Star Trek Phase II would like to take a moment to wish “happy birthday” to Star Trek—The Original Series.
Hardcore fans of Trek know that although Star Trek was produced by Desilu Studios and Norway Productions at the behest of the National Broadcast Company (NBC), NBC itself made much of their programming available to various business partners in other markets. Indeed, some of NBC’s programming was made available to CTV—the first private (non-governmental) television broadcast network in Canada.
In one of those overlooked footnotes in history, Star Trek–The Original Series (TOS) actually made its world premiere on Tuesday, September 6, 1966. That evening, CTV aired the episode “The Man Trap” throughout Canada. Star Trek was actually a good fit for CTV for all the same reasons it was a good fit for NBC: CTV had just switched from black-and-white to color broadcasting just a few days earlier—starting September 1, 1966. So all the bright wacky colors of Star Trek would be a real draw to Canadian viewers–whom I guess were limited to spending ten months of each year looking at white snow outside their windows–and all of their television time watching The Friendly Giant and Hockey Night in Canada.
Of course, two days later—on Thursday, September 8, 1966 at 8:30 p.m., NBC aired “The Man Trap,” in the United States during “Sneak Peek Week”–a special week where a couple of NBC’s new Fall shows got a premiere airing before the new fall season actually began the following week.
Here’s a print advertisement from T.V. Guide plugging the new show. Note the typographical error in the copy of the ad: Star Trek aired on NBC, not on ABC. (Folks reading that ad with interest and anticipation were no doubt confused when they tuned in to ABC on Thursday at 8:30, only to find The Dating Game being aired.
So whether you celebrate Star Trek’s “birth” as September 6 when it was first shown on television or September 8 when it was first shown on U.S. televsion on NBC, a happy birthday shout-out to Star Trek TOS is always in order right around this time of year.
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