The Robert Sparr directed original series episode “Shore Leave” was first televised in the United States on Thursday, 29 Dec. 1966. The teleplay for this episode was written by screenwriter Theodore Sturgeon.
Because of Roddenberry having rushed a rewrite of the script, the episode took seven days to film instead of the usual six.
The last episode of the Gene Roddenberry created science fiction series shown on American television that year, “Shore Leave” sees an exhausted Enterprise crew take a much-needed break from their starship duties.
In taking advantage of the Earth-like conditions of a nearby planet, Captain James T. Kirk authorizes a spot of shore leave for his weary crew. While the planet is supposedly uninhabited, not long after beaming down to the planet’s surface, various members of Kirk’s crew begin seeing strange apparitions.
While Dr. McCoy sees the large rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice in Wonderland,” the Enterprise captain runs into an old nemesis from academy days.
In other areas, Ruth, played by Shirley Bonne, encounters a long-lost love, Emily Banks ‘s Yeoman Tonia Barrows is accosted by a Don Juan-like figure and George Takei’s Sulu has to defend himself from a samurai warrior.
Matters take on a more foreboding nature when the starship experiences significant power drainage. Meanwhile, down on the planet, the doctor is run through by a medieval knight.
By the conclusion of the episode, we learn the planet Kirk had selected for his crew to engage in a spot of rest and relaxation is a sophisticated “amusement park.” While there is nothing there designed to cause significant harm, the park’s Caretaker cautions the visitors to choose their amusements with greater care. The Caretaker of the amusement park is played by Oliver McGowan.
Like many episodes in Roddenberry’s original series, the order in which they were televised did not match the order they were filmed in. While “Shore Leave” was the fifteenth episode televised, it was the seventeenth episode filmed.
While the title of this article, “Star Trek: S1.E16. “Shore Leave’,” indicates this episode is episode 16, it should be noted it acknowledges the existence of the then untelevised Robert Butler directed “The Cage” as being the series’ first episode.