‘Star Trek’ flashback: 1968 protest at NBC against show cancellation plans

Oct. 23, 2008 | 5:53 p.m.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

1968 star trek demonstration Star Trek flashback: 1968 protest at NBC against show cancellation plans

I’ve found a lot of unexpected fanboy treasure in the stacks of the Los Angeles Times photo archives, among them a 1966 shot of Superman on Broadway, a jolly 1973 photo of the "Star Trek" stars at work on the  animated series and a rare 1952 photo of Leonard Nimoy waaaaay before his Mr. Spock fame.

Above you can see my latest find, a fantastic time-capsule image that was published Jan. 8, 1968, in The Times. The photo shows Cal Tech students protesting in front of the Burbank studios of NBC. It’s great checking out the clothes and placard messages, but I groaned when I read the caption that appeared in the paper with the photo. One line of the caption made it painfully clear that photographer Harry Chase and the copy desk editors of 1968 were not exactly big ‘Star Trek" fans: "Signs for and against Dr. Benjamin Spock appear amid the other protesting possible canceling of Star-Trek television series as ‘totally illogical.’"

Hmmmm. I just guessing here, but I don’t think that "Draft Spock" sign is actually a reference to Dr. Spock, the famed pediatrician, author and political activist.

Regardless of the shaky press coverage, the protests seemed to have an impact –- network executives actually conceded that the demonstrations were a factor in their decision in those early days of 1968 to keep the series going. It did not live and prosper terribly long, however. The landmark show was yanked in summer 1969, although as a pop-culture force, it’s still boldly going where no sci-fi TV show has gone before.

– Geoff Boucher

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