12 Things You Might Not Know About STAR TREK: THE ANIMATED SERIES - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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12 Things You Might Not Know About STAR TREK: THE ANIMATED SERIES

Animation, the final frontier...

1. Premiering on September 8th 1973, an animated version of Star Trek had been mooted several years earlier, whilst The Original Series was in production.

In 1968 Lou Scheimer of Filmation began talks with Star Trek producer Paramount Television, TV network NBC, and creator Gene Roddenberry to create an animated spin-off. A proposal was put together for a series which would compliment the live-action show but be firmly targeted at a young audience and have an educational spin.

The proposed animated series would see the main cast of Star Trek: The Original Series train the teenage crew of a ship called Excalibur, and educate them about space exploration. The new teenage crew included a Vulcan named Steve, an African-American boy named Bob, and a Chinese boy named Stick.

However, as development progressed, the relationship between Roddenberry and Paramount grew increasingly bitter in regard to disagreements over TOS, and Scheimer found himself unable to get the two parties talking to each other in order to agree on a deal. The project faded away before Star Trek was cancelled.

2. After the cancellation of The Original Series in 1969, the live action show began to prove very popular in syndication and generated significant fan enthusiasm, moreso than it had during its production lifetime. This resulted in Roddenberry's decision to reopen talks about continuing the series in animated form.

Roddenberry and Filmation agreed that, if this was to effectively be treated as a fourth season of Star Trek, then the series should be for all ages, rather than the children-oriented approach of the original proposal.

Because of NBC's strong interest in the series, thanks in no small part to all that syndication money, Roddenberry and Filmation were allotted very generous terms: a guaranteed minimum of two seasons with a combined 22 episodes, a budget of $75,000 per episode, and full creative control in Gene Roddenberry's hands.

3. At Roddenberry's suggestion The Original Series script editor D. C. Fontana (and writer of many classic episodes) was hired as the series' story editor and associate producer. Despite the meager payment for writers ($1,300 per script, with no residuals), the opportunity to write a Star Trek episode without the special effects limitations of live action proved appealing, and many of The Original Series writers joined the staff. 

4. Initially, Filmation was only going to use the voices of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan and Majel Barrett, with this intention of Doohan and Barrett also performing the voices of Sulu and Uhura.

In George Takei's autobiography, To The Stars, he revealed that Leonard Nimoy refused to voice Spock in the series unless Takei and Nichelle Nichols were added to the cast, claiming that Sulu and Uhura were proof of the ethnic diversity of the 23rd century and should not be recast. Nimoy also took this stand as a matter of principle, as he knew of the financial troubles many of his Star Trek co-stars were facing after cancellation of the series

The stand worked, and Takei and Nichols returned to the roles of Sulu and Unura.

5. But what of Walter Koenig? The character of Pavel Chekov did not appear in the series because the series' budget just could not afford the complete cast, despite Nimoy's complaints.

Koenig may have been gone from the cast but he was not forgotten as Filmation were able to assuage Nimoy by buying a script from Koenig for one episode (The Infinite Vulcan), making Walter Koenig the first Star Trek actor to contribute a script to any series.

6. Besides performing their characters Montgomery Scott and Christine Chapel, James Doohan and Majel Barrett also performed the voices of Lieutenant Arex and Lieutenant M'Ress, respectively.

Arex was an Edosian whose species had three arms and three legs, and was essentially created to replace Chekov. M'Ress was a female Caitian and sometimes stood in for Uhura as communications officer.

Besides providing these voices, Doohan & Barrett also performed virtually all of the "guest star" characters in the series, with exceptions such as Sarek, Cyrano Jones and Harry Mudd, who were performed by the original actors from The Original Series.

7. Due to the hiring of nearly the entire regular TOS cast, little money was left in the budget for the animation, so Filmation cut costs by using stock footage and shortcuts such as having a character put a hand to their mouth while speaking (thus eliminating the need to animate the lips) and silhouetting characters in action.

8. D.C. Fontana only penned one episode of The Animated Series herself. Titled Yesteryear it was a time-travel episode in which Mr. Spock uses The Guardian of Forever (a time gateway from the original series episode The City on the Edge of Forever) to travel back to his own childhood.

This was the first actual appearance of Spock's pet sehlat, first mentioned in Journey to Babel and finally named I-Chaya in this episode.

Although The Animated Series is not (now) officially confirmed as canon, an element from Yesteryear that has become canon by depiction within Star Trek: The Original Series is the Vulcan city of ShiKahr, depicted in a background scene wherein Kirk, Spock and McCoy walk across a natural stone bridge (and first seen in live-action form in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) in the remastered Amok Time.

Also, elements of Spock's childhood from Yesteryear are referenced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Unification as well as the 2009 Star Trek feature film.

9. Another element of Trek lore that was introduced in The Animated Series is the middle name of one James T. Kirk. In the original Star Trek series the "T" was never expanded upon, but writer David Gerrold gave us Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

Against common belief, Gerrold was not inspired to choose "Tiberius" because on Gene Roddenberry's first series The Lieutenant the principal character was William Tiberius Rice, rather it was entirely coincidental. According to Gerrold, he recently read and been influenced by I, Claudius (a first-person narrative of Roman history from Claudius' perspective, covering the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula).

10. And one more thing that The Animated Series introduced, although it had been originally proposed for TOS but never implemented, the USS Enterprise in this series has a holodeck similar to the one later seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was set about eighty years later.

The TAS  holodeck only appeared once, in Chuck Menville's The Practical Joker, and was known as the "Rec Room".

11. Larry Niven's episode The Slaver Weapon, was adapted from his own short story "The Soft Weapon", and was the only Kirk-era television or movie story in which Kirk did not appear. This episode is also the only animated one in which characters are shown dying or being killed.

12. The 22nd and final episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series was broadcast on October 12th 1974. The show was critically acclaimed and became the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy Award when its second season won the 1975 Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment: Children's Series.

Bonus Fact: During the show's run, an anti-pollution public service announcement was created for non-profit Keep America Beautiful featuring the Star Trek: The Animated Series characters and original cast voices. In the ad, the Enterprise encounters the "Rhombian Pollution Belt".

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