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Nobody But The Network Wanted The Man Trap To Be Star Trek’s Series Premiere

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Robert Justman and Herb Solow, who worked as producers on “Star Trek,” shed some light on the series premiere selection when they wrote behind-the-scenes book “Inside Star Trek: The Real Story” together in 1966.

In August 1966, NBC held a screening of the available “Star Trek” episodes to decide which one should premiere the series. Despite being the pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was ruled out because it had too much exposition. The episode was “necessary for selling, not necessarily for televising,” Solow opined. (“Where No Man Has Gone Before” aired as the show’s third episode on September 22, 1966.)

Solow describes why each of the considered episodes was ruled out: Neither “The Corbomite Maneuver” or “The Enemy Within” had the scope needed for a series’ premiere. “Mudd’s Women” was too scandalous. “Charlie X,” focusing on a psychic teenager, was “too gentle a tale.” 

So, the premiere selection came down to “The Man Trap” and “The Naked Time,” where the Enterprise crew is exposed to a virus that removes their inhibitions. Justman pushed for “The Naked Time” (feeling its focus on character would quickly acquaint audiences with the “Star Trek” main cast), but NBC went with “The Man Trap” even though the crew thought it one of the weaker efforts.  Why? Because “The Man Trap” was essentially a creature picture on a TV budget. 



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