January 11 2014, 11:09 PM
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Episode of the Week : The Cage
NBC TELEVISION NETWORK
August 17, 1965
Mr. Gene Roddenberry
Census figures, in the mid-1960s, indicate that one American in every eight is non-white. It is reasonable to assume that this percentage also applies to the television audience.
I choose this statistic to call to your attention once again to NBC's longstanding policy of non-discrimination. Our efforts in the past to assure the fact that the programs broadcast on our facilities are a natural reflection of the role of minorities in American life have met with substantial success. I would like to congratulate those producers who have extended themselves in this regard and I invite all of our creative associates to join us in an even greater effort to meet this fact of American life.
NBC's employment policy has long dictated that there can be no discrimination because of race, creed, religion or national origin and this applies in all of out operations. In addition, since we are mindful of our vast audience and the extent to which television influences taste and attitudes, we are not only anxious but determined that members of minority groups be treated in a manner consistent with their role in society. While this applies to all racial minorities, obviously the principle reference is to the casting and depiction of Negroes. Our purpose is to assure that in our medium, and within the permissive framework of dramatic license, we present a reasonable reflection of contemporary society.
We urge producers to cast Negroes, subject to their availability and competence as performs, as people who are an integral segment of the population, as well as in those roles where the fact of their minority status is of significance. An earnest attempt has been made to see that their presence contributes to an honest and natural reflection of places, situations and events, and we desire to intensify and extend this effort.
We believe that NBC's pursuit of this police is pre-eminent in the broadcasting industry. It is evident in both the daytime and nighttime schedules and particularly in such popular programs as I SPY, THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, and many other presentations. While we have made noticeable progress we can do better, and I ask you for your cooperation and help.
[Programs Vice President]
* As reproduced on pages 76–77 of the book Inside Star Trek by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, 1996 by Pocket Books
So the one memo we know of re diversity was post-Cage.
* * *
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.