‘Star Trek’ protest
Jan. 6, 1968: Caltech students protest the rumored cancellation of the “Star Trek” TV series outside NBC Studios in Burbank.
After two seasons and low ratings, “Star Trek” was facing cancellation by NBC. Fans led a national campaign, including this Caltech protest, to save it.
In the Jan. 8, 1968, Los Angeles Times, staff writer Jerry Ruhlow reported:
Students at Caltech have found little time for demonstrations, protests and draft card burnings rampant on many of the nation’s campuses.
But Saturday night, a throng of more than 200 chanting, banner-waving Caltech scholars conducted a torchlight procession through the streets of Burbank to carry a protest to the steps of the National Broadcasting Company.
In what some observers suggest may be the emergence of the college’s social conscience, the enraged students voiced opposition to rumored canceling of NBC’s science fiction series Star Trek.
“It Is Totally Illogical to Cancel Star Trek,” read the sign of one bespectacled protester…
The campaign to save “Star Trek” worked. NBC picked up the series for the 1968-69 season, but aired it at 10 p.m. Fridays – the so-called ratings “death slot.”
After “Star Trek’s” third season, NBC canceled the show. But with 79 episodes, the series went into syndication – followed by five spin-off series and 11 movies.
This photo, by former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Harry Chase, was not published with the story that is excerpted above. The protest occurred on a Saturday night, missing the early Sunday edition deadlines. The story was published in the Monday edition of The Times.
April 25, 2011, 2:12 pm
I was there in spirit!
April 25, 2011, 2:47 pm
Thank You for bring this to light…. What can happen when people join together for a cause, and then what can happen when the media ' buries the story ' ….. DeForrest Kelly, Jimmy Dohan along with a host of red-shirts, extras, production crew are taking a moment to appreciate this picture !! a fan from the beginning….
April 25, 2011, 11:16 pm
[...] ‘Star Trek’ protest (via io9) [...]
April 25, 2011, 11:24 pm
[...] the Jan. 8, 1968, Los Angeles Times, staff writer Jerry Ruhlow reported: Students at Caltech have found little time for demonstrations, [...]
April 26, 2011, 6:59 am
Actually, NBC didn’t keep Star Trek because of fan protests. They kept it because NBC was owned by RCA…which made and sold color televisions…and they decided they couldn’t lose a color show out of their schedule until they had more to replace it.
Yes, I was disappointed to learn that the fan lore is incorrect, but it really was just a business decision that had nothing to do with what the fans wanted. :-(
January 6, 2013, 3:35 pm
Actually NBC DID bow to pressure from fans and renewed Star Trek for its third and final season. The movement was famously spear headed by Bjo Trimble and her husband John. Gene Roddenberry took a stand and warned NBC he would not produce the show directly if they put it on in a dead hour like on late Friday night which they did anyway. He felt he had to live up to his word and stayed away as the show began to deteriorate with poorer scripts and tighter budgets in that last season. It wasn't until syndication that people woke up to the fact this was a pretty neat show and a huge fan following developed. Star Trek conventions started popping up attended by thousands and the legend grew.
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