Is there any known reason as to why the intro titles to 'Star Trek: The Original Series' changed from yellow to blue after Season 2? It's something that intrigues me perhaps far more than it should. In a show as expensive to make as Star Trek (and where any opportunity to save money would prove most ideal), the decision to ultimately change the titles seems unnecessary.

Not that I'm complaining, I love the variation. It just seems curious that:

A) Such a change was made and that B) They went back to yellow titling for Star Trek: TAS.

If anybody has any information to explain why they made change, I'd certainly be grateful if you shared. It's entirely possible there isn't any reason, but that's not as juicy of an answer.

Season 2 Titles: enter image description here

Season 3 Titles: enter image description here

  • 37
    “It's something that intrigues me perhaps far more than it should” — that’s kind of our jam round here. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 9:30
  • 11
    Clearly, they figured out that Spock was more popular than Kirk.
    – The Nate
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 9:36
  • 21
    They were going to change it to red for the third year but the slide was mysteriously destroyed before each episode was shot. The yellow and blue ones never seemed to have this problem.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 14:53
  • 7
    Perhaps you were running towards your TV set when that part came on.
    – Wossname
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 17:38
  • 2
    I was hoping for an "in-universe" answer... :-)
    – SusanW
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:45

3 Answers 3


Change in showrunner as Roddenberry had turned his back on Star Trek

After quite a bit of research, I can find no concrete, documented reason for the change. But one can observe that there was a big change between seasons 2 and 3 of The Original Series: Gene Roddenberry held the title of Executive Producer in name only and had actually departed just prior to that season to work on projects at MGM, the group he had originally pitched Star Trek to.

"Roddenberry moved away from the Star Trek office building and into a small single room at the other end of the lot, turning his back on the series although he continued to draw his Executive Producer salary." (p. 395)

Inside Star Trek: The Real Story by H. F. Solow and R. Justman

Without Roddenberry as showrunner, staff had more freedom — not necessarily a good thing, as scripts suffered in Season 3 from lack of input and revision from Roddenberry and former principal writers D. C. Fontana and Gene L. Coon. It's possible that someone decided that they liked a blue title sequence better and Roddenberry didn't care about enforcing yellow from a distance at that point.

Note that, for The Animated Series, Roddenberry was directly involved again and the yellow titles were restored. It could be coincidence, but as I said, there seems to be no other recorded explanation.

  • 12
    Could be the teams way of saying this isn't Roddenberry's work. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 7:24
  • Thanks a lot! I was torn between which to award best answer. Both were quality responses. Appreciate you answering. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 22:54
  • @CerebralCortexan : Thanks, I'm glad my answer helped. I don't usually complain, but I strongly advise that you do not accept the other answer as correct. You don't have to accept mine, but the other answer makes unfounded speculation about Freiberger's motivations. There is no research whatsoever in that answer and, without a primary or even secondary reference, it purports rumour as fact. Accepting the answer could be seen as legitimizing those quite possibly unfounded rumours.
    – Praxis
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 23:08
  • That is a good point. Wouldn't want to be the one to propagate falsehoods. I have now selected this one as the best answer. Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 0:19
  • 1
    @CerebralCortexan : Thanks. Don't worry about --- you're a new user to this stack. (A belated welcome, by the way!) We tend to be very skeptical about answers based on rumour. This is a growing knowledge base, and there have already been instances where information on scifistackexchange have been referenced in other media, so it's important that we only put our seal of approval on things we can back up. :-)
    – Praxis
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 0:23

If you take an overall look, season three was when Roddenberry was given Executive Producer status and Fred Freiberger was hired on as Producer. Freiberger had the reputation of taking total control of a series he was attached to. As a point of reference to his - in my opinion - questionable decision-making process, he was the one behind the decision to dismiss Barry Morse and write off Prof. Victor Bergman when he became Producer of . I've heard two different versions of the decision to change colors for the opening titles.

  1. Freiberger knew that season three would provide enough episodes for a syndication package and was hoping to provide a means for fans to distinguish which season they were on.
  2. Freiberger wanted everyone to know exactly which episodes were filmed under his guidance.
  • Thanks a lot! I was torn between which to award best answer. Both were quality responses. Appreciate you answering. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 22:54

It was my understanding that as the majority of American households still had Black & White televisions in 1968, that the yellow titles were not as clear against a black background and the light blue showed up better. But then, I read in the comments here that the colors or yellow, blue, and - if a 4th season was made - red would be used to match the 3 different uniforms on the series.

  • 1
    You’ve got two reasonable suggestions here but provide no evidence to back either up so at the moment this sounds like a stab in the dark. Could you edit this to include evidence for the theories for why they might be correct?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 7:18

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