With the latest Star Trek film making a killing at the box office, it's hard to believe that such a beloved franchise was shut down by television network executives before it even aired.
In 1964, when Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry pitched the series to studio execs, they thought it sounded absolutely ridiculous and unfeasible. But there was one woman who believed in the show's potential: the legendary comedic actress and Hollywood sweetheart, Lucille Ball.
By the 1960s, Lucille Ball had become one of the most powerful people in the television industry. These were her post-Lucy days, when she owned Hollywood's largest independent production company, Desilu Productions, and was making her mark as a savvy businesswoman and the first female Hollywood mogul.
Ball, unlike most of her male colleagues, found Roddenberry's pitch to be quite compelling, and ordered the studio to produce an expensive pilot episode (now known as "The Cage.") Sadly, the network rejected it outright, at which point it seemed that the sci-fi series had no chance of getting off the ground and onto the screen.
However, the I Love Lucy star ordered Desilu Productions to create a second pilot episode, a move completely unheard of at the time, and it was aptly named "Where No Man Has Gone Before". This time, the network picked up the show and Star Trek hit the masses- all thanks to Ms. Ball.
"If it were not for Lucy," said former studio exec Ed Holly, "there would be no Star Trek today."
And now you know why Trekkies everywhere will always have a special place in their heart for the original comedy queen.
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Author: Nate Morgan