World of Westfahl | Encyclopedia Introduction | All Entries | Acknowledgements
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

M Entries
Patrick Macnee
Antonio Margheriti
Chris Marker
Hugh Marlowe
William Marshall
Arlene Martel
Ross Martin
Richard Matheson
Sir Paul McCartney
Roddy McDowall
Leo McKern
Lee Meriwether
Ricardo Montalban
Agnes Moorhead
Billy Mumy
Eddie Murphy
 
MARTEL, ARLENE
(Arline Sax 1936– ). American actress.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: "What You Need" (1959), "Twenty Two" (1961), episodes of The Twilight Zone; "Demon with a Glass Hand" (1964), episode of The Outer Limits; "The King of Knaves Affair" (1964), episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; "Martin of the Movies" (1965), episode of My Favorite Martian; "Russian Roulette" (1965), episode of I Dream of Jeannie; "The Spy Who Came in from the Cool" (1966), "Monstrous Monkee Mash" (1968), episodes of The Monkees; "Amok Time" (1967), episode of Star Trek; "The Night of the Circus of Death" (1967), episode of The Wild, Wild West; "Tonio's Mother" (1968), episode of The Flying Nun; "Terror" (1970), episode of Mission: Impossible; "How Not to Lose Your Head to Henry VIII" (1971), two-part episode of Bewitched; "The Last of the Fourth of Julys" (1974), episode of The Six Million Dollar Man; Chatterbox (Tom DeSimone 1977); Dracula's Dog (Albert Band 1978); Star Trek: Of Gods and Men (video) (Tim RUSS 2007).

Acted in as Tasha Martel: "The Long Patrol" (1978), episode of Battlestar Galactica.

 
Seeking an ambience of the alien, science fiction films will often settle for the merely foreign, explaining why they are filled with actors with exotic appearances and accents. Born and bred in New York City, Arlene Martel would not seem well positioned to take advantage of this,  but she had striking facial features suggestive of many nationalities, and once she mastered a wide range of accents, she found herself in demand during the 1960s to play women from all parts of the world, or occasionally from other worlds.

She is best known, inevitably, for her role as the Vulcan woman T-Pring who, in "Amok Time," contrives to avoid getting married to Leonard NIMOY's Mr. Spock (which, given all of the man's issues, was probably a good idea). She was indeed fetching with Vulcan ears, but the performance itself is inconsequential. Rather more memorable is her appearance in one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, "Twenty Two," where she is first the morgue nurse in a woman's nightmares who beckons her to enter saying "Room for one more, honey" and later the real-life stewardess who invites the woman on board a doomed airplane with the same line. But her outstanding performance, without a doubt, came in the Outer Limits episode "Demon with a Glass Hand": despite having to deliver some of the worst dialogue that Harlan ELLISON ever wrote, she acquitted herself well as Consuela Biro, the only human being in the cast, alternately repelled by and attracted to Robert CULP's mysterious Trent. Although she finally walks away from him, having learned that he is a robot, one has to imagine that fond memories of her sympathetic words and deeds will serve as the only factor motivating him to persevere for twelve hundred years in his quest to rescue the human race.

Outside of these highlights, Martel's filmography functions as a survey of the highs (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild, Wild West, Mission: Impossible) and the lows (My Favorite Martian, Bewitched, The Flying Nun) of science fiction and fantasy television of the 1960s, although she did have the good judgment, or good luck, to avoid any close encounters with Irwin ALLEN. Of these performances, only her Russian cosmonaut in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie commands (minimal) attention.  By the mid-1970s, entering her forties and losing her youthful beauty, Martel inevitably began to ponder retirement—let's face it, when the only films you are being offered feature a talking vagina and a canine vampire, you shouldn't need to be told that your career is over. Yet while she was no longer on the screen, she remained visible as a regular visitor to Star Trek conventions, including one I attended, where anyone who had appeared on the original series could long enjoy a warm welcome, and she has more recently been summoned back by Tim RUSS to again don her Vulcan ears for a direct-to-video Star Trek film. But a sequel to "Demon with a Glass Hand," in which an elderly Consuela once more meets and assists the immortal Trent, would surely be more rewarding.

To contact us about encyclopedia matters, send an email to Gary Westfahl.
If you find any Web site errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to our Webmaster.
Copyright © 1999–2014 Gary Westfahl All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Hosted & Designed By:
SF Site spot art