Accidentally Accurate: In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" the Enterprise travels back in time to the 1960s. It's mentioned that three astronauts are taking part in a manned moon shot on Wednesday. Two years after the episode aired, Apollo 11 blasted off on July 16, 1969 (a Wednesday) carrying three astronauts (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins). Given that the Apollo program was already getting started around the time of this episode, however, it was already known that there would be three astronauts per spacecraft, and odds were good that at least one of the craft bound for the moon would launch on a Wednesday. That the Wednesday launch happened to be Apollo 11 (the first moon landing) was a happy coincidence.
Shatner also does brief double duty in "Operation: Annihilate!", in the scene where Kirk discovers the body of his brother Sam.
A quirk of production: Malachi Throne provided the voice (but not the face) for the Talosian Keeper in the unaired Trek pilot, "The Cage". Almost two years later, Throne was cast as Commodore Mendez for "The Menagerie" two-parter, which recycles footage from first pilot. His voice for The Keeper had to be electronically altered so the audience wouldn't recognize it as the same guy.
Actor Allusion: "Spectre of the Gun" was DeForest Kelley's third trip to the OK Corral; he played Morgan Earp in the 1957 film Gunfight At The O. K. Corral, as well as Ike Clanton in the educational TV show You Are There.
Both DeForest Kelley and Bones are natives of Georgia and have Irish sounding names.
James Doohan had a degree in Engineering and even used it to save Gene Roddenberry from danger when they went out boating and ran into trouble. No record exists of him saying that the boat "cannae take much more of this" though.
The writer of "Return to Tomorrow" had himself credited under a pseudonym in protest against a change that was made to the ending.
Two episodes in the third season, "That Which Survives" and "The Way to Eden", were developed from storylines by Trek veteran writer D.C. Fontana, but bear the credit "Story by Michael Richards" because Fontana felt the final episodes diverged too far for her to feel comfortable putting her name on them.
The first BBC broadcast of "Miri" led to protests over its allegedly over-horrific nature (since it involved children in peril and adults getting killed), and as a result it and three later episodes—"Plato's Stepchildren", "The Empath" and "Whom Gods Destroy"—were suppressed from BBC broadcasts of the show until the 1990s due to being considered excessively violent and horrific.
"Patterns of Force" was not aired on German TV before the 1990s, as the frequent use of Nazi imagery and claims of Nazism making for an efficient society meant it was (understandably, and as is quite common in the country) deemed unsuitable for entertainment in Germany. It finally made its public TV debut in 2011, though it had already been shown on German pay TV in 1996 and included in the DVD/blu-ray sets.
Kirk's the Trope Namer, by omission. No, he never said it. (No, not even in Star Trek: The Animated Series—there he says "Beam us up, Scotty".) The closest he comes is in The Voyage Home where he says, "Scotty, beam me up."
Spock never said "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it"; that's from Star Trekkin'. The closest he ever came in canon was the episode "The Devil in the Dark":
Spock: Within range of our sensors, there is no life, other than the accountable human residents of this colony beneath the surface. At least, no life as we know it.
Scotty is universally remembered as complaining that the engines "cannae take much more ah this, Cap'n", for fear that "she's gonna blow", or some variation thereof. He's also known to protest that "ah doon have th' pow'r, Cap'n!" He never used any of those phrases on the show; they're cobbled together out of a dozen different lines from different episodes, and have become ubiquitous in parodies ever since.
Scotty's also said "Ah cannae change the laws of physics", and not "Ye cannae". That's from Star Trekkin'.
He didn't say either. He said, exactly, "I can't change the laws of physics. I've got to have thirty minutes!" Most parodies play the accent up far beyond the original.
He said "she'll blow soon" once, in "The Corbomite Maneuver.
Don't expect to ever hear Sulu say "Oh, my." That's George Takei's personal catchphrase. Sulu himself was the only regular who lacked a memorable Catch Phrase or Verbal Tic, one of the reasons he didn't show up in too many parodies (and when he did, he was usually the Straight Man). More recently, given Takei's predilection for Adam Westing, parodies of Sulu are basically parodies of Takei (including the Camp Gay antics—see below).
Cast the Expert: Trained belly-dancer Tania Lemani appeared as the dancer Kara in "Wolf in the Fold", and did her own choreography for the dance routine that occupies most of the character's screen time.
Harlan Ellison's opinion of "The City on the Edge of Forever" is in the Creator Backlash Hall Of Fame.
Grace Lee Whitney had some choice words about the episode "The Enemy Within" later on:
Whitney: At the end of "The Enemy Within," there is a badly botched attempt at humor. In a poorly motivated and out of character moment, Mr. Spock needles me about my feelings towards the evil Kirk (who came to be called "the Imposter," even though he was supposedly every bit as much a part of the "real" James T. Kirk as the good Kirk). There is almost a nasty leer on Spock's face as he says to me, "The Imposter had some very interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, yeoman?" My response was to ignore the jibe. I can't imagine any more cruel and insensitive comment a man (or Vulcan) could make to a woman who has just been through a sexual assault! But then, some men really do think that women want to be raped. So the writer of the script (ostensibly Richard Matheson—although the line could have been added by Gene Roddenberry or an assistant scribe) gives us a leering Mr. Spock who suggests that Yeoman Rand enjoyed being raped and found the evil Kirk attractive!
David Gerrold, whose first script for the series was only one of the most loved episodes ever, submitted an outline called "Castles In The Air." By the time Margaret Armen and Oliver Crawford were through with itnote Armen has teleplay credit, Gerrold shares story credit with Crawford it became "The Cloud Minders," and he wasn't happy with the finished product.
Creator Cameo: Gene Roddenberry himself voiced the ship's cook in "Charlie X".
Cross-Dressing Voices: The Talosians in "The Cage"/"The Menagerie" are played by female actors but their voices are dubbed by male actors, most notably, Malachi Throne, who voices the lead Talosian.
In "Where No Man Has Gone Before," Gary Mitchell's Glowing Eyes of Doom were achieved by Gary Lockwood wearing silver contact lenses. Very primitives ones, with very small holes that he could only see through by raising his head and looking down his nose at everyone else, making his A God Am I act more believable.
In "The Trouble with Tribbles", Shatner was quite genuinely annoyed during the "Tribble waterfall" scene. The people throwing the Tribbles at him couldn't actually see what they were doing and kept it up long after it should have stopped.
The network chiefs felt the initial pilot episode, "The Cage", was too cerebral for the average viewer at home, and turned it down on those grounds. They gave the series another chance though, on the proviso that Gene Roddenberry gave them something with a bit more action and a bit less philosophy—and less sex. The concept of an Earthman kept in an environment where any fantasy could be brought to vivid life—with a woman (and then two more women) who could assume any form he chose—was simply too much for network execs at that time.
The original script for "The Alternative Factor" had a subplot about a romance between Lazarus and Lieutenant Masters (Janet MacLachlan). It was cut when network heads objected due to the actress playing Masters being black.note NBC's policy was notoriously pro-diversity in terms of casting, but interracial romances were a different matter—they worried that it would lose Southern affiliates. At the same time, John Drew Barrymore, originally set to play Lazarus, quit abruptly after script rewrites changed his character too drastically. The last-minute casting of Robert Brown and the hasty rewrites that followed were one cause of the uneven story we ended up with.
Walter Koenig is a partial case: his parents were Russian Jews but Koenig himself was an American citizen playing the Russian Chekov.
Nichelle Nichols (an American) played Uhura, whose native language is established as Swahili, implying Uhura is from somewhere in eastern Africa.
Averted for Sulu, a Japanese-American from San Francisco, as is George Takei. Played straight in the 2009 film.note They were leery of casting an actor of non-Japanese descent until Takei himself assured them that it would be all right, claiming that the character represents all of Asia (note that Sulu is not a Japanese name). This paved the way for Korean-American John Cho to assume the role. In some of the non-canon novels, Sulu explains that his background is mixed, but primarily Filipino and Japanese.
In the episode "Space Seed", Khan Noonien Singh is an Indian Sikh, played by Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban.
Fan Nickname: The (unnamed) alien in "The Man Trap" is almost universally known as "the salt vampire".
George Lucas Altered Version: The 40th anniversary "Remastered" versions (also known as TOS-R), which (contentiously) replace the original practical effects (mostly involving ships, planets and their skies, and phasers) with CGI.
Possibly its ultimate triumph was that Nichelle Nichols's role on the show was the inspiration for Dr. Mae Jemison, America's first female African-American astronaut, who later did a cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The show is often credited as the inspiration for Dr. Martin Cooper to invent the cell phone, but it also accurately predicted the tablet PC. Kirk is often shown using a stylus to sign a document on one, as we sign on electronic forms for credit card purchases today.
The 3.5" one-megabyte computer disc looks like the small square tile discs used in the series.
At the time the show was in production, the diagnostic panels over the beds and the "salt shaker" hand scanners used by McCoy were being developed and medical engineers were asking how the show's production designers had gotten hold of their plans. Today the diagnostic panels are commonplace.
The military and many high-level police agencies are experimenting with non-lethal heat and sound beams to disperse riots and disarm attackers without killing them. Phasers on Stun, anyone?
Automatically opening doors first came into common usage in the 1940s, but automatic sliding doors were still in development. The producers used to get mail from engineers demanding to know how they got their doors to open and close so fast. (They were operated by stagehands.) This lit the fire under more than a few engineers to perfect the automatic sliding door, which is commonplace today.
Magnum Opus Dissonance: Although "The Doomsday Machine" usually places very highly in fan polls and best-of lists, certain members of the production staff were (and are) a good deal less enthused. Writer Norman Spinrad disliked the end result, complaining about the casting (he wanted Robert Ryan for Decker) and the underwhelming depiction of the planet killer (which he envisioned as having been "bristling with weapons"). In an interview for the Archive of American Television, story editor D.C. Fontana actually named it as her least favourite episode.
The Merch: One of the rarest of the Mego action figures to come out in the '70s (and the only one tied to a specific episode) was of a Cheron from "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield".
Name's the Same: Writer Gene L. Coon got in a bit of trouble due to similarity of the episode "Arena" to a short story of the same name he had read and forgotten. The research agency spotted it immediately and contacted Fredric Brown's agent, inviting him to "write something for Star Trek". After numerous improvements, Coon's work was sent to Brown, Brown okayed it and was given both money and screen credit.
The Other Darrin: Shatner's predecessor, Jeffery Hunter, played Captain Pike in "The Cage". This footage was later re-used in "The Menagerie", with Pike himself appearing a motionless deformity in an iron lung-type device. This was primarily to disguise the fact that Hunter was unavailable; this new Pike was played by a lookalike (such as he is) named Sean Kenney. What's interesting is that Captain Pike was retconned into Kirk's predecessor, as well; He was the original Captain of the Enterprise, with Mr. Spock as his science officer. This is still canon in the Abrams film, in which Bruce Greenwood plays Pike.
The Other Marty/The Pete Best: Jeffrey Hunter's Captain Christopher Pike has gained something of a loyal following as being "the Star Trek captain who wasn't". Adventures featuring him have appeared in the expanded universe, in novels and in comic books; and he also made an reappearance in the 2009 reboot movie, as played by Bruce Greenwood.
Scotty's refusal to lower the shields against orders in "A Taste of Armageddon" is based on an actual story from James Doohan's military service.
Any resemblance to the Vietnam War in "A Private Little War" is entirely deliberate.
Real-Life Relative: Many of the Onlies in "Miri" are children of various members of the cast and crew. The little girl Kirk picks up is played by William Shatner's daughter, Melanie Shatner.
Recycled Set: The same backlot is used as 1930s New York in "The City on the Edge of Forever", a Space Amish town in "The Return of the Archons", and a planet that coincidentally looks exactly like 1960s Earth in "Miri". (It's actually the same backlot used as Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show; Kirk and Edith even walk past "Floyd's Barber Shop".)
Red Shirt: Although the Trope Namer, the first red-shirted casualty doesn't appear in series until episode 7 ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?"); the very first casualties are blue-shirted Science Team and gold-shirted Command squaddies.
In "The Corbomite Maneuver", Clint Howard is the real Balok. We'll see him again (this time as an adult) in DS9's "Past Tense".
In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", Captain Kirk is interrogated by... Captain Kirk! That's Officer Kirk from Happy Days—who, in a later Happy Days episode, was promoted to captain.
Kirk's attorney in "Court Martial" is... Ice Pick?
The Rural Purge: Inverted—it should be noted that the demographic information that led to the Rural Purge wasn't available from Neilsen before 1970 or so; had it been, Trek would've benefited since it attracted advertisers' favored demographics.
It's mentioned in "The Man Trap" that buffalo are extinct. It is true that overhunting brought the buffalo very close to extinction at the end of the nineteenth century. In the 1960s, it was a fairly reasonable assumption that buffalo might be extinct in the future, although probably not the best guess since conservation efforts had started decades earlier. Today they are no longer considered endangered at all. (The episode also mentions passenger pigeons, which were already extinct when the episode was made.)
In "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" the ship is thrown back in time by an encounter with a "black star". At the time, there was no widely-accepted term for a star which had collapsed into a singularity and had gravity so strong light could not escape, which we now call a "black hole". The term "black hole" was not generally accepted until later in 1967.
In "The Changeling", Kirk shows Nomad a map of the solar system with nine planets. This was before the upgrade of Ceres, the downgrade of Pluto and the discovery of Eres.
In "The Doomsday Machine", the air pressure aboard the Constellation is measured in Pounds per Square Inch. kPa (kilopascal) is currently the preferred measure of pressure.
In "The Trouble with Tribbles", Bones uses the word "bisexual" for the concept which is now referred to as "hermaphroditic".
In "The Immunity Syndrome", Spock reports the dimensions of the giant space amoeba in miles. Most scientists prefer the accuracy of the metric system and would use kilometers instead. Especially noticeable since kilometers were used earlier in the episode when reporting how far away the thing was.
In "The Omega Glory", Captain Tracey thinks that the extended lifespan of the Omegans is due to a local disease, and hopes to isolate it and reproduce its benefits for other populations, but his hopes come to nothing after McCoy determines that the lifespan is the result of a genetic adaptation. Roddenberry didn't foresee that a genetic adaptation allowing for long life would today be just as identifiable, and perhaps in the future just as reproducible, as a serum.
In "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", Spock rightly points out that "evolution is man evolving from apes" is a grossly misleading and deliberate mischaracterization—but describes evolution as life forms evolving from "lower" to "advanced" stages. Now, evolution is understood as life forms changing over time to suit their environment. While they usually become more complex than their ancestors, they do sometimes become less complex if losing a trait 1. makes them more successful in their environment or 2. doesn't hurt them either way.
The transporter was created because it would be too expensive to have the crew land on the planets in a shuttle every episode.
During production of "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Gary Lockwood found the silver contact lenses painful and difficult to see through. Gary Mitchell's imperious stare is a result of Lockwood having to look down his nose through the pinholes in the lenses.
That big ass tape deck that Kirk uses to record his Captain's Log on, as seen in "Dagger of the Mind".
Said big ass tape deck is a tricorder, the same one you see Spock walking around with on planets. It is essentially a handheld computer. Roddenberry originally developed it as a practical device but also as a marketable "toy for female-type children".
"The Menagerie", in depicting Pike's condition, severely underestimated how far computer-assisted communication would come in just a few decades (think Stephen Hawking). However, it could be justified that Pike's nervous system was so profoundly damaged by the delta ray exposure that the single flashing light is all he can do with such injuries.
In "The Conscience of the King", Kodos faked his own death with a body "burned beyond recognition" and started again with a new identity. Since the episode first aired, several technologies have become commonplace (such as DNA matching) that would have made the question of identification less difficult for the heroes.
Unless of course the body was disfigured by chemicals or radiation that degraded the DNA making it unidentifiable.
In "Balance of Terror", Spock removes a panel to reveal that some internal electronics have caught fire. (And then he puts the fire out with his hands. Love that Vulcan stoicism.) It seems unlikely that an interstellar spaceship wouldn't have an over current protection device that would prevent such a fire.
The Vulcan mind-meld, neck pinch and salute are all examples of this. All were suggestions made by Leonard Nimoy. In the case of the first two, they replaced more mundane, conventional ideas in the original scripts (respectively, a simple interrogation in "Dagger of the Mind", and Spock slugging evil Kirk with a pistol butt in "The Enemy Within").
In "The Naked Time", Uhura's response to being cast as the "fair maiden" in Sulu's swashbuckling fantasy ("Sorry, neither.") was an ad lib by Nichelle Nichols during rehearsals.
The entire scene in "The Naked Time" where Spock struggles to remain in control of his emotions was suggested by Leonard Nimoy, and they only had time for one take, which was entirely improvised.
According to legend, the stagehands didn't like Shatner very much, so in the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles," they continued the avalanche of tribbles much longer than was scripted (including the final tribble that bounces off his head at the end). Shatner can clearly be seen glancing up at the prop men with annoyance.
Troubled Production: Part of the reason "The Alternative Factor" is so bad is that the intended guest star, John Drew Barrymore, the most notoriously flaky member of that family, suddenly disappeared shortly before shooting and Robert Brown had to replace him at literally the last minute.
Type Casting: The show is infamous for doing this to its main cast for decades to come (Shatner sort of overcame the problem some twenty years later).
Urban Legend of Zelda: Cyrano Jones is such a similar character to Harry Mudd that a story got started that he was written as Mudd, but changed when Roger C. Carmel was unavailable. In fact, the original script for "The Trouble with Tribbles" does have the same character (though his last name is Smith).
Vindicated by Reruns: Possibly the Trope Codifier. It was a modest ratings success until NBC developed the habit of switching its timeslot around. The extensive rewriting of scripts and lack of immediate success made many of its more talented writers leave, which caused the quality to slip noticeably in a short time. It was canceled after the second season, but quickly Un-Canceled following an extensive letter-writing campaign from its fans. The third season saw even worse ratings, and NBC canceled it for real. Shortly afterwards, American television industry discovered the use of demographics. When stations noticed that, according to the new standards of how ratings were calculated, Star Trek should have been one of the most successful shows on TV (and that NBC had killed what could have been their golden goose), they were rushing to throw on Star Trek reruns to attract the young demographic that it had been popular with. It didn't take many years of reruns before the show's modest fanbase grew into a force to be reckoned with. The rest is history.
The entire series could have been very different if the network executives hadn't declined the first pilot.
"The Naked Time" and "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" were originally conceived as a two-part story, which is why the former ends with an out-of-the-blue time-travel incident that leads nowhere and the latter begins with the Enterprise already back in time due to (in the aired episode) an unrelated time-travel incident.
Harlan Ellison's script for "The City at the Edge of Forever" was heavily altered to fit the tone of the series (as well as to trim a large cast and settings that were far beyond the show's budget). Rather than McCoy, the past was changed by an evil drug-dealing crewman who ends up in a particularly hellish And I Must Scream situation trapped inside a newborn star. Also, Kirk is frozen with indecision over whether to let Edith die, forcing Spock to step in. The general consensus from those who've read it is that it would make a great standalone story, but as an episode of Trek it just feels wrong.
An early draft of "Who Mourns For Adonais?" reveals at the end that Carolyn Palamas is pregnant, presumably by Apollo. This bit survived into the Blish adaptation, complete with McCoy complaining his medical training didn't cover being pediatrician for a god, but was cut by the time the script was shot for obvious '60s-TV-values reasons. It also survived into the Star Trek Novel Verse, where Palamas' part-deity great-grandson is a main character in Star Trek: New Frontier.
Scriptwriter Norman Spinrad originally envisioned Robert Ryan as playing Matt Decker in "The Doomsday Weapon". Ryan was unavailable, so William Windom was cast.
Originally Chekov's place in the story "The Gamesters of Triskelion" was filled by Sulu, who would have shown off his martial arts skills. Unfortunately, George Takei was busy filming The Green Berets.
"Assignment: Earth" was intended as a Poorly Disguised Pilot for a spin-off series. We could have had an American Doctor Who, complete with sonic screwdriver and youthful companion!
The episode "Spectre of the Gun" (the one set at the O.K. Corral) was originally planned to be filmed on an existing Western town set on the backlot. However, serious budget cuts for the series' third season made this impossible. So, it was instead made on a soundstage in a surreal, incomplete, plainly artificial environment. Though some (including Leonard Nimoy) were skeptical over this move, it's now largely viewed to have been a good choice for the story.
James Hong (a.k.a. David Lo Pan) auditioned for Sulu, but was passed over in favor of George Takei.
James Doohan had tried several different accents as Scotty before settling on a Scottish accent.
Chekov was originally planned to be a British character. Supposedly Roddenberry changed it after having a letter from the Soviet Union which praised the show's message, but criticized the lack of a prominent Russian character, although this may be an apocryphal story as American programming wasn't airing in the U.S.S.R. at that time.
An episode exploring McCoy's Backstory was planned and shelved at least twice. One of the main points (that he joined Starfleet as an established MD after a nasty divorce) finally saw the light of day in the 2009 movie.
McCoy was also supposed to have an estranged daughter named Joanna, who would have appeared in—and whose name was the original title of—"The Way to Eden", being one of the hippies who take over the Enterprise. Ultimately, she never appeared in the series, only showing up (possibly non-canonically) in The Animated Series.
Roddenberry promised Nimoy that if the Spock character creeped out too many viewers, he would have plastic surgery and make the ears look normal. Of course, Spock instantly became the most popular character of the series and the ears stayed.
Word of Gay: Inverted. Since George Takei has come out of the closet, many have speculated that Sulu is gay too, but Takei asserted that Sulu was/is/will be straight. That didn't stop David Gerrold from inserting some cute dialogue in the fan-staged "Blood and Fire" which has a gay couple.
Alex:[hugs Pete from behind] Guess who? Pete: Mr. Sulu. Alex: You wish.
Clint Howard's nice cameo in DS9 as a bum who suspects aliens are among us — and happens to be right. Clint famously played the role of Balok in the original series episode "The Corbomite Maneuver".
Morgan Woodward guest-starred twice, as Dr. Simon Van Gelder in "Dagger of the Mind" and as Captain Ronald Tracey in "The Omega Glory".
Malachi Throne (Commodore Mendez in TOS' "The Menagerie") makes his comeback in TNG, playing the Romulan double-agent in "Unification". Fun: Once again, his character is antagonistic toward Commander (now Ambassador) Spock.
Bruce Mars featured as Finnegan the Irish bully in "Shore Leave" and also appeared as a New York officer in 1968 in "Assignment: Earth".
Craig Hundley appeared as Kirk's nephew Peter in "Operation: Annihilate!" before featuring as Tommy Starnes in "And the Children Shall Lead".
Diana Muldaur guest-starred twice, as Dr. Ann Mulhall in "Return to Tomorrow" and as Miranda Jones in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?". (And then she returned in TNG, but that's beyond the scope of this page.)
Mark Lenard first appears as the Romulan commander in "Balance of Terror", then as Spock's father Sarek. He then shows up as a Klingon in the prologue of the first movie, thus appearing as a member of all three major galactic powers of the era.]
Skip Homeier played the main antagonist in both "Patterns of Force" and "The Way to Eden".