Space, the final frontier. For over three decades, Star Trek has captivated audiences with its bold exploration of the unknown.
From the charismatic Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner, to the logical Spock, portrayed by Leonard Nimoy, the original series ran from 1966 to 1969, sparking a devoted following of 'Trekkies' who gather at conventions to celebrate their beloved franchise. Now, it is time to learn some little-known facts about the beloved franchise.
Star Trek Had A Captain Before Kirk
The original pilot for Star Trek, featuring Captain Christopher Pike, was rejected by NBC.
Leonard Nimoy's portrayal of Spock was the only character retained for the second pilot, which introduced Captain Kirk, with William Shatner as the lead role. Jeffrey Hunter played the role of Pike in the initial pilot but did not continue with the series.
Spock Almost Had Red Skin
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, envisioned Spock as a Martian with red skin.
However, due to the lack of color TVs at the show's inception and the hassle of applying red makeup to Leonard Nimoy's skin in every episode, this idea was deemed more trouble than it was worth.
The Fanbase Didn't Arrive Until After The Show Ended
While Star Trek aired its first episode in 1966, the fanbase and Trekkies people know today didn't really show up until after the series ended in 1969.
In fact, it wasn't until the 1970s and the television reruns of the show that people began to become interested in the adventures of Spock, Captain Kurt, and the rest of the crew on the USS Enterprise.
Martin Luther King Jr. Was A Trekky And Convinced Nichols To Stay
Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, rescinded her decision to depart after season one. A persuasive conversation with Martin Luther King Jr., a Trekky himself, swayed her.
King Jr.'s belief in the significance of her character's representation inspired Nichols to continue in the portrayal of her ground-breaking role.
The First Space Shuttle Was Inspired By Star Trek
The first US Space Shuttle Enterprise was named after the fictional starship from Star Trek and its widespread popularity, the USS Enterprise. The show's passionate fan base, which included NASA engineers, inspired the agency to choose the name.
Enterprise symbolized the spirit of exploration and innovation, capturing the imagination of both science fiction enthusiasts and space professionals.
Bones' Line "I'm a doctor, not a..." Was From A 1933 Movie
The line "I'm a doctor, not a..." originates from the 1933 film The Kennel Murder Case. It was later popularized in the Star Trek series and became a recurring catchphrase uttered by Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, who would say the line when he was frustrated about being asked to do more than he could.
The line was often completed with different endings, emphasizing the doctor's dedication to his medical profession.
Trekkies Can Get A $500 Scholarship For College
Starfleet, an international fan group, offers a $500 scholarship to Star Trek enthusiasts pursuing higher education.
Their generous initiative supports students in their academic journey while celebrating their passion for the beloved sci-fi franchise. Starfleet's commitment to nurturing the next generation reflects the values of unity and exploration championed in Star Trek.
Teleporting Was Cheaper To Film Than Spaceships Landing
In the original Star Trek series, the ingenious use of teleportation during filming proved to be a cost-effective solution to showcase the futuristic technology of spaceships.
With a limited budget, the production team creatively employed teleportation to depict crew members effortlessly moving between locations, giving the illusion of seamless transportation across the galaxy.
Spock Was Not Originally Star Trek's "Number One"
The producers of Star Trek opted to progress with Spock instead of Number One after the pilot. They admired Spock's distinctive ears and eyebrows, which lent a more devilish appearance to the series.
Although it was not easy, their choice eventually set the stage for Spock's enduring presence and the show's subsequent success.
Wardrobe: Miniskirts And Green Shirts
Originally, NBC had wanted the female cast members of Star Trek to don miniskirts, believing it would enhance the show's appeal.
The network's suggestion was ultimately abandoned. Interestingly, the gold shirts the male characters wore were green, but due to the television's color rendering, they appeared gold to the viewers.
Shatner Became Petty With Nimoy
Off camera, William Shatner reportedly clashed with co-star Leonard Nimoy. Shatner's concern stemmed from not wanting other characters to appear more intelligent than Captain Kirk, leading him to steal Nimoy's lines occasionally.
This alleged rivalry behind the scenes added tension to their on-screen dynamic.
Inside Jokes Were Built Into The Set
Star Trek's original series set harbored delightful inside jokes cherished by the cast. Among them, the tubes on the ship flaunted inscriptions like "GNDN" with random numbers, teasingly translating to "Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing."
This witty jest added a touch of amusement to the futuristic surroundings they inhabited and was included in future iterations of the series.
Communicators On Star Trek Influenced The Flip Phone
The iconic communicators featured on Star Trek served as a source of inspiration for the design and technology behind flip cell phones.
The first flip phone, the Motorola StarTAC, was introduced in 1996 by Motorola in the United States. Its sleek, compact form factor and ability to flip open and close echoed the futuristic communication devices seen in the beloved science fiction series.
Nimoy Invented The Vulcan Nerve Pinch
Leonard Nimoy was a method actor before his role as Spock in the TV series. Nimoy is credited with inventing the Vulcan grip. This maneuver, performed by joining the fingers in a specific pattern and applying pressure to the neck, swiftly immobilized opponents.
Affectionately dubbed the "Vulcan nerve pinch," it became a trademark move synonymous with Spock's logical and formidable nature.
Shatner And Nimoy Were Rivals Turned Friends
Actors Shatner and Nimoy, once competitive, formed a unique bond while performing together on screen. They frequently collaborated at Star Trek conventions, delighting fans in character. However, Shatner privately voiced his unease over Spock's popularity overshadowing Kirk.
Despite this, their enduring friendship triumphed, showcasing the depth of their connection beyond on-screen rivalry.
Paramount Tried To Deep-Space Star Trek
After producing the original Star Trek series, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's production company sold it to Paramount. The company then attempted to sell it to Roddenberry, the show's creator, who couldn't afford it, compelling them to retain ownership.
Massive financial losses and a scarcity of syndication-worthy shows prompted their desire to sell the rights.
Kirk Never Asked Scotty To Beam Him Up
The iconic phrase "Beam me up, Scotty" is widely associated with Star Trek, but interestingly, it's never actually spoken in the show. The character referred to as "Scotty" is Montgomery Scott, the skilled chief engineer of the USS Enterprise, played by James Doohan.
The phrase has become a popular cultural reference nonetheless and has been used in subsequent Star Trek films.
Shatner's Superiority Complex Was Built Into The Script
William Shatner's commanding presence on set was accompanied by special considerations that ensured his prominence. With a guaranteed abundance of lines, his dialogue took precedence even when others were cut.
The hierarchy Shatner roamed the set with extended to the credits, granting him a higher placement, which added a palpable tension among the cast.
Nimoy's Dad Offered "Spock Haircuts"
The immense popularity of the show Star Trek transcended the screen, reaching Leonard Nimoy's own father, a barber.
In his bustling barber shop, he delighted customers, often fans of the series, by offering them the opportunity to sport a haircut reminiscent of the iconic Spock. It was a testament to the show's lasting cultural impact.
Nimoy And Shatner Suffered Tinnitus From Explosions
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner have battled with persistent Tinnitus, a condition characterized by ringing in the ears, stemming from the explosive effects on set. The duo was standing too close to an explosion one day during filming, which caused their affliction.
Shatner resorted to utilizing a white noise-emitting device as a means to alleviate the issue.
Nimoy Created The Spock Salute
The origin of Spock's iconic salute can be traced to Leonard Nimoy's creative inspiration. Drawing from his Jewish heritage, Nimoy crafted the distinctive gesture by adapting the hand sign used in a sacred Hebrew blessing.
The open hand, with fingers separated in a "V" shape, became synonymous with Vulcan culture and a beloved symbol for Star Trek fans worldwide.
Shatner Could Not Do The Vulkan Salute
William Shatner, despite his fame as a versatile actor, faced a physical challenge when it came to executing the iconic Spock salute. He couldn't do it.
Stagehands resorted to clever tricks, using fishing lines to carefully tie his fingers apart, ensuring the desired hand gesture. This ingenious solution enabled Shatner to flawlessly showcase the Vulcan salute.
Nimoy Thought He Was Spock
Leonard Nimoy, the brilliant mind behind the creation of Spock, received a modest payment of $2,000 per episode for his iconic portrayal. Despite the show's immense success, he yearned for greater financial recognition.
Dealing with newfound fame was a daunting challenge for the talented actor. Nimoy preferred to stay in character even when not on screen. Shatner accused Nimoy of being Spock more than his natural self.
Spock Was Initially Supposed To Be Female
Initially intended to be female, Spock's character changed significantly before the show's executives decided to make the logical Vulcan a male.
This alteration unknowingly would shape the beloved character we now know and remember fondly, portrayed by Leonard Nimoy, who brought intelligence, stoicism, and a unique perspective to the Star Trek universe.
Scotty Was A Soldier Off Set
James Doohan, who portrayed "Scotty" in the Star Trek series, was a former soldier. He served in the Canadian military as a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery during World War II.
Doohan valiantly fought in several major battles, including the D-Day invasion.
Takei And Shatner Clashed Off Screen
Star Trek co-star George Takei had a widely publicized feud with William Shatner. Takei famously remarked that Shatner exhibited an attitude of superiority, acting as if he was larger than the show itself.
This dynamic created tension between Takei, Shatner, and other cast members during their time in the series. According to Takei, "We all had problems with Bill on the set."
Every Stardate Announced Was Completely Random
The signature Stardate, spoken at the start of each Star Trek episode, held a unique charm. Fans quickly noticed that the numbers had no discernible sequence or pattern.
They soon realized what seemingly were arbitrary figures actually were made up, yet they embraced them as a beloved part of the show's immersive futuristic setting.
DeForest Kelley "Bones" Auditioned For Spock Initially
DeForest Kelley, known for his portrayal of the doctor in Star Trek, initially auditioned for the role of Spock but was rejected. However, he was later cast as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the ship's compassionate and often grumpy physician.
His memorable performance made him an integral part of the beloved sci-fi series.
Spock Was Supposed To Kiss Uhura, Not Captain Kirk
The kiss between Captain Kirk and Uhura in Star Trek was first intended to be a kiss between Uhura and Spock. As fans probably remember from watching the episode, that kiss did not happen.
William Shatner, who played Kirk, complained until the scene was rewritten for his character.
Star Trek Inspired Over 125 Video Games
The original series of Star Trek has served as the inspiration for over 125 video games since 1971. These games have spanned across various gaming platforms, including Atari, Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, PlayStation, and Xbox.
They have allowed fans to immerse themselves in the iconic universe of Star Trek in interactive and exciting ways.