Today should always be a holiday for Trek fans everywhere! On this day, September 8, 1966, Star Trek premiered on NBC. I doubt anyone then thought it would become a milestone in modern science fiction, and glancing at some of these reviews you could see a sense of doubt. But aren’t we lucky that it got on the air after all? To my knowledge, Star Trek was the only network TV series that got two pilots made!
Unfortunately, the original episodes were not shown in shooting order, but rather the first episode the network preferred, which was The Man Trap. (even the artwork for its premiere featured Where No Man has Gone Before!). Man Trap was a good episode, but not the best offering for a show that was attempting to be seen as serious. Although the Salt Vampire was seen sympathetically, she was still, alas, a monster, and some early critics saw little potential beyond that, probably laughing it off as another kiddie sci-fi like Lost in Space. Bit other critics saw potential, and I think if the original Trek wasn’t shoehorned into a cemetery-shift time-slot by its 3rd and final season, it might have made it to a full 5-year journey.
There’s a part of me that would have loved to see the original Trek progress into 5 seasons (up to 1971) but somehow, I think without Roddenberry as the main producer (Fred Freiberger took over in season 3) I suspect it may have gotten worse. Freiberber preferred action over deeper philosophical themes. In a way, we were lucky it ended in 1969, for I doubt it would become the timeless phenomenon it became in the decade long gap between TOS and the first movie.
It was syndication that brought it more to the masses, nation and world-wide, and when more people saw it then, NBC realized what a treasure it cast away. Fortunately for us, we can say the catchphrase which started in the ’70’s with ferocious pride: “Star Trek Lives!”
I interrupt my hiatus yet again to remind you all that today is a special anniversary! Happy 49th Star Trek! You have truly lived Long and Prospered!
(And you may notice I threw in a little shout out to Stephen Colbert, who’s Late Night Show premieres tonight on CBS) 🙂
See you on the 30th!
Corylea’s comment below inspired me to make this silly poster —
You and I have mentioned before that we both married Spocks, which I think is remarkable. Or maybe scary. 😉 Leonard Nimoy should have a tee shirt that says, “Spock: Getting geeky boys love since 1966.”
But it’s true ain’t it??? Enjoy, Therese 😛
I’m an avid classic movie buff and my go-to station on cable is TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Often I’ll be watching a old flick and suddenly I’ll think, “Hey! Wasn’t that guy on Star Trek?” Depending on the movie there could be anywhere from 1 to a half dozen or more character actors we’d recognize from Trek. Of course they did a lot of TV too! The casting directors of Trek always found the best actors they could use for the series, many who were seasoned professionals. It’s fun to see them in their other roles, and nice to know that they were well employed! Here we go…
It’s Gambit! (Universal 1966) that has FIVE Star Trek guests peppered into its cast…
Michael Caine as Harry, with his assistant Emile (John Abbott) who we knew on Star Trek as Ayelborne (Errand of Mercy)
At the airport, he meets Harry Mudd! (Roger C. Carmel as Ram)
The assistant to the rich guy they’re stealing from is Kodos the Executioner! (Arnold Moss as Abdul)
The pretty lady selling him lighter fluid is…
…(a fully clothed) Kara, the dancing girl! (Tanya Lemani) from Wolf in the Fold
And finally, when Nicole (Shirley MacLaine) tries to escape, the agent (right) at the airport is Jo Jo Kracko! (Vic Tayback) from A Piece of the Action.
Gambit was a fun movie and I recommend it for a good escape. See you next time on “Hey,That Guy was on Star Trek!”
I love this original art by Bentovoja. Spock has almost a George Harrison look here!