The 'Enterprise' turns 25

Sept. 8, 1966
8:30 p.m. Star Trek premieres with ''The Man Trap,'' about a deadly alien that sucks the salt from bodies. McCoy first utters the words ''He's dead, Jim.'' Few TV viewers notice.

Sept. 14, 1966
The critics weigh in. Says Variety: ''An incredible and dreary mess. The interplanetary spaceship trudged on for a long hour with hardly any relief from violence, killings, hypnotic stuff, and a distasteful, ugly monster.''

March 1967
Trek is nominated for five Emmy awards, including Best Dramatic Series and Best Special Effects, but wins none. Ratings remain anemic, and NBC moves the show from Thursday to Friday.

July 1967
Gold Key Comics publishes the first Star Trek comic book, titled, appropriately enough, Star Trek. Current market value: $200-$250 for a near-mint-quality copy.

January 1968
NBC hints that Trek may soon be canceled. Fans deluge the network with a record 16,000 protest letters in a single month, including a 1,764-signature petition from students of the Andrews School for Girls in Willoughby, Ohio. The legend is born.

March 1, 1968
After the episode ''The Omega Glory,'' NBC airs an unprecedented announcement: ''We are pleased to tell you that Star Trek will continue to be seen on NBC Television. We know you will be looking forward to seeing the weekly adventure in space on Star Trek.''

December 1968
NBC, backsliding, drops another cancellation hint. More than 500 Cal Tech Trekkies hold a protest rally at NBC Studios in Burbank, Calif.

February 1969
NBC cancels Star Trek.

June 3, 1969
NBC broadcasts the last episode, ''Turnabout Intruder.'' Kirk's body is temporarily hijacked by Dr. Janice Lester, an old flame who wants command of her own starship.

February 1972
The first Star Trek convention is held in New York's Statler Hilton Hotel. Thousands attend, including Trek producer Gene Roddenberry.

September 1974
NBC launches Star Trek—The Animated Series, a Saturday-morning cartoon version of the show, with most of the original cast contributing voices. It lasts two seasons and wins an Emmy. (It will be back this fall in reruns; look for it on cable's new Sci-Fi Channel.)

September 1976
The U.S. space shuttle Constitution is renamed the Enterprise after Trekkies launch a letter-writing campaign to President Ford.

December 1979
Paramount releases the first Trek feature film, Star Trek—The Motion Picture, with the original TV cast. The Enterprise saves Earth from an ancient space probe. Box office take: a whopping $82 million.