TrekWeb has posted a great article that contains a very rare interview with Jeffery Hunter who starred as the Captain Pkike.
In 1964, then-movie star Jeffrey Hunter (‘The Searches’, ‘King of The Kings’) starred as ‘Captain Christopher Pike’ in the first Star Trek pilot, ‘The Cage’. Set 12 years before Kirk assumed command of the ship, ‘The Cage’ can be seen as a ‘prequel’ to the original series, featuring Pike in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, in which crewmembers still used ‘lasers pistols’, with an emotional science officer named Lt. Spock (a very young Leonard Nimoy).
Hunter died in 1969, long before Trek reference books and conventions and the fans never have the chance to hear his opinions about Star Trek. Untill now. In a January 1965 rare interview (re-printed in Starlog Magazine), Hunter told a Hollywood colummist that he hoped ‘The Cage’ would be picked up as a series, and seemed to really appreciate and enjoy Star Trek.TrekWeb reprints excerpts of this interview here as part of The Cage articles celebration.
“We run into pre-historic worlds, contemporary societies and civilizations far more developed than our own” Hunter told the interviewer “It’s a great format because writers have a free hand – they can have us land on a monster infested planet, or deal in human relations involving the large number of people who live in this gigantic ship.”
“We should know within several weeks whether the show has been sold. It will be an hour long, in color, with a regular cast of a half-dozen or so and an important guest star each week. The things that intrigues me the most is that it is actually based on the Rand Corporation’s projection of things to come. Except for the fictional characters, it will be like getting a look into the future and some of the predictions will surely come true in our lifetime.”
“With all the weird surroundings of outer space, the basic underlying theme of the show is a phylosophical approach to man’s relationship to woman. There are both sexes in the crew and, in fact, the first officer is a woman [‘Number One’ played by Majel Barrett]”
Captain Pike remains a popular character with Trek fans. Pike and his crew appeared in several Pocket Books novels, the cancelled ‘Star Trek Early Voyages’ series from Marvel Comics. IDW published Star Trek Crew comics mini series, by John Byrne, which feature the story of Number One and Pike. And a rebooted Captain Pike (now played by Bruce Greenwood) appears in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies.