Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 15

Shore Leave

Aired Unknown Dec 29, 1966 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
194 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Enterprise crew take shore leave on a peaceful, pastoral planet... where their dreams and fantasies come to life.

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  • The crew of the Enterprise discover an Earth-like planet where wishes come true.

    Escaping the claustophobic Enterprise sets, most of this comedic episode was shot outdoors on location (at Africa, a ranch, and the nearby Vasquez Rocks, both just north of Los Angeles), and the feeling of freedom it gives combined with a fresh musical score makes "Shore Leave" a fan favorite.

    In truth, it's a somewhat bizarre offering. With Grace Lee Whitney gone from the series, Yeoman Rand is replaced by Yeoman Barrows, which forces the writers to switch some of the planned Rand/Kirk scenes to Barrows/McCoy. Meanwhile, Barbara Baldavin, who plays the bride to be in "Balance of Terror", returns after successfully auditioning for another character. For the sake of continuity, they try to use her character's name from the previous episode (Angela) but don't always get it right. Eventually she runs into a tree and disappears from the episode anyway, though she does return as another character in "Turnabout Intruder". (I suppose it helps to be married to the casting director). Meanwhile, Kirk gets into one of the longest fight sequences in television history, a multi part scuffle that weaves its way through the episode and which is played off as "boys will be boys" and "isn't this is great time?". Along the way, he also runs into an old fling, scored with an infamous "love theme" that includes a painfully out of tune cello. (I seriously can't understand how this bit of music made it onto television. I mean, even if it's the best the cello player can do and no one else is available, why wouldn't they simply get rid of the cello part? Or was the music director tone deaf and unable to hear it? The cello player was certainly tone deaf; that goes without saying). Curiously, the sound editor also uses a wind chime effect for the planet surface that's thankfully never used again.

    As the story, such as it is, meanders along, it becomes increasingly clear that the writers don't really have a plan and are just making it up as they go along, although it's also clear the cast is having a ball. In truth, Roddenberry himself wrote much of the script (supposedly under a tree) at Africa, . while the cast and crew were already shooting (and ad libbing). It all adds up to a unique, memorable episode but one that lacks the greater meaning of some of the others. In the end, it's really just a malfunctioning holodeck episode before holodecks.

    The animated series includes a sequel to this episode called "Once Upon a Planet".

    The Remastered Version: It's just the basic redo here, with a new ship and planet; though it's a notable upgrade to the original, which has a green blob for the planet (which is actually the "Earth" from Miri painted green) and a flipped shot of the Enterprise that causes the letters on it to be reversed. The new effects include a planet that matches the look in the animated series, a nice bit of retroactive continuity.moreless
  • mccoy comes off as a creepy old perv

    I know this was the 60's and women were still pretty much just sex objects but McCoys "I'll protect you little princess" attitude towards the Yeoman was gross. Then his "bunnies" at the end were just lame.

    Fluff episode with not much going for it. My least favorite so far.
  • A Tour de Force; The best TOS Episode

    More than any single other episode; this one shows the power and promise of the Star Trek Franchise, much less the Original Series.

    And the concept is clear; the more advanced the mind the more the need for play. Gee, that's why I've wasted a of my life in video games! And having grown up with this series and seen this one maybe 20+ times: It might just be THE video game rationalization in my sub-conscious!

    FINNEGAN is the character of choice here. And I just find something relaxing about an old beat-up enemy saying "sleep Jimmy boysleep for as long as you like"

    A little inside information that folks outside the SF Bay area would have no reason to know; this episode's exteriors were principally shot at Marine World Africa USA far north of LA in Redwood City, California. Sadly the site is now condos, but at that time (a regular trip for us local kids back then) I clearly remember taking the tours and elephant back rides through that paradise. And so perhaps that more than anything slants my review here and disqualifies me to a degree ; )

    Anyway, great acting, great (for TOS) sets, Strafing, and Samurai!

    THE episode to show non-fans. If you don't like THIS episode I can't help you.

    How sweet it is.

  • In many ways, one of the most groundbreaking and clever entries in the original series.

    The crew investigates mysterious happenings on a planet that seemed to be a paradise.

    This episode is often overlooked or thought of as silly, probably because of the large "man in a rabbit suit" from the first scene. In actuality, Sturgeon crafted a very inventive story, in a time long before the planet Raisa or the holodeck of later Trek lore. And it's exciting, count the number of dramatic situations and characters the crew encounters in 60 minutes, it's quite astounding. The premise is similar in concept to a holodeck - machinery that creates real objects, organisms, and people all for the sake of the mental diversion of the planet's visitors. An interesting idea and fairly innovative for the late 1960s.

    "Shore Leave" makes a nice bookend with "This Side of Paradise" as an exploration of what truly makes the mind entertained, challenged, and satisfied. Another plus is the glimpses into characters that impacted Kirk during his academy days, something the original series rarely mentioned. There is also a decent sense of dramatic mystery here. The more I think about it, after these Season 1 episodes, there really are only a handful of entries in "Star Trek" that show half the imagination of stories like this one.moreless
  • While on shore leave, Kirk plays hide and seek, Sulu plays with a gun, McCoy plays with a yeoman

    Well sorry folks. In my last review we agreed more so on any other review. (Balance of Terror) However, on this one, we disagree more so on any other review. I thought this one took the cake for not making any sense at all for a script and Kirk's character was farthest from what the series set up for the man he was characterized. I'm guessing everyone was taken in by the delightful characters and imaginative thoughts that took us out of the normal mindset of Star Trek. I think those refreshing attempts were achieved so much better in "I Mudd", "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "A Piece of the Action".moreless
Emily Banks

Emily Banks

Yeoman Tonia Barrows

Guest Star

Oliver McGowan

Oliver McGowan


Guest Star

Perry Lopez

Perry Lopez

Lt. Esteban Rodriguez

Guest Star

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

William Blackburn

William Blackburn

White Rabbit (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (18)

    • Early in the episode, before the phasers and communicators quit working, Kirk searches for Sulu, and while doing so, is calling out for Sulu by shouting his name. He also calls out for McCoy, without using his communicator, when he and the Yeoman arrive on the planet.

    • Although Kirk makes a big deal out of McCoy's apparent death, he never even wonders where Mary Teller/Angela Martine has gone or what happened to her. It's uncharacteristic of Kirk to not at least mention something like that, especially when it's a woman.

    • Trivia: We learn that it took Kirk fifteen years to go from the Academy to being Captain of the Enterprise.

    • Rodriguez actually calls Mary Teller "Angela" when she collapses after the strafing. This is because actress Barbara Baldavin played a different character, Angela Martine, in the previous episode, "Balance of Terror" and there was some indecision about whether this should be the same character.

    • They talk about how the planet has no insect or animal life...but nobody seems the least bit curious about how there is what appears to be self-sustaining chlorophyl-based plant life. At least some plants typically require insects to fertilize and almost all require oxygen-breathing creatures to provide carbon dioxide. Shouldn't they have the ship's entire biology department down investigating the phenomenon?

    • You can also see the shadow of a boom mike when Kirk is chasing Finnegan. It happens when Finnegan is jumping up near the plants, disappears, and then Kirk sprints after him again

    • A World War II fighter plane appears and makes a strafing run at some of the crew members. As it approaches, it is an American P-51 Mustang. But in the close-up and the shot of it flying away, it is a Japanese fighter.

    • At the end of this episode, the NCC-1701 on the Enterprise's left nacelle is reversed. (This is removed in the remastered version.)

    • You can see the shadow of a boom mike on a tree just after the Caretaker appears.

    • Don Juan attacks Yeoman Barrows and rips her tunic's right shoulder, but when she puts it back on later it's intact.

    • In the fight with Finnegan, Kirk's shirt is fine. Then Finnegan kicks him in the groin and flips him and the shirt is still fine, but then they immediately cut to a close-up and the shirt is ripped off his right shoulder.

    • Although everybody always talks about a single Japanese fighter attacking them, in one shot there are two.

    • The footprints of the White Rabbit it leaves behind are side by side, as if it had hopped. However, when we see it is walking normally - the left-right footprints should be offset.

    • Sulu fires a "police special" revolver. That weapon can only hold six bullets, but Sulu fires it four times at targets and Kirk fires it three times at the knight - a total of seven bullets.

    • If you look closely when the tiger menaces Kirk and Spock, you can see the chain holding it in place for the actors' safety.

    • They never bother to try and send a shuttlecraft down to rescue the landing party, or even mention the possibility.

    • When Spock beams down, Sulu says, "Someone beaming down from the bridge." In the original series they couldn't beam people off the ship from anywhere except the transporter room.

    • Although they establish early on that the planet only has plant life - no animals, but later we see butterflies and other bugs in several scenes. Granted, they couldn't avoid getting bugs in some shots, but then why didn't they just say there was plant and insect life in the first place?

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Spock: They act exactly like the real thing. Just as pleasant. Or just as deadly.

    • Finnegan: (to Kirk) You stupid underclassman. I've got the edge. I'm still twenty years old. Look at you! You're an old man!

    • Kirk: This is turning out to be one very unusual shore leave.
      McCoy: It could have been worse.
      Kirk: How?
      McCoy: You could have seen the rabbit.

    • Sulu: The captain has to come down. He'd like it.
      McCoy: He needs it. You've got your problems. I've got mine. He's got ours plus his plus 430 other people.

    • Spock: After what this ship has been through in the last three months, there is not a crewman aboard who is not in need of rest. My self excepted, of course.

    • Dr McCoy: My dear, I'm a doctor! When I "peek," it's in the line of duty!

    • Spock: I picked this up from Dr. McCoy's log. We have a crew member on board who is showing signs of stress and fatigue. Reaction time down 9 to 12 percent. Associational reading Norm 3.
      Kirk: That's much too low a rating.
      Spock: He's becoming irritable and quarrelsome, yet he refuses to take rest and rehabilitation. Now he has that right but, we found...
      Kirk: Crewman's right ends where the safety of the ship begins. Now that man will go ashore on my orders. What's his name?
      Spock: James Kirk. Enjoy yourself, Captain. It's an interesting planet. I believe you'll find it quite pleasant, very much like your Earth. Scouts have detected no animals, artifacts, or forcefields of any kind. Only peace, sunshine, and good air. You'll have no problems.

    • Spock: On my planet, to rest is to rest -- to cease using energy. To me, it is quite illogical to run up and down on green grass, using energy, instead of saving it.

    • McCoy: A princess should not be afraid--not with a brave knight to protect her.

    • Kirk: The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Mystery Science Theatre 3000 paid tribute to this episode in their episode "The Thing That Couldn't Die". In the third host segment, the Observers thought they were bringing people from Mike Nelson's past back for him to see, but the first one was Finnegan. Like here, he tormented Mike.

    • This episode was filmed on location at a wildlife reserve called "Africa USA" once located in Redwood Shores, California. The reserve was also the main shooting location for the 1960s TV series Daktari. The reserve was later merged and moved to Vallejo, California as part of the Six Flags Theme parks system, and the original land is now owned and occupied by Oracle Corporation.

    • The original script by Theodore Sturgeon had been deemed too "imaginative" and too expensive to shoot by NBC just before the cameras started to roll, forcing a last-minute rewrite by Gene Roddenberry while the episode was being filmed. This resulted in a new script with incomplete scenes and missing pieces of dialog, which lead to those scenes being improvised on-the-fly with ad-libbed dialog by the actors themselves.

    • This was the only episode of the series where the Enterprise is orbiting clockwise over a planet. However, in the Remastered Edition, the ship was in the usual counterclockwise orbit.