Tuesday, May 31, 2016

On Credits and Creators: Star Trek's Evolving Main Titles

Still from Star Trek's first season main title sequence (1966-67)
This piece is in response to several passages by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn about Star Trek’s opening credits, the first found in These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season One:
Since it was now known that either this episode [“The Man Trap”] or “Charlie X” -- the only two episodes ready, other than the second pilot film -- would be the first to air, Roddenberry arranged for the opening title credit on both episodes to read “Created by Gene Roddenberry.” After these two programs, and some pressure from the studio, his name did not appear in the opening title sequence...until the next season, when this became the norm.
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season One (First Edition, August 2013), p.175
Cushman and Osborn do not precisely establish when Roddenberry allegedly arranged for his “created by” credit to be added to the main titles of these two episodes. However, it would have to have been sometime after August 4, 1966, when "Charlie X" was still being slated to air sixth, according to an airdate memo sent from Bob Justman to Gene Roddenberry:
As per our discussion earlier today, herewith follows our date schedule for STAR TREK:
     1) "THE MAN TRAP"   9-8-66
     2) "THE CORBOMITE MANEUVER"   9-15-66
     3) "MUDD'S WOMEN"   9-22-66
     4) "THE NAKED TIME"   9-29-66
     5) "WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE"   10-6-66
     6) "CHARLIE X"   10-13-66
     7) "BALANCE OF TERROR"   10-20-66
     8) "THE ENEMY WITHIN"   10-27-66
Needless to say, after the first two shows on the air, the balance of this schedule would be tentative and subject to change.1
Two details, however, suggest that Cushman and Osborn are referring to a date several weeks later than August 4, 1966. First, “Charlie X” wasn’t actually ready to air until sometime after August 29, 1966 — production status reports indicate it was still being scored and dubbed on that date. Second, those same production status reports indicate that “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was being re-cut as of August 29, 1966, and therefore it wasn’t ready to air, either.

The authors elaborate upon this account in their follow-up book, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two:
In another attempt to keep Leonard Nimoy from getting too much credit, a change was made to the opening title sequence. Gene Roddenberry’s name now came before Nimoy’s. “Star Trek...created by Gene Roddenberry...starring William Shatner...and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.” And the creator’s name would return at the end of the episode, as Executive Producer.
Herb Solow said, “I again marveled at [Gene’s] seemingly unending drive to fashion himself the single master, the absolute proprietor of Star Trek.”
Roddenberry later said, “It was done that way with many shows from that period. Still is. The Fugitive was a Quinn Martin Production -- stated in the opening titles, not only with a separate [title] card but with Bill Conrad’s voiceover. All QM shows opened that way. Irwin Allen took acknowledgement in the opening titles of his shows. The main title sequence of Star Trek was designed that way at the start of the first year, but, after two episodes [“The Man Trap” and “Charlie X”] I took my name off. Having that credit seemed to bother certain people. With the second year, I had it put back in. And it still bothered certain people. Perhaps my name shouldn’t have been in the titles at all -- front or closing. Just Desilu and NBC. They would have still found something to complain about.”
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014)
The proposition that Roddenberry's season two credit was altered to put Leonard Nimoy in his place appears to entirely be the invention of Cushman and Osborn. Neither their interview with Roddenberry, nor the archival record, supports this speculation. I must also point out that the Herb Solow quote used in this passage doesn’t have anything to do with Roddenberry’s “created by” credit in the main titles. It’s been quoted, out of context, from a section of Inside Star Trek: The Real Story that pertains to Roddenberry taking fifty percent of Alexander Courage’s performance royalties for the Star Trek theme music:
With Gene taking half of Sandy's sole credit and royalty, I again marveled at his seemingly unending drive to fashion himself the single master, the absolute proprietor of Star Trek. I'm not sure Gene ever realized the result of his actions.
- Herbert F. Solow, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (1996), p.185​
Since the Solow quote is completely unrelated to the matter, it appears that These Are The Voyages’ principal source regarding the evolution of Star Trek’s opening credits is an interview Cushman conducted with Roddenberry in either 1982 or 1990 (the book’s citation is unclear about the date). Unfortunately, little of what Cushman and Osborn assert in this case is corroborated by the archival record. In fact, much of what Roddenberry recounts to Cushman, and what Cushman and Osborn assume based upon this recollection, is actually contradicted by the archival record.

The paper trail begins with a June 6, 1966 memo from Shirley Stahnke to Bernie Weitzman (with Gene Roddenberry on carbon copy), which outlines the studio’s contractual obligations in terms of screen credit. Relevant to this discussion are the following notes:
GENE RODDENBERRY: Gene Roddenberry shall receive separate card ‘Created By’ credit and separate card as Producer or Executive Producer among major credits (may be combined if Norway elects).
WILLIAM SHATNER: First star billing on a separate card; such billing will be on main titles but not necessarily above the title. If any other performer receives billing on main and end titles, then Shatner will receive like billing.
LEONARD NIMOY: Co-starring as Mr. Spock or Also starring as Mr. Spock, on a separate card in first position to all other regular performers, is no less than 75% of the size and type afforded star.2
This memo appears to have been overlooked when Bob Justman created a tentative format for Star Trek’s credits and sent them to Gene Roddenberry on July 29, 1966, since he did not properly afford the “co-starring” or “also starring” billing contractually due to Leonard Nimoy. Perhaps this was because Justman had not been on copy on Stahnke’s earlier memo; perhaps these facts had simply been forgotten in the intervening weeks since that earlier memo was sent.
Bob Justman’s tentative main titles (July 29, 1966)
In the memo attached to these credits, Justman wrote:
Attached you will find tentative format and Main and End Credits for STAR TREK.
Please favor me with any comments you might care to make.3
A memo from the week before — July 22, 1966 — went into specific detail about each shot in the main titles, including the “created by” credit:
Panel 5: as the ship passes the razzle dazzle becomes STAR TREK by panel 7. As STAR TREK is ready to recede (quartering angle going away) in panels 8 & 9, "Created by" credit comes on.4
On August 5, 1966, someone — probably Roddenberry — fired off a list of editing comments regarding the main titles. The memo said, in part:
We have no ship passage before the “created by” credit. Suggest we consider doing it as done in the original pilot titles where “created by” credit dissolved in under the STAR TREK.
Would like “Gene Roddenberry” on “created by” credit diminished in size. (This is being done.) STAR TREK can be held a little longer and remain larger than the “Gene Roddenberry” credit.6
This paperwork indicates that Roddenberry’s “created by” credit was intended for every episode of the first season — not simply the first two to air — and that this credit was determined at least seven weeks prior to the broadcast premiere of the series, not less than two, as implied in These Are The Voyages. These credits match the main titles that were originally aired for “The Man Trap” on September 8, 1966 (these credits are reproduced on most DVD releases of the series, although they have been changed for the Blu-Ray version to match the main titles as they appear later in season one).
Original main titles from "The Man Trap" (September 8, 1966)
We know the main titles that appear for “The Man Trap” on DVD were those that originally aired because they match the episode’s revised credits memo dated August 8, 19665:
Revised credits for “The Man Trap” (August 8, 1966)
The paperwork at UCLA, including the following credits memo for “Mudd’s Women” (by this date, it was slated to air fifth), confirm that Roddenberry’s “created by” credit was still being included in credit memos issued as late as August 23, 1966:
Credits for Mudd’s Women (August 23, 1966)
This credits memo7 also indicates the first of several changes to the main titles — as penciled into this document, "starring" billing was added to William Shatner's credit, a change which began with the broadcast of “Where No Man Has Gone Before” on September 22, 1966. This change in billing may have been contractual, but since Shatner’s contract does not survive in the UCLA files, I can only offer this as one possible explanation. To date, I have found no documentation in the show files that offers a more concrete answer.

The credits were changed again on August 26, 1966, when Bernie Weitzman sent Gene Roddenberry an urgent memo following a phone call with Joe Youngerman, the executive secretary of the Directors Guild of America:
Please be advised that I called Joe Youngerman yesterday regarding a waiver under the credit provisions of the DGA agreement with reference to the opening titles whereby “Created By” credit is given to you and without affording Director’s credit on the opening titles.
It was the DGA’s decision through Mr. Youngerman that no waiver will be granted to any studio in such a case. He would be happy to meet with you and discuss your thoughts as a courtesy but he emphatically denied my request for a waiver.
Therefore, we must revise the opening titles by either moving the “Created By” credit into the end titles and only retain the stars and/or guest stars’ names or move the Director’s credit into the main titles and therefore move up the Writer’s credit as well.
This must be done immediately.8 
Two decades after the fact, Roddenberry recalled that his “created by” credit had bothered “certain people” at the studio and the network, but in fact Desilu and NBC had approved the show’s credits, and no objection from either party survives in the show files at UCLA. In actuality, it was the Directors Guild of America's objection that ultimately led to a change in the main titles, due to the fact that a “created by” credit without the “directed by” credit in the main titles violated their basic agreement at that time.

“The Man Trap” and “Charlie X” were too far along in post-production to have their credits changed, but beginning with “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and continuing for the remainder of the first season, Gene Roddenberry would no longer be credited as the creator of Star Trek in the show’s main titles. Instead, this credit was shifted to the end of Act IV and, later, to the show’s end credits.

Act IV title card from “The Menagerie, Part II” (November 24, 1966)
End title card from “The Squire of Gothos” (January 12, 1967)
As a result of all these changes, for one broadcast, Star Trek's main titles were changed to the following format:
Original main titles from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (September 22, 1966)
Two and a half weeks later, on September 13, 1966, Bob Justman sent Ed Perlstein a memo indicating the main titles would have to be changed again, this time to accommodate a revised credit for Leonard Nimoy:
As per our discussion this morning, we are requesting a change in the Third Card on the STAR TREK Main Title. The Third card presently reads: “LEONARD NIMOY as Mister Spock.”
From now on, starting with the fourth show on the air entitled, “THE NAKED TIME”, #6149-7, and for all succeeding shows, the copy of the Third Card of the Main Titles is to be changed as follows:
          Also Starring
          LEONARD NIMOY as Mister Spock     (75%)
Please note that Leonard’s credit is to be no more than 75% of the type that we afford to William Shatner.
I have already spoken to Bill Heath about this change and he will get right to work on it.
Insofar as Bill and I can determine at present, we will not be able to change the Credits prior to air on the show entitled ‘WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE’. However, when we get ‘THE MAN TRAP,” “CHARLIE X” and “WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE’ back from the network after their air dates, we shall at that time effect the Main Title changes in the event of re-runs. They’re going to have to be changed anyway, so that the ‘Created by’ Credit of Gene Roddenberry will be coming out to satisfy the Director’s Guild.”9
Although left unsaid in the memo, this change must have happened because either Justman or someone else with the production was reminded of their contractual obligation to Nimoy. Therefore, beginning with “The Naked Time,” and continuing for the rest of Star Trek’s first season, the opening titles now appeared like this:
Original main titles for “The Naked Time” (September 29, 1966)
The main titles, as Cushman and Osborn correctly point out, were changed again at the beginning of the second season. Regarding the way screen credit would be presented that year, Bob Justman sent a memo to Gene Roddenberry on April 6, 1967, which said:
I have had our contractual obligations researched by the Legal Department and can discover no objection to giving DeForest Kelley on our new Main Title. In addition, I have checked with Stan Robertson and he assures me that NBC welcomes the idea, as they think very highly of DeForest Kelley and the character he has helped create. Therefore, we can carry out our intention to give DeForest Kelley credit on our new Main Title for next season. 
In addition, there is no objection from the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild or NBC with regard to the way we wish to give our Directing, Writing and Producing Credits next season. Therefore, as per our previous discussion, the Writing Credit for the shows next season will appear on the same card as the Episode Title at the beginning of Act I. It will be followed immediately by the Directors Credit Card. There will be no further credits at this part of the show and the Producer’s and Executive Producer’s Credits will come as before at the end of Act IV. Of course, we must be careful about the use of Narration at the head of Act I, as it should not start until all visual credit material has disappeared from the screen.10
Cushman and Osborn quote the first paragraph of this memo in These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two when discussing DeForest Kelley's addition to the main titles (more on this in a bit). However, they completely neglect the second half of the memo, which begins to explain why Star Trek's main titles were not simply revised to include the writing and directing credits at the beginning of Act I during the rest of the first season (something another Desilu show, Mission: Impossible, did during many of its episodes, apparently without complaint from the DGA, during the 1966-67 broadcast season).
Main titles for Star Trek's second season (1967-68)
A later memo, sent from Justman to Marc Daniels and Joseph Pevney on April 18, 1967, further illuminates the issue:
We wish to acquaint you with some information about a slight change in format for "STAR TREK" this coming season. In the past, we have had to allow sufficient footage at the beginning of Act I, so that we could superimpose the episode title immediately after FADING IN. In addition, any Captain's Log Narration has had to wait until after the episode title. This coming season, in addition to the episode title at the beginning of Act I, we shall be superimposing the writers credit and the directors credit. Since we shall probably be carrying the writers credit on the same card with the episode title, this means that most of the time we shall only be having to handle a total of two cards, rather than one card, at the beginning of Act I. I would guess that allowing an additional footage of about ten feet would be sufficient to handle this requirement.11
Allowing for two extra title cards at the beginning of Act I would have required more footage to ensure that the writing and directing credits were not run over close-ups or dialogue. If Act I quickly began with voice over narration, even more padding would be needed, since Justman wanted to hold any narration until the credits had finished (this would have been a problem with Kirk's Act I captain's log in "The Corbomite Maneuver," just to name one example). In some cases, the extra footage needed may have been unavailable; by the time the Directors Guild of America's complaint was received, eleven first season episodes (plus the first pilot) had already been filmed. Shifting the "created by" credit to the end titles or combining it with Gene Roddenberry's "produced by" credit at the end of Act IV were far more economical options than re-editing the first act of nearly a dozen shows, some of which needed to be delivered to NBC immediately.

Regarding DeForest Kelley's addition to the second season main titles, Cushman and Osborn write, in part:
On December 1, 1966, Justman wrote Roddenberry, stating his desire to provide Kelley with better compensation, including a more visible credit, “because of the performance he gives us” and because Kelley was “one helluva nice guy.” Justman added, “He has been more than the kindly ship’s doctor to all of us...”
Kelley’s agent found a way to get his client compensation beyond co-star billing. Star Trek quietly raised the good doctor’s salary from $850 to $1,250 per episode.
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014)
Discussing the same memo from Justman, as well as Kelley's subsequent salary bump, biographer Terry Lee Rioux presents a much different account from the one found in These Are The Voyages:
On December 1, 1966, Justman wrote to Roddenberry that he was way ahead of De's agent, Jimmy McHugh, Jr., because Justman himself had ensured that DeForest received better credit than he was actually contracted for. This, Justman wrote, was "because of the performances he gives us" and because Kelley was "one helluva nice guy. He has been more than the kindly ship's doctor to all of us." Justman and Roddenberry found a way to compensate Kelley before costar billing was possible. They quietly raised his salary to about $2,500 per show.
--Terry Lee Rioux, From Sawdust to Stardust: The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek's Doctor McCoy (2005), p.158-159
Neither account is entirely accurate. Cushman and Osborn's claim that Justman's December 1, 1966 memo indicated "his desire to provide Kelley with better compensation," is without any basis in fact. In actuality, Justman's three page memo to Roddenberry is entirely about billing — not once does the matter of compensation arise. Additionally, Cushman and Osborn's claim that Justman expressed a desire to give Kelley "a more visible credit" in this memo is also untrue. Justman's memo, part of which I have excerpted below, is actually a thorough defense of the billing DeForest Kelley had been receiving during the first season, not a plea for improved credit:
Had Stanley Lieberman or DeForest Kelley been watching our show every Thursday night, they would notice that in almost every instance DeForest has had better credit than we were contractually obligated to furnish him. As far as I am concerned, I would not change DeForest Kelley's contract at present in any way whatsoever. Granted he has been wonderful and is a wonderful person. But option time will come up and at that time I think we should get into it. I shall now list below a resume of the screen credit that DeForest has received to date and will be receiving in the future...
I think you will agree with me that we have been more than fair and actually have been way ahead of DeForest's agent in every respect. I, Bob Justman, have personally seen to it that DeForest received better credit than he was contractually entitled to. I have done this for several reasons. The most important reason is I felt that he deserved it because of the type of performance he gives us. Another reason, which may be just as important or perhaps more so, is the fact that DeForest Kelley is one helluva nice guy. He has been more than the kindly ship's Doctor to all of us. And we wanted him to know without making a special point of it that we appreciated what sort of person he is.
I do feel that it's about time that his agent realized what sort of people we are.12
Given the fact that their only quotes from this memo are also found in From Sawdust to Stardust, as well as the fact that they completely mischaracterize the content of the memo, I suspect Cushman and Osborn never actually read the original document.

Regarding the matter of compensation, Kelley did receive an unscheduled raise, but this happened in March of 1967 — alongside his promotion to the main titles, not before it, as claimed be Lee Rioux. Moreover, Kelley's salary for Star Trek never amounted to the $2,500 figure quoted in From Sawdust to Stardust. Terry Lee Rioux may have been confused by a May 6, 1968 memo13 from Marvin Katz to Howard Barton, which quoted that amount if the series went to a potential fourth season:
Memo from Marvin Katz to Howard Barton (May 6, 1968)
Incidentally, this memo indicates that Kelley's promotion to the main titles was not contractual until the show's third season. During Star Trek's second season, the producers were only obligated to give the actor "featured billing...on a separate card."14
Memo from Ed Perlstein to Shirley Stahnke (March 20, 1967)
Finally, These Are The Voyages correctly notes that Kelley's salary was raised to $1,250 per episode for Star Trek's second season, although the authors make this raise sound much more dramatic than it was by omitting the fact that Kelley's contract already mandated an increase to $1,100 per episode.
Main titles for Star Trek's third season (1968-69)
Beginning with Star Trek's second season, the show's credits became more or less standardized. During the third season, the typeface went from gold to blue, but the main titles were otherwise the same, at least visually. It's harder to evaluate the ways the main titles changed in terms of sound, due to the inaccurate ways the show's sound mix has been presented on home video, but that is a topic for another time.

Special thanks to Neil B., George N., and Maurice M. for reading various drafts of this piece. Any errors that remain are entirely my own.


1 Memo from Bob Justman to Gene Roddenberry, August 4, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection,  Box 27, Folder 2

2 Memo from Shirley Stahnke to Bernie Weitzman, June 6, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection,  Box 27, Folder 18

3 Memo from Bob Justman to Gene Roddenberry with tentative credits attached, July 29, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection,  Box 27, Folder 18

4 Projection Room Notes - Star Trek - Opticals, Star Backgrounds, Miniatures, Titles, July 22, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection,  Box 27, Folder 18

5 Revised credits memo for “The Man Trap,” August 8, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 1, Folder 9

6 Editing Notes on Star Trek Main Title, August 5, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 27, Folder 18

7 Credits memo for “Mudd’s Women,” August 23, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 2, Folder 8

8 Memo from Bernie Weitzman to Gene Roddenberry, August 26, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 27, Folder 18

9 Memo from Bob Justman to Ed Perlstein, September 13, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 27, Folder 18

10 Memo from Bob Justman to Gene Roddenberry, April 6, 1967, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 27, Folder 18

11 Memo from Bob Justman to Joe Pevney and Marc Daniels, April 18, 1967, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 27, Folder 18

12 Memo from Bob Justman to Gene Roddenberry, December 1, 1966, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 28, Folder 15

13 Memo from Marvin Katz to Howard Barton, May 6, 1968, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 28, Folder 15

14 Memo from Ed Perlstein to Shirley Stahnke, March 20, 1967, Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection, Box 28, Folder 15


The Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection (1964-1969)

Inside Star Trek : The Real Story (Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, 1996)

From Sawdust to Stardust: The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek's Doctor McCoy (Terry Lee Rioux, 2005)

These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One (Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, 2013)

These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, March 2014)


  1. Interesting piece. But there's one outstanding question: If the DGA objected to including a creator credit in the main titles, why was the show able to restore that credit in seasons 2 & 3?

    Also, there shouldn't be a "[sic]" notation in "we shall at that time effect the Main Title changes." To effect, as a verb, means to bring about or accomplish, to put into effect. "We shall effect changes" is perfectly correct grammar.

    1. Quite right on "[sic]." This has been corrected.

      Regarding the larger point, my assumption is that when the directing credit was moved up to the beginning of Act I (right after the episode's title), this was considered to be part of the "opening titles" by the DGA. This is how LOST IN SPACE (1965-68), THE LONER (1965-66), and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1966-73) did their credits. The other possibility is that when the credits were done this way, the DGA was willing to grant a waiver, but since Justman's memo regarding the season two credits for STAR TREK (which were done this way) does not mention a waiver, and since so many other shows did their credit this way, the initial option seems much more likely to me.

  2. I am so fascinated by this article.

    I am wondering if you could cover the end titles for season 2, which was transitional because of Desilu having been sold to Gulf+Western, who in turn merged Lucille Ball's former studio with their year-old Paramount Pictures acquisition; as such, this brought the following changes:

    1. After six episodes in order of production, a 1967 copyright notice for Paramount Pictures and Norway Corporation was added to the Desilu end logo under the company name; the first known episode to carry the revised logo was "The Changeling."

    2. And then, starting with "The Immunity Syndrome" (60348) in production order, the end titles now say "A PARAMOUNT PRODUCTION in association with NORWAY CORPORATION" instead of "A DESILU PRODUCTION..." and we see Paramount Television's "Rising Circle" end logo. According to Jeffrey Gray (TServo2049), he said that both "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (60346) and "A Private Little War" (60345) still had "A DESILU PRODUCTION..." in their end titles and thus the Desilu logo in their end credits when NBC first aired them. But "Bread and Circuses" (60343), though it was produced between "The Trouble with Tribbles" (60342) and "Journey to Babel" (60344), since it was finally the next to last episode aired in season 2, it thus aired late enough to see "A PARAMOUNT PRODUCTION..." instead, and thus the new Paramount Television "Rising Circle" logo we first saw on "A Piece of the Action" (60349, but the revised copyright text version first seen on "The Omega Glory," 60354) in broadcast order.

    3. The Paramount Television "Rising Circle" logo itself actually had different variations of its copyright text; in the case of its use on Star Trek, the early version had the copyright in a very small type with the Paramount Pictures logo bug, but later on that logo bug disappeared and the copyright text was thus enlarged. This revised version likely first appeared on "The Omega Glory" (60354) in broadcast order, but "The Ultimate Computer" (60353) in production order.

    I really hope you can dig around all the timing sheets the UCLA has in their files regarding the end titles for season 2.