"It's not easy bein' green." Kermit the Frog first sang those lyrics in 1970, but another iconic TV character could have used them a year earlier.
"Whom Gods Destroy" aired as one of the later episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. Fans remember it best for featuring the green Orion slave girl, Marta, and duplicate Captain Kirks. Speaking of duplicates, the plot, frankly, had several similarities to the early Star Trek outing "Dagger of the Mind." Not to mention the fact that another Orion had wiggled her way into the pilot episode, "The Cage."
Footage from the rejected pilot "The Cage" eventually turned up in "The Menagerie," giving Trekkies their first look at the green Orion slave girls. Covered in emerald makeup, Susan Oliver played that role. But producers nearly cast Yvonne Craig.
In 1965, Craig had many television credits to her name, if not a breakout role. She would not land the role of Batgirl in Batman until 1967. Her early resume included guest spots on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, Wagon Train and other hits.
In an interview seen in the 30th anniversary VHS collection of Star Trek, James Doohan explained Craig nearly nabbing the role in "The Cage."
"Yvonne Craig, who appears here as the ill-fated Orion slave girl, Marta, was also an excellent dancer," the Scotty portrayer recalls. "She had been considered for the role of Vina in the first Star Trek pilot. She must have been destined to appear in green body makeup!"
About that makeup — the Star Trek team forgot the formula!
"They couldn't remember what they did to make [Susan Oliver] green," Craig said in an interview with Pop Goes the Culture TV. They were also determined to make Craig the exact shade of green seen on the slave girl in "The Cage" / "The Menagerie." That meant a rather painstaking trial-and-error process.
"It was dismal," Craig continued in the same interview, "It was unbelievable what we went through as far as makeup is concerned… They couldn't get it right."
At first, the makeup would slip off when other actors grabbed her in scenes, leaving white streaks on her arms. To try to prevent running body paint, the crew tried covering the freshly green Craig in "liquid bandage," but that substance, coupled with the acetone required to remove it, would become hazardous over six days of filming. "You'll have no skin and no liver," Craig joked.
Still, despite the behind-the-scenes challenges, Craig cherished the role in hindsight — especially the wardrobe. Despite her physical dance routine, the costume hardly budged a millimeter.
"I have never stolen anything ever," she admitted, but she regrets not taking home her Marta costume. "You fool!" the devil on her shoulder told herself, "You should have stolen that costume!"
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