Tonight marks the 49th Anniversary of the first screening of the classic Star Trek: TOS on US television, with the airing of “The Man Trap” on Thursday, September 8, 1966. Due to some strange network mental gymnastics, they managed to air this one, which should have actually been the FIFTH episode, first, and they aired the pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, third. Go figure.
We poor, neglected souls over here in Ireland and the UK had to wait until July 12, 1969 before we first got to watch Star Trek on UK television, when it started in the traditional Saturday evening 5:15pm timeslot usually occupied by Doctor Who. Unlike in the US, we actually started with the pilot episode, although from that point on, there seemed to be no rhythm or rhyme to the sequence that the BBC showed the episodes in, and the series was not shown in airdate or production order.
The series was actually also shown over four seasons, rather than three, and some episodes were edited for violent content, with three of the episodes, “The Empath”, “Whom Gods Destroy” and “Plato’s Stepchildren”, not shown at all during the first run due to concerns over “sadistic elements” in the stories making them unsuitable for the series’ early “children’s” time slot. We had to wait until 1992 to finally see those episodes during a repeat re-run. To add to the insult, the episode “Miri”, which WAS shown in the initial run, was not shown again until 1993, due to “audience complaints” after the first screening. What a complete bunch of WUSSIES!!!
Just by coincidence, I’m sitting here right now with one of my friends, watching some classic TOS episodes on DVD. We started off with “Devil in the Dark”, then onto “Errand of Mercy”, which has just ended, and now we’re starting into “The Alternative Factor”. We’ll be finishing off with “The City on the Edge of Forever”, one of my favourite all-time Trek episodes, from ANY of the five series, and “Operation: Annihilate!”, another classic.
Extremely enjoyable night ahead for myself and friend, and oh yeah… Happy 49th Birthday Star Trek!
“Space…the final frontier….”
These are the voyages where the legend began, 49 years ago tonight!
I’ve mentioned this before (about a zillion times), but my earliest memories include Star Trek to some degree. I wasn’t old enough to watch the show during its original broadcast run, but I watched the reruns every day after school. I did catch the original run of the cartoon on Saturday mornings, which also is celebrating its own anniversary, having premiered 42 years ago on this same date. Beyond that, I had the Mego figures and that crazy bridge set. I built the AMT models, and I read the occasional Gold Key comic book or poster book or collection of James Blish episode adaptations.
And, of course, there were the reruns. Always, the reruns.
Back then, before VCRs, DVD, iTunes or NetFlix, you had to wait for your favorite episodes to cycle back around in the rotation…
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