Now before you go and say we got it wrong, Star Trek debuted in 1966, we know this. But the original pilot for Star Trek, which didn’t take off, and wasn’t widely seen, “The Cage,” was shot fifty years ago.
We were reminded of this by Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, and The Hollywood Reporter. Nimoy tweeted that the pilot, “The Cage,” was shot fifty years ago today. But the original pilot, which didn’t even have William Shatner in as Captain Kirk, was rejected by NBC, and scenes from it were edited into the two part episode The Menagerie.
NBC reportedly rejected the pilot because it was “too slow” and “too intellectual [with] not enough action,” so most of the cast was dumped, Spock was kept, Shatner was brought aboard, and the show still struggled, but it grew into the legend we know and love today thanks to syndicated reruns.
The full verison of The Cage finally came out on home video in 1986 to help celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary, and in 1988 the episode was aired on TV.
And BTW, for those who aren’t Trek inclined, the 50th anniversary of the show will hit on September 8, 2016.