May 8, 2021
The Scopes Monkey Trial, Inherit the Wind, and DS9’s “In the Hands of the Prophets.”
The trial of US high school teacher John Scopes in 1925 was perhaps the definitive 20th-century showdown between religion and science. Indicted for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in defiance of creationist state law, Scopes turned the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, into the center of a political carnival. Household names headed up the legal teams on both sides, vast crowds packed into the courthouse, and performing chimps were stationed outside among the lemonade stands to provide entertainment for those who couldn't get a ringside seat.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Clara Cook to look at how the Scopes Trial—and it’s most well-known cinematic recreation in the lightly fictionalized 1960 film Inherit the Wind—featured as a major inspiration for Deep Space Nine’s Season-One finale, “In the Hands of the Prophets.” Penned by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, this classic episode eschewed the temptation of a shocking cliffhanger ending in favor of a complex political and philosophical drama which staked a claim to the kind of show DS9 would go on to be.
Inherit the Wind (00:04:25)
Fire and Brimstone (00:29:05)
Galileo, Galileo (01:06:40)
Religious Education (01:28:30)
Tony Black (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer)