On September 8th, 1966, the world was transported for the first time to the 23rd century and the final frontier. On TV screens across America, "The Man Trap" introduced Star Trek and ushered in a franchise that endures to this day. Some fans recall the day, but for many more, they were too young or not even yet born to experience that moment in TV history.
"The first adult space adventure"
Although science fiction was not new, it was new to do an hour long sci-fi space drama in the evening. Star Trek was taking space adventure to the adults and treating it seriously. Here are some promos and interviews done before Star Trek aired.
Series Premiere promo [note: date for promo is Sept. 15th]
"Man Trap promo"
Interviews with Shatner and Nimoy
Much has changed in the last 42 years, politically, culturally, technologically, and more. It is a testament to the the timelessness of the characters and the stories, combined with the foresightedness of Gene Roddenberry and his writers to create a show that still resonates to this day. But to give you a sense of the tim in which Star Trek was born, here are some other examples of what that era was like.
Cars were bigger
Toys were cooler (and more dangerous)
Man was just taking his first steps into space
(Gemini 11 launched September 12th, 1966)
Men and women had their own colleges (and the men wore ties all the time)
The Beatles were ‘bigger than Jesus’
(US tour ended August 29th, 1966)
Some things stay the same…
Star Trek isn’t the only thing that has endured all these years. This year the two biggest movies were Iron Man and The Dark Knight, (featuring Michael Caine in a supporting role), all of which can be linked back to 1966.
Iron Man cartoon from 1966
Trailer for "Alfie" starring Michael Caine
(top film at the box office in the Fall of 66)
Live-action Batman TV series premired in 1966,
spawning a feature film in the summer of 66
Relive the beginning
NBC decided to start off with "The Man Trap" instead of the pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before," because they felt the monster sci-fi story was a stronger opener. WNMHGB ended up airing third after "Charlie X." Next summer Star Trek is back with a feature film, and the ‘origin story’ that we never saw, but today you can relive what it was like seeing Trek for the first time by watching "The Man Trap."
Happy Birthday Star Trek, live long and prosper!