Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For the video of the same name, see William Shatner's Star Trek Memories.

Star Trek Memories is the autobiography written by Captain James T. Kirk performer William Shatner, with extensive editorial input from author Chris Kreski. In the book Shatner covers the period in which he was involved with Star Trek: The Original Series, not only during its years in production, the 1960s, but during the aftermath in syndication in the 1970s as well.


From the interior dust jacket of the hardcover edition
Recall the glory days of the original Star Trek, with the book that goes where no memoir has gone before...
Beginning in 1966 as something a little out of the ordinary for prime-time TV, and suffering from shaky ratings throughout its entire run, Star Trek went on to spend the better part of the next three decades exploding into a worldwide, billion-dollar industry. How did this happen? What made the show so unique that it spawned a devoted global following?
While many books have attempted to tell the real, behind-the-scenes Trek story, the tale can best be told through the voice and privileged perspective of a man who actually lived through it all. That man is William Shatner (aka Captain James Kirk). Gathering his personal recollections along with those of Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry and Star Trek's producers, designers, production crew and special effects wizards, William Shatner's Star Trek Memories is crammed with the backstage drama of the series' creation. Here, in the stars' and creators' own words, are such memories as:
  • Shatner's and Nimoy's close friendship of almost thirty years.
  • The outrageous practical jokes of Star Trek's cast, crew and especially Gene Roddenberry.
  • The truth about Kirk and Uhura's first prime-time interracial kiss.
  • Nichelle Nichols's surprising fan – who convinced her not to quit the show.
  • What really happened to Yeoman Rand and Captain Pike?
  • The fight with Harlan Ellison over "The City on the Edge of Forever" – and how he ultimately helped to save Star Trek from cancellation.
  • The full history of the overwhelming "Save Star Trek" campaign – which was only good enough to work for one final season.
Filled with heartfelt warmth and genuine fondness that can only exist among colleagues who have spent years together through thick and thin, Star Trek Memories also includes more than 120 photographs and illustrations (many of which appear for the first time in these pages). William Shatner's Star Trek Memories is the definitive reminiscence of the show that has become a true cultural phenomenon.

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


  • Acknowledgments
  • Captain's Log
  • Origins
  • "The Cage"
  • Where No Man Has Gone Before
  • Amassing the Troops
  • On the Set: Lights, Camera and Plenty of Action
  • A Couple of Characters
  • The Grind
  • The Unsung Hero
  • Shots in the Dark
  • Opening Nights
  • Bigger Things
  • My Favorite Episode
  • The Dysfunctional Family
  • To Stay Or Not to Stay
  • Episode on the Edge
  • Season Two
  • Season Three
  • Captain's Epilogue

Background information Edit

  • Released in October 1993 as a in black cloth bound hardcover in dustjacket edition, it was followed the subsequent month by a UK trade paperback edition for The Commonwealth countries. Concurrently, a deluxe, signed and numbered edition was released in the US, which consisted of the the hardcover book without its dustjacket in a hardboard slipcase and which was limited to 4,526 copies of which 26 copies, lettered a-z, were reserved for private distribution at the authors and publisher's discretion.
  • The book saw several internationally translated editions which included the 1994 German paperback edition entitled Star Trek Erinnerungen (translated by Andreas Brandhorst and which has seen at least three reprint runs in the years 1994-1997), as well as the 1997 French (reprinted in September 1999) and 1999 Italian trade paperback editions entitled Star Trek: Les Mémoires and Diario del Capitano, respectively.
  • While Shatner may have somewhat of an egotistical reputation in Star Trek lore, none of that is evident in the book, as he dedicates considerable space not only to his co-stars, but to various behind-the-scenes production staffers as well, the majority of whom he personally interviewed and letting them speak in their own words in his book. Two in particular, co-producers Gene Coon and Edward K. Milkis enjoyed his attention to such a degree, that Shatner has dedicated two entire chapters to them, "The Unsung Hero" and "Shots in the Dark", respectively. As such, his book is not only a autobiography, but also a reference book on the production aspects of the Original Series, sharing similarities with the work former Producer Robert Justman – also interviewed and featured by Shatner in his book – wrote a few years later, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story.
  • Still, Shatner was not able to entirely suppress his predilection for taking center-stage, as Justman, upon reading the book and somewhat miffed, discovered that he was taken out of two behind-the-scenes events (among others in the creation of Ruk for "What Are Little Girls Made Of?") and inserted by Shatner himself. "Shatner was not even on the set the days these events occurred. I did agree to do a lengthy interview with him, and did spent a great deal of time with him. I was surprised that he totally removed me from both events, and placed himself in the center of things.", Justman decried. (Cinefantastique, Vol 26 #2, p. 17)
  • Shatner's reputation was exemplified by his decades-long bad relationship with some of his former Original Series co-stars. Shatner admitted, when he had to solely work with two of them again on Star Trek Generations, that he was "(...)a lot more worried about working with Walter Koenig and Jimmy Doohan, two men who had made have made it clear on any number of occasions that my name is generally near the top of their shit lists." (Star Trek Movie Memories, 1995, p. 414) While Shatner managed to mend some fences on that occasion, Doohan remained the only Original Series co-star steadfastly refusing to be interviewed for this, as well as its follow-up book, Movie Memories.
  • The book is illuminated throughout with numerous design illustrations from Art Director Matt Jefferies and black & white photographs, many of which behind-the-scenes, mostly originating from Justman's personal collection and not seen previously or afterwards. Jefferies too, was prominently featured in Shatner's writings.
  • Shatner followed up this book in 1994 with Star Trek Movie Memories, a memoir of his experiences from the cancellation of TOS through the filming of Star Trek Generations.

Cover gallery Edit

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