The original Star Trek TV series premiered on September 8, 1966. Since then, we can certainly say that Star Trek has prospered.
Although Elvis left us in 1977, we can also say he has prospered.
So what does Elvis have to do with Star Trek? There are more connections than you would think. We will celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary here… Elvis style.
Thanks to those talented Photoshop jockeys, we see what Captain Elvis T. Kirk would look like.
And here we have Spock Elvis. Or is it Elvis Spock?
Well, let’s see. If this is Elvis Spock, I guess the other has to be Spock Elvis.
Study this one for a minute. Somebody has morphed Elvis heads onto all the male characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation. How do you like bald Elvis as Captain Picard. He looks better than I would have expected. My other favorite is Elvis as Worf. And it was pretty clever to have Lisa Marie as Counselor Troi and Priscilla as Dr. Crusher.
Here’s a nice shot of Elvis as Captain Kirk.
And in an opposite switch, William Shatner replaces Elvis in the iconic photo with Nixon. I now have 28 Photoshopped variations of the famous Elvis/Nixon photo. There’s more out there, but I’ll have to explore many Strange New Worlds in the Google Galaxy to find them.
Back in 2009, I posted a two-part series on the Elvis / Star Trek Connection. It featured eight actresses who appeared in both Star Trek episodes and Elvis movies. Now is the perfect occasion to post them again (with a few updates).
Some of you may have met Celeste Yarnall at an Elvis Week, because she has become something of a regular guest there these past few years. She appeared briefly in Live A Little, Love a Little, from 1968, just four films from the end of the Elvis movie string. His movies were starting to get bad, but this one was so stupid it was funny.
Yarnall played Ellen, a model he met at a party. One of the ways Elvis (Gary Nolan) convinced her to come back to his apartment with him was by singing, “A Little Less Conversation.”
When Elvis gets her home, Bernice, another woman with an eye on Elvis, creates a ruckus while vacuuming, totally breaking the mood. Ellen gets mad and insists Elvis take her home.
One year earlier, Celeste Yarnall appeared in a Star Trek episode titled, “The Apple.” Instead of being hit on by Elvis, this time it was Ensign Chekov.
She escaped Checkov’s advances, and later, Captain Kirk consoled her by showing her his giant horn.
Teri Garr appeared in six Elvis movies:
Kissin’ Cousins 1963
Fun in Acapulco 1963
Viva Las Vegas 1964
Girl Happy 1965
However, her screen time was not as an actress. At this early point in her career, she was a dancer trying to break into acting.
There has been some argument among Elvis fans about whether the girl in this and other dancing sceens was really Teri Garr. The detail just wasn’t sharp enough to be sure.
It was your ElvisBlogmeister that finally proved she appeared in Girl Happy. Remember how Elvis landed in the Ft. Lauderdale jail? I found this shot while doing single frame advance to get to something else. Note she is wearing the same top as in the dancing shot.
Teri Garr got one of her first acting jobs in Star Trek episode # 55 titled “Assignment Earth.” Captain Kirk and Spock travelled back in time to 1968 Earth to stop Gary Seven, a villian who was trying to explode an orbital bomb over Asia. Teri Garr played Roberta Lincoln, a ditzy blond in a very short mini-skirt who was hired by a henchman of Gary Seven to supposedly develop a new ecyclopedia. In the end, she became suspicious and helped save Earth.
Most Elvis fans know she was one of the Tatum sisters in Kissin’ Cousins, but she appeared in an earlier Elvis movie in a small part. Yvonne Craig had a small role in It Happened at the World’s Fair, released in 1963. She played Dorothy Johnson, a love interest of Elvis’ character, Mike Edwards. While her scene with Elvis was short, it could be called pretty hot, as you can see by these stills.
Two movies later, Yvonne Craig showed up in a much larger role in Kissin’ Cousins. Do you think Elvis might have really liked her first performance and put in a good word for her? Anyway, she played Azalea Tatum, who had to fight with her sister Selena for Elvis’ attention (Air Force Captain Josh Morgan). Azalea finally ends up the winner in the Elvis sweepstakes.
These roles were tame compared to her character in a Star Trek episode in 1967: “Whom Gods Destroy.” Yvonne Craig played Marta, a green-skinned inmate at the Federation asylum on Elba ll. She was delusional, seductive and skilled in exotic dance. The evil Garth of Izar coerced her to carry out a plot to assassinate Captain Kirk.
She got alone with Kirk, started to seduce him, and then pulled a knife and tried to stab him. He fought her off, and Spock arrived to help subdue her. After the failed assassination attempt, her master, Garth of Izar, ended her life by blowing her to bits with a new explosive.
Laurel Goodwin played Laurel Dodge, Elvis’ love interest in Girls, Girls, Girls. Actually, it was more like “the winning love interest,” because Stella Stevens was a former flame that still hoped for a future with Elvis’ character, Ross Carpenter, and she kept popping up throughout the movie.
The dance that Elvis and Laurel did (pictured above) is one of my favorite scenes from his films. It must have been difficult to come up with a dance routine that was funny, but this one was.
On Star Trek, Laurel appeared as Yeoman Colt in an episode that contained Spock, but not Captain Kirk or any of the other familiar Enterprise crew members. That’s because she was in “The Cage,” the one hour pilot that was produced to sell NBC on the series. Parts of it were used for flashback scenes in a later two-part episode, but “The Cage was not broadcast intact until 1988, twenty years after the series ended. I like Goodwin’s look in this better than in the Elvis movie. That’s Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike. Don’t you bet he and Laurel Goodwin would have had significantly better careers if they had kept their roles when the series went into production?
Nancy Kovack also had a major role in an Elvis movie. She played Nellie Bly, the “losing Elvis love interest” in Frankie and Johnny. (Not to say Elvis’ movies were formulaic, but do you notice the pattern here?) Nellie Bly was immortalized in the song as the girl who caused Johnny (Elvis) to do Frankie wrong. Actually, Johnny just believed Nellie was a good-luck charm for his frequent gambling, but Frankie and the riverboat owner (Nellie’s former boyfriend) thought otherwise. Skullduggery ensued, and Johnny discovered the real good-luck charm was the one Frankie gave him. He carried it in his breast pocket, and it saved him from a bullet to the chest. Of course, Frankie and Johnny got together at the end of the movie, but Nellie did okay too, as she went back to the riverboat owner.
On Star Trek Nancy Kovack played Nona in “A Private Little War,” and got to wear the nifty warrior witch outfit you see above. Nona was the wife of Tyree, leader of the Hill People on the planet Neural. However, she wanted power and betrayed him. She stole Dr. McCoy’s phaser and sought out the leader of a rival faction, but ended up being stabbed to death.
Julie Parrish played Joanna, an employee of the Kahala Hilton hotel in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, but she did not play an Elvis love interest. However, she was part of a scene that requires much willing suspension of disbelief. She had Elvis’ character (a helicopter pilot named Rick) transport a consignment of pedigreed dogs to a dog show. The dogs freaked out and Elvis lost control of the helicopter. Before he could gain control, he ran a car off the road and into a ditch. Well, the driver of that car just happened to be a big shot in the Federal Aviation Administration (oops). Gee, what a coincidence.
Her Star Trek role was as Miss Piper, Starfleet Adjutant to Commodore Mendez on planet Talos lV in the two-part episode “The Menagerie.” This is the show where parts of “The Cage” were shown in flashback. Captain Pike was also in the newer plot, but he had been badly disfigured by delta rays. Fortunately, Julie Parrish’s figure was just fine, and it was well displayed throughout the story.
The credits for Live A Little, Love A Little list Emily Banks’ character as “Receptionist.” I know it’s hard to notice with that voluptuous stand-up occupying so much of the photo above, but look closely, there is a receptionist here. Hey, Elvis, don’t stare. Emily Banks fared a bit better with dialogue, as she had enough lines to be the fifth woman listed in the credits.
For her Star Trek appearance in “Shore Leave,” Emily Banks played Yeoman Tonia Barrows and got to do considerably more acting. When some of the Enterprise crew beamed down to Omicron Delta for badly needed shore leave, a mysterious energy field (they show up at lot, don’t they?) caused strange things to happen individually to each crew member. For Yeoman Barrows, it was a visit from Don Juan. Too bad for Dr. McCoy, who thought scoring with her would be the perfect form of R&R.
Tanya Lemani did not appear in an Elvis movie, but she was featured in the ’68 Comeback Special. She had significant screen time as a belly dancer in the segment where Elvis sang “Little Egypt.”
She had a much larger part playing Kara in the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold.” Kirk, McCoy and Scotty beamed down to the hedonistic pleasure planet Argelius II, and went to a favorite café. Kara’s dancing infatuated them all, especially Scotty. When she came over to their table, Scotty put his best moves on her and she agreed to leave with him. As you can see in the picture above, Scotty was really pleased with this development. Unfortunately, Kara was attacked out on the street and stabbed to death (awww, not that again).
Let’s end this Elvis-style 50th anniversary tribute to Star Trek with him getting a promotion.
If you look back at the group photo of The Next Generation above, you will note the crew had a serious uniform update from those of the original show. Will Riker was the Commander in that series, so a photo of him was converted to this. I think Elvis looks perfect in a Commander’s uniform.
And finally, how about a shot with both Elvis and Kirk on it?
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