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Created by Gene Roddenberry, STAR TREK is arguably the most famous television series ever made.
It all started in 1964 with the pilot episode, 'The Cage'. The late Jeffrey Hunter played Captain Christopher Pike, and Leonard Nimoy a very hirsute Mr. Spock, with eyebrows Denis Healey would have killed for. Susan Oliver played the drop-dead gorgeous Vina, as the love interest. Majel Barrett (later to marry Roddenberry) played a first officer, and was later to play Nurse Christine Chapel, and Deanna Troi's mother in THE NEXT GENERATION. Along with Nimoy, she was the only original face, when STAR TREK became a series. 'Bones' Boyce (not McCoy) was even played by John Hoyt, and not DeForest Kelley.
'The Cage' was made possible by the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnez company, Desilu. 'The Cage' was a weird tale of illusions, and parts of it were used in the STAR TREK episode, 'The Menagerie', with the bald-headed Talosians reprised, and a wrecked Captain Pike.
NBC didn't want Mr. Spock for the second pilot, 'Where No Man Has Gone Before', as he looked too Satanic. Roddenberry stood firm, and the rest is history, as they say. Missing from the original pilot were the Number One character played by Majel Barrett, Dr. Boyce, and Navigator Tyler.
The first-ever STAR TREK episode in the STAR TREK series was 'The Man Trap', which was about a monster which metamorphoses into human form, attractive to members of the Enterprise.
In all there were 79 50 minute, colour episodes of STAR TREK, running over three seasons. 'The Man Trap' was screened on American TV on September 8th, 1966. In the U.K., the series ran thus on the BBC: 12th July 1969 to 27th December 1969. Second series: 6th April 1970 to 7th September 1970; third series: 7th October 1970 to 10th February 1971. Colour was introduced on 15th November 1969, on BBC1.
In the first season there were 29 episodes; in season two it was 26; in the third and final series it was 24.
'The Cage' was not shown on British network TV, until August 19th 1992, on BBC2. 'The Empath', 'Whom Gods Destroy', and 'Plato's Step-Children' were not shown on British network TV until 1993/94 - again on BBC2. The latter had an inter-racial kiss between Kirk and Uhura, though no convincing reason was ever given by the BBC, re banning. The other two episodes saw McCoy tortured ('The Empath'), and Spock ('Whom Gods Destroy') having a bit of an ear shot off.
In all there have been eleven STAR TREK films, of varied quality, and varied success at the box office, which started from STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE in 1979. This was followed by STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN in 1982; STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, 1984; STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME, 1986; STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER, 1989; STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, 1992; STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, 1994; STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, 1996; STAR TREK: INSURRECTION, 1998; STAR TREK: NEMESIS, 2002; STAR TREK, 2009 There have been four TV spin-offs: STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION; STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE; STAR TREK: VOYAGER; STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE.
Seen in over 40 countries, STAR TREK is the most widely syndicated show in TV history. Gene Roddenberry was a published poet, and it shines through in the programme. Our imagination has been stoked with Romulans, Klingons, Vulcans, and even Harry Mudd and the accursed Tribbles!
Beauties and beasties lined up to appear, and if a beast was made to look more fearsome with close-up shots, so the soft focus was used to good effect on the likes of Joan Collins, viz. 'The City On The Edge Of Forever'. There was the unexpected, with Spock falling in love, and talking to rocks, and snazzy gimmicks like the transportation process. Among the fans of STAR TREK was Dr. Martin Luther King, who persuaded Nichelle Nichols to continue as Uhura, after she'd planned to leave after the first series. He said: "Your part is too important. You're saying something for women, you're saying something for African-Americans. You're saying something for all human kind." Over a million people sent protest letters to NBC, after rumours that the first series would be the last, so it was a programme being cherished by much of human kind, at least. The TV shows, cartoon series, films, computer games, books, magazines, etc., symbolize the many ways the STAR TREK phenomenon has continued to endure the fickleness of fashion. It is indeed a classic.
This Paul Rance article is amended and updated from an article which originally appeared in issue 4 of EASTERN RAINBOW, in 1994.
Star Trek : The Original Series Episodes
Episode 1: The Cage (Pilot)
STAR TREK ON CD - AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON.CO.UK
STAR TREK REGULAR CAST
CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK (WILLIAM SHATNER)
* From Season 2.
Illustration and image manipulation on this page by Paul Rance
Some Star Trek factoids
The first space shuttle was named the Enterprise, after 400,000+ people wrote in suggesting it.
80% of STAR TREK fan club members are female. There are more than 500 STAR TREK magazines.
Captain Kirk never said, "Beam me up, Scotty." It was used in the cartoon series, though.
Gene Roddenberry originally wanted DeForest Kelley to play Spock, and Jack ('Hawaii Five-O') Lord to play Kirk, but Lord wanted 50% of the show's takings, and Kelley refused to play Spock, ending up as Dr. McCoy instead.
William Shatner had a nervous breakdown in 1967 after the filming of the last episode. He was 'out of it' for the next 5 years.
Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 2, Episodes 4 & 5: Mudd's Women/The Enemy Within
Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 14, Episodes 27 & 28: Errand of Mercy/ The City on the Edge of Forever
The Klingons made their first appearance in Star Trek in the episode, 'Errand of Mercy', and if you want to watch just one episode from the original series this is the one to go for.
Classic Star Trek Episode Summaries
Copyright © Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
WILLIAM SHATNER STAR TREK BOOKS
available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
The Captain's Peril
Captain's Glory (Star Trek: All)
Sites worth boldly going to...
Eric Weisstein's plot summary of episodes from the first series. Give this fella a medal somebody! Eric's Excruiatingly Detailed Star Trek (TOS) Plot Summaries
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