Love Star Trek: The Original Series? Then you will love this article! I bet we can surprise you with a lot of these fun behind the scenes stories. Plus there are great photos and a funny video at the end!
Do you know what the original name of Star Trek was going to be? It was Wagon Train to the Stars!
And before he joined the Star Trek cast, Leonard Nimoy (Spock) acted on another series called Wagon Train.
They Thought He Would Quit: During the first season, the producers believed that Leonard Nimoy (Spock) was planning to quit the show. They even started looking for other actors to take over his part.
One of the actors they considered to replace him was Mark Lenard, who eventually was cast as Spock’s father, Sarek!
Note: Mark Lenard was actually only six years older than Nimoy.
He Was Gunned Down! James Doohan (Scotty) was a member of the Canadian Military before Star Trek. On D-Day he was shot down by a machine gun! He was hit by seven bullets and was lucky to only lose his finger.
Although they are pretty good at hiding it, there are a few episodes where you can see Scotty’s missing finger. In the episode Catspaw, when Scotty is holding a phaser on Kirk and Spock. And again in Trouble With Tribbles, when he is carrying a big load of tribbles.
Episodes for Supporting Characters: Producers often promised to have episodes that would feature the supporting cast (Uhura, Sulu, and Chekhov) but it just never happened.
Uhura’s Favorite Episode: Nowadays, whenever Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) is asked what her favourite episode is, she says, “Any time Uhura got off the bridge.”
They Really Went to Space: Both Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek creator) and James Doohan (Scotty) had their ashes shot into orbit after they died. Deforest Kelley (Doctor McCoy) had his ashes scattered over the pacific ocean.
And What About Kirk? All William Shatner says is, “I’m not going to have a tombstone. I’m going to be tossed in the air. Ashes, tossed like a salad.”
Spock’s Dad Was a Barber! Leonard Nimoy’s father had a barbershop during Star Trek’s most popular time. Apparently young boys often came into the shop asking to have “Mr. Spock” haircuts. Yet, they had no idea that Spock’s father was the one cutting their hair!
Sulu Thought He’d Hate Him! Walter Koenig (Chekhov) joined the series while George Takei (Sulu) was away from the set, filming another movie. When Takei found out that a new actor had been hired and was being given all of his lines, he was furious!
Until he met Koenig in person that is. The two ended up becoming best friends and Koenig was even Takei’s best man at his wedding!
They Wouldn’t Hire Women! At the time, networks did not like to hire woman writers. Dorothy Fontana (one of the writers of Star Trek) had to sign her name D.C. Fontana, just so they would assume she was a man!
They Draw Spock on Five Dollar Bills: In Canada, it became a popular past time to doodle on the five dollar bill, turning Sir Wilfrid Laurier into Spock. It became such a problem that the bill was recently changed! They now use a picture of Laurier that is harder to turn into Spock.
Their Ears Still Ring: Both Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and William Shatner (Kirk) suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It was caused by a special effects explosion for the episode Arena. Leonard and Shatner were standing too close.
He Cut Out the Other Actors Lines! It was actually part of his contract. He was to have more lines than anyone else and would sometimes have the other actor’s lines cut. This caused some hard feeling on the set, especially between him and George Takei (Sulu).
He also insisted that his name be 10% bigger than anyone else’s during the opening credits!
William Shatner eventually admitted that in the beginning he believed that he was supposed to “outshine” the others. Much later, he came to appreciate his co-actors contributions.
His Wife Left Him: After Star Trek was cancelled William Shatner and his wife split, with her taking most of everything. With no job and little money, Shatner ended up living in a camper on the back of his pick-up truck for awhile.
After Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy opened a pet store!
He Wrote Lyrics For the Opening Song: Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics for the series’ opening theme song and published them in the official Star Trek book. However, he never used, or intended to use, the lyrics on the actual show. It was simply his way of stealing a co-writing credit, so that he could get paid for the use of the theme song!
The actual writer, Alexander Courage, didn’t find out till a year after the show aired! He felt like he had been swindled out of 50% of his profits.
Roddenberry’s Reply: “I have to get some money from somewhere. I’m sure not going to get it out of the profits for Star Trek.”
They Couldn’t Work With Shatner! Many of the cast members had a very difficult time working with William Shatner (Kirk). George Takei (Sulu) and James Doohan (Scotty) especially. Doohan even went on record saying, “I like Captain Kirk but I can’t say that I’m very fond of Bill Shatner.”
He Was Jealous of Spock! When a photographer from Life Magazine showed up on set to do a profile on Spock, William Shatner was so upset that he stormed off to his dressing room and refused to come out. Leonard Nimoy then did the same, insisting that the photographer be allowed back!
Nimoy and Shatner did eventually make amends and became best friends in the end.
She Auditioned for Spock! Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) actually auditioned for the part of Spock. Eventually the character of Uhura was created specifically for her.
Was He Offered the Part? There are rumours that DeForest Kelley was actually offered the part of Spock, but chose to play Doctor McCoy instead.
He Was a Western Movie Actor: DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) started out (and preferred) acting in westerns. He only agreed to work on Star Trek because not very many westerns were being made any more.
He even won the Golden Cowboy Boot Award!
Was it a Budgetary Move? This is the reason Gene Roddenberry (the Star Trek creator) gives for having let Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand) go.
Or Because of Alcohol Problems? There are rumours that Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand) was actually fired because she had problems with alcohol.
Or Were they Trying to Keep her Quiet! Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand) herself believes that she may have been let go because they wanted to keep her quiet after a Network Executive sexually assaulted her.
Was it Really the First Interracial Kiss on TV? For a long time, the kiss between William Shatner (Kirk) and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) in the episode, Plato’s Stepchildren, was considered the first interracial kiss on television. It Wasn’t!
A British television series has been discovered, that had an interracial kiss six years prior to Star Trek!
He Never Says the Line! Throughout the series, Kirk never says the exact line of, “Beam me up, Scotty.” There are, however, variations such as: “Scotty, beam me up” or “Beam us up, Scotty.”
But You Can Get a Beam Me Up, Scotty cocktail! It is made with Jim Beam, 7-Up, and Glenlivit Single Malt Scotch, and is named for the Star Trek Engineer.
He Played Himself! James Doohan (Scotty) said he didn’t even have to work when he played Scotty because he is just like him. That “Scotty is 99% James Doohan and 1% accent.”
Leonard Nimoy (Spock) had things in common with his character too! Did you know that just like the Vulcans, Nimoy was a vegetarian!
There Was a Competition! An actual competition was held in Scotland between towns wanting to be declared as Scotty’s Official Hometown. It came down to Linlithgow and Aberdeen, with Aberdeen winning in the end!
You Can Visit Kirk’s Hometown! Riverside, Iowa has officially been named the future birthplace of James T. Kirk. The town now hosts many Star Trek events and attractions and is known as “the other Kirkland!”
They Were Both Having an Affair With Roddenberry! Both Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) and Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) were having affairs with Gene Roddenberry before the series began. In fact, he created both of their characters specifically for them.
Nichelle Nichols broke off the affair soon after the series began. Then Majel Barret married him!
He Had Shatner’s Face! Do you see the resemblance? In the original Halloween movie (1978) the mask that Michael Myers wears is actually a halloween face mask of Captain Kirk, painted white!
Shatnerian. Is Kirk’s. Special. Way of Speaking. The clipped and dramatic way that William Shatner delivers his lines as Captain Kirk, has been fondly dubbed by fans as Shatnerian!
And Speaking of Languages: Did you know that James Doohan (Scotty) came up with the original base of the Klingon Language?
One of the First Regular Black Characters on TV! Uhura was a groundbreaking character, not only because of the importance of her role but because it wasn’t stereotypical. She was a huge inspiration to Whoopi Goldberg. When Whoopi first saw the show as a child, she called out, “Momma! There’s a black lady on tv, and she ain’t no maid!”
Uhura also inspired a generation of woman astronauts and eventually Nichelle Nichols even went on to become a spokesperson for NASA!
He Claimed that he Was Saved by a UFO! William Shatner once said in an interview that he was saved by a UFO in the Mojave Desert. Apparently he was stranded and lost and the UFO pointed out the way to a gas station.
He Now Says He Was Lying! Shatner claims that the part in the desert is true but that he added in the UFO. However, he does admit that he is a believer in alien life.
He is the Comic Version of Kirk! Before Star Trek The Original Series aired, it was released as a comic strip in the UK. A mistake was made by the lettering artist, however, and Captain Kirk was instead named Captain Kurt!
Don’t Stop Now! We’ve Almost Made it to the Video!
She Had Already Resigned! Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) was tired of the racist harassment she endured from being on Star Trek The Original Series. When it got to be too much, she submitted her resignation and went back to theater. But then she met Dr. Martin Luther King, who convinced her that her role was too important to quit!
King even told her that it was the only television series that he approved of!
It was a secret on Set! George Takei’s (Sulu’s) homosexuality was kept as a closely guarded secret on the set of Star Trek. Takei did, however, pitch an episode to Roddenberry that would feature a gay alien race!
In the end, Roddenberry decided that the episode would be too controversial.
What Could be better than a video that combines Star Trek: The Original Series with Monty Python and the Holy Grail!
Enjoy the Enterprise’s most epic adventure… in Camelot!
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