We've all seen the legendary internal Paramount memo that listed the various actors considered for roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation. So, we're talking Yaphet Kotto for Picard, for example, and Eric Menyuk for Data (Brent Spiner wasn't even on the initial list). Reggie Jackson, Tim Russ and Wesley Snipes were under consideration for Geordi, and Denise Crosby for... Troi. But, not as familiar are secondary pages that went into more detail about the casting options for role of Picard.
Case in point, Kotto was available, but casting director Junie Lowry was "Still waiting to hear if he'll fly down or if they're only sending tape." The late Paul Gleason, best known as the principal from The Breakfast Club, was "In Texas filming until 4/26." Billy Dee Williams, Lando Calrissian of Star Wars fame, was listed as "available," but "Not interested in syndication."
And the names! The names!! Could you imagine the dapper Don Ameche? Or how about Kojak himself, Telly Savalas, noted as "Available & Interested." Who loves you, baby?! Theodore Bikel was available, too, and he went on to guest star on TNG as Sergey Rozhenko in the fourth-season episode "Family." Would you believe... comedian Dick Shawn? Or how about George Hearn ("Not interested") or 2001: A Space Odyssey's Kier Dullea or William Devane (who was "Tied to Knot's Landing") or the awesome John Saxon?
How about a few more? Rip Torn ("Not interested")? Fred Gwynne from The Munsters!!!!!!!!!!!!? Dana Elcar? Peter Donat (then busy with something called Earthstar Voyager)? Scott Glenn?
Of course, Patrick Stewart is, was and will forever be our Captain Jean-Luc Picard, but who among those on this list would have fascinated you most?