On September 8, 1966, Star Trek premiered with “The Man Trap,” that classic tale of lonely salt vampires and the crewmen who love them. In celebration, check out Eugene Myers and Torie Atkinson’s inaugural post in the Star Trek rewatch, where I learned that “The Man Trap” was actually the sixth episode filmed. Thank goodness Star Trek went better than that other awesome show set in space and denied its intended pilot by the network!
The whole “Man Trap” thing made me poke around a bit into Star Trek airing history. Turns out, Star Trek suffered from low ratings during its first season and was nearly cancelled, but Lucille Ball, chief of Desilu Productions, pulled for the show, and it was given a second season.
And, well, Star Trek suffered from low ratings during its second season and was nearly cancelled, but a massive letter-writing campaign convinced the network to give it a third season. And even though it was cancelled after that, the third season gave Star Trek immortality: it was the magic number that would allow the show to be “stripped,” that is, rerun at the same time every weekday until the heat death of the universe.
I discovered Star Trek during the summer between sophomore and junior years of high school, when I was too old to go to my favorite summer camp and too young to get a job. Flipping through the cable one day, I discovered that Star Trek, the original one, with the guy—who talked—like this, was on from 4:00 to 6:00, Monday to Friday. Bingo. A summer project. My dad used to come upstairs when he heard the theme music and stick around for a few minutes to share memories of the ’70’s; it seems that he’d also discovered Star Trek in weekday syndication long after it was cancelled.
And thus an empire was born. Er, Federation. You know what I mean. So thank the deity or secular humanist principle of your choice for that third season, and live long and prosper (in reruns)!
Megan Messinger sometimes thinks she hears the old guy in 1N watching Star Trek. This would be awesome, except that it means the sound is carrying four floors.