The Naked Time’s silly scenes were hard for Bruce Hyde
Bruce Hyde was only twenty-four when he got the part of Kevin Riley in Star Trek’s “The Naked Time.” And he’d spent most of his short acting career on a theater stage and not on a studio stage. The differences were alarming as he was used to having an audience to play to. When something was funny, people would laugh, but that wasn’t the case inside a studio. Everyone is supposed to be silent while the acting is happening.
According to a quote in Star Trek 365 The Original Series, Hyde wasn’t comfortable with the silence. As he played the part of the inebriated Riley, who staggered and sung while being holed up in the engineering room of the Enterprise, he had a difficult time when no one laughed at his antics. No feedback was strange to him so he struggled with continuing…until the director Marc Daniels, took matters into his own hands…literally.
The director had to keep The Naked Time on track
Daniels had previously directed Hyde in a successful play, “The Girl in the Freudian Slip” and had become somewhat of a father figure to the young actor. So with Hyde being so stiff on camera, Daniels knew he had to do something. So he started playfully choking Hyde in front of the camera, trying to get him to loosen up and be more comfortable on set. And it worked.
Viewers certainly couldn’t tell that Hyde had ever been uneasy on the set as his scenes came across just as they should have—like a man who’d had a few too many down at the barn and thought everyone would appreciate his serenade.
Though Hyde retired after acting for a short time and later became a professor of communication studies, he left a memorable mark with his first of only two episodes of Star Trek. As for Marc Daniels, he did pop up again on camera in an uncredited appearance as Dr. Jackson Roykirk in the episode “The Changeling.”