Eight Little-Known Tidbits About Star Trek - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Eight Little-Known Tidbits About Star Trek

Star Trek has enthralled science fiction aficionados for over 50 years. Yet it wasn’t a very big hit when it debuted in 1966. In fact, NBC, its host network, cancelled it after three seasons. Yet over the years Star Trek has developed a loyal following that saw the original storyline expand into an animated series, a long-running film franchise and live-action television series sequels. Today, even most non-Star Trek enthusiasts know the basic premise and characters of the series and have a working relationship with the plot.

The original series focused on the futuristic crew of the Enterprise whose missions involved goals of peacekeeping and rescues on distant planets and in space.

Some fun-filled facts about Star Trek:

Video Games
Over 125 video games and online casino slots have been released since 1971 which were inspired by or based on the Star Trek series. The first was a 1971 text game written in BASIC and that was followed by a standup arcade game.

By the 1980s there were games for early gaming and computer systems like the Atari 5200 and the Commodore 64 and those have been replaced by modern PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles. Titles such as Klingon Honor Guard, Delta Vega: Meltdown on the Ice Planet and The Kobayashi Alternative, have kept gamers engaged for almost 5 decades.

Star Trek almost didn’t get off the ground. Lucille Ball, creative head of the Desilu Productions parent company of Star Trek, was the influential force that ensured that it ever saw the light of day.

When Star Trek was in pre-production, Lucy thought that the show would be about USO troops traveling to entertain troops overseas. As a former USO entertainer, Lucy loved the idea and developed a personal interest in the production.

Even after she found out the true plot line, she continued to support the show, overruling other Desilu execs’ objections to get the show off the ground. Even though the original Star Trek had only three seasons, those three seasons – which led to a lucrative subsequent franchise of movies and additional TV shows in the ‘80s, never would have happened if Lucy hadn’t put her foot down.

Captain Kirk
Captain Kirk wasn’t the first captain of the Enterprise. Mr. Spoke was the only character who appeared in both the unaired pilot The Cage and the regular seasons. But that pilot, which was first seen on home video in 1986, featured a different Captain, Captain Pike, who was abducted for psychological experiments by telepathic aliens.

After the studio rejected the pilot, creator Gene Roddenberry created a more diverse team, made the storyline more action-filled and brought in William Shatner to play the stronger and more likeable Captain Kirk.

Pike ended up returning for two episodes including “The Menagerie” that was based in part on the original plot. In that episode Mr. Spock took the disfigured and battle-scared Captain Pike back to the planet Talos IV. The episode made use of the unaired original plot material. Pike also appeared in the 2009 movie reboot where actor Bruce Greenwood played Kirk’s mentor on his first mission in space.
Number One
Originally, Number One was a woman. Majel Barrett, the girlfriend and future wife of creator Gene Roddenberry, was Number One, the Enterprise’s first officer. NBC executives objected, saying that test audiences weren’t able to relate to such a powerful woman. Only in 1995 did the Star Trek universe get a female captain when Captain Kathryn Janeway took command in Star Trek Voyager.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry went on to appear in every Star Trek series. In the original series she played Nurse Christine Chapel in many episodes where she nursed a crush on Mr. Spock. She then went on to play Nurse Chapel, Lt. M'Ress, Lwaxana Troi, the voice of the Enterprise Computer, computer voices, Dr. Chapel, Commander Chapel and Starfleet Computer voice in subsequent films and episodes. She has been called the “first lady of Star Trek.”

Mr. Spock
The iconic Mr. Spock almost didn’t make it into the original TV show. NBC executives were concerned that Spock looked “satanic”, with his eyebrows and pointy ears. Producer Oscar Katz helped convince the execs that Spock should remain exactly as he appeared in the pilot. Even though they agreed, in early publicity photos for the series, Spock didn’t look too different from the other Federation guys. The studio airbrushed out the points of his eyebrows and ears.

Spock was originally supposed to have red skin but at some point, it developed a green tint and that’s the way it stayed. But when the first Star Trek episodes were filmed, most homes still had black and white TVs so Spock’s skin appeared dark when viewed on B&W sets.

Both William Shatner (Captain Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) developed tinnitus after an explosion on set caused the ringing/buzzing sensation that can be one of the most frustrating and debilitating conditions known to medicine. Shatner learned to deal with it by acquiring a hearing device that produces white noise – a process known as habituation. Shatner also became the official spokesman for tinnitus.

Much of the technology that was featured in Star Trek was science fiction when the series was filmed but today it’s real. The Universal Translators are modern voice recognition software, the earpieces worn by Spock and Uhura are basically Bluetooth devices, tricorders have become the LOCAD-PTS, the interactive video screens are akin to today’s Zoom video conferencing, communicators are like modern cell phones and so on.

Vulcan Salute
The Vulcan salute, an outstreached hand with the palm facing outward and the fingers separated in the middle – thumb and two fingers pointing in one direction and ring and baby fingers pointed in the 2nd direction – came out of Leonard Nimoy’s creativity.

Nimoy used that greeting based on an ancient Jewish prayer, the priestly blessing, when descendants of the priestly caste bless the congregation and put their hands out in front of them in representation of the Hebrew letter Shin, denoting Shaddai, a name for God.

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