George Takei took the main stage at New York Comic Con on Friday, October 8, and spent nearly an hour talking to his fans about everything from his time on “Star Trek: The Original Series” to his childhood in a Japanese internment camp. After giving fans a brief update on what he’s doing these days, Takei opened the floor for questions from the audience.
One fan asked Takei if there was one particular episode of TOS that “especially moved” him. Takei didn’t even need a second to think before he revealed his favorite episode and shared some hilarious behind-the-scenes memories.
Takei Loves ‘The Naked Time’
Takei launched into a vivid description of the plot from the fourth episode of the very first season of TOS, “The Naked Time.” He said:
It’s a very well-written story. An urgent story. The Enterprise has been attacked by a virus, just like what we’re going through now, here in reality. It attacks us through our hands. At the same time, while this virus that attacks us is invading our psyches, and tearing down all sense of inhibitions, and releasing what we passionately want to do but have kept suppressed. And so all the members of the crew that get afflicted by that virus are going crazy. At the same time the Enterprise is circling down, pulled by a planet’s gravitational pull, and it’s about to crash. So, there’s that urgency of the situation. And at the same time people are going crazy.
Takei went on, describing all the emotional scenes that were included in that episode. He talked about the poignance of Nurse Chapel falling in love with Spock while Spock was feeling emotion for the first time. And of course, he talked about Sulu’s shirtless attacks.
“It was absolutely powerfully written,” Takei said. “Tense and dramatic story, but also very science fiction. That’s the kind of story that made ‘Star Trek’ such compelling viewing.”
He added that “The Naked Time” was the “most fun episode that I’d ever worked on.”
Takei Got in Trouble on the Set of ‘The Naked Time’
Takei continued by telling a hilarious behind-the-scenes story from “The Naked Time.” He said that’s because he’s a very thorough actor, he likes to study before filming each of his roles. So, before he started filming for “The Naked Time,” he took fencing lessons.
While he was practicing one day, he got into a bit of trouble with his costar, James Doohan. Takei said:
I was practicing my lunges with my fencing foil. I guess I was making a few sounds, like stamping sounds, and huffing and puffing, and an ocassional ‘Ah!’ Jimmy Doohan, who played Scotty, is a person who’s always aware of his environment. And he heard the sounds… so he shuffled his way past the sound stage and peeked behind the flap just as I was lunging! I missed him by a good foot… His eyes goggled out, his head flew back, and he went rushing back to the set.
Takei went on, saying that Doohan told one of the assistant directors that Takei had tried to attack him with a fencing foil. Takei said that the assistant director defended him, saying that he would never do such a thing. But apparently, Doohan was insistent. He dragged the assistant director over to where Takei was practicing.
“Of course, I was continuing practicing, and Greg Peters [the assistant director] went with Jimmy Doohan’s excellent sense of timing,” Takei recounted. “They appeared behind the flap, again as I was lunging! Greg was taken aback. He had his clipboard and he put me down as ‘attacking actors…’ I went down in history on that ‘Star Trek’ record as having attacked both Jimmy Doohan and Greg Peters with my fencing foil. But that’s the truth. I was minding my own business, and it’s that busybody Jim Doohan!”
Takei concluded by saying that he has “fond memories of that episode,” and he thanked the fan for bringing those memories to the forefront of his mind.
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