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E2 Star Trek episode guide : Original Series : Season One

The Corbomite Maneuver

Episode number:
Airdate: November 10, 1966
Stardate: 1512.2

Writer: Jerry Sohl
Director: Joseph Sargent

Regulars: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Yeoman Rand
Others: Lieutenant Dave BaileyAnthony Call
BalokClint Howard, voiced by Vic Perrin
false Balok…voiced by Ted Cassidy


Aside from the two pilots, this was the first episode filmed, though not the first aired on NBC. Already, essentially all of the elements of Star Trek are in place: six of the seven core cast members are here (Ensign Pavel Chekov would not appear until season two), the uniforms are the familiar gold, blue, and red with gold braid, and the women are wearing those ridiculously short skirts instead of uniform pants.

Story (with spoilers)

In unexplored space, the USS Enterprise encounters an alien warning buoy which emits dangerous radiation and blocks the path of the ship, so Captain Kirk has it destroyed with phasers. Soon afterwards, the Fesarius, a giant spherical vessel belonging to the First Federation, confronts the Enterprise. Balok, a frightening, pale white alien who captains the Fesarius, announces that he will destroy the Enterprise in ten minutes. The chilling countdown is punctuated by emotional outbursts by the excitable Lt. Bailey.

Kirk improvises a desperate bluff: he tells Balok that all ships of the United Federation of Planets contain "corbomite", which, if the ship is destroyed, will detonate to produce an explosion that will engulf the attacker as well. Balok chickens out and flees in an escape pod. When Balok seems to be in distress, Kirk goes to the rescue. Kirk, Spock, and Bailey visit Balok and are stunned to discover that Balok is not the frightening alien, but a diminutive, friendly, childlike being. Kirk leaves the eager Bailey behind as a cultural exchange so the Federation and the First Federation could learn about one another, and hopefully Bailey will learn to calm down.


  • The "Trania" served by Balok to the Enterprise crew was warm apricot juice with food coloring.

  • On the second day of filming, which was only her second day on the job, Nichelle Nichols was injured in a car accident but continued to work anyway. She fainted on the set and was taken home, but was back at work good as new on the third day.

  • When Associate Producer Bob Justman set off for Hawaii for a well-earned vacation, Gene Roddenberry conspired to have the Balok monster waiting for him on the plane in the adjacent seat, one of many, many pranks pulled by the cast and crew.

  • Actor Clint Howard is the brother of actor and director Ron Howard.
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