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Happy Birthday To ‘Star Trek’ September 8, 2012

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: TOS,Trek Franchise , trackback

It was 46 years ago this evening that NBC aired the first episode of a new kind of science fiction series. This new "Star Trek" was to be a serious show with a bigger budget and adult approach to drama. Creator Gene Roddenberry had a vision, and in 2012 that dream still lives on. So tonight TrekMovie remembers how it all started and takes a look back at some videos from the beginning of Star Trek.


46 years ago – don’t miss Star Trek…in color!

After making not one but two pilots for the show, Gene Roddenberry finally convinced NBC to pick up his "wagon train to the stars" sci-fi series. Roddenberry was convinced a serious sci-fi show could be done for adults in prime time and he convinced NBC too, after retooling to add a bit more action, adventure and of course…COLOR! Here is an NBC promo for the series.

The show premiered on Thursday September 8th. NBC decided not to run the pilot ("Where No Man Has Gone Before") first and instead picked the eighth episode produced as it was more of a traditional feeling space adventure, including a space monster! Here is NBC’s preview for "The Man Trap"

The show began facing skepticism. In a negative review Variety predicted the show "won’t work," call it "dreary and confusing." TV Guide agreed, saying that "the sky’s not the limit for this Trek." However it caught on, especially with younger fans and it was picked up for a second season. The show eventually struggled with the ratings, especially for a series that was so expensive, but a fan campaign helped get it picked up for a third and final season.

Star Trek lives!

Of course the original Star Trek series was just the beginning of what has become a pop culture phenomenon and a franchise with four additional series bringing 25 seasons of live action television and spawning eleven feature films, with another due in 2013. Terms like "live long and prosper," "beam me up," "warp factor," and "boldly go" are known around the world as part of this expansive universe of Trek.

Today also seems like an appropriate time to repost a fantastic video by our friend Paul "Spockboy" Sibbald, called "Star Trek Torch." The video honors the original series and the passing of the torch to the new Star Trek. Recently Paul told me that Leonard Nimoy himself sent him a compliment on it.






1. tom - September 8, 2012


2. crazydaystrom - September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Star Trek! I remember when you were born.

I’m getting old. :-(


3. Danpaine - September 8, 2012

Good Lord. It’s a month older than I am. What a great ride. A lifetime.

4. NCM - September 8, 2012

I was wondering when the site would send out a Happy Birthday to Trek. Thanks, Anthony. I love Sibbald’s little production.

5. Vultan - September 8, 2012

What were the reviewers at Variety and TV Guide smoking?

6. Trekker5 - September 8, 2012

Happy B-Day Star Trek!! :) If not for you we wouldn’t be on this comment board or website! What a ride it has been,and keeps on goin’ where no man has gone before! :)

7. The Trek Nerd - September 8, 2012

Happy birthday, Trek! In the right hands, the best is yet to come. And that is saying an awful awful lot. :)

8. CmdrR - September 8, 2012

Great collection.

We were so spoiled for a while there, when we got Paul’s work almost every week. Maybe a “best of” segment???

It’s hard to believe that NBC’s straight-to-the-monsters approach would bring any real fan of science fiction to Trek. Glad I missed that promo when I was a kid… and watched the show.

Thanks, Anthony.

9. Montreal_Paul - September 8, 2012

Love that video! Well done Spockboy! Excellent job!

Happy Birthday Star Trek!! I will be celebrating next week at the Montreal Comicon with Kirk & Picard!

10. Greg Stamper - September 8, 2012

Cheers to the ongoing Saga.
Great Video by Spockboy.

11. Rose by any other name is Keachick - September 8, 2012

Despite the obvious fake sets, the acting and dialogue just feels as fresh as ever. This is what makes for a CLASSIC.

12. Nony - September 8, 2012

Happy birthday Trek! Love that video.

13. AJ - September 8, 2012

Don’t look back., guys

And don’t f*ck it up,please.

14. Daoud - September 8, 2012

Star Trek’s first filmed scene, Dr. Boyce prescribing alcohol to Captain Pike… was filmed 27 November 1964. I prefer to celebrate that date, as I was also born on that very same date. ;)
But Happy First Broadcast Anniversary, Star Trek! :)
And thank you again, Paul Sibbald. I’ve always loved all the graphics you put in from the TOS and TAS eras!

15. Andy Patterson - September 8, 2012

Yes, Happy Birthday indeed. Watching “Omega Glory” on MEtv (does everyone get that across the country? Great station!)

Am celebrating it as I write this. I was shocked and perplexed when I found out there were some who thought despairingly of this episode. It’s always been one of my favorites. I would argue that it is one of the best representations of all the principles and their characters. Great Kirk Fu moments. Great Kirk, Spock and McCoy moments. And Ron Tracy! Someone I’ve often said may be the greatest villain in the old show. (and might I add, maybe the best role Morgan Woodward ever played.) You didn’t mess with Ron. Strong. Brutal. Fun.

And now to watch that Spockboy video.

16. KamenRider - September 8, 2012

Speaking of TOS, I got an email yesterday from La La Land Records saying that the TOS Soundtrack Collection will be sold as a 15 disc set in a limited edition run of 6000 units, and will cost $224.99.

17. MC1 Doug - September 8, 2012

According to Memory Alpha, “Man Trap” was the sixth episode to be filmed.

18. Hat Rick - September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

P.S.: At 46 years of age, you, Star Trek, are younger than I. So, never consider yourself “old” — you are 46 years YOUNG.

And you’ve never looked better!

19. Hat Rick - September 8, 2012

I want to say, having just seen Spockboy’s enormously moving video, that he has done all fans a favor by committing to celluloid the feelings of those of us who appreciate the passage of time and the necessity of giving the power of artistry to the next generation to follow.

Our time here is limited. Our legacy is all we really have.

Star Trek Lives — in us, and in posterity.

20. Dep1701 - September 8, 2012

Happy birthday to my favorite obsession….still “boldly going” at forty-six years young.

21. Lostrod - September 8, 2012

Yea, I was there to watch the premier on NBC. Although, at the time I preferred Lost in Space …

Back then there was only one TV in the house. I had to fight with the siblings about which show to watch.

That was a great era. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on Sunday, Lost in Space on Wednesday, Star Trek on Thursday and Time Tunnel on Friday. The golden age of Sci-Fi …



22. Thomas Jensen - September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday to the one and only original Star Trek.

23. jesustrek - September 8, 2012

happy Birthday STAR TREK

24. Danpaine - September 8, 2012

In honor of the 46th birthday of Trek and the recent passing of William Windom, I’m currently enjoying the remastered version of The Doomsday Machine. Absolutely wonderful.

I agree with the previous poster…Mr. Orci, JJ, producers…please don’t F this next one up. Regards.

25. Gary S. - September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Star Trek!
only 4 years until 50, WOO HOO!

26. Trekprincess - September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Star Trek I loved Sibbald’s video tribute :):):) <3<3

27. sean - September 8, 2012


Great character moments, terrible plot. Yangs and Kohms? It sends my cringemeter into overdrive every time.

28. @TM_Basuki.twitter.com - September 8, 2012

Happy 46th anniversary STAR TREK. To inspire us a more hitec human gadgets and utilities and open more scientific possibilities to our limited knowledge: an endless hope for mankind too. Best wishes from ANTHO AQ SOEWITADHIE in Indonesia.

29. Buzz Cagney - September 8, 2012

Star Track? Never heard of it. Is that the one with Dr Spock in? ;-p

Happy Birthday, Trek, and LLaP

30. ksmsscu - September 8, 2012

Happy 46th, Trek! I was 12, the perfect age for a bold new vision and wonder and fanboydom when “The Man Trap” flickered across my color TV. From GR to JJ, from WS to CP, from RM to BC, you’ve almost never let me down, and for me and my family, and for all you’ve inspired, I hope and look forward to cheering you on and never letting you down. Paul, bravo for your heartfelt, yet dynamic tribute.

Thanks, Anthony. Trek Lives — and we feel young.

31. William Kirk - September 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Trek, and LLaP :-)

32. Douglas - September 9, 2012

Thank you for the videos and remembering of ST’s birthday. These are great and I hope you occasionally post similar original creations.

Also, No. 15
I get MEtv on Verizon and I saw “Omega Glory” last night as well. I really enjoyed watching it again. That station doesn’t broadcast in HD but it’s the only place I can find TOS being played to get my occasional Trek fix. Even though they are not in HD, these are the remastered episodes with upgraded special effects. And yes, Morgan Woodward is pitch perfect in this episode. I also enjoyed Leonard Nimoy’s explanation of events as the truth of the episode is discovered. Ahh, the classics.

33. NCC-73515 - September 9, 2012

Renegade trailer featuring Koenig and Russ:

34. chrisfawkes.com - September 9, 2012

I used to love staying up late to watch Star Trek as a kid.

I remember rumors of them bringing Trek back as a movie during the 70’s. years before they actually did.

Thank you all involved for the years of great fun and the memories. Thank you Anthony and company for running this site.

And a special thank you to whoever cast Jerry Ryan as 7 of 9.

35. ruue - September 9, 2012

Happy Birthday to one of the greatest joys of my lifetime.
Love you Star Trek!

36. Sebastian S. - September 9, 2012

My wife and I celebrated by watching “City On the Edge Of Forever” remastered last night, followed by the ST Christie’s auction documentary.

And I’m also reading “Star Trek FAQ” by Mark Clark.
Actually learned a few things about TOS that I did NOT know; and after 40 years of fandom it’s nice that I can still be surprised by any information on ST-TOS….

A great read for any other old Trekkies out there… ;-D

37. Andy Patterson - September 9, 2012

@ 27

Yeah, I know. I’ve heard that argument before. I never thought that. It seemed no more ridiculous to me than a walking lizard Gorn, or any other plot contrivance they came up with. Anyway, isn’t that supposed to all be explained with ,…(somebody’s – forget the name) law of parallel evolution…or whatever it is. i mean when there’s the fact that most scientist still say light speed space travel, transporters, and other things about the show are impossible, I stopped worrying about plausible long ago.

As far as great Trek though,…. this is another example of seeing more of Star Fleet. We see another star ship. Another example of all the important higher ups knowing Jim Kirk. You can see the mutual respect for this young dynamic commander, much like Doomsday Machine showed. Tracy comes over to him,…hand extended. “Jim Kirk”.

And again, some great Kirk, Spock, McCoy moments. And the several fights between Tracy and Kirk (doing their own stunts) — great stuff! Don’t mess with Ron. Think if he hadn’t just gotten out of a war with thousands of Yangs. I think he’d have taken Kirk. And he wasn’t even genetically enhanced.

And that guy playing Cloud Williams,….savage “almost insane, Captain”. From his opening scene of almost being beheaded (how many shows open with that?), to his fight with Kirk in the cell. Great character.

And the Asiatics…great stuff! “They carry fireboxes!”

Regardless of the plot,….great defining character moments for all.

And on a final note…..too bad Ron Tracy was a one shot. Such a powerful character. Let’s hear it for Morgan Woodward! (who lives very close to me) If there was anyone who needed to be revisited,…that was the one I thought was just laid out there on the plate.

38. Andy Patterson - September 9, 2012

And this scene alone…..more Trek lore and Star Fleet back ground….

“Captain Ronald Tracey, as per Starfleet Command,
regulation 7, paragraph 4 …”
“I must now consider myself under arrest,
unless in the presence
of the most senior fellow officers presently available,
I give satisfactory answer to those charges
which you now bring …
et cetera, et cetera.”
“Those are the first words duty required you to say to me,
and you said them.
You’re covered.
Now suppose we go on to the next subject …
which is …”
Direct, succinct.
Answer —
No native to this planet
has ever had any trace of any kind of disease.
How long would a man live if all disease were erased?
Tell Captain Kirk your age.”
“I have seen 42 years of the redbird –”

I mean,….great stuff!

39. trekboi - September 9, 2012

What will they do for the 50th anniversary?

40. Captain Adam T. Monroe - September 9, 2012

today marks the 46th anniversary of the premier of STAR TREK on NBC back on Thursday, September 8, 1966. This would turn out to be Gene Roddenberry’s claim to eternal fame and fortune, and be promised as a “Wagon Train to the Stars.”

Studio and network executives were no different than they are like now: a corporation of individuals who only had one best interest in mind: their wallets. When Mr. Roddenberry turned in the finished first pilot for Star Trek back in 1964, nobody showed any interest. It would be Lucille Balls’ production company DESILU that finally saw the show for what it represented (a path to peace and freedom) and gave Mr. Roddenberry the tools and resources to make his dream a reality.

Once he finished filming the first pilot, he would begin to market it to the only three TV networks that existed at the time: American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and National Broadcasting Company (NBC). All three networks turned down the first pilot, mostly because since they didn’t understand the plot they assumed nobody else would either. The National Broadcasting Company, however, did see potential with this new prototype genre, half Western and half sci-fi, that they would be the only network to give Mr. Roddenberry a second chance at turning in a pilot.

Mr. Roddenberry learned a lot from what others deemed as his failure, and knew in order to make his dream a reality, he had to conform — to compromise — to the present day’s mentality. In order to capture mainstream America back then – and even today – you had to thrill them constantly. If the audience felt bored or that the plot wasn’t going to make sense within 30 seconds, you had lost them completely.

Mr. Roddenberry started from scratch, and came up with an entirely new premise for his dream. Only a few core aspects from his original pilot would remain intact: the starship, the alien crew member, and his wife, Majel Barret Roddenberry – although casted now as Nurse Christine Chapel and not NUMBER ONE, the first officer. This was one of the first of many battles he had lost with the network executives, and this was where he made the decision to never let them have the upper hand again.

His love for his wife would only be equaled by the love he had for his children, and STAR TREK was his vision of a world he wanted him and his family to live in. A world where people didn’t judge you for the color of your skin, what gender you were, or even what species you were. In this fantasy world that would become the 23rd century, nothing really mattered except the journey into exploring our own humanity and to seek out other life and civilizations that were in the process of doing the same thing.

The majority in power back in 1964 through what would begin the 1970’s unfortunately were either too blind, too greedy, or just too scared to allow Mr. Roddenberry the tools, resources, and creative freedom required to make this magical new world a reality, at least on our televisions. In 1969, NBC would cancel the show for the second and final time, and the world would soon forget STAR TREK even existed.

Until the unexpected came along … syndication and a loyal fan base that would not take no for an answer.

41. Red Dead Ryan - September 9, 2012


Great post! You summed it all up perfectly. Well said!

42. Dave R - September 9, 2012

Man trap was the 4th episode produced as a series. The cage and where no man has gone before we’re pilots and not regular series episodes.

By the time NBC was ready to air the premier episode, they only had 4 complete ones to choose from.

43. DeShonn Steinblatt - September 9, 2012


Star Trek 3

44. Hat Rick - September 10, 2012

Come one, everyone. Only 44 posts (counting this one) wishing Star Trek a happy birthday?

On a Trek site?

I wish I had Photoshop so I could do a Kayla Maroney meme for this state of affairs. I’d put Spock ears on the character. And the meme would be entitled, “Unimpressed Star Trek Fan is Not Impressed.” (Sadly, it would then stand the risk of being misappropriated for use against the ST title….)

Oh, and so that this post might count toward the total: Once again, Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

45. Sebastian S. - September 10, 2012

# 44

They’re holding back for the 50th birthday, maybe… ;-D

46. Anthony Thompson - September 10, 2012

The MAN is back!

47. Adam Bomb 1701 - September 10, 2012

#40 – Sorry to burst your bubble, but – Majel Barrett wasn’t Roddenberry’s wife at the time of the first pilot, she was his mistress. Eileen Rexroat Roddenberry was his wife at the time. Roddenberry divorced Eileen and married Majel in 1969. Nichelle Nichols was also another of Roddenberry’s mistresses during his first marriage. His assistant, Susan Sackett, was his mistress during his marriage to Majel.
And, “Trek” never really had that big of a budget to work with. “City on the Edge of Forever” was probably the series’ most expensive episode, at $262,000. The normal per-episode budget was around $185,000. It was cut for the third season, although I don’t know by how much. “Mission Impossible” on CBS, which was also produced by Desilu (and then Paramount) had a higher per-episode budget than “Trek” did, as their ratings were better.

48. Adam Bomb 1701 - September 10, 2012

“The Sky’s Not The Limit On This Trek” was a line taken from the Fall Preview issue’s blurb about the series, and not a review. Cleveland Amory was TV Guide’s critic at the time, and (IIRC) he gave the show a negative review based on his viewing of “The Man Trap”. Also, IIRC, a while later, he re-evauated the series, and gave it a much more positive review.

49. Charla - September 10, 2012

Some good tidbits of trivia within this thread. Thanks to all who contributed! Interesting stuff.

50. Anthony Thompson - September 10, 2012

47. Adam Bomb

Why are you so obsessed w/ Gene Rioddenberry’s personal life, homeboy?

51. Marbpl - September 10, 2012

Counting the two pilots, “Man Trap” was the sixth (not eigth) episode produced. There was also an AmoryTV Guide a review of the episode “Shore Leave”: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_of7mShM5N1g/S3iW7u_Ni_I/AAAAAAAAA00/52u8clyIdj8/s1600-h/trek_talk_july_74_issue_35.jpg

52. Lt. Bailey - September 10, 2012

Happy Birthday.

53. Starbase Britain - September 10, 2012

Still the Best STAR TREK incarnation ever!

Happy Birthday to The Original series.

Many happy re-runs!!

Greg UK

54. Adam Bomb 1701 - September 10, 2012

#50 – I’m not obesessed; I was setting the record straight for Capt. Monroe, and I just reiterated what I thought most “Star Trek” fans knew about Mr. Roddenberry. I actually met Susan Sackett at a New York “Trek” convention in September of ’77. We had a good conversation, actually. Not about “Trek”, but my job search prospects. Which were a bit grim at the time; they got better for me a few months later. Whether or not she was Roddenberry’s mistress at that time, I don’t know. And, I’d rather not.
#51 – I thought it was “Man Trap” that was reviewed by Mr. Amory, now I remember it was “Shore Leave. Thanks for jogging my (aging) memory.
Anyway, Happy Birthday, “Star Trek”. My first episode was “Balance of Terror”. In its first NBC run, no less. I was confused about it, particularly why there were two men with pointed ears. I let it go, but came back to the series a few months later, at the urging of a former friend from grammar school. And, I stuck with it. Yes, even when it was on Fridays at 10. May the “Classic 79″ live long and prosper for another 46 years.

55. Andy Patterson - September 10, 2012

@ 47, 50, 54

Even after hearing most of that before….all the sordid details are entertaining I’ll admit.

56. Stargazer54 - September 11, 2012

Just saw the Spockboy “Torch” video. Awesome.

Excellent editing.

Amazing we’re all still here after 46 years.

My first 1st run episode – Naked Time. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Scotty: I can’t change the law of physics! I’ve got to have 30 minutes!


57. I am not Herbert - September 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, my old friend =)

Long Live Star Trek!!!

58. Xplodin_Nacelle - September 11, 2012

The Torch is a cool video.

I also stumbled upon the Animation Test for the Matt Jeffries Phase Two Enterprise, which proves that it could’ve worked for the movies. I especially like the fact that the nacelles still had the Bussards glowing in front. As much as I love the Ent A/Movie 1701, it was a detail I missed from TOS

59. A14U - September 12, 2012

The torch was passed…but dropped by the JJ crew.

60. Basement Blogger - September 12, 2012

As a kid, I used to look up at the stars and think about Star Trek’s opening star field. Happy Birthday Star Trek.

61. Hugh Hoyland - September 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Star Trek! And heres to many more. :]

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