Sun didn’t see much enterprise in ‘Star Trek’
Fifty years ago Thursday, TV started boldly going where no man had gone before. And The Baltimore Sun happily went along for the ride. Sort of. It would be nice to report that The Sun was an unabashed fan of “Star Trek” from the beginning, that this paper immediately embraced the pioneering sciencefiction series that remains a cultural force a half-century later. But truth is, the series was embraced with what could, at best, be called lukewarm praise.
“This one looks like the son of ‘Twilight Zone,’ cousin to ‘The Outer Limits’ and neighbor of ‘Lost in Space,’ combining the better elements of all those shows,” Evening Sun critic Lou Cedrone wrote in the paper’s Sept. 9, 1966, edition, the day after the show’s premiere. “It has some sophistication.”
In Cedrone’s defense, that premiere episode, “The Man Trap,” about an alien life form that sucks the salt out of humans as a means of survival, was not among the series’ best.
But at least Cedrone liked it better than Donald Kirkley, longtime critic for The Sun (which published in the mornings), did. Kirkley was not impressed.
“‘Star Trek’ was heralded as an adult science-fiction program, but it doesn’t make the grade on either count,” Kirkley sniffed in the Sept. 23 Sun, writing three shows into the series’ run. The show, he later explained, “sinks to the status of a Class C horror movie.”