TrekMovie has a great piece of Star Trek history to share with you today. Our resident historian John Tenuto has unearthed a rare radio program promoting the release of Star Trek II in 1982 which featured interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Ricardo Montalban, and more. Listen to it below.
Rare Star Trek Radio Special From 1982
Before the Internet and Ipods, radio programs were a popular source of entertainment and a potent promotional strategy. In 1982, for the premiere of Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Source, a then popular radio network for young adults, featured an hour long program called “The Voyage of Star Trek” about both the history of Star Trek and the making of TWOK. New interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Ricardo Montalban, writer/director Meyer, fan Bjo Trimble, and science fiction author Isaac Asimov are featured. Also included are re-recordings of Gene Roddenberry’s lectures to college students during the 1970s (and originally available on the LP Inside Star Trek). The actors and crew discuss their thoughts on every from the popularity of Star Trek to their feelings about their characters. Especially interesting are the trivia included, such as Ricardo Montalban realizing during his interview that he starred in Gene Roddenberry’s first ever science fiction script for a television program back in the 1950s.
The program was sent to affiliates on an LP and played during the designated time. To help celebrate next year’s 30th anniversary of TWOK and 45th anniversary of “Space Seed,” my family digitized our copy of our promotional LP and have made it available for fellow fans to experience once again this “lost” Star Trek radio program. Please enjoy this nostalgic recording from three decades ago, when radio was cool and The Wrath of Khan was brand new. [NOTE: Beginning of audio program below includes promotional commercials for use by the radio affiliates]
This is a TREASURE. Thank you for preserving this piece of Trek history.
Any way to download this?
This is great. I have the LP from the promo tour for TMP complete with script for the various hosts to record to simulate an interview with each star.
Sigh,,,, “Back on Earth gas is 33 cents per gallon”
I use this site to extract audio from youtube videos:
It’s free and saves the mp3 file right to your computer… this baby’s going on my iPod!
Wow. What a Treasure. I remember KISR radio in Ft Smith Ar My home town did a lot of there daytime talk on Trek 2 and it was exciting. being there opening night was just incredable. Listing to this brought that all back to me. Thank you.
My Grandparents lived in Ft Smith, and I spent a lot of time there in the 60’s and 70’s. Free Ferry lane lives in my heart always.
Thanks for the blast from the past. Ahhhhh, to go back to a more innocent time, but I think the problem with Star Trek history is that everyone repeats the same tired mantra over and over and eventually it becomes truth:
There was no intelligent sci-fi on TV until Star Trek
The fans spontaneously wrote into the network and saved the show
Leonard Nimoy was the first choice for Spock
The first pilot was too “cerebral” (not intellectual)
The third season sucked
Star Trek died because it was put on on Friday night
Well, I can only personally refute on the first one, but I remember a lot more sci-fi on TV in the 1960’s than now: H.G Wells’ The Invisible Man, My Favorite Martian, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel, and of course the anthology shows: The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits (and it doesn’t get more hard-core sci-fi than this last one.)
Sure there was sci-fi schlock: Lost In Space, It’s About Time, etc. but to say there was NO sci-fi is just not true.
Unlike the myth of the “empowered” Star Trek fans, both Solow/Justman and Harlan Ellison tell us that the outpouring of fan support originated in the offices of Desilu Studios where Bjo Trimble worked, yes worked, answering fan mail for her boss Gene Roddenberry. And they show memos and expense accounts to show that this is true.
As we found out recently, Nimoy was NOT the first choice to play Spock, Martin Landau was…at least according to Martin Landau.
I think the network executives were being kind when they referred to the first pilot as too “cerebral.” It was just plain dull.
The third season had more than a few turkeys, but it also had “Specter of the Gun,” which I think must have inspired “The Matrix,” “The Enterprise Incident,” “Is There No Truth in Beauty,” “The Tholian Web,” “Elaan of Troyius” (more popular then than now), and that fan-girl favorite “All Our Yesterdays.”
Many TNG fans say that the show really started to take off after the first three seasons. We can only imagine what a 4th or 5th season of Star Trek might have been. I read an interview with Jane Wyatt who said that the first two seasons of Father Knows Best were heaven, the third season was hell, the fourth was much better and everyone was gung-ho, but by the fifth season everyone was tired. I suspect the same may have happened to Star Trek.
The Friday night time slot was not necessarily a death sentence as many hit shows played on Fridays and you can check them out at Wikipedia. What killed Star Trek was two things: it was on very late 10:00 and it was stuck behind a 90 minute brick of boredom, I don’t even remember the name of that stupid show, but it was hard to stay up…but I did and I watched every show. What caused the drop-off in the audience was moving the show TWICE. TV Guide wrote about this phenomenon and it still exists today even in the age of digital cable and Tivo. You can move a show once to another time slot but you move it twice and the audience walks. In fact they get angry and confused.
So why was Star Trek even a hit? Well, no one ever lost a dollar when you combine sex appeal and idealism. How else to explain 100,000 Germans breathlessly screaming for our president Mr.Obama like so many fan-girls, when they don’t even know him?
And like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, Star Trek created a dense, complex fantasy universe that people could actually enter and play around in for a few hours or days, or in the case of the hard-core fan, forever. Sometimes I think the conventions have taken on a life of their own, like Mardi Gras and the Mummer’s parade.
And lastly Star Trek lives because it has been profitable for it to do so. And when it is no longer profitable, Paramount will kill it, which I think they are starting to do now.
Regarding the Martin Landau as Spock story, I remember an interview with one of the producers (I think it was in Cinefantastique) where he said that they approached Landau to prove to Nimoy that he could be replaced so he would keep his salary demands down. I tend to believe this as Landau has said he turned down the part because he didn’t want to play a character without emotion. All Trek fans know that aspect of his character didn’t appear until the second pilot.
GAS IS 33 CENTS A GALLON?! Sigh…
A treasure. Thanks for it!
This is must – hear!
33 cents sounds unbelievable for gas, but adjusted for inflation, that’s about $3 today. But of course the cost of commodities like gasoline aren’t always affected by just inflation.
Also Robert Justman and Herb Solow debunked the “no one would believe a women in command” myth about “The Cage”. They said studio execs had their doubts that Majel was strong enough an actress to carry what would be a lead role.
Yeah, dug this last week when it was posted on twitter.
Cool find John and Anthony.
Very interesting to hear the perspective back then and read between the lines today. I especially liked hearing Montalban tell of his thoughts of choosing to do it again. I also especially like hearing little bits and pieces lie Robert Walker jr. (one of the greatest performances of the the original show, IMO) telling of blowing the cover of a blind, homeless guy in Seattle who was excited to see Charlie X walk by. Cool stuff. THAT’s the kind of stuff I love to hear.
#8 — Excellent points and congratulations on the mythbusting! :-) I am much in agreement on all points!
@16. I just wish someone, like Norman Spinrad or HarlanEllison or another writer connected with the show would write the definitive history of Star Trek.
@9 Comm Lohmann. I did read in the Solow/Justman book that when Nimoy asked for more money, they really played hardball with him, going so far as to draw up three lists of potential replacements. Mark Lenard and Larry Montaigne are on the lists as well as a young David Carradine. But Martin Landau’s name is not on the lists because he was unavailable; he was doing Mission Impossible.
I also wondered about Landau saying he didn’t want to do a character without emotion, “yeah, Lenny was better at something like that.” Which didn’t make sense because Spock wasn’t unemotional at first, but I attributed the gaff to Mr. Landau’s failing memory. He was remembering how the character developed, not what was offered. It HAS been a really long time since then.
@9 Comm Lohmann P.S. Leonard Nimoy recently tweeted that Landau was offered the role before he was, but I think he’s mistaken that Nichelle Nichols was also offered the role.
She was asked to read as Spock, not because she was being considered for the role, but to test her ability to play a Starfleet officer. And she nailed it. She has written about this herself.
Wow – what a great find this is! Loved listenign to it all this afternoon. There’s an interesting post on the Guardian’s website here re TWOK – http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/dec/09/favourite-film-star-trek-wrath-khan?CMP=twt_gu
Wasn’t there also a 900 number for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home that featured audio from Leonard Nimoy? Is that available anywhere?
I am glad everyone is enjoying our LP of “The Voyage of Star Trek” and have a happy new year!
Had they the cast only been given those extra seasons! Wow how sweet would that had been….
like it or not, star trek is and contunues to be the best sci-fi ever. that’s why we’re commenting on a star trek movie site. It is unique, and though some is not as good as othere aspects, it’s awesome in so many ways that it cannot be described in a few lame paragraphs. good radio clip!
Keep it coming friends.
Commodore Mike, are you still in the Fort Smith area? I’ve been enjoying your posts for years now and had no idea you were from here!
This is great. Thanks so much for posting.
I read in one of the biographies about DeForest Kelley, that Roddenberry was developing the character of Spock and wanted De to play him at first. De was reluctant, and so they developed McCoy.
That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!
I need a download of this!
Use jDownloader, copy the YouTube link to the clipboard and it should automatically pick up the link and it’s available elements to download.
I have a copy of this album myself, as I used to work in news (1982-83) at a station (KBIU, Lake Charles, LA) that was a Source affiliate. The Source, FWIW, had previously been known as the NBC FM Network, as opposed to the one that had more traditional news and serviced the AM stations in the early 80’s, alathough there was some crossover – you might, for instance, hear a report or commentary on the Source from someone like Andrea Mitchell, Tom Brokaw or even Irving R. Levine.
To #8 – The show that preceded “Star Trek” during its last season was “The Name of the Game. It was a “wheel” show produced by Universal, with Gene Barry, Tony Franciosa and Robert Stack rotating episodes. IIRC, Barry played a magazine publisher, and Franciosa and Stack were his star reporters. The show was the most expensive show on the air at the time. It was cancelled after three seasons, but it stayed in the same time slot for those three. It’s never been syndicated, nor replayed on any of the many Universal cable channels. And, it was an incredibly poor lead-in for “Trek”. Although I stayed up on Friday nights too, suffering through “Name of the Game” to see “Trek.”
Thank you for this piece of history!!!
Windelkin, you and Commodore Mike are from Fort Smith, AR?!
So am I.
Really. No kidding.
Huh. Small universe.
@ 31 – IIRC “The Name of the Game” was syndicated and included as part of “The CBS Late Movie” in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The show’s 90 minute running time would make other syndication untenable… Barry did play the magazine publisher and Franciosa a reporter; Robert Stack was an editor. It’s a shame it isn’t available in any home video format – I would like to see the Spielberg directed “L.A. 2017” again.
Vultan, Hello! I’m actually in Greenwood, but close enough. I’m not originally from here, though. Email me sometime at email@example.com and we could compare notes. I haven’t heard back from the Commodore yet, but he’s so funny, I’d like to meet the guy. Catch ya later!
@#34 – Thanks, Darrell. It was after I posted before that I remembered that “The Name of the Game” was repeated. I remember watching “L.A. 2017” on “The CBS Late Movie” sometime in the mid-1970’s. I wish I could see it again as well. Especially with all the NBC-Universal cable channels (USA, Bravo, Cloo, Chiller, Universal HD and yes, Sy-Fy) available now.
If you download REAL PLAYER it has a feature that allows you to download video and then convert to nearly any format you like for free.
Thank you for posting this here.
I couldn’t do the REAL PLAYER extraction on this site but was able to via You Tube.
What a find!
Ah yes. When radio was cool — those were the days. The days of “The Green Hornet,” “The Shadow,” and the Mercury Player’s adaptation of “The War of the Worlds.” I remember when we all used to sit in front of the radio set and listen to FDR’s Fireside Chats. And who can forget “The Bickersons” and other radio comedies?
Ah yes, the Golden Age of Radio — the 1980’s. Or was that the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s?
^^ I meant to write, “The Mercury Players’ adaptation of the War of the Worlds.”
Also, thanks to John Tenuto for posting this article and the radio special. It’s truly a fine find!
Thanks Rick! If you enjoy nostalgia, please consider checking out my family’s new blog, a tribute to the life and films of Ricardo Montalban! There will of course be plenty about Khan!
I’ll check that out, John. :)
I don’t understand…. did this radio special come out as a promo for Star Trek II, because they basically reveal and ruin the ending of the movie for people in 1982 who hadn’t seen it yet. (around the 52 minute mark)
Out-Standing.. the guy doing the Narration sounds like Seth MacFarlane! :D
Yeah, what #42 said — how is that *not* a spoiler? Maybe they figured everyone had tuned out by then. It was a good special, though. I’d never heard the story about Shatner attributing his identity with Kirk to saving his life! Too bad no interview with the just introduced Kirstie Alley.