The Cage

Star Trek - "The Cage"


Originally aired September 26, 27, or October 3, 1988 in syndication

Recorded November 17, 2006; 5:00 p.m. from TV Land

Cage Cage Cage Cage Cage

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"The Cage" is the pilot to the original 1960s series of Star Trek, recorded during TV Land's November 2006 'Inside: Star Trek' marathon. This episode was produced in 1964 and was not broadcast alongside the series but rather only existed as a screener for NBC executives in an attempt to get the show greenlit. In 1986, "The Cage" was made publicly available through a VHS release and two years later, the episode would make its television debut.

I received this recording a few days ago in a collection of Star Trek reruns recorded in the mid-to-late 2000s and it really peaked my interest. I was aware of Star Trek's pilot episode but had never actually watched it before and wasn't fully aware of its broadcast history. I looked into it a bit and some sources list this episode as premiering on television on October 15, 1988, some list it as November 27, and others list it as October 4. Hmmm, looks like we've got a discrepancy.

First off, I can scratch out the November 27 claim as 11/27/64 was actually the date the episode was filmed. What I assume happened was IMDb sucked up that date automatically thinking it correlated with when "The Cage" premiered on television in '88, when in reality, it was mashing together two completely different events. The general concensus is that the episode hit TV in October 1988, but which day did it first air and where? It's a bit tricky to tell, but here's what I found.

So what's the concensus? Honestly, I don't know. It seems wildly unlikely that WPIX or WNYC would have premiered the episodes earlier than the rest of the country with what appears to be zero advertising. I dug up the October 3, 1988 edition of The Ithaca Journal and it too lists an 8:00pm airing with no promotion. Very strange. I'd be inclined to mark this pilot as premiering on October 3, 1988 given what the Santa Cruz Sentinel listed as well as the countless other stations having premiere listings on that night, but the fact that it's listed as running on WNYC on September 27 is really steering me towards a September debut.

If you have any further info on when and where "The Cage" first aired -- or if I screwed up somewhere in my frantic research -- please let me know! Embedded waaaaay up there are some split screen credits from this airing as well as the airing of "Space Seed" that followed it.

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Page created: September 1, 2021 | Last updated: September 1, 2021