Accidentally Correct Writing: In "Assignment: Earth", the Enterprise travels back in time to 1968. It's mentioned that "an important assassination" will take place. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated later that year.
It's mentioned in the same line that a government coup will take place in Asia. This was the year of Iraq's July 17 Revolution in which the Ba'athist Party and Saddam Hussein first came to power.
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-Inspired Element: Many elements of the Spock character were improvised by Leonard Nimoy during production. For instance, the "Vulcan neck pinch" was his suggestion during filming of "The Enemy Within" for how Spock could subdue an opponent. The "Vulcan salute" was created during the production of "Amok Time" using a version of a traditional Jewish religious hand gesture as a distinctive Vulcan greeting.
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. note It came into play when someone asked about Scotty's Unishment in "The Trouble with Tribbles" spending shore leave in his quarters with tech journals. The reply was "Scotty reads tech journals because James Doohan reads tech journals."
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.
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.
He also says a similar line in the very next episode, "Errand of Mercy" regarding the Organian's true forms:
Spock: It's not life as we know it at all.
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.
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 Catchphrase 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).note For their famous "Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise" sketch, Saturday Night Live decided to cast the show's production designer in the role of Sulu, which he has reprised in every Star Trek parody the show has done ever since. More recently, given Takei's predilection for Adam Westing, parodies of Sulu are basically parodies of Takei (including the Camp Gay antics—see below).
Big Name Fan: Dr. Martin Luther King not only proudly said that this was one of the only shows he'd allow his children to stay up past their bedtime to watch, but according to Nichelle Nichols, he personally convinced her not to quit the show after the first season.
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.
Cast the Runner-Up: DeForest Kelley was originally offered the part of Spock. He turned it down, but eventually accepted the role of Dr. McCoy (the first two pilots had different doctor characters). Nichelle Nichols claimed she was offered the role.
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!
William Shatner, while working on his documentary The Captains, had a revelation after talking with Patrick Stewart about his own performances. To hear Shatner tell it...
Shatner: While talking to Patrick about his dedication to the craft, it came to me suddenly that during the filming of the series, I'd basically been a lazy bum, turning in hack performances for an easy paycheck. I'd been doing them a complete disservice to the other actors. Unfortunately, it was too late to apologize to James Doohan or DeForest Kelley, but I did get a chance to apologize to Leonard before he died. The magnanimous son-of-a-bitch forgave me.
"The Way To Eden." By the way, the "Michael Richards" who has co-story credit isn't thatMichael Richards but a pseudonym for D.C. Fontana, who wrote the original script for "Joanna" (the episode's initial title); she washed her hands of it after the rewriting took effect.
"The Devil in the Dark" was William Shatner's favourite episode. He thought it was "exciting, thought-provoking and intelligent, it contained all of the ingredients that made up our very best Star Treks." His father died during its filming, but Shatner insisted on going through with production, and felt closer to the cast and crew for helping him through the difficult time. "The City on the Edge of Forever" was his second favourite.
One of Adams' assistants in "The Dagger of the Mind" is named Eli. The actor playing him is named Eli Behar.
Darkhorse Casting: Prior to the series, DeForest Kelley had appeared in many films and television shows, but mostly in smaller roles that showcased him as a villain. Leonard Nimoy also had previous television and film experience but was not well known either. William Shatner was well known in the trade, having appeared in several notable films, played Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway, and even turned down the part of Dr. Kildare. However, when roles became sparse he took the regular job after Jeffrey Hunter's contract was not renewed.
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", William 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.
Spock's pointed ears were almost the victim of panicky NBC executives, who were afraid that superstitious hordes of TV viewers would think he was Satanic. They went so far as to airbrush the points out of a number of promotional photographs. Gene Roddenberry managed to save Spock's ears by promising plastic surgery for the character if audience response was poor. As we know, it was anything but bad. After Spock's popularity was established, no one at NBC would ever admit to being anything but for pointed ears.
Similarly, Roddenberry's original plan for perfect 50-50 gender equity among the crew of the Enterprise was scuttled by nervous suits who said, "Don't you see? It makes it look like there's a lot of fooling around going on up there!" It was only with great effort that he was able to retain a 30% female crew.
The archival record doesn't seem to agree with this claim, which is probably something Roddenberry (as usual) invented later to embellish his heroism. There's only one surviving memo from NBC in the UCLA archives concerning female crew members in general, and it's actually asking for MORE female extras because NBC thought the show might be more interesting for women that way.
Uhura, the most visible female character, was denied a chance to command the Enterprise in one episode because an executive flat out told Roddenberry "we don't believe her in charge of anything". Nichelle Nichols got a lot of crap thrown her way by the executives for reasons that today are obviously both racist and sexist; for the first season, she wasn't a regular member of the cast, and her fan mail was kept from her. She almost left the show, until she met Martin Luther King Jr. at a party, who convinced her to stay on and serve as a black role model.
Though ironically enough, the part about not making her a regular meant she actually made more money than her co-stars by getting a guest star's salary for every episode.
The original pilot episode for the original series, "The Cage", was considered "too intellectual" by the executives, so a new one was made. Gene Roddenberry then created the two-parter "The Menagerie" as a Framing Device in order to utilize footage from "The Cage". "The Menagerie" won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. And in a wonderful bit of serendipity, the story also established the concept of a "Star Trek universe" spanning decades which later became one spanning centuries with later revival series and spinoffs (with the exception of soap operas, TV series of the era rarely established any sort of long-standing history of their fictional universes).
David Gerrold suggested a subplot for "The Trouble with Tribbles" which would have involved two companies engaging in mutual corporate espionage, even each sabotaging the other's efforts to colonize Sherman's Planet (the tribbles would have been an element of this sabotage). This was rejected with a scrawl of "Big Business angle out" in the margin; in 1967 it was, at least in the eyes of the show's sponsors, utterly unacceptable to suggest that any corporation — even centuries in the future — might ever engage in behavior less than completely and shiningly ethical.
The episode "The Cloud Minders" was based on an outline by Gerrold, "Castles in the Sky". In his original outline, the planet's mine workers were rebelling, caught between two different leaders: a violent militant and a revolutionary pacifist. The story would have culminated with Kirk literally sitting the three leaders — the militant, the pacifist, and the overlords' leader — down at phaserpoint and commanding them to talk to each other; the end would have had Kirk congratulating himself that at least they were now talking to each other, so given enough time they'd work things out, and McCoy answering, "Yes, but how many children will die in the meantime?" Gerrold was profoundly disappointed when the final script established that the mine-workers were only acting the way they were because of the pernicious effects of "zeenite gas" in the mines. Or as he put it, "If we can just get them troglytes to wear gas masks, then they'll be happy little darkies and they'll pick all the cotton we need."
It should be noted that some social commentary did show up in the finished episode. Vanna, the miners' rep, says that now that the workers' heads will clear of the effects of the gas and they can think straight, things will change. They'll still work, but they want some equal rights...and they'll want them soon.
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.
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.
Apparently, Shatner was oblivious to much of his co-stars' disdain, until he sat them down for interviews while working on the book Star Trek Memories, and many of them called him out over his glory-hogging, especially Nichelle Nichols. Shatner has at least somewhat mellowed out since then.
Yvonne Craig was a guest star in the episode "Whom Gods Destroy," and she was not exactly a fan of how Shatner was behaving on set, which included him physically moving her around for "the betterment of his profile." The kicker is that at the end of one of the shooting days, she walked in on him without his toupée on.
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. Appropriately, Jemison contacted Houston with "Hailing frequencies open!"
The show is often credited as the inspiration for Dr. Martin Cooper to invent the cell phone (and who hasn't wished that their flip-phone made that sound effect when you snapped it open?), 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.
The replicators used to make food have started to make their appearance as well; it is now possible to 3D print food.
It's impossible to look at the PADDs and not be reminded of the Ipads. The same thing with isolinear chips and USB sticks.
Digital assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa are obviously inspired by the ship computer.
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.
McLeaned/Role-Ending Misdemeanor: There are conflicting reasons as to why Janice Rand was written out of the series after only eight appearances during the first season. Gene Roddenberry has said it was a budgetary move, but others have claimed that as the show progressed her role as the Captain's Woman, or potential loved interest for Kirk became impractical. Other stories have claimed that Grace Lee Whitney was having issues with alcoholism, which was said to be affecting her work on the series. Whitney herself said she may have been let go to keep her quiet over accusations of a network executive having sexually assaulting her.
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 running gag of Kirk's shirt tearing pretty much constantly was actually due to the fact that the shirts were of obscenely low quality because of the show's very low tailoring budget.
The Other Darrin: William 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 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 a reappearance in the 2009 reboot movie, as played by Bruce Greenwood.
Post-Script Season: After an unprecedented (at the time) letter-writing campaign saved the show from cancellation, fans were "rewarded" with a third season containing many of the show's weakest and/or goofiest episodes (even by the standards of the series), including the infamous Spock's Brain as season premiere. Since the series was always purely episodic, the usual reasons for a lackluster Post Script Season don't apply; what really killed the show was that the network promised a solid Tuesday night slot and then was moved to a Friday... er, Saturday Night Death Slot, violating a verbal contract with creator/producer Gene Roddenberry. He left the show in protest and had little involvement in the third season. That said, some strong episodes did churn out.
Romance on the Set: Gene Roddenberry was having extra-marital affairs with Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols. Nichols broke off her affair with Roddenberry not long after the series began, not wanting to be "the other woman to the other woman". Barrett would eventually marry the series creator. They remained together until his death.
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' favoured 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 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.
Scully Box: According to producers Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, William Shatner originally wore 1.5" lifts in his shoes so he would appear taller than Leonard Nimoy. Since Shatner was only 5'9", the combination of lifts and the 2" heels of his shoes brought his height to over 6'. It distorted his posture to such a degree. his stomach stuck out. Understandably, Gene Roddenberry forbid him to wear them, instead opting to dress Nimoy and DeForest Kelley in shoes with only a 1" heel as opposed to Shatner's 2" heel.
The transporter was created because it would be too expensive to have the crew land on the planets in a shuttle every episode. (Ironically in "Journey to Babel" Spock's parents arrived on board by shuttle because they couldn't afford the transporter effects- they used Stock Footage from "The Galileo Seven" instead.)
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.
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 reason that he was able to "put the fire out" was because power was cut off. An electrical fire will continue to burn as long as there is power applied and fuel to burn.
Overlaps with a sort of physical "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny with communicators resembling early-2000s flip phones whose form factor was directly inspired by Star Trek communicators...
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").
Spock's iconic Vulcan salute was actually a last minute change. The original salute would have involved one Vulcan kneeling in front of another, while the standing Vulcan grabs the kneeling Vulcan's shoulders with both arms. Leonard Nimoy changed the salute because he felt it didn't fit the Vulcans' characterization, as they would have considered such physical contact a violation of privacy. Nimoy, being Jewish, adapted a traditional Jewish blessing to create the salute.
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 "Naked Time" where Spock struggles to remain in control of his emotions was suggested by Leonard Nimoy. They only had time for one take, which was entirely improvised.
According to legend, the stagehands didn't like William 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.
"Spectre of the Gun" 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.
In a meta example, the actual colors for the three departments on the ship were blue (for sciences), red (for engineering, and security and miscellaneous operations) and lime green (for command/line officers). However, the velour costumes for Kirk and other green-shirts came up looking anywhere from a bright yellow to a greenish-tinged gold (as seen in the main page image) on film. A good representation of the color they were actually shooting for are the wraparound tunic and dress uniform Kirk wore on occasion, which were not made from the same material as the usual tunic. However, subsequent Trek productions have rolled with this when depicting TOS-era Trek and retroactively made gold the color, starting with Star Trek: The Animated Series, which colored the tunics a yellow-orange color, and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", which used a yellow fabric for the tunics that Sisko wore.
During the making of "The Omega Glory", producer Robert Justman informed costume designer William Theiss that he'd given Captain Ron Tracey an incorrect badge on his uniform; he should have had the same badge as the Enterprise crew. Justman allowed the error to stay in the episode, which may have led to the common fan misperception that the badge shapes are different for every ship, as opposed to representing the kind of assignment the character was on.
Production was rife with problems. The root cause for much of it was the network wanting an action-oriented Space Western and the production team wanting to do serious science fiction. Low budgets were also a big problem, something you'd probably figure out from watching almost any episode. Things got especially bad in the infamous Third (or "Turd") Season. The show was renewed thanks to a fan letter-writing campaign, but with budgets slashed further and a move to the Friday Night Death Slot. This led to Gene Roddenberry quitting his job as Show Runner. As a result of all this, the third season had a marked decline in quality with an accompanied increase in campiness. Leonard Nimoy found himself frequently clashing with writers and directors who wanted Spock to do Out of Character things like use violence or hit on the Girl of the Week. By the end of that season, the show had predictably crashed and burned itself into Cancellation.
If there's any single episode of TOS that suffered from this trope, it was "The Alternative Factor" during the first season. John Drew Barrymore, John's son and Drew's father, had been cast as Lazarus, the main guest role ... and then didn't show up on the first day of filming. His agent and lawyer couldn't find him, so they cast someone else in a big hurry (Barrymore's absence led to him getting suspended by SAG for six months after Desilu filed a grievance). The beard for the replacement was improvised from what had been designed for Barrymore, and it shows. The script has howler lines like "Starfleet has been getting reports from all over the galaxy and far beyond..." It also had a subplot in which Lazarus became romantically involved with a black member of the crew — which admittedly seems out of place on the eve of universal Armageddon and didn't have much to do with anything. That was actually filmed ... and hastily edited out when NBC got paranoid about how the Southern affiliates would react, resulting in the finished episode's choppy feel.
Harlan Ellison's first draft was agreed by just about everyone to be a masterpiece in its own right, but didn't really feel like a Star Trek episode, with Gene Roddenberry's chief complaint being the inclusion of a drug-dealing character who helps get the plot of the episode underway, along with Kirk having him executed via firing squad in the episode's climax. On top of that, Ellison added in an element of barely-suppressed racial undertension between Kirk and Spock, even though Kirk making such remarks had served as an instant Out-of-Character Alert in "What Are Little Girls Made of?" earlier in that season.
The job of rewriting Ellison's script was given to script editor Steven W. Carabatsos, only for the resulting script to turn out so awful that it nearly resulted in Ellison quitting the project in fury, and played a major part in Carabatsos being let go from the series and replaced by D.C. Fontana shortly afterwards. Ellison then went back and did another rewrite himself, with input from producer Gene L. Coon, and despite deleting the racial elements and changing the drug dealer's demise to a Karmic Death inflicted by the Guardian of Forever, Roddenberry still wasn't happy with it.
At this point, Fontana herself took a shot at the script, essentially starting over using Ellison's basic story outline as a start point. This time, everyone involved agreed that Fontana had absolutely nailed the story, with only a few small rewrites subsequently being done by Roddenberry and Coon, mostly to account for actor, set and prop availability.
Filming was comparatively more smooth, though the demands of the shoot meant they needed an extra two days to film everything. Production designer Matt Jefferies was also laid low with a flu virus in pre-production, resulting in his supervisor, Rolland M. Brooks having to design the Guardian of Forever.
Before the episode was broadcast, Roddenberry publicly badmouthed Ellison's work on the episode, which infuriated the writer and caused him to demand that he be credited under his pseudonym, "Cordwainer Bird." Since it was already widely known even in 1967 that he used this to flag works which had been wrecked by Executive Meddling, and that this would cause viewers to expect the episode to suck even before watching it, Roddenberry used every means he could to drag out the Writer's Guild arbitration process until the episode was ready to air, and it was too late to do anything more about it. However, this also meant that Fontana, who should have been credited as co-writer, ended up having to go without credit.
The effects for the show itself also proved no end of production issues with the crew:
The main company hired to do the series, The Howard Anderson Company, managed to do both pilots on a decent time scale. But when it came to the first actual episode produced ("The Corbomite Maneuver"), their workload increased to the point where there was no choice but to hire other vendors to help out with the show.
One of these, effects veteran Linwood Dunn's Film Effects of Hollywood, would go on to produce most of the effects during the first and second seasonsnote and would be further joined by several other houses, namely The Westheimer Company, Van Der Veer Photo Effects and Cinema Research. By the time season 2 started, Dunn and the studio were clearly not getting along with each other (The company worked on the series on an episodic basis), resulting in sub-par effects given to the supervisors and editorsnote in one instance, the company finished four composite shots of the Enterprise, but only sent them two due to their poor quality.. The company left the series by the time of season 3 due to budget cuts, but their involvement left a sour taste in everyone's mouths.
The 11-foot model of the Enterprise was, in fact, one of the reasons why Dunn's company was hired to begin with. As the ship proved too huge for both of the studios Anderson's crew to work with. Once Film Effects was dropped from the series, the model and its 3-foot counterpart were subsequently retired, with heavy use of Stock Footage being used for the ship for the third season.
Tuckerization: The slanting crawlway that leads up to the warp-drive nacelles is referred to as a "Jefferies tube." This is a reference to art director Walter M. Jefferies.
Typecasting: The show is infamous for doing this to its main cast for decades to come (William Shatner sort of overcame the problem some twenty years later).
Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future moneyless utopia falls rather flat when you learn that the man himself was a quite ruthless businessman, pulling shady moves like writing completely irrelevant lyrics to the show's theme song that were never intended to be used just so he could steal part of the composer's paycheck. Though you can still argue that the "idea" itself is more important than the flaws of the man behind it.
Unintentional Period Piece: Depending on the episode, the series has this going on alongside its Zeerust. Between the color palette, the miniskirts, the Cold War Fed/Kling politics, the civil-rights-era Aesops and Chekhov's Monkees hair, it comes across as some kind of Neo-'60s even when they aren't confronted with space hippies.
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 cancelled 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 cancelled 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.
Wag the Director: The story is that William Shatner spent a lot of time taking lines away from other actors. Things worsened when the movies became popular. Think about it: Nichelle Nichols, who doesn't get a lot of work, gets maybe 12 lines in the whole movie. That's her acting job for this decade. Apparently, Shatner was always sidling up to directors and saying things like, "You know, this scene really doesn't make much sense. It would be so much more dramatic if you just went into tight close-up on me, and then I could say the line, instead of Nichelle."
When called out on it, his response was always the same: I was just trying to make the best, most dramatic movie, and that simply meant more of me. His castmates could do nothing as their roles were whittled down to nothing. You could say that it was sour grapes, but consider this: Shatner has always said that he wasn't the only star of the show, that the show revolved around him and Nimoy. But none of the actors hate Nimoy. Because he didn't treat them like extras.
Woolseyism: Hikaru Sulu is meant to be Japanese, but Sulu isn't actually a Japanese surname but taken from the Sulu Sea and meant to be representative of all of Asia rather than just Japan. The Japanese dub changed his surname to Kato, a common family name.
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 he had played Sulu as being straight.note Sulu is the only one of the six male regulars who never has a love interest in the show, so technically we have no canon evidence of this either way. In the movies, canon is clear that he has a daughter, but makes no mention of any spouse or partner. Interestingly, only Mirror!Sulu shows any interest in women - you know, the one from the universe where everything is the opposite of how it normally is? However:
It 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.
It also led to a minor controversy over the Kelvin Timeline film Star Trek Beyond when they decided to make their version of Sulu gay. The writers claimed to have done this in tribute to Takei, but this backfired when Takei himself was one of the most vocal protesters against it (he has said many times before that he played Sulu as being straight, as such felt the change was pandering to him and the audience rather than being respectful to the character).
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 three of the major galactic powers of the era.]
Minor Red Shirt extras, often played by stuntmen, were often killed off and continued to appear in the background in later episodes with different names. David L. Ross played both Lt. Galloway and Lt. Johnson.