It was inspired by “We don’t have enough money to build a shuttlecraft model and do the effects shots, so let’s get some lights and do a rotating scan effect on aluminum paint flakes”. It physically makes no sense and requires frequent narrative gymnastics to explain why the Enterprise can’t just beam the away team out of any hazard, or alternatively beam a photon torpedo directly into an opposing ship. JJ Abrams, of course, upped the absurdity by making it possible to do away with starships entirely and just beam across the galaxy, albeit directly into some kind of human-sized Habiitrail that leads directly into “The Chompers”, as if no one had seen Galaxy Quest.
Ah, but ST transporters have “filters,” as was established in “The Enemy Within.”
The only problem is (as was also demonstrated in that episode), they don’t always work.
Roddenberry is on record as saying they would have used the transporter even if they had had the budget to land a spaceship on a planet, just because it allowed them to get into the story by page 2 of the script.
Of course, why they were 100% reliant on the transporter in the above episode was never explained. They presumably either had none of the shuttlecraft introduced later on, or something about the planet was preventing their use.
That was addresses in an episode or a movie? In early days of space exploration these were 2 competing technologies for space exploration, the starship got the head start and interstellar transporters did not have the ability yet to do so dependably, the effort was thus sunk into starship tech and transporters were scaled back to more local ‘last mile’ stuff.
Going a bit further on my own, it is apparent that space is not just empty void in the ST universe but an environment of its own with its own life and full of anomalies and wonders that are to be studied. Also the strategic importance of space and a continued presents in it, and the ability to ‘hold’ it militarily seems critical for Starfleet, or any interstellar race for that matter.
There was an episode of TNG where (IIRC) they stumbled on the technology of an extinct civilization that had perfected teleportation anywhere in the Universe. They just couldn’t figure out how it worked and it ended up posing a threat to the Enterprise until Data got the hang of using it.
Sorry I can’t be more specific, but it’s been decades since I saw the episode and I don’t remember the title. Anyone who can identify it, please do!
I’d think the idea of transmitting more than just information arose soon after the invention of the telegraph and telephone. I recall reading somewhere that the first (very primitive) experiments with television started around 1877, with pixels triggered by electrical impulses transmitted over wires.
The 1969 Doctor Who story “The Seeds of Death” tells us that near the end of the 21st Century, a teleportation device called “T-Mat” (short for “Travel-Mat”) has replaced all other forms of transportation, including manned space travel. The entire world is thrown into chaos when the T-Mat breaks down.