FOUND: Gene Roddenberry's original 1964 pitch for Star Trek!

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:51 PM EST

Who was the first captain of Star Trek's U.S.S. Enterprise? And—was the Enterprise even the ship's name? You can find out all this and more by reading creator Gene Roddenberry's original pitch for his now-classic series.

A pop culture blog called Between the Pages has a link up to an online copy of Roddenberry's initial outline for the series, dated March 11, 1964. The show itself premiered on Sept. 8, 1966, and in the intervening two years, a whole lot changed. For instance:

♦ Roddenberry's original captain was not James Kirk or Christopher Pike, but Robert April;
♦ The ship was first called the U.S.S. Yorktown;
♦ The navigator was not a young Russian hotshot named Pavel Chekov, but a young South American hotshot named Jose Ortegas;
♦ Spock was the "first lieutenant" and described as having a reddish complexion and, of course, pointed ears, and was probably "half Martian."

Roddenberry's 16-page outline also contains his now-famous description of the show as a sort of sci-fi Wagon Train, and does not mention anything like a transporter beam; the crew would land on planets via small recon vehicles. Early ideas for communicators, universal translators and phaser weapons can also be found within.

Most fascinating, however, are the story ideas that Roddenberry includes—many of which formed the basis for or at least planted the seed for classic episodes like "Charlie X," "Shore Leave," "A Piece of the Action," "The Return of the Archons," "The Savage Curtain," "Mirror, Mirror" and what eventually became the show's first pilot, "The Cage." Some of his dicier ideas—like a planet where slavery is the norm, except that whites are the slaves—never made it to the show at all (probably just as well).

So if you thought you knew everything about Star Trek, this document might hold some surprises for you. Either way, it's an essential read—after all, these 16 pages are where a legendary science fiction franchise began!