Documents written by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry have been recovered from 200 floppy disks owned by the late TV writer and producer.
DriveSavers and eDiscovery announced Monday that after months of work they were able to pull data from the disks, which Roddenberry used to store information while he was working on “Star Trek.”
Mike Cobb, DriveSavers director of engineering, would not reveal what was on the disks, but he did offer some clues. “Lots of documents,” Cobb hinted in a press release. “2016 just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the original ‘Star Trek,’ anything could happen, the world will have to wait and see.”
The original television series “Star Trek” ran from 1966 to 1969. Roddenberry created scripts for the futuristic show on a typewriter. Later, he used a pair of custom-built computers to record story ideas, scripts and notes. Over time, the author moved on to work with more mainstream computers, but kept the custom-built pair in his possession.
Although Roddenberry died in 1991, it wasn’t until much later that his estate discovered nearly 200 5.25-inch floppy disks. One of his custom-built computers had long since been auctioned and the remaining device was no longer functional.
But these were no ordinary floppies. The custom-built computers had also used custom-built operating systems and special word processing software that prevented any modern method of reading what was on the disks.
After receiving the computer and the specially formatted floppies, DriveSavers engineers worked to develop a method of extracting the data. There was no user manual for the computer, nor was there any technical documentation to help guide them.
It took over three months for the DriveSavers engineering team to develop software that could read the disks. Even though the engineers were able to crack the unusual formatting, reading the nearly 200 disks took the better part of a year to finish.
Paramount Pictures will release the latest entry in the rebooted “Star Trek” film franchise, “Star Trek Beyond,” in 2016. CBS also recently announced plans to launch a new “Star Trek” series on CBS All Access in 2017.