Did you notice the same footage of Scotty is reused in these back-to-back Star Trek episodes?
Budget cuts led Star Trek to reuse stock Scotty footage in one of the most expensive third season episodes.
If you watch Scotty carefully during the introduction of the Star Trek episode "Wink of an Eye," you might notice that his lips don’t sync with the words he’s saying.
That’s because the footage of Scotty used during this intro scene is repurposed from the introduction of the very next episode that aired, called "The Empath."
Listen carefully, and you can even hear two Scottys talking at once during "Wink of an Eye," one dubbed over the other, which repeats the dialog from the next episode "The Empath," at a level where you almost can’t make out the words.
If this feels like sloppy production to you, Gene Rodenberry agrees that Star Trek could’ve done better, but the show’s third season was hit with a lot of adversity before production even began.
In an interview with the Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1968, Rodenberry explained that NBC took its time announcing whether Star Trek would be renewed for a third season. When word finally reached Rodenberry that the show would go on, he said it was almost too late to ensure that it would.
"We already lost some of our crew," Rodenberry said. "And we came close to losing some of the actors. And I’m not sure if we have time to get enough scripts ready."
It’s likely these setbacks are responsible for the snap decision to reuse stock footage of Scott in the show’s introduction scenes that commonly show Kirk on a ground mission communicating what he finds back to Scotty on the ship.
"Costs keep going up, talent pools keep shrinking as people leave the business for movies," Rodenberry complained. "The result is that it is now almost impossible to do a decent show in the time and with the budget that we are allowed."
For "Wink of an Eye," which was one of the most expensive episodes of the third season due to special effects used, something had to give in the budget and clearly Scotty was volunteered for the job.
To cut corners, Rodenberry’s crew frequently in the third season relied on limiting the number of settings and using stock footage, so even the most expensive episodes also suffered from what Rodenberry said was a lack of creative vision from executives in charge of the show’s budget.
The original series only lasted three seasons, but for one actor, the third season was viewed as clutch in getting his name out there.
Walter Koenig had joined the series to play Chekhov starting in the second season, and he told the Newspaper Enterprise Association that he might’ve been the happiest of all the actors when the word came at the last minute that the series had been renewed.
He saw the show’s third season as his last chance to capture attention as an actor involved in the popular series.
"I think next season will do me more good than any of the others," Koenig said. "They’ve already gotten what good it will do them out of it, but I’m just catching on."