Thursday, February 10, 2011

1986 Close-Up on William "Dr. Daystrom" Marshall

One of the most commanding figures to guest star on the original series, coming in only behind Khan in intensity and force of personality, is Dr. Richard Daystrom, memorably portrayed in the episode "The Ultimate Computer" by classically-trained actor William Marshall. With his towering and powerful frame (which dwarfed the lead Shatner), rich deep voice that rang out authoritatively, and intimidating presence, Marshall dominated each scene he was in.

Had he been cast in a different role as an out-and-out villain, rather than a misguided and unbalanced genius, there is no doubt that he could have been one of the crew's most dangerous and fondly-remembered adversaries, if written intelligently. The constraints of the Daystrom role meant he played him as a man driven to madness by a lack of recognition for his inventions, distracted and tormented by his desire to see M-5 become his greatest contribution to mankind. But imagine him in a role that let him be in charge of his capacities, pitted against Kirk as one of the few enemies that could match him in sheer force of will. What a Klingon captain he would have made! Even Kang would have respected him as a force to be reckoned with.

We see some of that quality in his thoroughly charming, yet chilling performance as Mumwalde, the so-called "Blacula" of the two films he played the character in. His alternately threatening-yet-sensitive approach to the role, portraying him as a victim as well as a predator, lifted it above the low-budget exploitation film genre it was a part of at the time.

This time we look at an article from the April/May 1990 edition of the Official Fan Club Magazine (see the cover). These two pages featuring Marshall were part of a series of articles that focused on guest stars from the show. The cover feature on Nichelle Nichols is scanned and ready to post in a future entry.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Below, some screen captures from the episode (source: that illustrate Marshalls' height over the series stars.

"So, what do you think of my profile, Doctor?"

Kirk punctuates his criticism of Daystrom with a swift jab to the ribs.

The captain takes out his frustration on Daystrom's jumpsuit and chest hairs.

Shatner was undoubtably standing on a box for this scene.

Below, a publicity still and poster from Marshall's other role he is best known for: "Blacula." I have both films in my DVD collection, and enjoy watching them when I'm in a 70's kind of mood.

"It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark..."

Bonus: Another of the humorous photo-captions that I like to throw in for a chuckle now and then.
The future is bright... perhaps too bright.
The crew finally got to see the new movie based on their exploits.


Rob Bignell said...

Interesting thoughts about Daystrom being a villain ... I wonder what he would have been like in the mirror universe?

Loved the captions on all of the screenshots! (Or as Kirk would have said: Loved. The. Captions. On. The. Screen. ... Shots.)

Anonymous said...

V'Ger says "The William Marshall article is not in STARLOG Number 112. V'Ger requires the magazine name and its issue date. Fred-unit, disclose the information!"

Frederick said...

Hmm, I know not what you mean. If you look at the article intro, you will see it comes from the Offical Fan Club magazine, not Starlog. One would think I had made a mistake while scanning in a bunch of material and put the wrong source, and that you pointed it out, and then I went back in and corrected it. But we both know that is not likely... don't we? Don't we????

Forbidden Family book is full of lies said...

since I have never seen Blacula, I never noticed it before - but did anyone catch who is listed on the movie poster as Dracula: Charles Macaulay, who was in TOS episodes Return of the Archons and Wolf in the Fold

Frederick said...

I have to admit that when reading the novels "Price of the Phoenix" and "Fate of the Phoenix" I saw Omne played and voiced by Marshall in my mind's eye.