September 8 marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Star Trek science fiction series that began in 1966. There is significant evidence that its creator, Gene Roddenberry, did not simply come up with the idea of Star Trek on his own. Instead he was encouraged to create the series based on classified information surrounding the development of a secret U.S. Navy space fleet that would build a broad extraterrestrial alliance. This led Roddenberry to come up with the idea of a United Federation of Planets, with its military headquarters in San Francisco.
Roddenberry began developing ideas for a science fiction show after one of his series had bombed in 1964:
The only reason Roddenberry created Star Trek, at least initially, was to sell another series to a network. He was, if not desperate, anxious… He had just failed with The Lieutenant, for Norman Felton’s Arena Productions … No one was clamoring for another series from Roddenberry, or even his scripts. His agent suggested he come up with a space series… This may have led to what The Outer Limits historians insist are the accurate — if generally unknown — accounts of Roddenberry hanging out at times on the set of The Outer Limits. When I learned this, it wasn’t hard to imagine that series creator, and executive producer, Leslie Stevens … was someone that Roddenberry may have sought to emulate.