Sunday, October 28, 2012

News: Roddenberry's QUESTOR TAPES (1974) Now on DVD

As a follow-up to Wednesday's "Behind-The-Scenes" post, Star Kid Don Hilliard informs me that Gene Roddenberry's TV movie/unsold series pilot, The Questor Tapes, is actually available commercially, as a Manufactured-On-Demand DVD from Universal's "Vault Series" and Amazon. I'm not sure how timely this news actually is, because I have no idea how long Universal's been offering the disc - unlike Warner Archive, they don't seem to aggressively promote their MOD offerings.

Needless to say, I'll be ordering a copy as soon as finances permit, and will make a point of reviewing it here on the site.

The Questor Tapes was one of Roddenberry's several attempts to launch a genre follow-up to Star Trek in the Seventies (others include Spectre, Genesis II and Planet Earth).  Written by Roddenberry and his Trek cohort Gene Coon, Questor recounted the origin of an advanced android (Robert Foxworth) on the run from the government and searching for the scientist that built him. He's aided in his search by another scientist, Jerry Robinson (Mike Farrell). Directed by Richard A. Colla (director of the Battlestar Galactica pilot, as well as the TV movie, The UFO Incident), the cast included Trek veterans Majel Barrett and Walter Koenig in supporting roles. (Another Trek alumni, D.C. Fontana, penned the paperback novelization.)

As I mentioned in the previous post, this is the only one of Roddenberry's 70s sci-fi pilots I haven't yet seen. With luck, I'll be correcting that oversight soon.

Buy at Amazon: The Questor Tapes


  1. Of all the movies/failed pilots Roddenberry made in the '70s I've always considered the horror show Specter to be the best of the bunch. Robert Culp went on the record saying he based his performance as the occult detective on his friend science fiction writer Harlan Ellison.

  2. Chris:
    I'm looking forward to reading your review. I think you'll enjoy it. I'm ordering it too as my copy is a badly edited TV version from an old VHS tape.
    Of the "Roddenberry Set" the only one I haven't seen is "Spectre".
    Many thanks to Don for clueing us in on this.

  3. I dont I had ever heard of Spectre before now. Huh. But I remember liking Questor Tapes when I was a kid.

  4. Wow, reading this post just led me to finding a movie I've been hoping to see again for decades now..... The Island with Michael Caine and David Warner! I didn't even know about Universals vault series, so thanks for that.....

  5. Roddenberry eventually recycled some of Questor's backstory as Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both were robots designed by mysterious creators with no memories of their past and who would gain emotions as time progressed. They even reused one scene in the episode, "The Royale," where Data reshaped loaded dice at a craps table, just as Questor did.

  6. Chris- I hope you've been able to watch this. I just stumbled across this post. I can remember watching Questor Tapes when it first aired on broadcast television. It was mind-blowing! I will not spoil the plot. This could have been a great series but it was way ahead of its time and then there's all the other reasons why networks in the 1970s did not support sci-fi. I saw the movie again a few years ago when it aired on cable. Glad to hear it might be available. This is a good film with a serious story, but maybe I'm just nostalgic.

  7. It's funny that I had to prove I'm not a robot to post a comment about the Questor tapes

  8. Well, this post is a year old, so... yes! I did actually get a copy of the DVD (it looks really good) and finally see the flick. I enjoyed it a lot, and as much as I enjoy Planet Earth and Spectre, Questor is probably my favorite non-Trek Roddenberry creation.

  9. Did you notice that the music cue heard as Darrow enters the lab at Cal Tech at the beginning was later repurposed ( note for note ) as the theme for "Kolchak, The Night Stalker" series later the same year?