Captain's Blog pt. 85: Tomorrow Is Yesterday

On January 26, 1967, while Chicagoans endured the worst snowstorm in the city's history and Operation Cedar Falls officially ended in the 'Nam, NBC aired:

TITLE: (2) Self-evident enough. Personally, I think this title should be swapped with "All Our Yesterdays." A better fit for this story and "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" is a better fit for the situation on Sarpeidon.

SCRIPT: (8) In Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, Robert Justman relays how he submitted a story proposal to Gene Roddenberry for possible consideration long before this episode was written. "Almost beat for beat, Justman's proposed story is the same as this episode."

Fontana got the credit as well as the cash, a source of some understandable consternation for Bob Justman.
This was one of my favorites growing up. I think there was a stretch in the 1980s where I watched it once every weekend. I associate it with cutting lawns, walk-mans, swimming pools, iced tea and bologna sandwiches, baseball, and Empty Nest. (Tomorrow is Yesterday, indeed.)

I always crack up when the colonel  tosses Kirk's communicator to the guy standing in the background, who immediately starts examining it like he has a clue what he's doing.
I still love it, maybe a tad less than I did as a teen, but it's an entertaining episode, well-filmed, well-scored, well-performed, and just fun to watch unfold. Some great lines (and great moments between Kirk and the re-vamped computer) and although there are some things I'll discuss when we get to Internal Logistics, it holds up pretty well even in 2013.

THEME: (8.5) Looking at the past imagining its future is part of the fun of TOS, and I love when future Trek plays around with it (a la Captain Proton in Voyager.) Of course, this was the future time-traveling to the present when it aired, so there's still a real Tomorrowland flavor to contemporary viewers. (Add in flashing back to watching it so much on VHS in the 80s, and I'm in temporal flux.)

It also deserves all the chapeaus in the world for serving as a beta test for the time travel story Trek would return to so many times over the years. Others may have done it better, including within TOS itself, but, like Kirk says to Captain Christopher, this one made it before anyone else.

VISUAL DESIGN: (4) Good mix of soundstage and stock footage.

Without googling, can you recall Captain Christopher's ship's call sign? Answer beneath points total.
Always reminded me of one of the X-wing Rebel Star Wars action figures.

I have to roll my eyes at how much internet chatter is devoted to the addition of the damn food synthesizer in the transporter room. I have the same reaction when people start niggling over costume ranks and what not. I understand the impulse, but these are not real problems: the reality of tv production is always the answer. Here it is no different: (from Memory-Alpha) "This episode is the first of two episodes to have a food synthesizer in the transporter room. According to D.C. Fontana, budgetary restrictions precluded taking the Security Police sergeant to a dining facility or having another actor in the scene bring him food, so Kyle was employed to provide the sergeant's chicken soup from the dispenser."

Several episodes later, in "This Side of Paradise," Spock smashed it good.

Hey, what do you know - I have something nice to say about the remastered version edits:

This one from inside Christopher's jet is particularly cool.


Shatner's somnambulant delivery towards the episode's beginning is a rare contrast to his more over-the-top moments.
Uhura appears to have one of Chekov's wigs on for this episode.

GUEST: (3) I like Captain Christopher. He's fairly one-note but easy to sympathize with.

Played by Roger Perry.

INTERNAL LOGISTICS: (2) As this is the Ur-episode of Trek Time Travel, I won't dwell on some of the stranger elements, mainly the timing/ logic of transporting the Enterprise's "guests" into their bodies at the moments indicated.

But it's at least consistent with the end of "The Naked Time," for which this episode was intended to be a sequel. (That one ends with a temporal displacement, and this one begins with one.) Would've been great as a two-parter, actually, even if I don't think all that much of "The Naked Time."

Speaking of the time-travel wonkiness, Byrne devotes an issue of his Assignment: Earth mini-series to squaring the two approaches:

Says Byrne: "(In issue 2) you will catch me in my most anal fanboy mode, as I did a crossover with 'Tomorrow Is Yesterday,' just to explain away, at least to my own satisfaction, the inconsistencies in the way time travel was handled."

From Memory-Alpha: "Kirk tells Captain Christopher that the Enterprise operates under the authority of the "United Earth Space Probe Agency," which Kirk describes as a "combined service" when Christopher presumes that the Enterprise is operated by the navy. Author Bjo Trimble suggests that it is a fictional name, designed to keep Capt. Christopher in the dark about the true nature of the Federation."

That's pretty cool. Ah, but wait:

"The name would be established canonically as being the agency under whose authority the Earth Starfleet operated under in Star Trek: Enterprise."

Well, there goes that; I like it much better as the official "No Such Agency" of Starfleet.


Total Points Awarded: 61


The answer is Bluejay 4. Send in for your Dog Star Omnibus No-Prize.


  1. I was charmed by the idea of you associating this episode (sense-memory style) with sitcoms and yard chores. Consider the facts: this is an hour of television from five decades ago that was about people three centuries in the future journeying three centuries into the past, and for you it causes a sort of mental time-travel of some three decades. And, presumably, will continue to do so for the NEXT three decades.

    Weird. And cool. Really, really cool. (No, I am not stoned.)

    Sadly, I could not remember Captain Christopher's callsign. That's probably because it isn't Maverick, before which all other callsigns must bow.

    I really need to read some of those Byrne issues of the Trek comics. Every time you say something about them, they sound cooler.

    1. I'm happy to hear it - those things are really good. I like Byrne's work in general, but he did some fantastic work on those. Especially the "Crew" ones, with Number One. Actually, it's a three-way tie between those, the Gary Seven ones, and the Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor ones as my favorites.

      And amen / 100% on those temporal displacement thoughts! I've been Billy Pilgrimin-ing at an exponential rate since starting the TOS stretch of these Captain's Blogs.

      Someone really SHOULD have had "Bluejay 4" as a call-sign in Top Gun. Maybe a remastered version will digitally shoehorn that into the background of some shot.

    2. 2014 edit! Byrne's recent Star Trek Annual (as described here: http://www.idwpublishing.com/news/article/2662/ ) is another must-read. It's not as cool as the other ones, but it is pretty unique and is pretty wild. May there be many more.

    3. I do believe my comic shop will be selling me one of those the next time I pay 'em a visit. Looks very cool!