Alas, tv execs were a bit underwhelmed with Gene Roddenberry's concept. Maybe it was Gene’s idea of having an inter-racial crew. Or Gene’s love for presenting social and political ideas. And they flat out hated the first pilot, in which Jeffrey Hunt starred as Christopher Pike, captain of the Starship Enterprise.
At first the show "took off like a rocket"--cough, cough--but by the end of Season One, the ratings were falling off. NBC considered dropping Star Trek from its line-up. Fan letters saved the show for a while, but the series was cancelled after only three seasons.
Like many shows, Star Trek actually became more popular in re-runs than it was during its original broadcast. The show developed a strong cult following. Filmation and Paramount Studios produced Star Trek: the Animated Series, which aired on Saturday mornings for kids. Then Paramount began to make Star Trek movies. One of the best was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, starring Ricardo Montalban as the evil Kahn, a character from the original tv series.
Capt. Jean Luc Piccard
For a show that was nearly cancelled after one season, Star Trek has done rather well. A cartoon, four spin-off series on tv, 11 movies--and still counting! In the most recent movie, the young Kirk and company spin off into an alternate universe where just about anything can happen.
|Kate Mulgrew, Capt. Janeway|
Gene Roddenberry was a visionary. It was a tribute to that vision when the first Space Shuttle orbiter was named Enterprise. When Gene died in 1991, his cremated remains were launched into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia. A Martian crater and an asteroid are named after him.
|Star Trek crew at launch of Enterprise|