Forty-four years ago tonight, Star Trek was one of three shows airing at 8:30 on that Thursday night, and those tuning in saw The Man Trap, a story about a strange creature who killed to obtain salt.
Airing on NBC, Star Trek was up again ABC’s The Tammy Grimes Show, and the still-popular My Three Sons which was airing on CBS.
Star Trek lasted only three seasons, dying in spite of a letter-writing campaign which gave it only one more season. That last season aired on Friday Nights from 10-11 PM, an unfortunate timeslot as its prime audience was apt to be away from home on a Friday night.
Syndication brought new fans and new popularity, however. Star Trek: The Animated Series was produced and ran on Saturday mornings from 1973-1974 on NBC, followed by 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. 1982’s popular Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and a new Star Trek television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, kept old fans and brought in new ones.
In 2010, Star Trek is still going strong, after six series (including The Animated Series), and eleven films. A twelfth film will release in 2012 featuring the new rebooted Star Trek.
It’s hard to believe that a show which aired in 1966 would still be going strong today. Certainly, fans and others involved with it back in 1966 had no clue that it would last so long. “Nobody knew that Star Trek would be successful,” said William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk.
The video below features a preview for The Man Trap.