Star Trek: The Original Series

From Fanlore
(Redirected from Classic Trek)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Star Trek
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Date(s): 1966-1969: Star Trek: The Original Series
1973-1974: Star Trek: The Animated Series
1979: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
1982: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1984: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
1986: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
1989: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
1991: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Medium: Television series, movie series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB (TV series), (TV series), (animated series), Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
from the print zine Galileo 7 #1 (June 1968), artist is Kathy Bushman

Star Trek debuted September 8, 1966, billed by its creator Gene Roddenberry as "a Wagon Train to the stars". Considered ground-breaking for its era, Star Trek showed a multinational, multiracial cast crewing the U.S.S. Enterprise, a starship devoted to exploration.[note 1] The series was saved from cancellation by fan effort after its second season, but was then cancelled after the third season.

Despite this, Star Trek survived, first in the form of an animated series, later as a series of major motion pictures. A second television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, debuted in 1987. The original 1960s series became known as Star Trek: The Original Series, frequently abbreviated ST:TOS, or simply TOS by fans. For an overview of the whole franchise, see the Star Trek page.

Star Trek: The Original Series originally ran for three seasons on television. It has a very active fanbase that started from nearly the moment the show debuted and still flourishes today. Fans have not only kept this series alive after it was nearly canceled after its second season, but also kept it going through many years where there was no new material with their production of fanworks, their organization of conventions and their devotion to their fandom. The popularity of the show in reruns eventually brought about its resurrection as one of the large media franchises.

Gene Roddenberry was the producer and heavily involved in the first two seasons, and was replaced by Fred Freiberger. It was finally canceled in 1969 after what many fans and critics felt to be disappointing and unsatisfying changes made to both the scripts and characterizations.[note 2]

Star Trek was revived as Star Trek: The Animated Series (abbreviated TAS) in 1973 by Filmation & Norway Corp., and as a series of films in the 1980s and 1990s by Paramount. A Star Trek movie had been proposed years before, but was rushed into production soon after 1977's Star Wars. Far more successful than the TV series, the blockbuster Trek films funded the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG).

A current trend as viewed on, as well as through other sites, is that ST:TOS is being discovered by a number of people from countries outside of the United States. Many new fans have found it through the internet, international syndication or by buying the DVDs and other media.

Another attractor to the fandom are the reboot films, Star Trek AOS.


Although Star Trek featured a large (and diverse) supporting cast, the main characters were the triad -- Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Spock and Dr. Leonard (Bones) McCoy. They serve on the starship Enterprise, exploring the furthest parts of the galaxy and protecting the United Federation of Planets from hostile aliens. A product of the 1960s, the premise of Star Trek blends the then-popular Western show -- in which gunslingers traveled from town to town each week solving local problems -- with modern concerns like civil rights and the morality of war. Through science fiction, these things could be addressed in a mostly non-controversial fashion.

The U.S.S. Enterprise, under the command of James Kirk, is on a five-year mission of exploration in deep space: 'to boldly go where no man has gone before'. Her crew often faces new phenomena, cultures, and planets, of the both friendly and unfriendly varieties.

There are seven major characters, although only three were ever listed in the main title credits of the show: Captain Kirk, his executive officer Spock, Doctor McCoy, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Lieutenant Uhura, Helmsman Sulu, and Ensign Chekov. Other recurring characters include Nurse Chapel (played by Majel Barrett), Yeoman Rand, and various admirals. Spock's parents, Sarek and Amanda, are also popular characters; they appear in only one TOS episode, but return in the animated series (TAS), the movies and tie-in novels.

Sample of Second Season Marketing

Text of the second season promotion pamphlet:

"A" for action... "B" for believability [sic]:

In the upcoming 1967-68 season, the U.S.S. Enterprise will continue on the audience-winning course charted by series creator Gene Roddenberry in his STAR TREK writer's guide. Believability [sic], the very first point underlined in this guide, is probably the key to the series' popularity with better educated, more discriminating viewers. Each STAR TREK episode is packed with action and adventure, but the characters and plot situations are never allowed to veer away from the immutable truths of human nature and a solid platform of scientific fact. No less an authority than Dr. Isaac Asimov, a biochemistry professor and author widely regarded as one of the world's top science fiction writers, has called STAR TREK "...the first good television science fiction." Episodes of the series have been shown in college classrooms and STAR TREK is reported to be a solid favorite in campus, dormitories from coast to coast.

a thinking man's adventure series:

Returning for its second year as an NBC-TV color attraction, STAR TREK will take off for its weekly adventures in interstellar space from a new8:30-9:30 PM/NYT Friday launching pad. In this location, it will benefit from the lead-in strength of the Tarzan series, which paced NBC's new entries in the 1966-67 ratings sweepstakes. A viewing favorite among young adults (18-34) and teenagers, STAR TREK has averaged a 36 Q-score this past season to rank in the TV-Q Top 20 among these groups (and also in the total sample). The NT! Full Analysis Report also shows that it slants strongly toward better-educated, middle and upper income families in urban areas.

five emmy nominations:

Singled out for Emmy nominations in five different categories, including "outstanding dramatic series," STAR TREK was one of the most honored new series of the past season. Other show and talent categories in which it received 1966-67 award consideration were "outstanding supporting performance by a dramatic actor" (Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock), Photographic Special Effects, Mechanical Special Effects, and Film and Sound Editing. This unique NBC-TV adventure series was accorded another unusual distinction when Leonard Nimoy was invited by the National Space Club to represent STAR TREK as the guest of honor on a recent extensive tour of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington, D.C. The tour was followed by a dinner for 1500 club members, at which Vice President Humphrey was the principal speaker.

one of TV's most loyal followings:

Second only to The Monkees among NBC programs in the volume of fan mail it attracts, STAR TREK has been the recipient of more than 28,000 letters of support and encouragement from one of the most loyal and articulate viewer followings currently attracted by any television series. This mail comes from a wide diversity of sources — space technicians, college professors, college students, businessmen, housewives, and high school and grade school students. For the most part, the letters of these STAR TREK enthusiasts are distinguished by their thoughtful and literate content and by their stress on the believability [sic] of the series and the high quality of the acting and writing.

Much more information and original material on Star Trek can be found at the blog My Star Trek Scrapbook, demonstrating just how influential this series was to viewers of all ages and interests, not just to those already involved in science fiction/fantasy fandom. In fact, to many of its devoted viewers, this was the show responsible for awakening an interest in these genres.

The series counted numerous distinguished science fiction authors among its screen writers, including Harlan Ellison, Jerome Bixby and Theodore Sturgeon, as well as fostering new talent like David Gerrold. Several later shows were written by fan contributors. Guest stars included revered actors of stage and screen, while beginners who are well-known today appeared on the show early in their career. Many speak of how they are recognized primarily for the part they played in the show, however small.


This is the fandom where modern slash was born. This is also the fandom where media fandom split from science fiction fandom and became its own force to reckon with.

Star Trek: The Original Series has a very active fanbase that was born nearly the moment the show debuted and still flourishes more than fifty years later. Fans have not only kept this series alive after it was nearly canceled after its second season, but also kept it going through many years where there was no new material through their production of fanworks, their organization of conventions and their devotion to their fandom.

1966 letter from Harlan Ellison calling on fans to oppose the series cancellation
1968 letter from John and Bjo Trimble calling on fans to send letters in support of the show
from a 10-page article and bibliography from Yandro #173 (August 1967) by Ruth Berman which discusses fan magazines
from a 10-page article and bibliography from Yandro #173 (August 1967) by Ruth Berman which discusses fan magazines

A current trend as viewed on, as well as through other sites, is that ST:TOS is being discovered by a number of people from countries outside of the United States where it originated. Many new fans coming into the fandom have found it through the internet, international syndication or by accessibility to buying the DVDs and other media through large media-selling websites. The series was Remastered remastered on television and DVD in 2006 with added CGI effects, to give Star Trek: The Original Series a more authentic feel and look which would be acceptable to modern audiences.

Another potential attractor to new fandom are the new movies, which were billed as a series "reboot" and may prompt curiosity about the original television show.

Brief Fandom History

There is a wealth of information about Star Trek fandom. The first media fanzine was Spockanalia, which started publishing in 1967, while the show was still on the air. The second, ST-Phile, put out the first of two issues in January 1968. Inside Star Trek, considered at the time to be the "official" Star Trek fan club zine, began publishing in the fall of that year.

The first large-scale Trek media convention or "con" [1] was in 1972 (they'd hoped 500 people would come -- they had to turn people away after the first 3,000). Committee member Joan Winston gave a detailed account of that first guest convention in Star Trek Lives!.[2] The first media fan con (i.e., run by fans, for fans, with no guest stars) was August Party, in August 1975, chaired by Rich Kolker. The following year, the American Midwest's first media fan con was held: SeKWester*Con (pronounced "sequester con") in Kalamazoo, Michigan.[3] (Go figure.) At the second SeKWester*Con, the Fan Q awards were started to recognize Quality in Star Trek fan fiction, filks and art. (At some point, they started being given to K/S content as well. Year?). Starting in 1981, the FanQ awards have been given out at MediaWest*Con.[4] Beginning in 1984, and again in 1998, K/S fan writers, feeling that their slash contributions were not getting enough recognition, began holding their own awards: the K/Star Award and the Philon awards respectively.

Like the idea of zines, and conventions, the Star Trek Welcommittee (which lasted from 1972 until the web finally made it unecessary) was based on existing science fiction fandom practice; in this case, the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) Welcommittee. [5]

As of 2008, there are still Trek guest cons and fan cons held every year. When Joan Winston died, her obit showed up in the New York Times as the Trek Superfan.[1] Star Trek fandom is still going strong.

As mentioned above, the first media fanzine was Spockanalia, which started publishing while the show was still on the air, as did ST-Phile; they both sent copies to the production staff and actors. In issue four of Spockanalia, the first romantic story featuring Spock appeared, "Time Enough" by Lelamarie S. Kreidler. The story concerns Spock's next pon farr and how he seeks out and mates with Lian Jameson, a part-Vulcan woman who is the head of the ship's Alien Research section. The two part amicably without bonding or any form of commitment when she is called back to Vulcan.

Fans, Merchandise, and Profit

For more, see Star Trek Fandom and Profit.

The producers of Star Trek had been a little slow in realizing the profit that could be made from fans. It wasn't until Equicon 1974 that Paramount Studios began taking notice of some of the merchandising opportunities beneath the Star Trek franchise. From a notice in the pocket program:

ILLEGAL SALE OF Star Trek ITEMS cannot be constantly policed by EQUICON -- nor do we want to do it -- but infractions will be reported, and purchasers risk losing both money illegally-bought items! It's too bad the practice takes place, since sale of illegal ST items is, in fact, STEALING from people who would get the legal royalties -- the creator of the show & ST people! Supporting this very un-Star Trek philosophy is highly illogical for anyone calling himself a FAN!

AMT and Lincoln Enterprises will soon have phasers and other items for legal sale: be patient!

Anyone caught selling (legal or illegal) items anywhere on the convention floor outside of the Sales Room will be charged a $25 table fee. The ONLY exception is fanzine -- amateur publications -- which may be carried around and sold out-of-hand.

some 1994 commentary by Glenn Lash, printed in A Difficult Concept: "'1970: Star Trek?! Nobody's interested in that dog! Leave it to Lincoln Enterprises! I've got bigger fish to fry!' 1994: "... We've got the two TV series, with another in the works, the movies, 4 lines of books, 3 comics, videos, toys, board games, t-shirts, that QVC crap... Hey! Isn't it about time for a new cartoon series?!'"

The official marketing people's slow responses to fan demand regarding Star Trek merchandise was evident to Franz Joseph, a fan who had created a set of detailed blueprints. Before the 1974 convention, Joseph had attempted to get permission to sell his creation he had titled Booklet of General Plans. These plans later became the Star Fleet Technical Manual:

...months later, with a major Trek convention approaching, Joseph had still not received official permission to sell his work. Bypassing Roddenberry, he made a one-time deal with Paramount to sell the “General Plans” (the Enterprise blueprints) at the upcoming convention. Equicon 1974 took place in Los Angeles from April 12–14. Of the 500 copies of the General Plans Joseph had prepared, 410 sold immediately; 450 requests for additional copies were taken on postcards. Paramount, which received Joseph’s royalty check shortly thereafter, sensed it was on to something, and began negotiating for a mass-market release of both the General Plans and the still-growing Technical Manual. The results exceeded all expectations. The blueprints went on sale across the nation on May 24, 1975, selling out within two hours. By May 28, 50,000 additional copies had sold, prompting Ballantine to print 100,000 more. [6]

"Rent These People," a blunt reminder in the 1976 Equicon program book that the days of the casual fancons had waned, and getting celebrity guests of honor at your con was big business

Gene Roddenberry, however, realized the untapped market early on, and it was what propelled the very successful Lincoln Enterprises.

Once TPTB observed the voraciousness of fans' desire to buy all things Trek, they swung into action. This led to a common topic in newsletters and other fan correspondence -- that of the gullible fan who'd buy anything. From a fan in 1976: "I'm sure we all shudder when we stop to think about the sheer amount of $$ we put into our collections of ST memorabilia. Yes, I know it's for love or whatever, but it's still $$$... There are dealers at all the cons selling garbage... [such as] very poor quality offset or litho photographs... I stood and talked to dealers who have admitted that... Trekkies will buy anything and they are out for the big bucks." [7] From a fan in 1979: "This month several professional magazines, which are often referred to as prozines as the opposite of fanzines, will be the target for discussion. It is an indication of Star Trek's endurability that some of these attempts are only suitable for lining birdcages - the assumption is that Trek fans will buy anything, no matter how simple-minded the content. The brevity of their appearance is eloquent testimony as to the fallacy of this opinion. [("All About Star Trek Fan Clubs" (dreadful), "Media Spotlight" (not too bad), "Science Fantasy Film Classics" (very good)." [8] From a fan in 1988: "It is true that many fans will buy anything that has the words "Star Trek" on it, and that is sad, for in their zeal to own everything Trek-ish, people are getting ripped off." [9]

It was also profit that changed the nature of conventions. No longer did the celebrities attend cons for the cost of their travel, or for a very nominal fee. Instead, convention guests demanded large fees, something that propelled all sorts of other changes in how fans interacted with each other -- socially in person, via zines and other fanworks, and visibility.

Star Trek fans fast became known for buying anything to do with the show, something that for-profit companies, as well as fan-run and many fellow fans capitalized upon.

In 1990, a fan wrote of Star Trek merchandising in the United Kingdom and bemoaned the slickness and lack of quality:

Walk into the Dealers room in any convention and what do you see? Glossy magazines, posters and grossly overpriced toys and models. All tackily mass produced imports. But ten years ago it was a different story.... Star Trek was still in syndication and rumours abounding about a big movie. Professional merchandise was rare and the main source of S.T. memorabilia was the newsletter, the fanzine and homemade items lovingly crafted by the fans who had spent the 70's working tirelessly to keep Star Trek alive. Star Trek fan clubs in Britain were few, but one built itself up and became the voice of the British fans, it was of course STAG (still the biggest S.T. club in Britain). In those heady days of fandom, fanzines and newsletters were produced on manual typewriters and reproduced on very temperamental Roneo duplicators, resulting in a few zines being totally illegible in parts. But these zines were produced by the fans, for the fans, no one really cared about the quality of reproduction. it was the quality of the written word which took precedence. At the conventions, the dealers room reflected the unique quality of fan produced memorabilia. Fan dealers outnumbered the pro dealers and when wandering around the tables, it was always possible to buy specially struck pencils, pens, diaries, mugs, key rings and of course fanzines. It was not uncommon to see attendees leaving the dealers room with a box full of zines, some of which were considered collectors items, and their titles were well known to the regular fanzine reader; Log Entries, Federation Outpost, Zenith, Scandals of Shikahr and of course the raunchiest K/S zine of all... Thrust. Back in the 70' s the professionals didn't want to know about Star Trek merchandising, they weren't interested, so it was up to the fans to produce their own memorabilia. How times have changed!! Now the fan dealers have been kicked to one side, they are packed into small corners of the Dealers room like sardines, whilst the ever growing number of pro-dealers move in with their glossies. Fans no longer buy the zines that have been produced by other fans, they want the hundreds of novels that are now being churned out without any thought to quality of story. They're buying up all the mass-produced material that, in ten years time, will be just as worthless as the the day they bought it. Whatever will happen to the fan dealer and the fanzine? [10]


The Generally Unpopular Third Season

Fans' victory in getting the show back for a third season was, for many, a classic "be careful what you wish for" situation, or as Spock told Stonn, his rival in Amok Time, "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting.".

In 1970, Leonard Nimoy said:

"Did you get bored [with the show]?"

"Well, I got bored with the writing. I didn't think the writing was terribly creative for Spock or for the show during the last, during the third year of STAR TREK, and that's the worst kind of boredom because it's frustrating you want to do something, and you're looking for something fresh to play and nothing comes." [11]

In 1979, D.C. Fontana wrote about her decision to leave after the second season, and she referenced the never-filmed episode, "Joanna," which was planned to feature McCoy's daughter:

And when they--then producer of the show--told me that Dr. McCoy was Kirk's contemporary and was not old enough to have a daughter at twenty-one years old, I realized they hadn't even read the writer's guide. I didn't want to work for anybody who didn't even have a working concept of the show. In fact, the story editor some three months later wandered onto the set and asked our set decorator, "By the way, what does that transporter thing do again?", at which point most of the crew gave up caring. Because when you do not have people doing the stories who are knowledgeable about what the entire show is about, you can't keep up pride in your work because you’re being given drek. [12]

Romantic and Sexual Pairings

In the initial years of the fandom, not all fan fiction focused on romance. Fans wrote stories that could play out in the reader's head as an ordinary series episode. Some were in screenplay form and printed that way in fanzines. Some amateur and semi-pro authors submitted their original scripts to the show's producers, and a handful were picked up and produced ("The Empath" by Joyce Muskat, "The Trouble With Tribbles" by David Gerrold, "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" by Jean Lisette Aroeste and "The Tholian Web" by Judy Burns). Others including Jacqueline Lichtenberg continued to send scripts even after the series was canceled in the hope that if another network picked up the show their work could be used.

All published romantic fan fiction in those days was "het" (heterosexual), often focusing on Spock's need to find a suitable mate since his canon divorce from his affianced bride at his last pon farr as shown in "Amok Time". Common het pairings in these very early stories are Kirk/Uhura, and Spock/Chapel. (The practice of naming a story's pairings in this fashion was not used. In fact, romantic relationships in stories weren't called "pairings". That word wasn't in common use until the early 1990s.) There are also numerous stories in which, similar to the canon episodes, the male leads have romance with original female characters, many of them quite well written. This took place before the Mary Sue panic began to influence amateur writing.

Spock/Uhura in TOS fanworks exists, but is relatively rare, especially compared to the "reboot" ST:XI where their romance was made canon. There were also some Spock/Saavik stories after Saavik appeared in canon, some McCoy/Chapel stories, and, again, pairings with original characters were more common than they are today.

The labeling conventions of "het", "slash", "gen", etc. were unknown; in fact, "gen" had an entirely different, possibly several meanings.[note 3] Fans would sometimes rate their stories according to the MPAA film rating system. There were no fanzine publishing houses in those days; each amateur editor put out her own zine, and usually most would not print explicitly sexual material. (User:KTJ speculates that these policies were because of the many fans at the time who were 12 or younger, but according to K.S. Langley Star Trek fandom was composed of people in high school or older and that anyone younger would not have had the money required to actively participate in fandom.[13][note 4] Sending explicit material through the mail was a felony, still is a misdemeanor in most states, and a Class D felony if anyone under legal age sees the material.

Some adult fans also disliked "dirty" stories (for example, Laura Harris' "The Alternate" in Spockanalia 3, which takes place during a poetically described sexual encounter; or Lelamarie Kreidler's "Time Enough" in Spockanalia 4, in which all the action is offstage), and had to be reminded that "psychiatrists say this is normal". Stories in which Spock established a matrimonial bond with a female but no consummation was shown (Jacqueline Lichtenberg's "Spock's Affirmation"[14] and "Spock's Argument"[15], and Judith Brownlee's "To Seek Thee Out" [16] were not objectionable, only descriptions of sexual activities, which were considered obscene by many at that time. When the first X-rated zine, Grup, appeared, it was highly controversial, particularly for its first-issue nude centerfold of Mr. Spock.

Non-explicit het stories thus had no label, while explicit tales are called adult, so especially with brief fanzine descriptions it can be difficult to tell whether a story would be counted as gen, especially if it is not only a romance.

The dominant slash ship by far is Kirk/Spock. There is also some Spock/McCoy, and a little Kirk/McCoy. Because Kirk/McCoy is a huge ship in ST:XI the latter has recently gotten some boost also in TOS as new fans discover TOS and bring their own slash goggles over. The occasional Kirk/Spock/McCoy threesome can also be found. There is a little Sulu/Chekov, but again less than in ST:XI. (I think?) But overall most non-K/S slash pairings can be considered somewhat rare in TOS.

Online Fandom

Star Trek discussion groups and lists have existed since the earliest days of computer networks. The PLATO system had several Star Trek notesfiles and a Star Trek game. Computer bulletin boards[note 5] and Usenet counted Star Trek among their earliest forums.

In 1982 net.startrek [17] was created as one of the first 20 or so Usenet newsgroups. As part of the Great Usenet Renaming -- a restructuring of existing groups to make their names easier to categorize -- it became rec.arts.startrek in 1986. In 1990, alt.startrek.creative appeared. Soon after, started, and almost from the start, the k/s-ers and gen fans pushed back and forth. One prominent k/s fan got tired of the same arguments being used against k/s over and over, and created the K/S Retort sometime after 1990.[18]

The main archive for fanfiction posted to Alt.startrek.creative, Alt.startrek.creative.all-ages, and Alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated (ASCEM) is Trekiverse and was established in 1991 and has been continuously maintained since then. Better Living Through TrekStories is an archive for the mailing list of the same name, as well as archiving stories posted to other Trek mailing lists, and LiveJournal. It was initially called Better Living Through Treksmut.

For an overview of Star Trek fandom's online activities from the early 1990s, including show commentary, episode guides and fan fiction, visit the textfile directory. See also the Star Trek: Points of Interest which covers online Trek fandom for the period 1996-1998.

Star Trek Fandom In Context

Joan Marie Verba writes in Boldly Writing that she was aware of...

the ever-increasing number of Star Trek fans who had no experience with science fiction, and no interest in science fiction whatsoever. Many of these fans did not view Star Trek as a science fiction program. They saw it as a "buddy" show, or as a heroic/romantic saga, in which Kirk and Spock were the focus.[note 6] When these Star Trek fans wrote stories, they wrote about what they thought was most important about Star Trek: Kirk's and Spock's friendship... As a further sign that such fans found science fiction irrelevant, many K&S writers did their best to get Kirk and Spock off the Enterprise and by themselves in order to concentrate exclusively on those two characters (one K&S fan told me that was to avoid the 'distraction' of the ship and the Federation; in contrast, to science fiction fans, the inclusion of the starship Enterprise and the futuristic setting were essential to any Star Trek story.) Within five years, this "relationship" type of story was to dominate non-K/S Star Trek fanzines. One might argue that the 'relationship' (K&S) and the homoerotic (K/S) stories were merely two aspects of the same theme. Neither was concerned about science fiction. Both concentrated on the interactions between Kirk and Spock. In these stories, Kirk and Spock spend large amounts of time thinking about the state of their friendship (K&S) or love life (K/S), as opposed to thinking about their careers, the world around them, other people, the issues of the day, and so forth. Each has stories in which one runs to the rescue of the other. Both have stories of the hurt/comfort category... Although during the 'great K/S debate,' the K&S and K/S fans seemed to be on radically opposite poles, these similarities in the two genres are too numerous to ignore.

As a Symbol and Vision of Optimism

Within Fandom Migration Patterns

To some, being part of Star Trek fandom means being part of a 50+ year tradition. With that comes with it a sense of continuity, of being part of something so much bigger than oneself.

Writing in 2011, Kathy Resch points out: "There was always overlap. Some fans would get in, stay a few years, and leave – often for other fandoms. By that time, new fans had come in, met the people already there, jumped in and started writing, drawing and publishing. This process kept going, and kept the continuity...(There was a fairly major exodus of old-time fans in the mid to late 80s into Starsky/Hutch and Bodie/Doyle (The Professionals). Many of these people are still in fandom, just an entirely different fandom than what they started out in.)

And then there were people who got into K/S and stayed there for decades, like myself, and the editors of Merry Men Press and Mkashef Enterprises. I published my first issue of T’hy’la in 1981, and am working on # 31 right now.

The letterzines also maintained that continuity and sense of community. They included On the Double, Come Together, The LOC Connection, and the still-published The K/S Press.

The continuity was also fueled by the fact we got to know each other in RL [real life], meeting at conventions, local fan parties and other meetups, talking on the phone, writing postal letters, etc. That’s one thing I hope internet fans can also share, because there’s nothing like getting together with other fans in our own fannish space talking talking talking about our interests."[19]

Star Trek, NASA, and Science

Star Trek's popularity was deeply enmeshed in many fans' interest in space exploration, travel, and NASA. Many zines contained news, photos, and updates regarding the current news regarding this subject. See Star Trek and NASA.

Star Trek also sparked and stoked an interest in science with many fans. Many people today recount how the show caused them to go on to study and have careers in science. The show is often cited as a reason by many women such as Mae Jemison and Candy Torres who have gone on to become scientists. [need more quotes and examples] Where there are fans, there is profit to be had.

An International Phenomena

While Star Trek was eventually broadcast in numerous countries, sometimes dubbed, sometimes subtitled, its growth was slowed by the fact that TV series syndication rights were complex and took time to negotiate. In contrast, Star Wars, which was a single movie (and then later a series of movies) was easier to distribute globally. And, while many people in the 1960s and 1970s lacked a television, there was wider access to movie cinemas which gave the Star Wars franchise the edge.

In 1976, a German fan wrote a letter to Menagerie explaining the difficulty Star Trek fans in Germany faced in accessing the aired episodes:

"STERN TREK: Inge R. reports on fandom in Germany.

You ask me, is there a Star Trek fandom in Germany? Yes, there is, but not a very big one. Why? Oh, that's difficult to tell. To understand the whole thing you must know that we haven't a commercial television service. In Germany it's a public corporation. Every person who has a television set must pay a tax, DM 10,50 for one month, that's about $4.00. For that we can see three programmes ((networks)).

From 1972 to 1974 we were able to watch 39 Star Trek--called Raumschiff Enterprise, Spaceship Enterprise -episodes, and then there were no more, that was the end. Thousands of fans protested hard and wished to see more, but the series was not to come to life again, a truly unintelligent decision of our TV bosses. After all that trouble, we had no chance to decide. They just don't like Star Trek.

Nevertheless, we hope now at least for reruns. That's not sure, of course; possibly in 1978! You read right. Isn't it sad??? For a good month ((in March)) we've been able to see the cartoons, very artificial and with an impossible storyline. It is a nightmare! We are all very disappointed.

But here is an exception, so a few of us are very happy; we can now watch Star Trek on TV. After all I said before you may think it is impossible, but it isn't. We have Americans in our neighborhood. Through them we can get the American Forces Service Television in Germany. That's only on Frankfurt am Main, Nuerenberg and Berlin - in the American sector - as far as I know. By good luck, I am one of those happy fans. Now I can see all the Star Trek episodes I never saw before, unabridged, and with the original voices. What an enjoyment!!!

Each Tuesday, when I watch ST, it is like Sunday. Do you understood my feelings? I think you do."[20]

In that same issue Australian fan Diane Marchant reported:

"There is not all that much to be said on the current state of Star Trek fandom here in Australia, excepting to say that despite great adversity our ranks keep swelling.

Somehow I feel Star Trek has done a lot to break down our isolation with the rest of the world. We communicate, we share, we know folk who are as our selves in countries as far flung as Canada, the U.S.A., South America, Scotland, England, Germany, Japan, Borneo and New Zealand.

Our little Australian band is far flung, too. After visiting your magnificent United States I think it would take me a book to explain how really isolated each of our ((Australian)) States, and ergo their townships etc., really are. You just have so many folk and so many huge urban populations close together; we don't And your airlines are to inexpensive to travel, and so frequent. Also your telephone services and prices are a dream. Not to mention the number of T.V. stations you have in different states. We have four stations for Melbourne. Some of the other capital cities don't even have that many.

As for the series Star Trek, it has never received a fair go from Aussie T.V. stations. Channel 9 network has Aussie 'rights' to the series (and they are ingenious with excuses for fobbing off fans). In Victoria (and as far as I can fathom, other Eastern States too) the entire three seasons of Star Trek only made one complete run (minus 'The Mantrap'--too horrific to air. HA! HA!).

Since the initial screening fans (in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia) have been instrumental in getting brief 'mixed' re-runs (the most re-runs shown in one revival was 20). The latest re-runs were due to the advent of colour T.V. on the Australian scene but, alas, that was short lived too. Something about low ratings. (Goodness knows how those ratings come about. For the uproar in the press, letters and telephone calls surely must have outdone the so-called ratings). Still it's oh so frustrating, and yet, there is that within each Star Trek fan which rises above such misfortune. Perhaps OPTERMISM in the future and the COURAGE to go on in the face of any and all adversity, plus our belief in tomorrows yet unborn permits us a peace, contentment and universal love which knows no bounds. We are willing to communicate, we reach out, we struggle to touch, we understand, we are stronger and better because we can accept ourselves and others. WE ARE AWARE WE LIVE--STAR TREK HAS GIVEN US THAT!!!"

And last in issue #10, French Canadian Fan Susan Armstrong wrote:

"PATROUILLE DE COSMOS A PRIS QUEBEC D'ASSAUT! Eyewitness report by Susan Armstrong: Fandom in Montreal

Well, to be honest, this reporter cannot be certain that ST, en Francais, has taken the province by storm. Mainly by reason of my horrendous French, I have not gotten much feedback on the inpact of "Patrouille de Cosmos." It is no longer running locally, but it lasted a couple of years, which must mean something. ST in translation was not half bad--once one became desensitized to "Prof" (Bones), "le radar" (sensors), "les fuseurs" (obvious), etc. The dubbing was excellent, lapsing only during loud screaming sessions (e.g., in "The Tholian Web"), when the English screams were still clearly audible under the French ones (and believe me, there's a difference). The translation was rarely exact --but the alterations were often for the better. For instance, the Spock-Kollos scene in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?", more or less abominable in English, was quite lyrical in French.

This passage, at least, should be recognizable: Espace--frontier de l'infini, vers laquelle voyage notre vaisseau spatiale. Sa mission: explorer des nouveaux mondes stranges, decouvrir de nouvelle vie, d'autres civilizations--et au mepris du danger, reculer l'impossible. ("Space, the final frontier...")

In Canada generally, ST seems firmly established in syndication. Switch on the hotel TV ii most Canadian cities, and chances are it will be running. A few years ago, in the Montreal region, one could conceivably pull in ST eighteen times a week on seven or eight channels. Nowadays, during a comparative drought, it graces the screen only six times weekly. With the kind of audience that suggests, ST cannot be an unknown quantity.

Scratch the average Canadian student and you'll find at least a casual Trekfan. However, our fen are differentiated from their southerly brothers in being much more firmly ensconced in the woodwork. There are perhaps half a dozen recognized clubs from sea to sea. (We are about to launch another one locally.) Gazing wistfully across the border at the grapevine-entangled U.S., the typical Canajun Trekker grows convinced he is the only one in the country. A chance encounter with a fellow fan--perhaps as a result of wearing a "Keep On Trekkin"' shirt into the locker room, as happened in my case--is a scene of penultimate ecstasy. Why are most northerly fen living in lonely splendor? Why this apathy? Perhaps because we have had The Starlost to console us?"

Non-American Fandom Activities





For a list of TOS fanzines see: Category:Star Trek TOS Zines and List of Star Trek: The Original Series Fanzines and List of Star Trek: The Original Series Slash Zines. Also see: List of Star Trek TOS Zines Published While the Show First Aired.


See also: Category:Star Trek Meta or Category:Star Trek TOS K/S Meta


See also: Category:Star Trek Vids

Example Art Gallery

See also: Category:Star Trek TOS Art

Archives and Communities


Communities and Fan Clubs

see List of Star Trek Fan Clubs, List of Actor-Centric Star Trek: TOS Fan Clubs and Category:Star Trek Fan Clubs

Mailing Lists

  • "Kirk Loves Spock Fic". Archived from the original on 2003-10-27. Description: "This discussion/fanfic list is dedicated to the classic Star Trek with a strong slant toward the loving relationship between Kirk and Spock. But the other darlings are welcome too, provided you include them with one or both the main guys, anyone for Spock and McCoy?...Pavlov and Sulu? We're a slash list, man loving his fellow man, or alien as it were. All fiction will be archived at "The Wonderful World Of MakeBelieve Archive", which houses varied fandoms unless it includes a DO NOT ARCHIVE notation. I don't have the time or inclination to monitor this list for underage ears, so joining confirms you are over the legal age in your area. Be honest."
  • "Kirk And Spock BDSM". Archived from the original on 2003-10-27. Description: "Star trek's captain loves adventure....Spock likes it rough...BDSM list for the tougher side of Star trek love. Any pairing as long as the list characters are one of the clutch The stories on this list will be archived to the WWOMB site uless they include a do not archive notation. Joining means your over honest guys."
  • "Star Trek Chat and Fic". Archived from the original on 2003-09-08. Description: "This discussion/fanfic list is dedicated to the Original Star Trek series, with a strong slant toward the relationship between the wonderful, characters. General, hetero and slash fiction are allowed here. All fiction will be archived at "The Wonderful World Of MakeBelieve Archive", which houses varied fandoms and independent authors."
  • "Scotty Fuh Q Fest". Archived from the original on 2002-01-06. Description: "Well, hey there! If you can slash Commander Montgomery Scott from Star Trek TOS with ANYTHING, this is the list, fest and archive for you! See webpage for more details By subscribing to this adult list you automatically admit, affirm, etc. to being of the legal age of consent in your locality, or you would not be subscribing to this list, right?"

External Links


  1. ^ Curiously enough, a series with an almost identical concept premiered in Germany on September 17, 1966. Raumpatrouille Orion (Space Patrol Orion) was the first German science fiction series. It also had a multiracial, multi-ethnic cast, including women in command positions. It lasted only seven episodes, but has had a lengthy afterlife in novelizations. Fan critic/blogger Josh Marsfelder in Vaka Rangi calls Raumpatrouille the show Star Trek should have been in its first season.
  2. ^ See some October 1980 remarks by Fred Freiberger in an interview with Starlog #39.
  3. ^ According to K.S. Langley, "gen" was used to describe zines with no adult content; according to user:KTJ, in the 1960s and 1970s, "gen" meant a story taking place in the Star Trek universe but with none of the established characters. See Genzine for this and other uses of the word.
  4. ^ Children were avid viewers of Star Trek. In those days, even young children often earned and saved money via after-school jobs or received a parental allowance ("pocket money") they could use to buy fanzines. They might also read fanzines bought by a parent or older sibling, as mentioned in Regina Marvinny's Tricorder Readings.Children were frequent contributors to Tricorder Readings and Marvinny specifically mentioned child fans in explaining why she would not run R- or X-rated material. There were also Karen Flanery's brood, and especially the several fan clubs run by Sarah Cornelie "Sam" Cole.)
  5. ^ For those interested in today's bulletin board systems, there is The BBS Corner.
  6. ^ In a sense, they weren't wrong. According to Bob Justman, David Gerrold and others in Ed Gross/Mark Altman's The Fifty-Year Mission, Gene Coon did most of the creative heavy lifting on the first two seasons; he saw Kirk, Spock and McCoy as the main characters and wrote accordingly. Roddenberry had apparently envisioned an ensemble cast with Kirk as the sole main character.


  1. ^ a b New York Times: Joan Winston, ‘Trek’ Superfan, Dies at 77
  2. ^ Memory-Alpha Star Trek Wiki: Star Trek conventions
  3. ^ Boldly Writing: A Trekker Fan and Zine History, 1967 - 1987
  4. ^ List of Fan Q Winners each year, archived on WayBack Machine March 06, 2007
  5. ^ Trek Welcommittee
  6. ^ Franz Joseph and Star Trek’s Blueprint Culture posted March 11, 2012.
  7. ^ The Halkan Council #14 (January 1976)
  8. ^ TREKisM #3 (January 1979
  9. ^ Beyond the Farthest Star #3 (July 1988)
  10. ^ from Star Trek Action Group Newsletter #92
  11. ^ from the 1969/70 LNAF Yearbook
  12. ^ from an interview with D.C. Fontana in Enterprise Incidents #7 (1979)
  13. ^ personal communication with user:aethel, 25 May 2015.
  14. ^ In T-Negative 8, 1970.
  15. ^ In T-Negative 12, 1970.
  16. ^ In Eridani Triad 1, 1970.
  17. ^ The first post to this newsgroup was posted August 1982, net.startrek, about this group, Google Groups, (Accessed October 10, 2008).
  18. ^ K/S Retort, also known as "The official K/S FAQ".
  19. ^ Recollection posted in 'The Pages Two and Three K/S-zine heaven (My trip to the University of Iowa Fanzine Archives)', dated March 3, 2011, quoted with permission.
  20. ^ Issue #10.