Perry: Tomorrow Is Yesterday’s Captain John Christopher


Roger Perry, who played Air Force Captain John Christopher in the original series episode Tomorrow is Yesterday, remembers landing the job and he shares a Shatner makeup room moment.

Being cast as Christopher was a snap for Perry. “I remember that it was one of the easiest jobs I ever got,” he explained. “To this day, I don’t understand why it was so easy.”

“I went there and his office was on the second floor of some building there,” said Perry. “I walked into the office and there was a secretary, and no one else. She said, ‘Just a moment.’ She announced me and I went in. Michael [O’Herlihy] was behind a desk and there was no one else in the office. We talked for about five or ten minutes and he said, ‘Well, you’re right for this. Let’s go do it.’ That was it. I guess he pictured the character a certain way and I fit that image. I didn’t have to read. I didn’t have to do anything. We just talked. So I always remember that experience, and I wish I had more of them!”

One of Perry’s most vivid memories of filming the episode had to do with what happened before the cameras began rolling for the day. “The unusual thing, but I have to say this because I remember it,” said Perry. “The very first day going into makeup I was in the makeup room and [William] Shatner was a couple of chairs down. I remember looking over and I was very shocked because they were putting his toupee on. I said, ‘Wait a minute. He’s a young man.’ At that time he was very young and I thought, ‘Well, that’s interesting.’ I didn’t know at that time whether they were doing it because of the character. Then I heard later on that he’d been wearing a toupee for a long, long time.”

Perry found the story of Tomorrow is Yesterday to be intriguing. “I liked the whole idea of the episode,” he said. “Going back in time, it’s very confusing and mysterious, but it’s also fascinating. I liked the idea that [Christopher] found out he was going to have a son, and we had a lot of fun with that.”

What would Perry do differently if he could redo his work on the episode? “I watched it again a few months ago, before I went to Las Vegas for the big convention there,” said Perry, “and I remember watching the scene when he’s first beamed up and saying to my wife, Joyce [Bulifant], who was watching it with me, ‘I think maybe I could have done more at that particular moment with that particular scene.’ I said that because one minute he’s in a fighter plane and the next moment he’s in this strange situation where he’s in this room with these different people. It’s such a momentous moment for him that I think I should have tried some different things.”

Perry’s post-Star Trek work included shows such as Love, American Style, The Facts of Life, Barnaby Jones, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Falcon Crest, The F.B.I., and Ironside.


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