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Stunt Doubles

Started by writerinthewild, August 06, 2013, 12:21:40 PM

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Watching TOS for the first time, and I although I love the show I can't help but notice that the fight scenes leave something to be desired. One of the earlier episodes I was really impressed with a scene where Kirk is teaching some kid (who ends up being some kind of telepath) some Judo techniques, but the fight scenes since have been rather humorous. But really, all the karate chops and hammer fists don't bother me as much as the obnoxious use of stunt doubles. I mean, even in scenes where the combatants are just sort of circling each other waiting for an opening, the camera will pan out to reveal two stunt doubles who look nothing like the actors themselves. It's especially noticeable in the episode where Kirk and Spock fight to the death on Vulcan. They use two stunt doubles that neither look nor move anything like the actors, and all they are doing is sort of throwing each other around a little bit. Anyway, I assume that was just normal for the times those episodes were filmed. But I often wonder if the directors or actors ever watched the show in editing and questioned weather the stunt doubles were even needed, or at least how they come across visually on the screen. I actually asked Shatner once about the use of stunt doubles during a Q&A on Twitter, but he never responded. I even wonder if Shatner (who is stunt doubled the most by far) felt uncomfortable doing his own fight scenes. Just curious, anyone here got any inside scoops on stunt doubles on TOS?
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. - Han Solo


Yeah I love stuff like that, Kirks stunt double is terrible, he even had dark hair.


I think there were a few factors on this.  First, the original series had a low budget for what they had to do each week and it only got lower as time went on.  They used some of the stunt doubles in other roles in the series so I think they actually didn't want exact duplicates for the main cast.  I'm not sure if it played into things but the union of stuntmen may have been able to restrict what the main actors could do.  Lastly, keep in mind when they made this series they expected people would see the episodes once on a tiny, low-def TV and that would be it.  They didn't expect hidef, Blu-Ray tech almost 50 years later to reveal all the flaws and so forth.  So, enjoy the shows for the characters and the stories and try to ignore things like this.


Low-def vs. High-def: Remember fighting with the Horizontal Hold knob when catching reruns on the high UHF channels?  You were lucky if you could tell Kirk from Spock at times...


YEs and adjusting the rabbit ears..


Yep, watching TOS or really any TV show in low def. on a CRT based 18" TV I never noticed the stunt men except for a few rare occasion. Lot's of fast cuts and clever camera angles hid a lot of sins. :)


I'm afraid as a young lad i used to spot the obvious bad stuntmen all the time. Later as i grew up it came my thing to look out for stuff like that. It never ruined the show for me it was just fun to do. I also noticed that in some episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard they used model cars to do the jumps.


I think these types of things just add to the charm of these shows. It was a different era, so the HD will really show that stuff now, but also sort of gives as a idea of what they had to do back then to make these shows. Like meds said, really does not ruin the show, or even take me out of it, just fun to spot.


Funny but watching the remastered TOS episodes I now see that they used a hell of a lot of make up on the blokes lol