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."
[click to watch at CBS.com in SD or remastered in HD]
Happy Birthday Star Trek, live long and prosper!
Blimey i was 7 years old!
Didnt get Star trek until 1968 here in the UK!
Happy birthday, Star Trek!
I was born in 1987, twas just a twinkle in me ol father’s eye when Star Trek premiered, but i’ve seen every episode of TOS, most of them many times.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY STAR TREK!!!
May you Live Long and Prosper
I was nine years old and was there from day one.
I wasn’t around yet but it’s a great show. I love all of Star Trek and wish it a happy 42nd birthday, and hope for many more.
Happy Birthday Star Trek! Greatest franchise ever.
OK, I was 4.
I don’t remember exactly when I started watching, but I always thought I saw the orginal broadcast of at least some of these.
AND — these kids today are wimps. What fun is a toy that can’t at least knock your teeth out? Whamm-O!
Did any of those Beedle Guys go on to do anything big?
Surely an appropriate day for a new STAR TREK movie trailer?
7. Kids today dont know real toys
back in my day we played with Lawn Darts
but apparently the fact that they routinely killed kids playing with them garnered complaints and the guvment banned them
kids need to cowboy up.
the universe works in strange ways…
now if it was the 47th… then that WOULD be strange! :-)
THE BEATLES!!!! lol YES!
I saw 42 years ago today, I said, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.. lol
Re: 9. Anthony Pascale
” 7. Kids today dont know real toys …back in my day we played with Lawn Darts… but apparently the fact that they routinely killed kids playing with them garnered complaints…”
We also played un P.C. games like “Cowboys and Indians” with cap guns that looked real, had candy cigarettes, and we NEVER wore helmets when riding our bikes. . .
I was only 4 when it started, but my Dad liked it and I remember it (along with Bonanza and Wild Wild West) as the shows we always watched. I liked Trek so much that I had a Spock haircut in my 1968 school photo!
I remember crying when I was told Trek was on too late for me (during the 3rd season) when it went to 10 o’clock!
Thank God for the 6 o’clock re-runs on channel 2 in the 1970’s! …
…those were the days… no web, only Starlog….
lol shatner moment for Adam west…
…well, Starlog was more of a 1970’s referencer than a 1960’s one…
but you get the point…
‘We’ve all got our rights you know’ ‘Harold’ Man, John was a legend, and quizzes were so much harder back in 1966. Happy Birthday Trek
Sweet! I know what i’m watching when I get home today!
I have it on good (parental) authority that I, not quite two years old, watched “The Man Trap” on my fathers knee on this day in 1966.
I honestly can’t remember a time Star Trek has not been an important part of my life.
42 years and still loved by millions upon millions. Happy birthday to the series that started it all! May Star Trek continue to live long and prosper!
Heh, I wasn’t born for another 20 years! Star Trek is such a great outlook on the future, I hope it never dies!
Hate to admit it, but I was there, I was very young and that creature scared me to bits, I also remember watching it on a small RCA black and white television. That show (Star Trek) changed my life!!
September 8, 1966. – I came exactly one year too late.
Happy Birthday, Star Trek!
My parents weren’t even married in 1966… I was born much later… :-D
Happy Birthday, Star Trek!
Kids today are wimps. Back when I was young, chemistry sets still had actual chemicals in them (such as small amounts of radioactive material and sulfuric acid). They even had instructions for what was essentially a home urinalysis kit. You could kill yourself with lawn darts, shoot ozone depleting freon powered rockets into the sky, buy stink bombs from the local 7-Eleven, knock your teeth out with the Whammo wheelie kit for your bike, and easily get your hands on a BB gun. It was survival of the fittest. Ah, those were the days…
I watch the first episode that day as a pie-eyed 12 year old. Fell in love with her. She still beats deep in my heart like none other.
I can remember quite clearly when my father walked into my room as I watched Star Trek on a Truetone (Western Auto) b&w television, and said he wanted to speak to me. I asked if I could wait till the episode was over..he agreed. At the shows end I went to the dining room table with pencil and paper in hand. I began drawing the Enterprise while my father started telling me of the bird and the bees.
Two very moving experiences all at once.
So after 42 years I still love Star Trek…….and the other things my father told me that eye-opening night.
I was born one year before TNG started, but I hope Star Trek goes on for much longer :)
being born in 73 i obviously missed it first time round, but watching TOS is a vivid memory of childhood for me – i guess i watched reruns in the mid-late 70’s on the BBC.
one of my earliest memories of watching TV was star trek around the age of 3 or 4, one scene specifically, which I didn’t discover until a couple of years ago was the opening scene for ‘dagger of the mind’ where the crazy guy gets out of the box that’s been transported up to the enterprise. it wasn’t until i finally got hold of a season 1 box set and watched the episodes in order that i was able to fill in the blanks. i also have a distinct recollection of watching ‘space seed’ at a neighbours house – again, not until later in life was i able to identify the actual episode.
anyway, here’s to the next 42 years!
Born in 1980, I actually grew up with TNG.
However, I eventually did discover, and enjoy, the original series.
Amazing that after 42 years, Star Trek is still boldly going…
Anyone remember Creepy Crawlers? Toxic plastic poured into molds that act as an unprotected heating element. Good times!
It turns out that i’m five months older that Star Trek, so i didn’t get into it until the early seventies, it always seemed to be on the TV over here in the UK.
My grandmother died a few years ago and whilst my parents were sorting through here stuff they found drawings I had made of the Enterprise and The Klingon D7 blasting at each other when i was just six or seven years of age.
I can’t remember a time when Trek wasn’t my favourite programme on TV (well, along with Doctor Who).
I’m just waiting for the (hopefully enevitable) Blu-ray version of the remastered TOS series to be released and I for one and looking forward the the release of the new movie – for which I have great hopes, I have my fingers crossed that I get the same buzz from it that I still do from hearing the first few seconds of the opening titles of Star Trek!
I remember the first time I saw Star Trek. Must have been about 1975. I was used to watching the Tarzan TV series after school. One day I came home and a new show was on in it’s place and I was quite distressed. The episode was “Amok Time.” I grudgingly watched it and about halfway through, I saw them use the transporter for the first time. From then on I was hooked.
It’s weird though, because I distinctly remember thinking Spock was a bad guy. I guess because he was throwing his Pon Farr temper tantrums LOL.
Ok, I was 11 at the time. The big thing was Batman… but I did find ST, and it got into my blood! In view of the ST Enterprise being cancled, ST The Experience closing, I’m glad TOS has been remastered, (is 3-D next?) Sooooo we now have 8 or 9 months to wait untill the movie (baby) comes out?
Any way, Happy Birthday to all ST Fans, all over the world!!!
42 Years ago today, there where 4 days left for my minus 11th birthday, yet, I’m a huge TOS fan (And TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT fan)
Happy birthday and Long and prosper life to Star Trek!
#30 I too was 11 when Trek premiered and at my house we watched every Thursday night.
Weird…I was watching Man Trap on my iPod this morning without even realizing today was the day…
Happy Birthday Trek!
I was born in ’66. My three favorite shows appeared that year. Batman and Star Trek were two of them.
Happy Birthday, Trek! Keep on Boldly going!
Well, Star Trek is important and all, but the REALLY important question is: Without using my Way-Back Machine, where can I get a Wheelie-Bar? :^)
Hmm, Romulans travel back in time and install a Wheelie-Bar on a young Jim Kirks bike … cracks his head, has phobia about dangerous stuff, doesn’t go into space … future changed for Romulan good …
8 years old when the series first premiered. Missed Man Trap but caught all the rest of the episodes.
42 years later here we are. Man, time flies or what?
Happy Birthday Star Trek!
…the adventure continues…
They went with “The Man Trap” because “Where no man has gone before” was considered to be too “Cerebral” like the first pilot
My dad was just days away from his sixteenth birthday when Star Trek first aired…my mother, just past her ninth…yet here am I today, a few months away from my thirtieth birthday, a die hard Trek fan to the end…proud of what’s come before, and gladly anticipating what’s yet to come. Happy Birthday ol’ girl…
…the Human Adventure is just beginning…
I was twelve. Took me a couple of weeks to really like the show, which I found a little confusing at the premiere.
As far as my personal experience could tell me, in those pre-Internet pre-fan press days, there were four other people watching the show. LOL
That salt monster really scared the hell out of me as a kid.
Yesterday, for the first time, I hopped on over to CBS com and checked out an early re-mastered episode “The Corbomite Maneuver”. It’s been a long time since I have had the opportunity to watch the entire episode, and it was a great story and was executed wonderfully. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to check it out, I highly recommend it.
It was great to see those interviews from the set. I had not seen those before.
I was nine. Had to do extra household chores for the privelege of staying up until 11:00 (Trek aired at 10 on the West coast). Worth every second…..happy birthday to a franchise and a philosophy that perseveres. Ooops, almost said “lives long and prospers!”
Happy Star Trek Day, brothers and sisters!!
I find it mind-boggling, and exciting, that it’s 42 years later … and we still have ahead of us a new Star Trek adventure starring Leonard Nimoy!!
My “first time” was a very similar experience. I was 6 or 7 in 1972 or 1973. I had never even HEARD of Star Trek when I was turning the channel knob looking for something on the 5 TV stations that we got. I came upon Space Seed just as the landing party was beaming into the Botany Bay for the first time. Like with you, it was the transporting out of thin air is what caught my attention. When I later saw Spock, I gave the show my full attention.
It’s funny you should say that about Spock (being a bad guy , that is). I remember being a bit confused about whether Spock was a good guy or not because: a.) he was evil-looking with his pointed ears and pointed eyebrows, and b.) he was an alien. How many good-guy aliens were there on TV and movies back then?
I was 20 – I had a crush on Spock – I still have a crush on Spock 42 years later.
I was 12 years old back in 1966. I saw the first episode of Star Trek on KNBC-4 Los Angeles and haven’t missed an episode yet. Of course I’ve seen each episode at least 100 times or more.
Let’s see, 79 x 100 = 7,900…………………………OH MY! LOL!
Happy Birthday Star Trek!
Happy Birthday, Star Trek!!
“Treat her like a lady, and she’ll always bring you home.”
Well, I was born in 1987, one day before TNG premiered, and it’s a plus too not be as old as Star Trek yet ;-)
Oddly, although I like all the shows today, I happened upon TOS first around 2000, when it aired every afternoon on the sci-fi channel an hour or so after I got out of school. I remember ducking out of my responsibilites a few times when they had all day marathons.
since then I’ve embraced the other series (it took me awhille to accept Star Trek without the original crew.) and have most of the shows on dvd, but I look back fondly on seeing it all the first time back then.