Star Trek Turns 44 – A look back at 1966 in Video

Today Star Trek turns 44. On September 8th at 8:30PM, 1966 NBC aired the first episode of Star Trek – "The Man Trap" (which was actually the 6th episode produced). So today TrekMovie looks back to 1966 to see how Star Trek got its start with a selection of videos promoting the show.


44 Years – and still going

As recently noted by William Shatner, when Star Trek began in 1966 "nobody knew that Star Trek was going to be successful". From the beginning the series struggled in the ratings and after three seasons it was gone, but not for too long. By the 70’s the show re-emerged as a force in syndication, eventually leading to a planned return to TV (in "Star Trek: Phase II") which morphed into the first feature film, leading to ten more films, and four more live action series. The success of the 2009 Star Trek movie is a testament to the timelessness of Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of a hopeful future.

Season 1 opening of "Star Trek"

1966 Videos: Don’t Miss Star Trek – In Color!

This promo describes the show and the "Vulcanian" (via Genius 7277 on YouTube)

Here is another promo for the new series (via bbordenlon2 on YouTube)
[Note: promo shows September 15th which was the official fall season premiere date, but NBC wanted to try to get the jump on ABC and CBS by having a “Sneak Peek Week” and they thus debuted shows a week early – thx Bill Hiro]

Here are 1966 interviews with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner pitching the new Star Trek series (via OldWorldTelevision on YouTube).

Here is the original TV promo for "The Man Trap" (via ShipHunter on YouTube).

More 1966 Video: The world Star Trek entered

Here is a video retrospective of the television landscape in 1966, which also discusses Star Trek (GoodTV on YouTube).


POLL: Where you there to see it?

Did you witness the birth of Star Trek? Were you even alive to see it?



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happy birthday star trek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

those are amazing videos

44 and still going strong thanks to Abrams and Cryptic!

I’m DAMN glad they’re astronauts on some kind of star trek.

HAPPY 44th BIRTHDAY STAR TREK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Strong as Ever, and It will Always LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!!

Wow – “Star Trek” is even older if you count 1964 as the year “The Cage” was produced, which makes it 46 years old! Almost half a century!

I couldnt imagine life without it…. and I’m only 31 (well, in October!).

Happy Birthday !

Happy Birthday and many more to TOS!

I love these old clips…as much as I love the Blu-Ray releases and the job they did to clean them up and update the the special effects, I sure wish that they (Paramount/CBS) had released these and more as extras for these sets…

Now I’m waiting for the 3-D releases of TOS :) …


Wow, the music in that second video is positively dreadful.

1966 NBC Exec: “Hey, we need a promo for that space show.”

1966 NBC Exec’s yes man: “Ooooh….That’s a great idea, boss.”

1966 NBC Exec: “Don’t have the characters speak or anything. Have that strange guy that narrates the gym class videos do the voice over.”

1966 NBC Exec’s yes man: “Fabulous idea, chief! You’re on fire!”

1966 NBC Exec: “And the freak with the ears? What’s he called? A Vulcanian? Have him scream or something.”

1966 NBC Exec’s yes man: “Top notch idea, boss! The kids’ll love it!”

1966 NBC Exec: “And get my cat to run up and down a piano and then transcribe the notes. We can use that for the promo’s score.”

1966 NBC Exec’s yes man: *gurgle*–“I just messed myself. Inspired! Brilliant!”

1966 NBC Exec: “Now get me a scotch and those nude pics of Elizabeth Montgomery.”

1966 NBC Exec’s yes man: Right on it, big guy.”

As far as the shows set designs are concerned, there is nothing that dates this show. There’s nothing there to give away that it was made in the mid-20th century. One of the reasons it still holds up today.

A HUGE Happy Birthday to you, Star Trek! You’re looking great after all these years! And that’s from someone who’s been with you since “The Man Trap.”

Happy, Happy Birthday Star Trek! “It’s been a long road….” Hmm, maybe its best not to continue. ;)

Star Trek and I turned 44 just recently. Yay!

All the best!! Happy Birthday – STAR TREK!! Live Long and Prosper!!

Happy Birthday Star Trek!

Gotta say, it is odd to see Nimoy discussing himself in full Spock make-up in the 60s.

Happy Birthday, Star Trek! My dad was there for the premiere and passed his love on to me. Thanks, Dad!

And I was watching in 1966, though I do not remember if the first episode watched was The Man Trap. My special connection though is it is also my birthday ! Forty-four years of Trek….Wow! Happy birthday and long life !

^ #8

My thoughts exactly — except the keyboardist was certainly tripping.

C.S. Lewis

Happy Birthday. May it live long and proper!!!!!!!!!!


Happy Birthday ST!!!

44 years is such a short time to enjoy what Star Trek hs to offer to all of us. Let there be more one hundred years of life for Star Trek!

Live Long and Prosper

Star Trek is a Virgo just like me! Woo hoo!

Great day to be a Trek fan! I recently uploaded to YouTube a great documentary made about and by the people who helped create TOS:

Happy Birthday Trek :)

Looks pretty good for 44.

Happy 44th to STAR TREK

Keep on Trekkin’!

I can’t wait until 09/08/13!

Sat down in my university library today and read a book about the behind the scenes of Star Trek published shortly after its cancellation. It was really cool to read the pitches that Roddenberry made for the show.

I wasn’t even in production yet.

Happy 44th to Star Trek. =)

Guess I’d better watch “the Man Trap” tonight!!! :-)

Happy birthday Star Trek!

I’m nearly as old as Star Trek!
Hard to believe I’m only a few months younger.

Happy Birthday, Star Trek! May it live long and prosper.
Unlike me, at least Star Trek has the enviable option to recast itself with younger, better-looking people every forty years or so!
; )

Happy birthday Star Trek! :D I wish I was alive when Star Trek was on TV. Good thing for box sets!
Here’s my mini-birthday video!

The 50th anniversary will be here before you know it.

I was only six weeks old!

Happy Birthday TOS!

September 15th was the “official” fall season premiere, but that year NBC wanted to try to get the “jump” on ABC and CBS by having a “sneak peak week” and they thus debuted shows a week early.

and by “peak” I meant “peek”.

Wow, this first one, ‘in color,’ makes the show look terrible. The second one’s a lot better. I like the first adult science-fiction show.

Great videos! I wasn’t born for a couple more years, so my intro as a young child was actually TAS, then I started catching syndicated re-runs. Got my disc-shooting phaser though, and I was set.

Yes I was there when. Star trek premierd on NBC sneak week. The man Trap! How could I ever forget. The captain and the Beaming. That was all it took. Since than Trek owned me mind and soul! Thank you for 44 years or as someone said earlier 46 years of a way of life and thinking. I had the priviledge of sharing with my kids and grandkids and mom! Who still loves the the Shat!m Happy Birthday!!!!

#22-I couldn’t get the 5th one to play past Fred’s story about Kirk & Uhura. Love the documentary you put up. Any idea what year it wa made and where it aired? Happy birthday Star Trek! I’m only a little over a month older than you are and you have been and will be a part of my life since I have a memory!

@#9 Peter,

I hope you were joking.

Don’t get me wrong- I still love watching TOS. But there are many elements of the set which looked dated to me when I was a rugrat watching it in syndication.

The computers in TOS are in some ways less powerful than the iPhone in my pocket.

And therein rests the true staying power of Trek. It dreamed dreams for our future- and those dreams were a mix of the attainable and the fantastic.

Star Trek inspired the technological ideas which lead to smart-phones and mobile communications and computing with communicators and tricorder. Our reality in that department surpasses the dream in a great many ways.

And yet the dreams of space travel and global peace and encountering new species remains elusive and therefore compelling.

Yes- Trek looks dated- but the datedness is a selling point, inviting the view to simultaneously pat ourselves on the back and push ourselves into the unknown.


Well put!

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

Didn’t anyone else think the guy doing the restrospective, Geoff Grimshaw looked a bit like the Roddenberry?

And also in that second video (with the bad music) is, I do believe, the late, great Ernie Anderson doing the voice over. (always give a shout out to Ernie)

Real men don’t use shaving cream.

And Anthony, you left out on your poll “No, I was only a month and a half old”.

Actually, it’s nice to see all those “no. I wasn’t alive yets” in the poll. Proves Trekkies aren’t ALL virgins.

Love the flashbacks… hard to get a good picture of what Trek was from the promos, but I guess a few smart folks figured it out.

I was only 4 years old then, but my older sister told me we watched it. I don’t remember of course. I didn’t become a fan until after I discovered it during the animated series. Then after that, I was hooked. It would be another year or two before I actually saw the live action series (we didn’t have access to cable) but bought every book I could. Those were the days!

The “Mammoth Starship Enterprise”, I just love this old stuff!

I was 1 year old.