by Lisa M. Lynch
The Constitution Class Starship USS Enterprise 1701 boasts 430 crew members. Of these 430, viewers are well-aquainted with Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Lieutenant Uhura is the trusty communications officer, and Mr. Chekov navigates while Mr. Sulu operates the helm. Scotty is the stalwart in the engineering department and Nurse Chapel is a competent presence in sickbay. Most people even remember Yeoman Janice Rand with her incredible basket weave hairdo, even though she didn’t last beyond the eighth episode of the series.
But what about the other 421 folks on board? Viewers watching any given episode of Star Trek’s original series will see various crew members wandering the halls, helping out in the medical department, working the transporter, assisting in engineering, and occupying seats on the bridge. It’s not at all unusual to find one sitting in Mr. Chekov’s spot (especially since he wasn’t even on the show during the first season) or another stationed where Sulu usually works. You might even find one parked in the captain’s chair!
Although some of these crew members merely walked on by and right out of our lives, a few of them returned and became real fan favorites—just as much a part of Star Trek’s legend as the main crew. Some had a line or two and some never spoke a word, but their faces were a ubiquitous and essential presence on board the Starship Enterprise. Who were some of these people?
Lieutenants on Parade
Lieutenant Kyle (John Winston)
With blond hair and strikingly pale blue eyes, Lieutenant Kyle is a friendly Englishman who is best known as the transporter chief clothed in red coveralls. He’s also been seen in Engineering and at the ship’s helm. Lieutenant Kyle is such a well-loved character he even appears in 1982’s Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan as a commander and communications officer of the USS Reliant, which is commandeered by Khan who leaves the crew stranded on the planet Ceti Alpha V.
Lieutenant Kyle can be seen on “City on the Edge of Forever” where a drug-addled Dr. McCoy forcefully makes his way past him in the transporter room in order to escape down to the Guardian’s planet. In the episode “Space Seed,” a younger Khan also attacks him in the transporter room during his takeover of the ship.
In “Mirror, Mirror,” as the more grim transporter chief of the Mirror Universe’s ISS Enterprise, he is punished by evil Mr. Spock for failing to perform his duties correctly. Spock applies the Agonizer to the hapless crewman, and the screams of pain are a little sad to hear since he’s so likeable in the good universe. He also has a funny bit in the episode “Tomorrow is Yesterday” where he offers a man chicken soup from a food replicator in the transporter room.
Lieutenant Riley (Bruce Hyde)
Reilly is a little bit more than a background character. He has fairly major roles in two episodes. He is famously infected with a disease that causes people to lose control of their inhibitions in the episode “The Naked Time”. Reilly goes nuts, declares himself captain, and locks himself in Engineering. There he proceeds to shut down the Enterprise during a time when it really needs to be running, while at the same time regaling the entire crew with a drunken rendition of “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”over the ship’s loudspeakers.
Reilly shows up again in “The Conscience of the King” as one of the last few survivors, along with Captain Kirk, to have seen the face of Kodos the Executioner. Reilly’s unfortunate status nearly nets him death by poisoning. He survives the attempt, but we never do see him again.
Lieutenant Hadley (Billy Blackburn)
Quiet, serious, and focused, Billy Blackburn was a stand-in for DeForest Kelley. He appears in 61 episodes of Star Trek in one form or another, often at the helm of the ship. He is more than just a crew member, however. Blackburn shows up in costume as the Gorn in “Arena” and as the Alice in Wonderland-inspired White Rabbit in “Shore Leave.” He can be heard to exclaim “Oh my paws and whiskers! I’ll be late!” while leaving a stunned Dr. McCoy in his wake. He also plays one of Mudd’s androids in “I, Mudd,” and a citizen of the planet Organia in “Errand of Mercy.”
He portrays other extra characters and sat for make-up tests as well. Despite his character never having an onscreen speaking role, Blackburn is truly a Trek Jack-of-all-trades!
Blackburn captured much of his time on Star Trek with his own personal camera. An excellent interview with him and lots of his fascinating behind-the-scenes video footage can be found on Billy Blackburn’s Treasure Chest, which is easily accessable online.
Lieutenant DeSalle (Michael Barrier)
In “The Squire of Gothos” Lieutenant DeSalle beams down with a landing party on the planet Gothos to search for the abducted Captain Kirk and Mr. Sulu, only to find that a petulant General Trelane has taken them in to complete his castle décor. He takes an instant disliking to the Squire and has to be stopped from making alien mincemeat of him more than once. DeSalle also falls under the influence of the spores on Omicron Ceti III in “This Side of Paradise.”
He has a substantial role in “Catspaw” as he takes command of the ship while Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Sulu are taken hostage on Pyris VII. While working with Chekov to free the Enterprise of Korob and Sylvia’s hold, he bets “credits to navy beans” they’ll be able to do it. And by golly, they do.
Lieutenant Leslie (Eddie Paskey)
A handsome man in a red shirt. He dies once, but not to worry; he comes right back. An ethereal dikironium cloud drains him of all his blood corpuscles in the episode “Obsession,” but thanks to the magic of television and his good luck in resembling Captain Kirk, the stand-in for William Shatner returns to work on the Enterprise again. He mutinies during “This Side of Paradise” and sits in Captain Kirk’s chair while DeSalle and the others are planetside arguing with the lonely Squire of Gothos.
Leslie appears in several other episodes of TOS, often manning the engineering station on the bridge. Reportedly William Shatner bestowed the name of his daughter Leslie upon the character.
Lieutenant Brent (Frank da Vinci)
Tall and dark-haired, Frank da Vinci was Leonard Nimoy’s stand-in, and appears in several episodes. He is taken hostage by Khan Noonien Singh along with Lieutenant Leslie (Eddie Paskey—Shatner’s stand-in) and Lieutenant Hadley (Billy Blackburn—Kelley’s stand-in) in “Space Seed.” He shows up on the bridge, but can be found mainly in blue as an assistant to Dr. McCoy.
Lieutenant John Farrell (Jim Goodwin)
Lieutenant Farrell has manned both the navagation and the commmunication stations on the bridge. He’s been entranced by the beautiful ladies of “Mudd’s Women”—one of the women even charms a communicator right off of him! He finds himself confusing evil Kirk and good Kirk on the bridge until Mr. Spock steers him right in “The Enemy Within,” and he supplies the stranded landing party with computer information in “Miri.”
Lieutenant Galloway (David L. Ross)
Another officer in red, Lieutenant Galloway serves in security detail and engineering. He is part of the landing party exploring the Earth-twin planet in “Miri.” He is also transporter chief in “The Galileo Seven” and successfully beams Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and the others off the shuttlecraft Galileo before it burns away in orbit around the spear welding monster-infested planet Taurus II.
Galloway also makes appearances in “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “A Taste of Armageddon,” and “The Return of the Archons.”
More Familiar Faces
Dr. M’Benga (Brooker Bradshaw)
Not many could repeatedly slap Mr. Spock and receive a thanks for his efforts. Dr. M’Benga, who knows more about Vulcan health issues than any other medical officer on the Enterprise due to his internship on Vulcan, was actually in the process of bringing Spock out of his Vulcan healing trance after Spock had been shot planetside in “A Private Little War.” Good thing for Spock that M’Benga was around, since Dr. McCoy was routinely frustrated by Vulcan physiology. Perhaps he would have been useful during the Sarek/Spock medical emergency in “Journey to Babel” but he makes only one other appearance, in the episode “That Which Survives.”
Angela Martine (Barbara Baldavin)
She almost gets married in “Balance of Terror” but loses her fiancé during a skirmish with the Romulans. Apparently not one to mourn for long, in the next episode entitled “Shore Leave” she cuddles up to a distracted dark-haired science officer (not Spock) on the amusement park planet and starts seeing unusual things along with the rest of the landing party.
The actress also has a small role in “Turnabout Intruder” as Lieutenant Lisa.
Security Officer Fields (John Arndt)
He began life on Star Trek as Crewman Sturgeon in the very first aired episode, “The Man Trap.” Despite wearing a blue tunic instead of the infamous red, he falls victim to the salt monster on the planet M-113. However, the actor returns as Security Officer Fields, and appears in both red and gold uniforms in “Balance of Terror,” “Dagger of the Mind,” “Miri,” and “Space Seed.”
And the Rest?
Are there others who’ve shown up more than once on the show? Sure! But the people listed above are some of the most recognizable “background characters” on The Original Series. They helped give the rest of the Enterprise crew a human face, and most fans of the series either delight in their appearance or wonder “Hey, haven’t I seen that person somewhere before?”
The answer is… Yes! You probably have!