars at the top and the bottom of widescreen editions do not cover anything up, they just scale the picture size down so that you can see the entire image. Most televisions are square, while movie theatre screens are long rectangles twice as wide.

Debs: Can anyone please tell me which of the Star Trek episodes were “Kirk’s last orders” heard?

Troy: Captain Kirk’s “last orders” were played in the original series episode #64, “The Tholian Web.”