Talosians and Gender

Talosians in "The Cage"

I actually didn’t know until this year that the Talosians in “The Cage” were all played by women with dubbed male voices. So I was interested to read more about how this came about in Marc Cushman’s These are the Voyages: TOS: Season One.

“Meg Wyllie, 47 was made up to play ‘The Keeper,’ a hairless alien man. Director Butler had the idea that it might be interesting to create an ‘anti-sexuality’ for these aliens who had given up all physical sensation in favor of intellectual pursuits. Roddenberry loved the idea; it was an inventive and daring choice. It was also Butler’s idea to cast Wyllie. He had directed her before during her career in television, which included recent appearances on Perry Mason and Wagon Train.”

“The refined Meg Wyllie said, ‘I had never played such a role nor had such a makeup job applied to me. The base was an old-fashioned rubber bathing cap – the type with a chin strap…Upon the cap, a rubber substance was placed. When that was set, the special effects people finished the skull – placing the blood vessels and covering them. The makeup was not comfortable – my ears especially suffered being so confined under the cap.’

Wyllie’s instructions were to play the part with ‘dignity and control.’ She remembered, ‘A mental, rather than physical, approach was needed to concentrate on the words that I was saying. The pulsing in the veins in my skull and very little facial expression were to be the only visible effects of my thought transfers…I was most intrigued.'”

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