The groundbreaking program initiated a sci-fi and pop cultural phenomenon that would trek far beyond anyone’s expectations.
Shatner played Kirk during Star Trek’s 1966-1969 run, later voicing the role on the 1973-1975 NBC Saturday morning cartoon and then returning as the character in live action for seven big-budget theatrical motion pictures from 1979 to 1994. Most of Shatner’s fellow original series actors accompanied him on these later adventures, with nearly the entire cast starring together in Star Treks I through VI.
The franchise has lived long and prospered beyond Shatner’s participation, with four additional television series spanning 18 consecutive years, as well as four additional movies and counting.
Shatner hasn’t done badly for himself, either. He has maintained the highest, most visible profile of any Star Trek actor, writing several Star Trek and other science fiction novels as well as multiple memoirs and autobiographies, and starring in several TV shows, including T.J. Hooker,
Shatner’s career can basically be divided into two phases: Star Trek and William Shatner.
But Star Trek is where it all began, 46 years ago today.