A brief guide to the world of Star Trek

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Introduction

Back in 1964, a man called Gene Roddenberry wrote and produced a pilot show for Desilu called "Star Trek" - little did he know that over 30 years later it would spin off to become a multi million dollar franchise and spawn many spin-off series and films....

Beginnings

The first Star Trek episode was also nearly the last - "The Cage" starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike was made and unfortunately rejected by NBC, the television studio which originally expressed interest in the series. However, in an unheard of move at the time, they were willing for a second pilot episode to be made to see if something could be salvaged...

Captain PikeCaptain Kirk with that smug grin of hisSpock and McCoy

Thus, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was made, this time with William Shatner in the lead as Captain James Kirk (the only actor to remain from the first pilot was Leonard Nimoy as the Vulcan Spock). Packed full of action (NBC stated that the first pilot was too "cerebral") this time the pilot was picked up and allowed to become a series...

The OriginalThe original Starship Enterprise

During 1966 and 1968 three series (or "seasons") of Star Trek were made - 78 episodes in total. The crew of the Federation Starship Enterprise encountered many other alien races (including the Klingons, who along with the Romulans became the regular bad guys on the show) in their journeys along the "final frontier", many of the stories being morality tales.

Heading the crew was Captain James T. Kirk ( William Shatner), supposedly a "bookworm" when in Starfleet Academy he was always at home on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise and always managed to get the girl in each episode! Second in command was Spock, Chief Science Officer (Leonard Nimoy) - from the planet Vulcan (whose distinguishing characteristics were pointed ears and green blood). Chief Medical Officer was Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForrest Kelley), whose main preoccupation on the series seemed to be arguing with Spock and telling Kirk that "He's dead, Jim". Chief Engineer was Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), whom once thanked Kirk for being confined to the ship when involved in a fracas as it gave him the chance to read through more technical journels on the ship! Other major characters in the series were Nichelle Nichols as Communications Officer Uhura ("Hailing Frequencies open"); George Takei as Sulu, helmsman of the Enterprise; and Walter Koenig as Ensign Chekhov (who thought that every great invention was found by a Russian first).

Scotty in one of his favourite places on the shipLt UhuraSuluChekhov

The show never enjoyed ratings success when first broadcast on NBC, and only after a vigorous letter campaign was it decided that there would be a third series when ratings for the second series were not good.

However, at the end of "Turnabout Intruder" the show ended, and it looked as if that would be it for the voyages of Captain Kirk and his crew...

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All images Paramount Pictures 1998

The majority of these pictures were used from Star Trek In Sound & Vision with their kind permission.

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