Watch: Rare Footage Of Leonard Nimoy Hosting 1975 Special Presentation Of Star Trek’s “The Menagerie”

In 1975, Paramount produced a special movie presentation for syndication of the two-part Star Trek episode “The Menagerie,” hosted by TOS star Leonard Nimoy. The original Spock recorded introductions for each part of the episode as well as closing remarks for the special presentation. In the special, Nimoy explains how “The Menagerie” uses footage from the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage” and more.

Watch Nimoy present “The Menagerie” in 1975

Now, a Trek fan (Rob O’Hara) has posted a recording of this 1975 special from KAUT in Oklahoma City on YouTube and it has already gotten tens of thousands of views over the last few days.

You can watch the clips of Nimoy from the special below…

Bonus classic Nimoy from 1967

This morning, WJAR Channel 10 in Rhode Island posted a clip from their morning show with guest Leonard Nimoy from what appears to be around the end of the first season of the series. The actor talks about concerns the show will be canceled and the fan campaign to keep it on the air along with the origins of his signature Vulcan ears.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This really shows how small Paramount was thinking and acting at the exact time when they should have been going all out to get a small feature into theaters or a series of 90 min TV movies. Instead they just try to squeeze a bit more juice from the lemon rather than spend any actual money to harvest a whole gardenfull of riches from countless trek devotees that George Lucas is going to get to tap into.

Not saying GR’s CATTLEMEN or GOD THING ideas would have actually worked well, but getting anything into a theater in 75 or 76 would have been immensely profitable. This is in the era of 30,000 people going to a Chicago convention.

To see how great Nimoy looks in 1975, it’s a travesty that almost all of the 1970’s (and I’m not really counting TAS) was wasted — the actors were all still in their prime then.

Kirk without the curly movie-era rug would have been SO much more convincing and ‘right’ than what we did eventually get. I think of it as the Bradyfication of Kirk, like he joined Mike Brady on that infamous Hawaii 3-parter and permed himself (which is kinda funny, since they are both in PRAY FOR THE WILDCATS during that time before the hairpiece got weird.)

I remember when “The Menagerie” and Nimoy’s presentation were broadcast on KTLA out of Los Angeles. It marked the return of syndicated Trek to a station with enough of a reach that I would actually be able to watch it in Huntington Beach, and featured my all-time favorite episode to boot. It was nerd Nirvana.

This was awesome! Kinda reminds me of the SciFi Channel special edition of TOS hosted by Shatner (and later Nimoy)… those bumpers were awesome, as was seeing the complete episodes every night while in college.

Fascinating find, but I’m a little creeped out by Nimoy looking like he did in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Whew, what a movie.

More even than CARRIE, that had the best grabber-ending of any horror pic of that period. Plus, it is one of my alltime favorite love stories, though the way the relationship falls to literal pieces might be a bit much.

Ha, falls to pieces, very good. I didn’t see the ’78 Body Snatchers until about ten years ago, and even though I had seen the ending as a meme for a long time, somehow it still surprised me. Maybe I didn’t know what movie it was from. Anyway, it took my breath away. And having no music over the credits really sealed it.

And the dog made me jump, too. That was freaky, man.

You make a good point about the power of the unexpected, specifically withholding music when it is typically present. My TNG spec actually included a reference to music cues at the end of the script, even though you’re not really supposed to specify that kind of thing (it was my third spec to them in as many months, and I’d already had the really good one rejected, so i figured what the hell.) Because this one had a pretty serious and downer ending (think SYMBIOSIS or A PRIVATE LITTLE WAR tone-wise), I specified that for the final shot as the repaired E-D heads back into space, there is just RUMBLING, no fanfare or music.

That’s the one that got a good enough reaction to get me in to pitch, though I never knew who read it and/or passed it on, or what it was that got it through the bottleneck. Maybe because I wrote it as a bottle show with very few new opticals — mostly recycling and recomping existing elements — and a lot of the ep taking place on a black limbo set (kind of like what you’d see in THE OUTER LIMITS and THE EMPATH or some Minbari-centric stuff on B5 a few years later.)

Back on SNATCHERS … In the theater, that bit with the dog created a lot of response with the packed crowd. There was actually a scream, plus a lot of somewhat hysterical laughter (sort of like right after the chestbuster in ALIEN, come to think of it.) It wasn’t a roomfull of guffaws, like the dog farting in SUDDEN IMPACT or Data saying shit in GEN, but still a lot of people letting loose, probably because they couldn’t figure out how to respond to the imagery. Good on Kaufman for being so daring.

As for Nimoy, that was a brilliant bit of casting. Take this actor everybody knows for having this wise, authoritative air and then…

[SPOILER for those who haven’t seen it]

…just pull the rug out from under us. Philip Kaufman, I tip my hat to you, sir.

Weird that I am 90% convinced have seen The Cage in color multiple times — and I think it’s in my BR set in color as well…or am I having a massive brain-fart here?

I remember it in color too.

For many years the only known copy in existence of “The Cage” was Roddenberry’s personal black and white 16mm print, which he would often screen at Trek conventions. It was only decades later that a color copy was discovered at Paramount, which is what’s on your BR set.


The original pilot was thought lost. For the home video release in 1986, they shot an intro with Gene Roddenberry explaining that the B&W footage was edited into the existing color footage from “The Menagerie”. In 1987 the color footage was located but without audio. Paramount looped in the audio from the B&W print with the newly found color footage (with mixed results) but a full restoration wasn’t done until two decades later.


I’ve seen the cage multiple times and i have never seen it in B/W.

When Roddenberry did his college lecture tour in 1975, he showed the black and white version with its very scratchy soundtrack. When the audio-less color version was discovered years later, Paramount looped in the audio from The Menagerie episode. But since that episode did not include ALL of The Cage footage, the audio would go back and forth between scratchy and normal. Finally someone found a complete audio of The Cage so the whole episode could be restored.

He’s still very much missed! We love you, Mr. Nimoy.

Always and forever!



Interesting little article, as I never knew that there had been full-length version of ‘The Menagerie’ shown.

These days, I’ve whittled down the TOS and TNG seasons drastically when it comes to a nostalgic ‘Star Trek’ re-watch every few years, to only include my absolute favourite episodes/storylines – and I do the exact same thing when it comes to the movies too.

The stuff I consider duds and never wish to see again, I just happily ignore and never give a second thought about, effectively making up my own personal Star Trek ‘viewing canon’ – and this is how I approach other tv shows and movie ‘franchises’ I happen to like also.

The way that the previously unseen ‘The Cage’ pilot’s footage was incorporated into ‘The Menagerie’ two-parter was certainly clever at the time….but once the actual ‘The Cage’ pilot was finally released in it’s full glory, ‘The Menagerie’ storyline became instantly unnecessary for me….as I now prefer to begin my TOS re-watches with ‘The Cage’ pilot’s storyline featuring Pike and his crew instead, because it sets the kind of atmospheric tone that most appeals to me before I continue with the other episodes I prefer – I also really dislike that Jeffrey Hunter’s Captain Pike ended up in such a dreadful paralysed state in ‘The Menagerie’ storyline, as well as the fact that he was played by another actor after his supposed accident – but by viewing things in this order, I get to imagine that Pike went on to a much better outcome after his adventure in ‘The Cage’….and that the ‘unfortunate Pike’ seen in the likes of Discovery and Strange New Worlds is simply one from an ‘alternative universe’ to the TOS/TNG ‘prime universe’ – not that I’ll ever re-watch those shows anyway!

I then follow up ‘The Cage’ setting the mood for me, with the ‘Where No Man has Gone Before’ second pilot’s storyline featuring Kirk and his crew, followed by the other specific episodes I like in the ‘production order’ they were filmed – and then wrap up my TOS re-watch with ‘The Savage Curtain’ storyline as my FINAL episode, since ‘Turnabout Intruder’ is such a dour, disappointing note to end the show on otherwise

This way, I end things much more satisfyingly for myself with Kirk sat in the bridge saying these final words instead – “There’s still so much of their work to be done in the galaxy Spock….mister Sulu, break us out of orbit….and continue to our next assignment”, as the Enterprise then travels away, and I follow this up with an older Kirk and crew in the ‘Star Trek The Motion Picture storyline.

By the way, just to add that after I’ve concluded watching all the TOS movies with ‘Star Trek VI:The Undiscovered Country’ as Kirk and crew’s final, respectful send-off….I then discard the dismal ‘Star Trek Generations’ movie altogether….and continue on with the initial introduction to TNG’s Picard and crew – the two-part ‘Encounter At Farpoint’ storyline, followed by my own preferred episodes (while discarding many!)….then end with the ‘All Good Things’ two-part finale as usual.

….before finally FINISHING this epic ‘personal Star Trek canon’ re-watch of mine (spread over many nights of course) with one single TNG movie only – the excellent and still very re-watchable ‘Star Trek:First Contact’ – which gives a respectful, final send-off for Picard and his crew too, while also giving a satisfying ending with the Human race making contact with the Vulcan race for the first time after Zefram Cochrane’s successful ‘warp speed’ test.

Make it so!

Well, I very much agree with the concept, even as I very much disagree with many of the aesthetic choices that make up your own “personal canon.” But that’s the point, isn’t it? Happy trails! 😊