50 years ago today Star Trek first beamed onto television sets across the nation. The NBC series lasted only three years, but it made a lasting impact on pop culture and spawned 13 movies, a cartoon series, 4 TV spin-offs (with a fifth on the way), and countless references in our lingo. In order to celebrate the day, here are some things you didn’t know about the original series.
Canada Got It First. The series actually premiered two days earlier in Canada then it did in the U.S. CTV aired the pilot on September 6th 1966.
Star Trek’s Pilot Was Originally Turned Down. Star Trek fans are well aware that the first episode of Star Trek that aired on T.V. is called The Man Trap, but that it actually wasn’t the first episode made. The unaired pilot was called The Cage, and eventually became a two part episode called The Menagerie. The Cage was turned down by NBC, so they retooled things, added Captain Kirk, Chief Engineer Scotty, and Lieutenant Sulu, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Lucille Ball Had A Part To Play. Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball co-owned the production company Desilu Productions, which produced the Lucy Show as well as Star Trek and Mission Impossible. Desilu Productions though felt as if they were in over their head, and almost cancelled Star Trek. Lucille Ball prevented that from happening though, as she was convinced the series would be a hit.
Star Trek Set Syndication Records. For a show to last only three season, and make nearly $750,000 for each time a repeat episode aired 20 years after it originally aired was unheard of, but by 1986 that is exactly what Star Trek was doing.
Three Of The Stars Have Recorded Music. You might be surprised at this one, but Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols have all released music. They really aren’t for everybody, in fact only the biggest of Star Trek fans may even care that this music exists, but it’s a part of pop culture you really can’t ignore.
Sulu And Uhura Never Had A First Name. If you’ve watched the Star Trek movies, or read some of the books, you might be surprised to learn that Sulu never had a first name in the original series. The first name Hikaru didn’t come around until a 1981 novel was released. It was this same novel that gave Uhura her name as well.