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Updated: August 22, 2023

On this day in 1966 Star Trek debuted the original Cowboys vs Aliens!

Gene Roddenberry originally conceived and sold "Star Trek" as a Western epic story set in outer space. As early as 1964 Roddenberry was developing the "Wagon Train in Space" series at Desilu Studios for NBC. Lucille Ball was in charge of Desilu when the studio was on the ropes, and she personally greenlighted the show. The show had good ratings in its first season, but Roddenberry had a constant battle defending the show to NBC. It was moved to the Friday night death slot, prompting Roddenberrys resignation as producer of the show. It continued only because of a fan letter-writing campaign, but was cancelled following the 3rd season with 79 episodes altogether.

As with many misguided decisions, the network failed to understand the potential reach for Star Trek, which spawned seven television series ( and two more forthcoming ), and 13 feature films. It is often named as the most influential Science Fiction television series in history. Robert M. Thompson created this art in 1966 and it appeared the week it premiered. This illustration was one of the first to celebrate the show, eventually going where no show had ever gone before.

Value: $300.

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