I get emails from The History Channel (yes, history!), and today’s is all about Star Trek, so I had to share it!
Star Trek Trivia!
- The line “to boldly go where no one has gone before” was inspired by a White House-issued pamphlet about space exploration, stating “The first of these factors is the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover, the thrust of curiosity that leads men to try to go where no one has gone before. Most of the surface of the earth has now been explored and men now turn to the exploration of outer space as their next objective.” “Star Trek” had originally phrased it as “where no man has gone before” but it was changed in “Star Trek, The Next Generation” to be more politically correct.
- The Vulcan salute is based on a Jewish gesture that indicates the letter “shin” in the Hebrew alphabet: the first letter of “shalom” (“peace”).
- The idea for the Vulcan nerve pinch came from Leonard Nimoy himself. In the first episode he was supposed to club “evil Kirk” over the head but Nimoy thought that seemed out of character for Spock and that a non-violent nerve pinch would be more fitting.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged Nichelle Nichols, who played “Uhura” on Star Trek, to remain on the show when she thought about leaving after the first season. King argued that Uhura’s role as an intelligent, black character central to the show and equal to the rest of the crew broke away from traditional stereotypes for black characters on TV. Nichols later went on to work for NASA.
- Motorola’s Martin Cooper, who led the development of the first handheld mobile phone, was inspired to try to develop the phone after watching Captain Kirk use a communicator on Star Trek.
- Stephen Hawking is the only guest star in any Star Trek series to play himself.
- “Star Trek” was originally produced by the Desilu production company. Lucille Ball gave the official greenlight on the show and personally fought to keep it afloat when the first pilot was nixed.
- NBC wanted them to cut Spock’s character at the beginning because they thought he was too “satanic” in appearance, particularly due to his pointy ears.
- James Doohan, who played Scotty, was a World War II veteran who fought with the Royal Canadian Artillery on Juno Beach on D-Day. He was shot seven times and lost his middle finger (which is sometimes visible in Star Trek episodes).
- Doohan died in 2005, and in 2012 some of his ashes were sent into space on the Falcon 9 rocket.
- Orson Welles narrated the teaser trailer for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” One of the lines in the trailer’s VO was “Gene Roddenberry’s production of a Robert Wise film.” Welles disliked Robert Wise because Wise supervised major changes (which Welles did not approve) to Welles’s movie “The Magnificent Ambersons” while Welles while out of the country on another shoot. Out of spite for Wise, Welles would intentionally botch the line every time he read it. It took an hour for them to finally record it properly.
- No one ever said “Beam me up, Scotty.” ”Beam us up, Mr. Scott!” was said in the 1968 episode “Gamesters of Triskelion.”
- The Space Shuttle Enterprise, the first Space Shuttle orbiter, was originally going to be called the Constitution, but NASA changed the name to “Enterprise” based on a write-in campaign asking them to name it after the Star Trek vessel.
- Authentic Star Trek paraphernalia has been auctioned for quite a bit of money. In 2013, a Phaser rifle once used as a prop by Captain Kirk in the 1960s was auctioned off for $231,000. In 2006, Christie’s held a “40 Years of Star Trek” auction where, among numerous collectors’ items, the hero visual effects miniature of the Starship Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation went for $576,000 and Captain Picard’s chair on the Enterprise-E went for $62,400.
- In two of the Star Trek movies, 1991’s “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” and 2009’s “Star Trek,” Spock says that “if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” and credits the quote to an ancestor of his. This is one of Sherlock Holmes’ most famous lines, suggesting that Spock is related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous literary detective.