There was a scary time in the 1970s when the show was being syndicated on 16mm film reels that were shipped physically around the country to TV local stations.
The film prints were getting progressively more beat-up, dirty, and faded. It got bad. And on top of that, the local stations would do their own cutting and splicing to free up more commercial time.
Lacking any sophistication in the subject, a lot of us did not know that there were 35mm masters of each episode stored safely in Hollywood. We thought that the cut scenes would never be seen again, and that Star Trek
itself was deteriorating, disintegrating, decomposing before our eyes. It seemed like soon the show would be gone forever.
Then in the mid-80s, Star Trek
was re-mastered-- a glorious restoration, clean with bright colors-- and syndicated on video tape. The cuts for time were far shorter but far more numerous and clever. The best part was learning that the series was safe on those 35mm masters and, one way or another, it would live forever.