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A Trek Is Born

As zero hour approaches–8:30 p.m. NYT, or eastern time as we used to call it–for the official birthday of Star Trek, I thought it would be fun to recall some of the reviews of that first show.

We were there of course, as a magazine, and even I was there as a kid, in the basement where my family had moved the TV after a discussion of how much TV we had been watching. Mostly may brother and I  saying, "aw, gee," and my parents saying the set was going downstairs for a while.

It was on rollers, you see, and we had been rolling it out of the living room into the dining room so that we wouldn't miss, say, I Dream of Jeannie, while munching on spam and peaches or herbed chicken and wild rice (my mom is both a great and eclectic chef).

Anyway, I still remember the excitement and anticipation surrounding this show, which, according to ratings of the day got a 20.4 rating and 40.6 share, which at the time was really good but not world-beating. (Today, all the networks combined frequently don't pull that many eyeballs.)

By comparison, a short-lived sicom show, It's About Time, which also debuted in 1966, was about the inanest premise for a show this side of My Mother the Car, scored a 20.9/47 for CBS for its debut.

In these current days of vivisected viewing, network execs must get a bit wistful when they recall that the network shares back then added up to close to 100.

Any way, here, circa Sept. 19, 1966, and starting with the sour pusses, are some reviews of NBC's new Thursday night drama, Start Trek:

"Here we go again, Kiddies, into the Wild Blue Yonder."–L.A. Times

"[T]oo clumsily conceived and poorly developed to rate as an A-1 effort."–Boston Globe

"One may need something of a pointed head to get involved."–New York Post.

"Disappointingly bizarre hour…things better improve or this won't be a lengthy mission."–Houston Chronicle.

Then there were those insightful reviews with their finger on the impulse drive of a nation, or at least of a nation once the show got into syndication.

"suspenseful, puzzling and ultraimaginative."–Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I LIKE THIS ONE."–Chicago American.

And arguable the closest to the truth:

"The plots may be space opera, but the show has been produced with care and lots of money."–The Washington Post.

By John Eggerton