Star Trek: Where No TV Pilot Has Gone Before
Thursday/November/19 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
The JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot grossed over $380 million this year, with $75 million in US ticket sales its opening weekend.
Take that Rick Berman!
The Great Bird of the Galaxy
Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek franchise spawned numerous TV series, movies, books, cartoons, graphic novels and just about every other brand of media for over 40 years. In fact, Star Trek is credited in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest number of spin-offs of all shows in television history.
But when this galactic juggernaut was launched on the Desilu backlot few were convinced that Star Trek's continuing mission would continue at all.
Live Long and Prosper
The initial pilot for the original series (TOS) starred Jeffrey (King of Kings) Hunter. That one didn't go so well so most of the cast was dumped and another pilot was shot, this time with William Shatner in the Captain's chair. The rest is future history.
But that second version of the show got some tweaking before it hit the airwaves and we doubt that the series would have lived long or prospered if that hadn't happened.
Here's a glimpse of what TV audiences did not see back in 1966. If they had, what's your guess that we'd be talking about Star Trek 43 years later?
Here's what we noticed in this never-broadcast version of the pilot...
Typical Run-of-the-Mill Theme Music
The theme song in this pilot could have been used for any cop show in the mid-1960s. Though we're sure it was intended to be exciting, the music comes off as routine and tedious.
For some reason the female soprano singing "ahhh-AHHHH-ah-ah-ah-ah-AHHHH" in the iconic theme eventually used for the show just sounds outer-spacey.
Space: The Final Frontier
The opening monologue got a major rewrite after this version of the pilot. What rambles on here for a full minute was eventually tightened up to be a textbook example of an effective mission statement. Never before had an infinitive been split so courageously.
Space...the final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise
Its five year mission
To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before...
This is a different Spock than the one that Trekkers came to love and revere. Smirky and pompous. Our should we say even more smirky and more pompous?
And speaking of Spock, his eyebrows were defintiely going rogue in this pilot. Either that or the third round bell had rung and they were crawling back to their neutral corners.
No Bones About It
No Leonard (Bones) McCoy here. Instead we get Paul Fix as the ship's doctor, though he's seen only briefly in this clip walking past the camera. His greatest claim to TV fame was playing the alcoholic Marshall who always ran to Lucas McCain for help on the 1960s series The Rifleman.
Special Bonus: Gary Lockwood
You may have noticed Gary Lockwood here. Lockwood has a unique place in science-fiction lore, having appeared not only in the launch of this historic TV space show but also starring in the historic space film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Wrath of Lucy
Star Trek, The Original Series, ran for only three years but there was pressure to shut the show down in its first year.
Who saved the day for the crew of the Enterprise?
None other than Lucille Ball -- head of production company Desilu -- who believed in the show and allowed its mission to continue.