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TREK GOES WEST

 
TREK STARS GO WEST

DVD Review by Dark Starr

The concept of this two DVD set is a bit bizarre, but also rather intriguing. It collects appearance by stars who would later be known as characters of the television series Star Trek in roles as characters in westerns.

The first show in the series is an episode ("Comanche Scalps") of a series known as "Tate". The series starred David McLean and ran for several months in 1960. While McLean was the star of the series, the star of this particular episode seems to be Frank Overton, who really dominates the episode. It's actually rather odd that Leonard Nimoy (who is the reason for the show being included here) and McLean seem to have rather minor  roles compared to Overton's overwhelming dominance of the episode. Interestingly enough, "Star Trek" fans might recognize Overton as Sandoval in the Trek episode "This Side of Paradise". Leonard Nimoy plays a Comanche warrior who winds up killing Overton's character but the real moral of this story seems to be about the importance family and being present in the lives of those who are important to you. It's quite an intriguing show, despite the oddity of the star factor.

The other real highlight of the set is "White Comanche". This is a movie that was actually filmed between seasons of the original "Star Trek" series. William Shatner played two roles as twin brothers. One is a cowboy and the other a Comanche--both half European and half Comanche. The movie is said to have been one of the worst movies of all time.  Well, I have to say, I've seen plenty of movies that weren't as good as this one. Of course, I thought the same thing about "Plan 9 From Outer Space". It's actually quite an interesting personality play. There is a little bit of anti-drug propaganda with the peyote issue but really this is very cool.  It seems to be a response to the spaghetti westerns of Eastwood and Bronson. Well, I've never been a fan of the Bronson movies but I love the Eastwood ones and I'll tell you, they are at least as hokey as this. (I've seen it and I have to say it is one of the goofiest films I've ever seen, with Shatnet being completely over the moon--Dr. M) I will say that the music is a bit weird. Some of it seems derivative of the "Star Trek" musical score, while other bits are closer to old jazz.

Other sections include episodes of the "Last of the Mohicans" show that feature De Forest Kelly (as a ranch owner held captive in a robbery scam), Leonard Nmoy (once as a saloon regular and once as a hitman) and James Doohan. Perhaps the Doohan bit is the most unusual. There's a little explanation and a short clip from a scene where he played a villager in one episode and the next time around (one week later) he played the main bad guy, a Native American hell bent on lying and killing to take over his tribe. In any event, though, all the shows on this double DVD set are worth watching--and not just because of the appearance of the "Trek" stars.  It's good fun. It's worth mentioning that, other than Clint Eastwood westerns, I'm not a big fan of the genre...yet I found everything here entertaining.