Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    Star Trek Treatment & Script, ca. 1964

    Appraised Value:

    $4,000 - $6,000 (2012)

    Appraised on: August 18, 2012

    Appraised in: Seattle, Washington

    Appraised by: Laura Woolley

    Category: Collectibles

    Episode Info: Seattle (#1717)

    Originally Aired: May 20, 2013

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 8 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Script
    Material: Paper
    Period / Style: 20th Century
    Value Range: $4,000 - $6,000 (2012)

    Related Links:

    Article: A Trekkie's Dream: Gene Roddenberry's Pilot
    ROADSHOW gets in touch with the space age when a guest brings in a letter and 1964 original STAR TREK. Learn behind-the-scenes facts and see the pilot script!

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW


    Appraisal Video: (4:22)


    Appraised By:

    Laura Woolley

    The Collector's Lab

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: They're all related to the first series of Star Trek. My father was a nuclear physicist, and a colleague of his who worked in the nuclear program headquarters in New Mexico sent him a letter with the pitch and asked him to take a look at it and said that he thought that Gene Roddenberry was probably looking for technical advisers. So my father looked at that and he met Gene Roddenberry, and then later that year, Gene Roddenberry sent him a letter with the original script for the first show.

    APPRAISER: And that letter's up here.

    GUEST: That letter's here. And then the script for the first show is here, and most people with Star Trek know that that was never aired the way it was. Captain Kirk's original name was Captain April, which wouldn't have made it, I don't think.

    APPRAISER: Well, that's one of many things that changed. The Enterprise is called the S.S. Yorktown. If we look at the date, this letter was written in May of 1964...

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: And the date on this piece, it originated in March of 1964. So this is the original, typed-up pitch that Roddenberry gave to Desilu Productions, because they were the first production company who produced the show, and it's full of all of these wonderful pieces of hyperbole that Star Trek fans through the years have latched onto. The main one is, he describes it in the opening sentences of this pitch-- this is his description of what the show's going to be like to try and get funding-- and his tagline is, "It's the wagon train to the stars."

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: Which all the Star Trek fans really got and now go back and laugh about. The fans know about this. A copy of it exists and was scanned. You can actually go online if someone's interested in reading this and find some of the blogs. But the best part about that is that the known copy is actually Gene Roddenberry's copy. I not only spoke with all of the colleagues at the table and anyone around who I could get my hands on, I'm a big Star Trek fan myself, can't find one that's ever sold. I even called some other colleagues who are also Star Trek fanatics who work in this world, and none of us have ever heard of one coming up for auction. Moving on to that, it's really telling that this is hard proof that Roddenberry really did want the science to be right. He was reaching out to people like your father, who was a rocket scientist, really. And it's even funny, um, he used in his pitch the Drake equation, which was the equation by Dr. Frank Drake, which was an equation to come up with how many intelligent life-forms might be in the universe based on planets. He didn't actually know the equation at the time, so I love the fact that your father, being a scientist...We have notes here: "Temporary. Get correct formula." Posters have been made of this. They call this the second variation in Star Trek world. The real one is the first variation, and Roddenberry's made-up Drake formula is the second variation. And did your father actually ever consult for the show?

    GUEST: No. Number one, he was sort of a real stickler for science and he knew that he would be too picky and he wouldn't let some things go by. And secondly, he really didn't think it would go anywhere.

    APPRAISER: But he saved it.

    GUEST: Yeah, he saved it.

    APPRAISER: Moving on from that, then, we have the letters. Now, this is getting a little bit later, September of '64, the first script from the pilot. The show didn't actually really air until '66, so we're two years before air, which is great. It ran for three years and was canceled, and it wasn't until the fans in the '70s put together these conventions and rallied and really pushed the networks to bring it back that they even started looking at the series again and realized what a cult phenomenon they had on their hands and really re-energized the entire franchise. This is such an early peek into the series that's fascinating. There's so much about it that's rich in television history that I love here. But moving into the value, at auction, we would estimate at least $4,000 to $6,000 on the document.

    GUEST: Really?

    APPRAISER: But not having another one to compare it to and not knowing how many are out there, it could go for $10,000 to $15,000 on the day.

    GUEST: Oh, my stars!

    APPRAISER: This is a bit more common. There were more copies of the original script. Those generally sell in the $200 to $300 range. A Gene Roddenberry letter might sell in the $100 to $150 range. But all together as a package, it's worth far more than those little pieces split up.

    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube