In Episode 77 of Star Trek: The Original Series, titled “The Savage Curtain,” Capt. James Tiberius Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise make contact with Abraham Lincoln, the most notable inhabitant of the planet Excalbia and Capt. Kirk’s favorite U.S. president. The Great Emancipator invites Kirk and Spock down to the planet’s surface for a rendezvous, where the two voyagers learn that Excalbia is ruled by aliens who have the power to alter reality but lack the ability to grasp the concepts of “good” and “evil.” In order to better understand Earth’s most overrated dichotomy, the aliens command Spock and Kirk to join forces with fake Lincoln and a Vulcan warrior to do battle against Genghis Khan and a host of other baddies. The episode is full of exchanges that just don’t fly on network TV anymore, including sincere references to preserving honor, breathy utterances of “my good friend,” and a spacesuit-sporting Shatner who doesn’t cause mothers to cover their children’s eyes. Buried deep in the episode are important historical lessons (we think), which is why the Library of Congress is showing “The Savage Curtain” as part of its Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration.
THE EPISODE SHOWS AT 7 P.M. AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS’ PICKFORD THEATER, 101 INDEPENDENCE AVE. SE. FREE. (202) 707-5677.