Gene Roddenberry documentary project seeks crowdfunding, ponders impact of original Star Trek on TV today

Here’s an interesting Kickstarter project writer Frank Garcia has drawn my attention to, which will interest anyone intrigued by the origins of the original Star Trek. You’d have thought...


Here’s an interesting Kickstarter project writer Frank Garcia has drawn my attention to, which will interest anyone intrigued by the origins of the original Star Trek.

You’d have thought that the ‘origin’ story of the show had been covered from all angles by now, but it would appear a recently rediscovered interview with series creator Gene Roddenberry offers new insights on the impact it had in the 1960s.

Roddenberry was interviewed by James Forsher for a documentary about censorship in April 1985, about two years before the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A very private man, it appears such an opportunity was something of a rarity.

“Back in April 1985, I was fortunate to arrange a filmed interview with [Gene], says film maker James Forsher. “I was producing a show on censorship in Hollywood and had read about the challenges Star Trek faced in its first years on television.

“A cast member of the original crew called on my behalf, and Roddenberry gave me an interview that explored the genesis of how Star Trek came about. He passionately described the battles he fought with the networks, studios and an intolerant society that made the show a truly groundbreaking event in modern television history.”

Sadly, the interview was never broadcast or screened in Roddenberry’s lifetime.

“Soon after conducting the interview, I was told by my show’s executive producer to cut out the Roddenberry interview,” James explains. “The footage went back in my vault and sat there for nearly 30 years. In 2012, after a thorough organization of my film collection, I found several incorrectly marked boxes that contained the interview.”

Now, James wants to share some of Roddenberry’s unique insight, wisdom, and experience with fans and are trying to raise $15,000 to produce a thirty minute film. The money required for final editing, clip use clearances, music etc.

The production team is headed up by filmmakers Gabriel Taylor and James Forsher (
Forsher has been producing documentaries for nearly four decades, with his documentaries appearing on the Discovery Channel, A & E, Cinemax and PBS. Gabriel is both a producer and film instructor at the Seattle Film Institute.

From what they’ve already included in the promotional film for the crowd funding appeal, the interview offers Roddenberry’s recollections of the battles he had with the network, not only because of his determination to have a multi-racial cast, but even battling influential advertisers who couldn’t understand why characters wouldn’t be smoking in the future. Roddenberry indicated that although he smoked himself at the time, he thought we’d have moved on from doing something so asinine in the 22nd century.

It’s an intriguing project which has raised just over $2000 so far, that looks like it will say as much about making TV in the 1960s as it will about the origins of Star Trek.

Check out The Gene Roddenberry Project here on Kickstarter

By John Freeman

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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