When Star Trek hit the screens back in 1966, nobody could have guessed that it would become a cultural phenomenon that would go on to spawn scores of spin-off shows, movies, conventions and enough merchandise to fill the USS Enterprise several times over. As hard as it is now to believe, this multi-million dollar science fiction juggernaut was actually canceled after a mere three seasons. However, that was plenty of time for many fascinating stories to emerge. Here are 21 amazing facts about the original Star Trek TV series that will surprise even the most ardent Trekkies!
The sci-fi space wonder world where the women all look like goddesses was unsurprisingly a worldwide success – with new additions to the franchise still being made today.
Star Trek has come such a long way over the years so, it ‘s about time we threw things back to where it all it began and took a look at how much the infamous cast has changed over the years.
Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the face behind roles from “Number One” to “Nurse Christine Chapel” to “Lwaxana Troi” and the voice of Starfleet computers past and present, was also creator Gene Roddenberry’s wife from 1969—and thus often dubbed “The First Lady of Star Trek.” She on passed away on Dec. 18, 2008.
The Show’s Creator Was A Bit Of A Ladies’ Man
Show creator Gene Roddenberry was having an affair with both Nichols and actress Majel Barett when he was writing the first season of Star Trek. Eager for both of his lovers to have a part in his new show, Roddenberry created the characters of Uhura and Nurse Chapel for them. Nichols broke off her relationship with the show’s creator soon after filming commenced on the first season. Barrett, on the other hand, stayed with Roddenberry and the pair would eventually marry in Japan in 1969. The two had one son together, Eugene, who was born in 1974. Barrett passed away on December 18th, 2008, aged 76.
George Takei Was Less Than Pleased With Chekov
When George Takei, who played Sulu in the show, was away from the production filming the movie The Green Berets, the producers of Star Trek took the opportunity to introduce a new character who, with his mop-top haircut and youthful appearance was designed to attract the groovy Monkees / Beatles crowd to the show. All of Sulu’s lines were given to actor Walter Koenig who played new character Chekov. When Takei returned to the show, he was livid to discover his character had been usurped, and blamed Koenig instead of the producers. A rift opened up between the two actors that took many years to heal, though they would eventually end up the best of friends.
Alice Eve: Then
Eve played the character of Carol Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness, Marcus was a science officer specializing in advanced weaponry for the mission to Klingon territories.
Alice Eve: Now
Eve played herself in the Hollywood film Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014 and has since starred in several productions, including Criminal in 2016. She has heterochromia, a condition that causes the irises of both eyes to be different colors. In Eve’s case, her left eye is blue, and her right eye is green.
The Clue’s In The Name
As crazy as it sounds for a show that started way back in 1966, one of the characters – Sulu – had to wait until 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country before being given a first name. Things happened a little earlier for Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura. Her character was given the first name ‘Nyota’, which is a Swahili word meaning ‘star’. Originally, the character was named ‘Penda’, but neither the actress nor the show’s fans took to the name.
The Pilot Was Considered Too Sexy For TV
The show’s pilot, The Cage, never aired on TV. Network bosses were worried that the show was too sexually suggestive for a family audience to accept. It’s not hard to see with its steamy scenes of green-painted dancing girls, though these scenes seem incredibly tame by modern standards. Producers did take notice of the network’s prudishness. they would often insert scenes into the show knowing they would be cut. However, this enabled the producers to insert controversial storylines such as 1968’s Vietnam War allegory, A Private Little War while the network execs fussed over dancing girls and displays of female flesh.
Jonathan Frakes: Then
The stalwart second-in-command on Star Trek: The Next Generation was quite the handsome guy back in the day.
Jonathan Frakes: Now
Number Two might have lost his long locks, but he is still working in film. However, now he is behind the camera rather than in front of it and directing some true classics.
Spock Wasn’t Supposed To Eat Or Drink
The original idea for Spock was that he would have a completely out of this world digestive system. Unlike humans, Spock would not eat or drink. Instead, a metal plate in his stomach would absorb the energy around him and convert it into sustenance. This idea was eventually dropped, probably when somebody realized it was a stupid idea.
Linda Park: Then
Linda Park’s Hoshi Sato was a linguistic genius. She may have ultimately remained underused in the series, but Park was one trusty crew member.
Linda Park: Now
The actress, who played Hoshi Sato on Star Trek: Enterprise, has co-starred in the bittersweet comic web series Adoptable!, And shares the screen with many Trek veterans in Unbelievable, and she recently wrapped the indie feature A New York Christmas.
The Enterprise Had A Six-Lane Bowling Alley On Board
When the official blueprints for the USS Enterprise were released to the public in 1975, fans noticed something rather unusual on Deck 21. Right next to areas designated ‘Refreshments Area’ and ‘Basic Foods and Beverages Preparation Facility’ was a six-lane bowling alley! Hey, even Captain Kirk needs a bit of recreation time when he’s not fighting Klingons or getting it on with a galaxy of sexy ladies!
Scott Bakula: Then
You may have fallen in love with him as the wholesome lead in Quantum Leap, but Scott Bakula really came into his own as the gruff captain of the Enterprise, the Federation’s first expedition into space.
Scott Bakula: Now
Today the hunk is still roaming around Hollywood and working his magic on NCIS.
High Praise Indeed
Actress Nichelle Nichols was praised by none other than Doctor Martin Luther King for the positive contribution she made to the civil rights cause. Her portrayal of Uhura was the first regular black character on television, and came unburdened with the usual stereotypes that plagued black characters back in the 1960s. In the Star Trek universe, everyone was equal. It took the real world a long time to catch up with this notion.
Ashely Judd: Then
She might have only been in the show for two episodes, but this stunner was too amazing not to include in this line up.
Ashely Judd: Now
Since her Star Trek debut she has continued to make regular on-screen appearances.
Scotty Had A Missing Finger For A Very Noble Reason
James Doohan, the actor who played engineer Scotty on the show, was sometimes seen with a missing finger on his right hand. Doohan served with the 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division during the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944. While Doohan crossed between command posts in the middle of the night, a nervous Canadian sentry took him for a German soldier and opened fire. Doohan was shot four times in the leg, once in the chest and once straight through his middle finger. Luckily, Doohan survived, but his finger had to be amputated. He tried to conceal the fact he had a missing finger for most of his acting career, but it can occasionally be seen in certain episodes of Star Trek.
George Takei: Then
When the original Star Trek aired, George Takei had the tough task of basically representing all of Asia (you know, half the world’s population). Fortunately, Gene Roddenbury picked a guy who was up to the task when he settled on the Japanese-American stud.
George Takei: Now
Now that his Star Trek days are behind him, Takei has become an outspoken advocate for the LGBT movement. He has also taken part in the hilarious British reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’.
The Show Created Its Own Booze
The various beverages you see in the original Star Trek TV show were actually modified versions of real world beverages. Due to trademark restrictions, the producers of the show couldn’t use real life beverages, so instead they took the bottles these drinks came in and modified them. Therefore, George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey became ‘Saurian Brandy’, and Cuervo Gold 1800 Tequila became Scotty’s favorite tipple, ‘Aldeberan Whiskey’.
Nichelle Nichols: Then
This ultimate hot momma was one half of TV’s first interracial kiss. She actually wanted to quit the show after its first season, until she spoke with a fellow by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. King commended Nichols for her role, saying that it was representative of where we were headed as a species.
Nichelle Nichols: Now
These days she is the ultimate chic OAP and has aged with the utmost grace.
Kirk Wasn’t Meant To Kiss Uhura
One of the most famous – and groundbreaking – kisses in television history occurred in 1968 Plato’s Stepchildren episode of Star Trek. The moment Uhura and Kirk kissed on screen was a landmark moment in American broadcast history as it marked the first interracial kiss to be seen on US TV. However, what is less known is that Uhura was originally supposed to kiss Spock, not Kirk. When William Shatner read the script, he said to Nichols, “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!” The script was hastily rewritten and the rest, as they say, is history!
William Shatner: Then
Quite arguably the ships hottest member. But where is he now?
William Shatner: Now
Since that T.J. Hooker perm, some bad plastic surgery and a few pounds packed on over the years, the stud of yore has transformed into a rather unseemly senior.
They Had To Make Shatner Taller
Unhappy with the idea that the captain of the ship wasn’t as tall as the first officer, actor William Shatner insisted on lifts in his shoes and two-inch heels to boost him over the six-foot threshold, making the actor taller than Leonard Nimoy. Unfortunately, this knocked the five foot nine actor’s posture out of whack. Whenever Shatner stood up, his not inconsiderable belly would jut out, which was a cause of much amusement.
Jeri Ryan: Then
As Seven of Nine, a former Borg drone trying to get back in touch with her human roots, Jeri Ryan served as the foil to Voyager’s Captain Janeway.
Jeri Ryan: Now
Just when we thought she couldn’t look any better – she gets papped looking like this.
Roxana Dawson: Then
Dawson was actually the first actress cast in Star Trek: Voyager after showrunners were impressed with her reading for B’Elanna Torres.
Roxana Dawson: Now
Patrick Stewart (aka Star Trek veteran): Then
Jean-Luc Picard might be a bald old guy, but he is an iconic Star Trek member who simply couldn’t be left off this list.
Patrick Stewart: Now
He has continued to appear in iconic films – most famously as X Men’s leading man.
Stewart is currently promoting his latest film Logan with Hugh Jackman.
Terry Farrell: Then
Terry Farrell aka Jadzia Dax – the complicated Trill on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – stuck around for six series before she was axed in the season finale so she could pursue a part in the Ted Danson sitcom Becker.
Terry Farrell: Now
She hasn’t aged a day. The 52-year-old was in almost 100 Becker episodes.
Jolene Blalock: Then
This stunner was a model before her Star Trek journey and it isn’t hard to see why.
Jolene Blalock: Now
After taking on the resourceful yet reserved role as Vulcan reporting to the High Command on Star Trek: Enterprise her looks have unbelievably got even better! Her post Star Trek credits include Stargate SG-1, Slow Burn, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, House, 10 Items or Less, Legend of the Seeker, Sinners and Saints and Sex Tape.
Marina Sirtis: Then
U.S.S. Enterprise’s counselor, Deanna Troi, was the half-human half Betazoid bombshell. As a woman who was able to innately sense human emotions, she was constantly at work on the ship helping resolve the often troubled emotional state of the crew.
Marina Sirtis: Now
Every guy fancied her back in the day and it is safe to say she’s still got it!