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Stephen Kandel (30 April 192721 October 2023; age 96) was a prolific television writer who produced episodes for many popular series, ranging from Sea Hunt in the 1950s through MacGyver in the 1980s, with stops in between at Star Trek: The Original Series, Mannix, Wonder Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Banacek, and others. Any regular watcher of US television series in the 1960s and 1970s has probably seen at least one Kandel story. (He is not to be confused with A-Team creator Stephen J. Cannell.)

In addition to his produced scripts, he also drafted a story called "Warrior's World" in April, 1965 for Star Trek. It saw some preliminary pre-production work in the form of memos and meetings but it was not produced.

Star Trek[]

Kandel wrote material for two episodes of The Original Series and two of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Three of these involve the lovable rogue Harcourt Fenton Mudd.

Harry Mudd was inspired by the fact that NBC had announced fears that the first Star Trek pilot episode, "The Cage", would not be understood by its audience. Kandel later recounted, "I said, 'What if we start with a character who isn't alien or highly technologized, but rather somebody with whom the audience would easily identify?' What we came up with was a roofing salesman, a con man." (Starlog issue #117, p. 44) Kandel also stated, "I originally had the idea of a kind of a traveling salesman and con man – the medicine salesman in The Wizard of Oz, that ends up as the Wizard, an interstellar con man hustling whatever he can hustle; a lighthearted, cheerful, song-and-dance man version of a pimp."

Stephen Kandel was given the chance to develop one of Gene Roddenberry's story outlines, "The Women", which was basically about "space hookers" bound to be sold as wives on a distant planet by an "intergalactic pimp", named "Harry Patton". Kandel felt the story lacked a focal point character, and merged it with his idea of the charismatic con man. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, pp. 43 & 133)

His non-Mudd episode, TAS: "The Jihad", deals with the difficult problem of religious fanaticism. Kandel had also worked on Mission: Impossible, and wanted to bring a similar concept to Star Trek. Kandel recalled his idea for this installment; "'Jihad' was an idea I'd had for a long time. It was a message story and difficult to sell on network television. Network executives would have said, 'My God, what are you doing? That's a message story!' I jumped at the opportunity to drop it into a Star Trek format, which we did." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 99)

Other work[]

Starting with film writing in the mid-1950s, Kandel subsequently wrote episodes for many popular TV series, including Sea Hunt, The Rogues, Batman, I Spy, The Iron Horse (writer and associate producer), It Takes a Thief, Bracken's World (starring Linda Harrison), The Immortal, Hawaii Five-O, Medical Center, Cannon (writer and executive story consultant, 47 episodes), Mission: Impossible (writer and story editor), Banacek, Harry O, The Six Million Dollar Man, Barnaby Jones, The Bionic Woman, Switch (story editor and writer), Wonder Woman, Hart to Hart (writer and story editor) and MacGyver (executive story consultant, writer and producer, 53 episodes).


Further reading[]

  • "Stephen Kandel, His Man Mudd", Edward Gross, Starlog, issue 117, April 1987, pp. 44-45

External links[]