Gene Roddenberry’s 1964 Star Trek pitch online

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.

via Blastr

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.

Follow Russ on his blog: Your Entertainment Now and on Twitter: Twitter.com/YourEntNow.

Follow Charles on Twitter: Twitter.com/charlestrotter.

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Gary

There is no doubt in my mind, that Genes concept was greatly influenced by the movie Forbidden Planet.

Pah Wraith

“happily eliminating the need to encumber our stories with tiresome scientific explanation”

well – that didn’t work out too well later on :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGAahDeceHI

DS9 IN PRIME TIME

Good story i never knew some of those lost details!

@2: lol! Hadn’t seen that in a while.

Also shows the difference between the 1960’s Gene Roddenberry who created a show without fan input, and the 1990’s Gene Roddenberry who had solidified what Star Trek was with fan involvement. It went from mighty to meh!

Troppi cuochi guastano la cucina.

This was already online at Ex-Astris… as of a few years back.

http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek_is

and

http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/misc/trek_history.htm

Don’t forget no decade has recreated what happened in the 60’s hence why TOS may have been mighty, it was also the first show of its kind. To say it went from might to meh because of fan input your nuts. Ok DS9 and VOY may not stand up. But TNG was more mighty than TOS if you take away the power of the 60’s.

5. Alex Fletcher / Sulfur

As we mentioned, this isn’t necessarily new, but we thought it was important to bring up for those not fully aware of the show’s history.

Thanks.

6. Chadwick – February 5, 2011

TNG was meh. Happy to be called nuts. :-)

And by the way, if anyone can stream Netflix, I highly recommend you search out “Tapped,” a documentary on bottled water. You ought to know. And if you drink bottled water, you might as well start drinking your water out of lead goblets. That’s how good it is for your health.

@7: The wording both here and on the other blog is suggestive that this is the first time the pitch has surfaced.

Something that is incorrect. It surfaced in late November 2008.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire

Hey Rosario. That was a great Article. Have not seen that in a long time. But was fun to read. If Bob orci does another Trek series I thonk the next Capt should be Named Capt Robet April of the U.S.S Interprise. The First Federation Star Ship. Maybe as his First Officer is a younger Comander Chris Pike.

#5 Yup. “Resurfaced” isn’t true because it was available all the time at least since 2006. I don’t mind the blog taking it from my site without bothering to credit me because I just re-composed the PDF. But in light of the fact that something posted on an obscure blog rather gets noticed in fan circles than content on a major Trek site, I somehow feel let down…

I found the pitch at trek5.com a couple of years ago and decided to preserve it when the site went down. (Look into the PDF properties, where trek5.com is credited along with Gene Roddenberry because I put it there.)

I thought it was interesting that one of the story ideas sounded just like the genesis of the movie “Alien.” Really!

Petros

@4 Are you really calling The Next Generation, a series that was nominated for Best Drama at the Emmy’s a “meh” Star Trek series?

@13: I am! And keep in mind that my “meh” is actually much more charitable than the opinion of the total audience available to watch TNG which wasn’t inspired to watch it at all!

Author of "The Vulcan Neck Pinch for Fathers"

Its nice to know that, at one point, Roddenberry wanted to avoid the very Treknobabble that became the lowlight of so many Trek episodes (in all its various incarnations) in the years to follow.

For those of you who have never read “The Making of Star Trek,” I highly recommend it. Great read, although I guess the book is hard to find these days…

CmdrR

1 – Skipper of a deep space cruiser? Think so?
Of course, once you throw anything into a studio, it begins to mutate. And I’m glad it did. Didn’t know his first choice was “Yorktown.” Nice decision to go with “Enterprise.”
Even love Gene’s typos. “Horation.”
This article is SO cool. This is what keeps me coming back to TrekMovie.com.

CmdrR

“Space: 1995” *snicker*

Red Dead Ryan

14

You’re totally welcome to your opinion, of course, but I have to disagree. I happened to enjoy TNG very much. Still do.

Though in some ways, I feel that “Deep Space Nine” is the best series. Maybe because it covered things more in depth (like war, politics, religion, economics) more than the other series did.

Rocket Scientist

18. DS9 for me too! It and TOS are my favorite Treks.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire

I loved all of them. But in order.
1. Tos.
2. Ds9.
3. Tng.
4 Enterprise.
5. Voyager.
Loved all of the Series and seen all Eps of every Trek made and that does include the Animated Series.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire

I would love to see a Remaster of the Animated Series like Clone Wars. Would be so Kool to have that.

Red Dead Ryan

Not a fan of “The Animated Series”. The stories were good, but the animation sucks.

jas_montreal

@ 22

Oh yea, i agree 100 percent that the animations sucks. But not bad for a 1970’s cartoon.

jas_montreal

@ 22

Oh yea, i agree 100 percent that the animations sucks. But not bad for a 1970’s cartoon.

Marvin the Martian

Where’s the gay character?

*runs away*

Enterprisingguy

Thanks for this Rosario!

An interesting glimpse at the thought process in creating the original show. Although I have to wonder why Gene thought that 2995 would be close enough to our time that we could relate. I can’t imagine what people will be like in a thousand years. Fortunately he didn’t go that far ahead.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire

#25. Where’s the gay character?

*runs away*

When I find you. Agoniser Booth you will go

fallynleaf

This one is my favorite:

“THE PET SHOP. Exactly duplicating St. Louis 1918, a city where women are so completely the masters that men have the status of pets. Something of a satire on “people and dogs”, this story shows men treated in that fashion, caged in kennels, others clothed and perfumed and treated as lapdogs, as long as they continue to fawn, appreciate and selflessly love.”

Daoud

@Red & jas, re: ST-TAS.

I’ve said for a few years, that using the recorded voice tracks from TAS, and enlisting Nimoy, Nichols, and Takei while we still have them, it would be a fun ILM-type project to redo it with CGI. Expand the stories out. Add in Chekov. I’d even say voice recast as necessary to create new lines for Bones (since Urban did such a spot-on job) and Scotty (since Chris Doohan can do the Scotty better than anyone)… and make them into fuller episodes. CGI for the space sequences could be really interesting, with photo-realistic for characters. I’d pay to see them that way.

Daoud

@28: It got filmed during TNG as “Angel One”, after also being used in the pilot for the series Genesis II. Gene loved that concept. I’m not sure what it says about him.

Odkin

It would be SO easy for some ..ahem… enterprinsing fan or filmmaker to use the Animated series audio and lay new CGI animation on top of it. Then we’d have good stories and something actually watchable, with the original stars! Like all new TOS!

I don’t know if they still exist, but I’m sure that hundreds of extra hours of alternate and unused dialogue takes also exist. They might be able to even flesh out the stories a little.

They REALLY ought to also re-record the various aliens and guest characters that Doohan and Nichols played in an attempt to save money. They are straining too much to not sound like themselves so the acting comes off badly.

“Star Trek; The Reanimated Series”. Just make sure you list me in the credits :-)

La Violetta

@31, that’d be an incredible thing to see, but I think you overestimate the ease with which it could be done. Animation of any sort is very difficult, especially as a fan undertaking.

But I do totally agree that it’d present a chance to re-dub the alien voices, something that, even as a huge fan of the old ‘toon, I believe it sorely needs.

Majicou

@2:
Kinda sad that the guy doing that video rendered “That Which Survives” as “That Witch Survives” (I guess he thought it was referring even more specifically to Losira) and that he apparently thinks “antimatter” is made-up sf gibberish. Sadly, he’s not alone on the latter point–there was an article posted on Kotaku a while back that talked about antimatter and the LHC, and half the comments boiled down to: “Antimatter is REAL!?”

As much as I like geeking out on Trek tech, I think they ought to take a page from Ron Moore’s book and tone it waaaay down if they do another series. Technobabble really can bog things down.

The TOS Purist aka The Purolator

Old news is still news – and TrekMovie.com is in desperate need of ANY news!

Thanks for posting, Rosario. :)

Star trackie

#13. “@4 Are you really calling The Next Generation, a series that was nominated for Best Drama at the Emmy’s a “meh” Star Trek series?”

…when you look at the writing and performances of the show that beat out TNG, Picket Fences, I’d say it’s nomination was totally out of place and nothing more than a token gesture to Trek in general, made with full knowledge that the show didn’t have a chance in hell of winning.

sarek66

#29 and #31 I completely agree about reanimating and expanding the animated series. I would add that they should do the same thing with the video games from the 90s.(25 anniversary, judgement rites and the unreleased secret of vulcan fury). Get the actors back that are still alive and expand it to an hour. They would double the amount of animated episodes. These episodes could be the 4th and 5th year and thus complete the 5 year mission.

Red Dead Ryan

The problem of reanimating the animated series lies in the legalities. The original writers would have to be paid, so would all of the actors. Plus it would cost a heck of a lot of money just to pay the animators. Somehow, I doubt CBS would want to spend that kind of money.

29 daoud

Thanks for that

CmdrR

Chris — Since you’re such a good chum of JJ, can you get him to shake free a few million and make a re-do of TAS possible? Even a package of glommed together eps (see how the novelizations linked them together) would be a great treat. Four or six 90-minute specials, released on SyFy or Comedy Central or whatever. New music; improved animation; added voice parts married to the original cast performances. As others have mentioned, there’s nothing in the interim for us fans, an we’re HUNGRY.

Sebastian

I remember reading this pitch in an old book (about 1984-ish or so) called “The Star Trek Compendium” by Allan Asherman. Well researched book it was, too. He came out with a newer edition in 1986 as well (with a ‘preview’ of Star Trek 4). He also gave terrific first hand accounts of seeing Star Trek previewed at a world science fiction convention in 1966 (before Trek premiered). Good read for any TOS Star Trek fan.

TSTC had some of the Robert April/Chris Pike bible information in it as well. Another good making-of Trek book was “The Making of Star Trek” written by ‘Stephen Whitfield’ (a nom de plume for Stephen Edward Poe) in the late sixties (the episode guide didn’t even include the as-yet-unproduced-at-the-time third season). I believe that book contained some of the early pitch info as well, as well as some terrific sketches, studio inter-department memos (some of which are hilarious) and photos of the props and sets.

Looks like both books are still available on Amazon.com (no doubt the last editions of which were updated considerably).

CmdrR

Also — I think James Doohan did a great job in the voice acting department. If they want to run it through a harmonizer, that couldn’t hurt, but there’s no need to replace it entirely. What does Clone Wars have, 2 voice actors? Hey, it’s about Clones. Yeah, that’s it!

Would love to see a new TAS! Star Trek is pretty stagnant compared to other franchises.

We get Superman and Batman incarnation after incarnation, but Star Trek is still treated as the crazy aunt of tentpole properties.

James Durdan

Your right this isnt’s new. It was in the making of Star Trek back in 1969. And TrekWeb had this story and the Chris Pine story posted almost a week ago. Can we ask what has happened to Trekmovie? Weeks can go by with no news, and the when the news is finally updated it’s cribbed from another site.

What is going on?

boborci

10

love April.

9. Alex Fletcher / Sulfur

That was probably my fault, I think I gave Russ the idea to spin it to say that it was now available online. I didn’t know it was on the web already, though I guess I should have. My bad.

I really suck at this co-piloting business. And this was just an article I advised on, just imagine the ones I’ll actually write! OMG, they’re gonna be *horrible!*

Harry Ballz

44. “love April”

Really, Bob?? I’ve always liked June myself! ‘Course, you don’t know her like I do!

43. James Durdan (and everyone asking the same thing)

Anthony has unexpectedly gone MIA. Once we realized it’s been a while since he left and may be a while before he came back, we didn’t know if it was proper to continue posting stories without him. Yesterday, Russ and I agreed we should push forward. Russ has volunteered to pick up the mantle in Anthony’s absence, and I will be assisting.

Having explained the situation, Russ and I ask that you please bear with us while we try to bring the site up-to-date and keep it that way. Neither of us has a large amount of time to work on the site, so it may be a while before we get caught up and it may be difficult *staying* caught up. We will endeavor to follow the standards which Anthony set forth and keep TrekMovie.com the number one source for everything new in Trek. All we ask is for your patience and understanding.

Thank you all.

Re-animate! Re-animate!

Rastaman

The scientific element of Star Trek is one of its greatest features. To some extent, I think Gene Roddenberry pulled one over on the studios. He sold it as a Wagon Train because that was something to which they could relate. Western adventures were a staple of the early 60s. I think he intended both.

Chris Pike

What would be neat is for Bob Orci and the new team to reference some of this in the new reboot…just a brief piece of dialogue refering to April captaining the Yorktown maybe a short time after the Kelvin, a little easter egg for us lot…