Today we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Star Trek, as the series’ first episode, “The Man Trap” aired on September 8, 1966.
Gene Roddenberry’s “wagon train to the stars” made virtually unknown actors at the time, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei and Walter Koenig, into household names across the United States and around the world.
In the years since the first episode’s airing we’ve seen the franchise evolve and affect the lives of so many individuals. Star Trek has changed the way many of us create, use and interact with technology. It has spurred exploration on land, in our oceans and towards the final frontier of space. The franchise has changed the way many of us interact with other races and those with beliefs different than our own. It’s taught us that while mankind is not perfect, we can always strive to be better than we were yesterday.
Below is a brief summary of some of the most important moments in the history of Star Trek, throughout the last 45 years. We welcome you to leave your own Star Trek memories in the comments section below.
September 8, 1966: The first episode of Star Trek, “The Man Trap” premiered on NBC.
June 3, 1969: The final original episode of Star Trek airs on NBC. The show was cancelled because of low ratings.
January 1972: The first Star Trek convention is held in New York City.
September 8, 1973: Star Trek: The Animated Series premiers.
May 15, 1975: Star Trek wins an Emmy Award for The Animated Seres.
1976: After a fan-driven letter writing campaign, President Gerald Ford names the first space shuttle Enterprise.
December 7, 1979: Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiers.
June 4, 1982: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is released.
June 1, 1984: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is released.
November 26, 1986: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is released.
September 28, 1987: Star Trek: The Next Generation debuts in syndication. The show would continue for seven seasons.
June 9, 1989: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is released.
October 24, 1991: Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry dies at the age of 70.
December 6, 1991: Star Trek: VI: The Undiscovered Country is released. This would be the final film to feature the entire original starring cast.
January 1993: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuts.
May 23, 1994: After seven seasons, the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, airs.
November 18, 1994: Star Trek: Generations is released.
January 16, 1995: Star Trek: Voyager debuts on the UPN television network.
November 22, 1996: Star Trek: First Contact is released.
January 1998: Star Trek: The Experience opens in Las Vegas.
December 11, 1998: Star Trek: Insurrection is released.
June 11, 1999: DeForest Kelley dies at the age of 79.
June 1999: After seven seasons, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine airs it’s final episode, “What We Leave Behind.”
May 23, 2001: The final episode of Star Trek: Voyager airs on UPN.
September 26, 2001: Star Trek: Enterprise debuts on UPN.
December 13, 2002: Star Trek: Nemesis is released.
May 13, 2005: UPN cancels Star Trek: Enterprise after four seasons.
July 20, 2005: James Doohan dies at the age of 85.
September 2008: Star Trek: The Experience.
May 8, 2009: JJ Abrams Star Trek is released in theaters.
Watch Gene Roddenberry’s message below.
Brian is a Boston-based UX/Visual designer, photographer, Apple enthusiast, sci-fi, 80s action and horror movie fan and of course, a lover of all things Star Trek.
You can follow Brian on Twitter @brianwilkins.