Monday, September 22, 2014

Character Insight No. 113: Cyrano Jones

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.


Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile a character who spanned three television series in Star Trek, that man being Cyrano Jones.
 Cyrano Jones, 2268.jpg
("The man who brought you Tribbles!") 

Jones makes his first appearance on the iconic Trouble With Tribbles episode. He is a trader located on a space station and pawning goods like gems, tribbles, and glow water while the Klingons in the area plot to take over Sherman's Planet. The ensuing infestation of the station as well as the Enterprise leads to Jones being sentenced to a 20 year prison sentence for transporting dangerous lifeforms. He will spend most of this prison sentence cleaning up the mess left by the tribble infestation. At least he will always have a warm and soft place to take a nap!

Of course, a weasel like Cyrano Jones can't be held down by a prison sentence, so he escapes and travels to a Klingon planet to sell more tribbles. He also acquires a genetically-engineered tribble predator called a glommer, which he then tries to smuggle off the planet. The Enterprise catches Jones and forces him to return the glommer to the Klingons before giving him back over to the authorities. Here's guessing that was a place with less warm and soft places to sleep.

Quote: "Once this lovely little lady starts to show this previous little darling around, you won't be able to keep up with them."

Jones is also one of the charactrers who appears in the DS9 episode Trials and Tribbleations, which was the third overall appearance following those on TOS and The Animated Series. Although this type of swashbuckling trader character does not appear much following the first two series, he could very well be an inspiration for the Ferengi. Of course, Starfleet captains don't like these characters much, whether they be humans or Ferengi. 

Jones is one of only three recurring characters to be played by the same actor in TOS and TAS. His name was originally to be Cyrano Day Jaymin, but this was changed because the script didn't read well. He was also to be a planetary scout who was a gold miner of the Federation era, but this was changed because the tribble story worked better with a general tradesman rather than a planetary scout. Although it does not count as an appearance, an illustration of this character is shown while Data assimilates some Dixon Hall novels in the TNG episode The Big Goodbye.

Capt Kirk - Pick up every tribble on the space station. If you do that, I'll speak to Mr. Lurry about returning your spaceship.
Jones - It would take years!
Spock - 17.9, to be exact. 
Jones - 17.9 years!

Cyrano Jones may not have ended up as such a notorious character without the genius story of the tribbles, but we are certainly better off with the funny stories like his mixed in with the more serious adventures. He therefore serves a similar role as Q does in some episodes of the later Star Trek series. He's a largely unique recurring guest star, which makes for a better character than most which only show up on a couple or three shows.

Stanley Adams played Cyrano Jones, and his most famous appearances as an actor came in 1960s movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's and Lilies of the Field. He passed away in 1977 at the age of 62, far before his time.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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