In 1968, or so the story goes, Gene Roddenberry had a problem. His critically-acclaimed television series Star Trek was being attacked in the press – not the American papers, but the Soviet ones.
The editor-in-chief of Pravda, Mikhail Zimyanin, had pointed out in a recent editorial that the Enterprise listed not a single Russian among its crew – a fact that, according to Zimyanin at least, revealed the show’s future to be bunk, and its pretensions towards humanistic inclusion nothing more than the usual moose-and-squirrel hypocrisy. For a high-level apparatchik this was less an actual complaint than an excuse to wail…But then Roddenberry was not your average capitalist stooge.
Within a few weeks of hearing about Zimyanin’s complaint, he hired a young actor from Chicago named Edward Koeing to play a new character on the show: an impressionable but fiery ensign from Pushkino named Pavel Andreievich Chekhov. He wrote a letter to the Comrade Editor-in-Chief informing him of this change. There was no reply. It didn’t matter. By the end of the season, Koeing’s passable accent and borderline copyright-infringing resemblance to Davey Jones had caught on, and he became a staple of the show. The rest, as they say, is history, or …read more

Via: Melville House Books