Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

The Making of Star Trek is a behind-the-scenes description of the creation of Star Trek: The Original Series, the first Star Trek series. A multi point of view reference book, in which input from a wide range of production contributors, from studio executives to costumers, was processed, it was the first of its kind. Liberally illustrated with two extensive black and white photo sections, this book also contains as illustrative backdrops, memos, technical information, and production concepts from the original pilot through the first two seasons of The Original Series.

Published in 1968, while the Original Series was still in production, the book holds the distinction of being the very first officially licensed reference book of its kind on the subject of Star Trek, as well as adding a third element to the infant Star Trek print franchise after the first official novel and comic book publications the previous year.


From the first edition book jacket
What it is – how it happened – how it works! The Biography of the Leading Science Fiction TV Program. STAR TREK! The long, hard battle of television's first tentative step toward adult science fiction, with the complete story on how the U.S.S. Enterprise was designed, her weaponry, equipment and power sources, the original concept behind the show, how the continuity is maintained, backgrounds of the characters, biographies of the stars, and pictures, diagrams, illustrations – the whole authentic history.
From the second edition book jacket
The Book On How to Write for TV! The only book of its kind! The complete history of a top TV series – how a television show is conceived, written, sold and produced.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.


As listed in the first edition
  • Introduction, p.11
  • Part I: Birth Pangs
    • Chapter 1. As It Was in the Beginning, p. 21
    • Chapter 2. Creation, p. 31
    • Chapter 3. A Spark of Life, p. 40
    • Chapter 4. "The Cage", p. 47
    • Chapter 5. Inside a Television Studio, p. 66
    • Chapter 6. A Blueprint for Starflight, p. 74
    • Chapter 7. Voyage One, p. 100
    • Chapter 8. The Second Time Around, p. 123
  • Photo inset, 32 pages, unnumbered
  • Part II: An Official Biography of the Ship and its Crew
  • Photo inset, 32 pages, unnumbered
  • Part III: From Then Until Now
    • Chapter 1. Putting the Show on the Road, p. 261
    • Chapter 2. These Are the Voyages, p. 286
    • Chapter 3. Steady As She Goes, p. 301
  • Part IV: The Star Trek Production – A Closer Look
    • Chapter 1. In the Beginning Was the Word, p. 323
    • Chapter 2. Making the Scene, p. 333
    • Chapter 3. Feinbergers, Tribbles and Other Things, p. 342
    • Chapter 4. Hunting for Aliens, p. 347
    • Chapter 5. Metamorphosis: Humans and Humanoids, p. 351
    • Chapter 6. Aliens – Dressed and Undressed, p. 355
    • Chapter 7. Quiet in the Set, Please!, p. 362
    • Chapter 8. Beyond Human Ken, p. 369
  • Part V: Whither Star Trek?
    • Chapter 1. Seasons Follows, p. 379
    • Chapter 2. Bits an Pieces, p. 393
    • Chapter 3. Whither Star Trek?, p. 400
  • About the Authors, p. 403
  • Star Trek Shows, p. 404 (Episode listing for seasons 1-2)

Background information[]

  • For his research, author Stephen Edward Poe was given full access to the stages and offices of Desilu Productions, as part of the deal he brokered between model kit manufacturer Aluminum Model Toys (AMT) and the studio. Poe, who wrote the book using his stepfather's name of "Whitfield" (although virtually all his other writing was done under his own name), shared a co-author credit with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Poe wrote the book alone, but made a deal with Roddenberry, in which they agreed that Roddenberry would proofread the book and make his corrections and notifications before it went to print. For this, he would receive co-author credit and half the royalties. It also was thought that the appearance of Roddenberry's name on the book might make it sell better. Ultimately, Roddenberry was not able to review the book due to harsh production deadlines, but received the co-author credit, as well as half of the royalties, anyway. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 402) The book does incorporate commentary by Roddenberry; in some editions this is rendered in all capital letters.
  • The illustrations and photographs in the book were provided by Howard McClay and Frank Wright of the Desilu/Paramount Publicity Department (Poe embarked on his book in the midst of the Desilu takeover by Paramount owner Gulf+Western), as well as by the Westheimer Company. (p. 15)
  • Bonnie Trust transcribed Poe's copy, notes and interviews, and her work was described by an appreciative Poe as "herculean." (p. 15)
  • Though his builds were prominently featured in the book, Wah Chang was the one major production staffer Poe could not mention by name in his book, as the former had no formal Prop Makers Union permission to work on the show.
  • Poe began gathering his information shortly before or after the start of production on the second season and wrote his copy when that season went into hiatus. His writing was centered around the contents of the third-draft The Star Trek Guide, the later in-lore-famed "Writer's Bible", Roddenberry had disseminated on 17 April 1967 to his production staff during the pre-production stage of the second season. As a consequence, only cursory information on the series' third season is incorporated in the book, limited to what little preliminary pre-production information became available to Poe while he was finishing up on his copy.
  • Exemplary of the last minute information was his inclusion of design sketches by Matt Jefferies for the Klingon D7-class battle cruiser, which was only introduced in the third season and had yet to premier onscreen when the book was published. Ironically, by not mentioning the AMT connection for this design, Poe (whose primary responsibility was to develop a Star Trek model kit line for his employer in conjunction with Jefferies) started a three-decades-long misconception that the D7 was a studio initiative, which it was not. As it turned out, Jefferies had designed the ship exclusively for AMT – who eagerly wanted to do a follow-up for their hugely successful 1966 USS Enterprise model kit (no. S921) – in his own spare time, and definitely not for the studio, which had not commissioned it, despite assertions and assumptions by numerous reference authors, fans, and the franchise itself to the contrary afterwards. Nevertheless, under their exclusivity agreement, the strapped-for-cash studio immediately appropriated one of AMT's two tooling masters for filming purposes. It was only in 2002 that Jefferies finally set the record straight. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 9, p. 66)
  • Something similar applied to Jefferies' orthographic views of the Enterprise which provided detailed ship dimensions on page 178. It too was not produced for the production, but rather for AMT to become featured on the box side of the 1968 second edition of their highly successful Enterprise model kit (no. S951 & beyond, and concurrently released with the above-mentioned Klingon D7 model kit). Never featured on any of the Star Trek shows, it actually conflicted with Jefferies' far less detailed plan views on pages 184-185 that were used on the show and where the ship was inferred to be slightly smaller. Nonetheless, from the moment the graphic was published fans, authors, and production staffers alike, have embraced the never on screen referenced AMT specifications as those for the in-universe vessel ever since, their non-canon status notwithstanding. See "Constitution-class: Size" for further details on the size issue.
  • This work has been an influential one. Not only was it the very first detailed and specialized book title on the production aspects of Star Trek (including detailed photographs of props and set designs), it was also the very first one for a television show in general, or for that matter one of the very first for the motion picture industry as a whole. Prior to its release, publications about "behind-the-scenes" aspects of motion picture productions were either restricted to article-length magazine publications, most notably in American Cinematographer (which included the very first one on Star Trek in its October 1967 issue, the only published behind-the-scenes information to precede the publication of The Making of Star Trek), or referenced in (single point of view) memoirs or biographies of actors and/or directors. This book set the template for all "making of..." reference books on the subject matter that have followed suit. Although the information included was limited, and by publication timing omitted the third season, the book contains the first officially published Star Trek episode listing/guide.
  • The book was highly successful, already needing a reprint in November of the same year it was first published, September 1968, followed by a third printing in January 1969, having by that time sold over a million copies, according to Susan Sackett. (Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 417) A popular book, it has since then seen numerous reprint runs, first under the Ballantine Books imprint and subsequently under that of Del Rey, for two decades seeing at least one reprint each consecutive year. Production has seemed to have run its course though, as no 21st century editions are known after having been reprinted for over a quarter of a century. It has become, to date, the most reprinted Star Trek book ever – reference or otherwise – and thus the most successful, despite it only covering the first two seasons and never being updated to include the third.
  • The 1991 stand-alone Titan Books publication was intended specifically for the UK market only, on the occasion of Star Trek's 25th anniversary. Despite its immense popularity, and unlike later reference books, it has not seen any internationally translated versions. The 1991 Titan release has remained to date the first and only known edition published outside the USA.
  • In their book The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [page number?edit], Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens gave this publication high praise, commenting, "It is a true classic of its kind. Not just as a chronicle of the beginning of what was to become an unprecedented, billion-dollar entertainment franchise, and not just as a behind-the-scenes trove of trivia for die-hard Star Trek fans, but as a fascinating account of the creative reality of weekly television series production in the 1960s."
  • Although it was followed in 1973 by The Trouble with Tribbles, which detailed the making of the episode of the same name, for many years this was the sole book title on the production of a Star Trek series as a whole, and thirty years later, Poe followed up on his work with the similarly conceived 1998 title A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager. The book also inspired the reference book The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There were also books produced chronicling the making of the first few Trek films.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine production staff used The Making of Star Trek when working on "Trials and Tribble-ations". (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations [page number?edit])

US print history[]

Note: this list is currently incomplete