A Well-Known Show
Star Trek is so well-known that even if someone has never watched it, they would undoubtedly recognize the name.
There may be a few tidbits or truths that have remained undiscovered throughout the years, though, even for the seasoned space enthusiast. Here are a few intriguing examples!
Stealing The Best Parts
The “famous” kiss between Uhura and Kirk was originally written for Spock.
Nichelle Nichols said, "My understanding is Bill Shatner took one look at the scene and said, ‘No you will not! If anyone's going to be part of the first interracial kiss in television history, it's going to be me!' So, they rewrote it."
Hiding With Paint
Spock was always meant to have pointy ears.
However, some promoters were worried that his appearance would be too “devilish” for anyone living inside the Bible Belt. So, the tips were air brushed out for any promotional material in that area.
Being Passed Off
The show was originally produced by Lucille Ball’s studio.
But when it was acquired by Gulf and Western, they immediately wiped their hands of it and gave it to Paramount. They also didn’t want it because it was losing money. They ended up keeping it on, even after offering back it to the original creator.
Another interesting Paramount vs. Star Trek fact...
Leonard Nimoy wasn’t going to be a part of Star Trek: Phase II because he was in the middle of a lawsuit. The studio has used his likeness in a Heineken commercial without his permission. However, as soon as Star Wars came out, they were more than happy to settle to get him back.
Peekaboo, I See You
This next one bothered fans a lot. While the start of the series was low budget and had plenty of mistakes with cast and equipment showing, by the time The Next Generation started, those errors should have been at a minimum.
But in Unification II a crew members face can be seen in the crystal so clearly that the man can be identified as boom operator Bill Gocke.
Everyone knows it’s James T. Kirk – the T being Tiberius. But in season 1 episode 3 “Where no man has gone before” there’s a glaring booboo.
A crew member goes mad with power when he gains psychic abilities. While Kirk is fighting him, we get a clear view of the Captain’s gravestone, which has an “R” instead. But only hardcore fans would spot this one and be irked by it. The next scene, however, it’s the actor that is the most embarrassed by its existence...
Way “Too Out There”
Fans agree on many of the worst episodes – like where Spoke jams with space hippies.
But Leonard Nimoy was the most embarrassed by the one called “Spock’s Brain” – where his brain was stolen by aliens. But, for some reason, Vulcans can live for 48 hours without a brain before they die. Nimoy even wrote about it in his book as being horrible to shoot.
Don’t I Know You?
During the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Chekov gets in an altercation with Khan. Their dialogue suggests they had met each other before in season one’s “Space Seed.”
However, hardcore fans are quick to point out that Chekov didn’t appear until season two. It’s quite a large writing blunder that still sits with fans the wrong way. However, it’s the next Khan scene still bothers fans to this day.
In Star Trek II, Khan is painted as a being with unimaginable power – an extreme, unstoppable spices.
While Kirk has a tough time fighting him, he ends up winning the battle with not much extra exertion compared to other enemies. It doesn’t make any scene that one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, even universe, would go down so easy.
The original costumes were made illegally.
The producers didn’t have enough money, so they had them crafted in a sweatshop overnight. Then, they snuck the final pieces back through a window so no one would see. So shady.
The Show That Nearly Didn’t Happen
Star Trek: The Next Generation nearly didn’t happen.
This was because Roddenberry refused to allow any kind of cross over. The different teams were never allowed to work together. The studio had to wait for the creator to pass away in order to move forward.
Buzz Buzz Buzz
There was more than one “animal incident” on set.
William Shatner started making jokes about the distracting buzzing until a bee got him right on the eyelid. Guest star Sally Kellerman was also stung and ended up very thankful that almost all of the rest of her scenes that day required her to stand.
Pay For Your Pens
Leonard Nimoy received more fan mail than any other actor on Star Trek.
The studio said they would pay for the photos, postage and envelopes. However, for some reason, they made him pay for his own paper, pens, and pencils. Weird.
William Shatner is a great actor, but he also knows it.
Because of this, he was a drama queen on and off sat. He demanded to have the most lines. But the craziest thing was he required the font of his name to be bigger than anyone else’s in the credits.
J.J. Abrams wanted both Nimoy and Shatner in his reboot.
However, Shatner was too demanding and wanted a majority of the film focused on him. Abrams knew this wouldn’t work so cut him out. Shatner was not happy ... until the premier. He loved Chris Pine’s interpretation of Kirk.
Cutting Down Roddenberry
Even though Star Trek: The Motion Picture did very well, the story line was still confusing and too complicated for viewers and critics.
Because of this, Paramount forced Rodenberry to be a consultant in name only. In otherwards, they froze him out and gave him next to no creative power.
Give Him The Axe
Nimoy obviously had a rocky relationship with the show.
He agreed to come back for The Wrath of Khan if his character was killed off. His death scene became one of the most famous in cinema history. It was so loved that it gave him the green light to direct the next movie – the Search for Spock.
Dangerous Set Effects
During the episode “The Apple”, Spoke throws an explosive rock.
The problem was, the sound effects they used were so loud that some of the actors had to go to the hospital because of inner-ear damage. Twenty years later, a few actors still have tinnitus.
Spock was originally meant to have red skin.
On TVs that only showed black and white, the red makeup just made Spock appear very dark. The studio worried it would appear racist. Also, it would require Nimoy spending hours in the makeup chair before every show.
Deep Space Nine is meant to be grittier than some other takes on Star Trek.
However, Avery Brooks (who played the no-nonsense Benjamin Sisko) admitted there was some tom foolery in scenes that he didn’t care for. His worst was a toss up between two scenes. One had the team singing a children’s song while playing hopscotch so they could open a door. The other...
The other was in “Apocalypse Rising” where he had to play a Klingon.
There were so many prosthetics that he even had to visit a dentist to have the mouth pieces and teeth put in place. He really didn’t want to, but the studio gave him no choice. If you watch the episode, the discomfort he’s showing isn’t just the character’s aversion to suddenly being Klingon, it’s the actor’s hatred of being in the makeup.
The Klingon Explanation
From season to season, and series to series, the Klingons have drastically changed their appearance.
At first, it was just budget limitations (hence the smooth foreheads), but as ridges and whatnot were added to their scary visage through the years, the writers took the lazy path and said it was just a “mutation” that changed them. There’s even an episode where Warf says, “We don’t talk about it.”
Spock Song Mention
Fans were divided on whether or not the JJ Abrams reboot was decent or not.
However, everyone was in “cringe” agreement when the Beastie Boys song starts playing during a fight climax. The issue? The song (at least in their timeline) is considered to be classical music ( just because of its age) but the lyrics actually mention Spock in them!
The Prime Directive
Fans love when captains break the rules. But the Prime Directive is supposed to be the “unbreakable rule” – where non-first-contact species are meant to be left alone and not interfered with.
This rule, however, is broken all the time. It seems that Star Fleet had a cherry picking attitude towards rules and punishments.
Another well kept secret was that the original pilot called “The Cage” was immediately shut down by network executives and never saw the light of day. Why?
They thought the show was too intellectual and that audiences couldn’t keep up with its advanced philosophical concepts - ouch! But that’s not all…
Spawns of Satan!
These big time executives were also worried about the characters' appearances and how they’d be perceived by the public.
Spock was a particular cause for concern as he was said to look “satanic” and repel viewers - as would a woman being cast as second-in-command. But what really tipped them over the edge?
Erotic scenes - no, really! The Broadcast Standards Office were appalled by the extreme images of eroticism that sprinkled throughout the original pilot.
So to get the show approved, Roddenberry changed just about everything about it - the cast, the script and even the appearance of the characters to make them more relatable.
Never Enough Lines
Although you would have never guessed, when the show was approved, Roddenberry and DesiLou struggled to put scripts together for the show.
They were constantly reading up too short or not at all so Roddenberry would solicit stories from sci-fi novel and magazine authors, as well as his office staff. But there was a problem…
Not Getting It
Once Roddenberry managed to get the script together, even the most experienced television writers struggled to understand the sci-fi material they were reading.
And the most experienced sci-fi writers struggled to understand the details that came along with writing for television - basically, it was a big hot mess.
Breaking the Camel's Back
This meant that the scripts ended up being one of the most expensive features on the show as they often needed more staging and casting to do the scenes justice.
It took a massive chunk out of their budget and would continue to be the bane of their life until DesiLou could no longer afford the series.
Surprisingly Camera Shy
One of the most surprising secrets to learn about the cast of Star Trek is that William Shatner, who started in 79 episodes of the series and a number of movies, has never watched a single episode. Why?
No, it’s not because he hates the show or was on bad terms with any of his cast-mates - he simply couldn’t bear to watch himself. He also made another confession..
The Past Is The Past
If you were an actor on a legendary show like Star Trek, you’d want some kind of souvenir from that time of your life right? Well, not William Shatner.
“I’ve kept nothing. Given the choice at the time of having a Star Trek shirt or a designer suit, I’d have taken a suit. I should have known better”, he said.
Writers Get Angry
If you didn’t know this already, Roddenberry was quite infamous for soliciting scripts from well-known sci-fi writers like Harlon Ellison and Richard Matheson.
Basically he was taking scripts and rewriting them to the point where they were almost unrecognizable. Almost.
The original script of Harlon Ellison’s “City on the edge of forever”involved a drug-dealing crewman and wild manners from the rest of the cast but when Roddenberry got his hands on the script, he changed parts he didn’t like and finished the final version with a story editor after several unacceptable rewrites with Ellison.
When Ellison requested he be recognised in the credits, he was outright denied!
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental