Gene Roddenberry’s original pitch for “Star Trek” has surfaced online. The outline is dated March 11, 1964 — more than two years before the show hit television — and the series went through several changes before it ultimately made its way to TV screens. Click over the jump for the details.
The script made its way online courtesy of the pop culture blog Between the Pages (you can download and read the pitch — in pdf form — at this link). Some of the pitch has actually been published before specifically in the Stephen E. Whitfield / Gene Roddenberry book "The Making of Star Trek", however for many others, this is the first glimpse into some of the original ideas behind “Star Trek”.
Revelations include Roddenberry’s original captain being named Robert April, not James Kirk and not Christopher Pike, the ship’s name being the Yorktown, not the Enterprise and other topics including character descriptions, episode details and more. Here’s an excerpt from the 16-page outline describing the lead character Robert April:
The “skippper”, about thirty-four, Academy graduate, rank of captain. Clearly the leading man and central character. This role is designated for an actor of top repute and ability. A shorthand sketch of Robert April might be “A space-age Captain Horation Horn-blower”, lean and capable both mentally and physically.
A colorfully complex personality, he is capable of action and decision which can verge on the heroic — and at the same time lives a continual battle with self-doubt and the loneliness of command.
And then there’s Mr. Spock, described by Roddenberry as the captain’s “right-hand man, the working level commander of all the ship’s functions from manning the bridge to supervising the lowliest scrub detail.” Initially, Roddenberry also had a completely different look in mind for Spock, describing his character thusly:
And the first view of him can be almost frightening — a face so heavy-lidded and satanic you might almost expect him to have a forked tail. Probably half Martian, he has a slightly reddish complexion and semi-pointed ears.
Roddenberry also spoke of his desire for Spock to have a “quiet temperament”:
But strangely — Mr. Spock’s quiet temperament is in dramatic contrast to his satanic look. Of all the crew aboard, he is nearest to Captain April’s equal, physically and emotionally, as a commander of men. His primary weakness is an almost cat-like curiousity over anything the slightest “alien”.
The outline also contains Roddenberry’s description of the show:
And lastly, in the outline Roddenberry reveals several plot ideas some of which even formed the basis for eventual episodes including the show’s first pilot, “The Cage”. Other episodes referenced in the pitch include "Charlie X", "A Piece of the Action", and "Mudd’s Women". Perhaps even more fascinating to some are the episode ideas that didn’t make it to the TV screen. The 16-page outline can be downloaded and read at this link. Give it a look as it’s sure to contain at least a few surprises.
As noted in the comments, this pitch originally surfaced on the internet a few years ago. For a more detailed analysis, be sure to check out the Ex-Astris.
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