Star Trek: The Original Series boldly began going 48 years ago today: September 8, 1966. It took a couple of years, lots of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention two pilots, but Star Trek finally debuted with the episode “The Man Trap,” also known as the one with the vampire monster. Though the episode – as written by George Clayton Johnson and directed by Marc Daniels – tells a powerful story of loneliness, survival and a symbiotic relationship – it is, in many ways, not representative of the Star Trek that fans came to know and love. Kirk, furious that the shape-shifting M-113 creature killed members of his crew, really only wants to chase it down and destroy it. The last of its kind? A species worth studying. None of that really crosses Kirk’s mind until it’s too late, when he admits to Spock “I was thinking about the buffalo” just before the credits roll.

Some tidbits and anecdotes about “The Man Trap”:

-- The episode was filmed between June 22 and June 30, 1966

-- James Doohan is only heard, not seen, as Scotty

-- Such familiar stand-ins/uncredited actors as Eddie Paskey, William Blackburn and Frank da Vinci appeared in this episode

-- Kirk, in his log, refers to McCoy as “ship’s surgeon McCoy”

-- Nancy’s nickname for McCoy is… “Plum”

-- Spock refers to Uhura as “Ms. Uhura” and sickbay not as sickbay, but rather as “dispensary.” McCoy later also refers to sickbay as “dispensary”

-- Both TV Guide and Variety panned “The Man Trap,” with TV Guide mistakenly assessing that “The sky is not the limit for this Trek

-- Anyone remember the statue in Spock’s quarters in “Amok Time?” Take a close look at “The Man Trap,” as that same statue stands close by the entrance of the Crater home

-- The salt vampire’s mouth is made from a modified gas mask

-- “The Man Trap” was far from the first episode shot. In fact, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” “Mudd’s Women,” “Charlie X,” “The Naked Time” and “The Corbomite Maneuver” all could have aired before “The Man Trap”

-- Alfred Ryder, who played Professor Crater, was a veteran character actor whose career spanned from 1944 to 1980. His many credits included The Defenders, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, True Grit, Mission: Impossible, Escape to Witch Mountain, Charlie’s Angels and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He passed away on April 16, 1995 at the age of 79

-- This episode was the one and only known acting credit for Sharon Gimpel, who played the M-113 creature

Star Trek
Mission: Impossible
Amok Time
The Man Trap
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