|We remember so fondly.|
The visionary: Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry was one of those determined souls trying to make the future "now." He was ahead of his time. Roddenberry's first produced sci-fi story was "The Secret Weapon of 117," which aired way back in 1956 on the "Chevron Theater." It was a fleeting accomplishment. It was dues-paying. In '63 Roddenberry got to produce his first TV series but it was conventional fare, called "The Lieutenant." That was an MGM project.
Finally, daylight for the concept
There was a breakthrough in May of '64: An NBC vice president agreed to give Roddenberry the chance to write three story outlines. NBC would choose one for a pilot. It chose "The Cage."
A re-birth after cancellation
Star Trek was canceled after three seasons and 79 episodes. Can you imagine: the Star Trek TV series canceled! Canceled for lack of an adequate following?
Star Trek nearly got nixed by Desilu Productions in February of 1966. Can you believe it? Demographics were invoked to keep it going. I remember Mitch Miller bemoaning demographics. His show was of the Lawrence Welk ilk. "Gunsmoke" was canceled despite overall ratings still being good. Demographics were invoked.
Third season: show declines in some ways
"Star Trek" suffered in its third season. Its budget was cut. Thus we got fewer outdoor location shots. Nichols recalled Star Trek's cancellation as a "self-fulfilling prophecy." The last day of filming for Star Trek was January 9 in 1969. I was 14 years old. It was the year when we reached the moon. It was the year when the New York Mets won the World Series, seven years after their miserable start.