Today in 1931, the birthday of William Shatner, TV’s own Captain Kirk from the original “Star Trek” series.

Although (and this sounds like the start of one of those time travel episodes of Star Trek) if just a couple of things had happened differently, Shatner might not have ended up as Captain Kirk at all.

Star Trek premiered in 1966, and its star was a known quantity for at least some of the show’s viewers.

He’d been in a number of movies and made some memorable appearances on other TV shows, including that episode of The Twilight Zone where he saw a creature on the wing of his airplane.

Several years before Star Trek, ABC had cast Shatner as the lead in a planned series called Alexander the Great.

It was really popular back then to set shows and movies in ancient times – like Spartacus, Cleopatra, the Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, to name just a few.

They filmed a pilot, but the show didn’t get picked up – Shatner was in his own words, quote “deeply, deeply, horrendously disappointed.”

But if it had ended up as a series, it’s possible that the original Captain Kirk wouldn’t have played Kirk at all, because he would have been too busy playing Alexander the Great.

And that’s not the only way the would-be series almost changed TV history.

Shatner’s sidekick on Alexander was Adam West, who would of course become TV’s first Batman.

In fact, once both “Batman” and “Star Trek” had found their fan bases, ABC broadcast the Alexander the Great pilot as a TV movie, because it had two TV stars in it.

By the way, West was not deeply deeply disappointed that the show hadn’t happened, unlike his co-star.

He called it “one of the worst scripts I have ever read and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever done.”

And consider this: if this show had gone forward, and Shatner hadn’t done Star Trek, he might not have ever sung Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!

Tomorrow in Chicago, it’s St. Ryan’s Day.

Anyone and everyone named Ryan is invited to celebrate being a Ryan.

The organizers want to eventually host a RyanCon, and quote “break the world record for the largest same name gathering in history.”

For whatever reason Bryans are not invited, though.

The failure of one toga-clad TV pilot completely altered the landscape of Sixties pop culture (MeTV)

Ryan Meetup

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