Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Joseph Pevney

Trekkies know Joseph Pevney as the director of some of the all-time great Original Series episodes: "City on the Edge of Forever," "Amok Time," "The Trouble with Tribbles," "Journey to Babel," and more. Film historians know him as an actor turned director, with an impressive resume of films and TV shows over a 40-year-plus career.

Pevney's acting career in Hollywood was relatively brief, appearing in assorted noir films in the late 40s, including Thieves' Highway and the boxing flick Body and Soul. As a director, he worked with Frank Sinatra in Meet Danny Wilson, Joan Crawford in Female on the Beach, James Cagney in the Lon Chaney biopic Man of a Thousand Faces, and Debbie Reynolds in Tammy and the Bachelor, among others. 

He also made a film in 1959 called Destination Space, which was actually a TV pilot that never got anywhere. It's closer to The Right Stuff than to Forbidden Planet, perhaps, but according to this review, it's still derivative of other genre material floating around at the time.

"Arena" is a good example of the quality of Trek episodes Pevney helmed. Memorable for the fight between Kirk and the reptilian alien Gorn, it was shot on location at Vasquez Rocks, a park in northern Los Angeles. While other films and TV shows have been shot there (including Star Trek V), its association with Trek is what has made it famous. The triangle-shaped rock formation is known as "Kirk's Rock."

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Previously:
DC Fontana
Gene Coon
Matt Jefferies
William Ware Theiss
Alexander Courage

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