Press-Republican

June 21, 2008

'Star Trek' Luna returns

Former character appears in Port Henry production 'Enemy Starfleet"

By LOHR McKINSTRY

PORT HENRY -- Barbara Luna's character fell into the arms of starship Capt. James T. Kirk in the original "Star Trek" television series.

This week, Luna gets to fall into Kirk's arms again, only this time he's played not by William Shatner but by Ticonderoga resident James Cawley.

A Los Angeles resident, Luna is in Port Henry this week appearing in the most recent "Star Trek Phase II" fan production, "Enemy Starfleet."

"The starship bridge that James built here is like stepping into a time warp," she said. "I've been on the original bridge. You can't tell the difference. I love this."

CLASSIC EPISODE

Luna has long been revered by "Star Trek" fans for her role as Marlena Moreau, Kirk's girlfriend in the acclaimed 1967 episode "Mirror, Mirror."

She said she enjoyed working with Shatner on the original series and has remained friends with him.

"Shatner was in his day then. He'd say hello,' and you laughed. He's a sweet guy."

Cawley said he worked from the original plans to construct the Enterprise sets in studios created in the former Wheelock's Garage on Main Street in Port Henry. Several "Star Trek" fan productions have been shot there and released via the Internet.

Cawley said his understanding with current "Star Trek" franchise owner CBS allows him to make the videos, but they must be distributed for free.

1960s TV SHOWS

Luna, who's appeared on screen with major stars such as Frank Sinatra, Lee Marvin, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart and Spencer Tracy, said she's semi-retired but was elated to come to Port Henry to appear in another "Star Trek" episode.

Now 69 but looking far younger, she said it seemed like she appeared on every 1960s TV show that was made.

"In the '60s, a whole bunch of us lucked out. I went on interviews for Hispanic, Chinese, Italian characters, and they'd say, It's you again, Luna,' because I played so many roles."

Luna was on "The Wild, Wild West," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Hawaii Five-0," "The Outer Limits" and dozens of other '60s and 70s shows and motion pictures.

NO RACE IN SPACE

She's of Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese and Filipino heritage, so ethnic roles came naturally.

"I paved the way for actors of today, who are hired as actors, not for their ethnicity.

"When I was cast as Marlena, I thought, Why? There's no ethnicity to it.' I found there was no ethnicity in the science-fiction world."

Creator Gene Roddenberry envisioned the original "Star Trek" as set in a future where race and ethnic origin didn't matter and everyone was equal.

NAUGHTY'

She said she's having fun on the Port Henry set and with her role as a female space pirate.

"She's naughty, very naughty. And she gets to romance Capt. Kirk. I kiss James, but we haven't shot that scene yet."

Her last regular role was on the daytime soap "One Life To Live."

"I retired as an actress after that. I called my agent and said, I'm done.' This is the only thing that's piqued my interest."

Luna said when she shot "Mirror, Mirror" she came down with strep throat just before her big love scene with Shatner.

"I came in, and they said I was very contagious. Gene came and said they were shutting down production. We hadn't shot the kissing scenes."

When she recovered, she went back and finished her work with Shatner.

"By the way, he is a good kisser. For some reason, we had to do a lot of takes of that scene."

lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com