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Mythbusters to test Star Trek mythology

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 20th 2009 2:01PM
How cool is this? On Mythbusters, the guys are going to test the Captain Kirk Gorn Cannon. If you have no idea what that is, you -- my Star Trek friend -- are not a Trekkie (or a Trekker depending on which camp you follow). If you do know, you have to watch, and if you don't know but are curious, you still have to watch Mythbusters on Discovery, Monday, December 28 at 9 p.m.

Basically, the Mythbusters will take a great scene from Star Trek and bring it to life. In the season one episode, Captain Kirk is put on a barren planet and forced to battle the commander of an alien ship in one on one battle. Some super alien is manipulating the two into fighting with the fate of their ships on the line.

You might remember this episode -- "Arena" -- as William Shatner versus the worst-costumed alien ever in ST history. It's a guy in a rubber lizard suit. At the climax of the episode, when Kirk is getting his ass kicked by the Gorn -- that's the name of the lizard man species -- Jim realizes that the elements to create gunpowder are right there on the planet.

With Spock and the crew watching from the bridge of the Enterprise, urging him on and explaining to the audience what the hell is going on, Kirk builds a makeshift cannon out of bamboo, sulfur, coal, potassium nitrate and diamonds. He uses it to blast the Gorn and win the battle.

I always thought that was a great pre-MacGyver turn in Star Trek. It was brilliant. However, does it really work... could such a cannon be concocted like that? That's what Mythbusters plans to test. Take a look at the preview:

If you want to watch the original ST episode, check out "Arena" on SlashControl.

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Actually bamboo and gunpoweder was used by the Philippinos both during the rebelion against the US in 1898 and again in WW II. It is however a single shot device.

December 25 2009 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ervin Wolff

It's not a bazooka [a rocket launcher]; a simple cannon.

December 25 2009 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Pate

This article smells like vasoline and tissue.

December 25 2009 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The general concept of the "Arena" episode is now new. I read a short story - maybe late 50's/early 60's vintage - that may have been the basis for it. But each on a one-occupant ship, with theirt species at war. However, in this scenario, the Earther and the alien were separated by a force field. They could throw inert objects through it, but not physically pass through it. Alien is physically weaker, but more intilligent and crafty than our guy (eg, builds a catapult to hurl rocks). But, Earther finds a way to defeat the force field (slips thru) and beats the tar outta the alien till he's dead. No mercy in that story!

December 25 2009 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Alex - no big deal. AJo has been naked - butt naked sometimes - in a lot of movies!

December 25 2009 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roger Taulbee


December 25 2009 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would like them to try ri beam the blonde over to my crib. Myth or possibility. Hmmm would probably have a better chance beaming her than her consenting.

December 25 2009 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

after they failed with their first attempt to build the ancient Greek laser -- why would anyone even trust this show anymore? Its like Penn and Tellers Bulls--t show -- once they claimed second hand smoke wasnt harmful they proved the were full of the title of their of their show.

December 25 2009 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John F.C. Taylor

If Mythbusters can make a cannon of duct tape and that works, I'm sure that the Kirk cannon will too. Polls taken have always shown that Kirk was the preferred captain over Picard. Ever notice? Even when Picard was smiling, he looked like he was in pain. Bamboo cannons are nothing new. When the Chinese used gunpowder, the cannons were bamboo.

December 25 2009 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wish Belkin

The bamboo cannon would have blown up in his face.
Shame it didn't actually.
Love the show, could never stand Shatner.

December 25 2009 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Wish Belkin's comment
Todd LeBaron

Loved the show but couldn't stand Shatner? How does THAT work? The original Star Trek without Kirk? That's like saying you loved the original SNL but hated the cast!

December 25 2009 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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