Star Trek turns 50 years old this week, in the USA the first episode, “The Man Trap” aired today, September 8, at 8:30PM in 1966. Our friends to north in Canada got to see “The Man Trap” two days earlier on September 6.
“The Man Trap” was part of the first batch of finished episodes which also included: “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, “The Corbomite Maneuver”, “Charlie X”, “The Naked Time”, and “Mudd’s Women”. Read on for some trivia about the first ever Star Trek episode to air.
“The Man Trap” was ultimately chosen as the first episode to air because of the interesting plot device of the shapeshifting creature, it offered a monster-of-the-week, a familiar idea from The Outer Limits and Lost in Space, and of course, demonstrated the central idea of exploring a strange new world.
The first group of episodes all have a bit of a different feel to them, thanks in part to many of the production crew coming from more moody black and white productions.
“The Man Trap” is a rather unique episode:
• It is one of a small handful of episodes that have a captain’s log entry narration done in hindsight, rather than as it happens (“Court Martial” is another first season episode to use this technique).
“Captain’s log, additional entry. Since our mission was routine, we had beamed down to the planet without suspicion. We were totally unaware that each member of the landing party was seeing a different woman, a different Nancy Crater.”
• This episode features a never used again stun sound effect, almost like a ricochet of a bullet, and an accompanying brief voice slow down to demonstrate the stun effect.
• The first few episodes produced originally had an electric violin version of the opening theme, which has mostly been forgotten. Since being packaged for syndication, and subsequently in nearly every home video release, the standard Season 1 theme has been used.
The episode is of course most famous for the “Salt Vampire” (officially called the “M113 Creature”), which has had a lasting impact on Trek fans and pop culture in general.
A newer take on the M113 creature was made for J.J. Abram’s Star Trek (2009) but it ended up on the cutting room floor.
There was even a Salt Vampire cake at the big Star Trek Las Vegas convention this year. Read more about the cake.
TrekMovie’s John Duchak will be live tweeting “The Man Trap” tonight at 5:30PM PDT/8:30PM EDT