Friday, September 08, 2006

Set Your Reactions To Stun, Star Trek Turns 40!

40 years ago tonight, NBC aired the first episode of what would become a cultural phenomenon and highly successful franchise. Star Trek hit the air on September 8, 1966. I have referred to Star Trek numerous times during my relatively short stay in blog land but in honor of this momentous day, it’s time to pull out all the stops.

I just finished watching “The Trouble With Tribbles” on TV Land and after not having watched an episode of the original series in several years, I was surprised at how vivid and bright all of the colors were. Watching as an adult, I was also caught off guard as to how campy everything about it was. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve always been a fan and am (almost) not embarrassed to admit that I donned pointy ears back in the 7th grade and dressed as Mr. Spock for Halloween. The answer to your question is no, I did not have a date for that night’s junior high Halloween dance, but that’s not the point!

I have a lot of random thoughts about the show I want to share with you. The biggest one is that for such a logical and by the book guy, how cool was Mr. Spock. You know you’re watching a hip alien when he has a Beatle haircut. And how about those Klingons? Watching them made me realize how different creatures can evolve at such varied paces. In the 1960s episodes they were in, Klingons look pretty human, maybe a little beatnik, but definitely human. Fast forward just a few short years and they have evolved into menacing figures with foreheads that are eerily similar to an aerial view of California’s San Andres fault. Perhaps a better comparison for their heads would be what my puckered and stitched open-heart surgery scar looked like the day following surgery (although that might be better explained in a different posting; I told you this would be pretty random).

Watching Star Trek in syndication as a youngster ruined my understanding of space. I was almost in my teens by the time I came to accept that stars in space were not held in place by cosmic fishing line. I am proud to say that I was informed enough to know that the show was called “Star Trek,” not “Star Track” as so many people called it. Sadly, I would correct them. In hindsight, when it came to alienating my friends (so to speak), that was not such a logical thing to do.

The ideas, philosophy and technology on the show are still influencing us today. Did you know that television’s first interracial kiss was between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura? When NASA asked the public to name the first Space Shuttle, the unanimous choice was The Enterprise. The cell phone was obviously derived from the original communicator. We should thank Start Trek creator Gene Roddenberry every time we place a call from the middle of nowhere or ask the person on the other line, “Can you hear me know?” That phrase has become the new Millennium’s version of “beam me up.” The new cell phone wireless head-set blue-tooth ear clip on things (that as you can tell from my description I obviously know nothing about) sure remind me of the ear piece Uhura used to hail Star Fleet. Don’t you agree?

From everything I have read and seen, the original episodes are about to be exposed to yet another generation. TV Land is going to start airing the show nightly beginning in November and I read on that high-definition versions of the original series with updated special effects (maybe they’re using George Lucas) will start in syndication around the country next week. I saw a promo tonight and I think they might have updated more than just the special effects. I could have sworn I heard Dr. McCoy tell Captain Kirk, “Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a blogger!”


Dr. A said...

McCoy helped me find my career choice. Spock got me interested in chess growing up. Scotty showed me how to panic in certain situations.

But, bottom line, Kirk got all the babes, especially with the futuristic 1960's miniskirts. I will always aspire to be a starship captain someday for this sole fact. Ahh!

Wow! Over a thousand visitors now. Strong work!

Odat said...

Start Tract? cute!. I loved the Tribbles episode...Those poor Klingons tho, get all the flack...just because they were a lil different..!


Michael C said...

Doc: I agree with you on the Kirk thing. I just saw an interview with him and at 80, that cat is still cool! I agree with you on the 60s-miniskirts, too. That's a ship I could spend some time on.

About the 1,000 visitor thing, about 889 of them are me ;-)

Odat: Start Track was a typo, I meant Star Track but my measly 2005 computer couldn't find the error. if only I had the sultry voiced computer Captain Kirk had!!

Poor Klingons, if only people got to see the beer drinking, polka loving, donating time to local charity side!

By the way, word verification: fzwrcx. It's Klingon for: "Can't we all just get along" or "Leave us the heck alone." My English-Klingon translation dictionary shows both.

QuillDancer said...

With the revamping of Star Trek we will also be able to once again mumble my favorite pharse: "Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here." Right now when I say this, very few people "get" it.

I just stopped by to thank you for visiting my blog. You're welcome any time.

Lizza said...

Although I've heard of characters like Spock and Kirk, I don't think I've ever seen an episode of the original Star Trek series...maybe because I hadn't been born yet in 1966, and I was watching other things during the late 70's (like Charlie's Angels and Three's Company).

But I did get to see some episodes of the other Star Trek (the one with Capt. Jean-Luc Picard) and it wasn't that bad. :-)

P.S. Why do I always get abnormally long word verification here at your blog? And it's not even a damned word...just a string of letters that make no sense. (godgtdkb)

Meloncutter said...

\V/ Live long a prosper.

Nowaday's here in the south, they have dubbed over all of those with "git r dun".

I do love my trek.


Later Yall.

Natalie said...

Trek is the greatest thing around. I really liked the episode with the guy with the blue face and the ear/antennae thing that broke off. Its been a while. Of course Kirk and Spock fighting to the death is always a classic. I think Star Trek and Dr. Who brought my father and I closer together than many dads and daughters. Thanks campy Sci Fi shows with bad special effects for that.

Morgen said...

I love Trek.
I'm just not sure how I feel about them Lucas-ing the original series... I mean, do we really need digitally added extras behind the scenes when in spacedock? and aren't a trouble's worth of tribbles enough, are we so un-tribbled that we need more tribbles to trouble me?
I already shared my 11 and a half inch fashion doll story in a comment on Chai & Sympathy, so I'll leave with this: Lizza -- you've never seen original Trek! Someone beam her down an episode!

ps love the line "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a blogger!"
Can't wait to use the line "Dammit Jim, I'm a Blogger, not a doctor!"


I was never a huge Star Trek fan, but, still, I think I've probably seen most of the early episodes. There were fewer channels when I was a kid, so you watched Star Trek whether you wanted to or not! Spock was definitely my favorite character. And I always wanted my own matter transporter. Beam me up!

Michael C said...

Lizza: We'll have to get you an episode somehow.

Melon: Finally I've found someone else who uses "Gir R Done" as much as I do!!

Natalie: Thanks for stopping by. I can remember watching Trek reruns with my folks, too.

Morge: I agree with you not wanting them updating the special effects. It'll ruin the whole thing.

Parlancheq: I can remember when that was one of the more popular reruns. I guess we just didn't automatically put something into syndication after just 4 years back then.

ShadowFalcon said...

I'm a Picard girl all the way. TNG hit the air when I was 7 and even though I'd seen Kirk do his thing, Data won me over in a heartbeat. DS9, Voyager, Enterprise basically anything Trek is fantastic but the old 1701D will always be my favorite.

I must admit, my first flip phone had voice dial so I programed to to ring my house whenever I said "earth come in do you read me"...I'm going to crawl back into my corner now

Michael C said...

That's pretty cool about your flip phone. I liked TNG, but the original was always my favorite. Jus to hear Kirk
was worth the price of admission, which of course was free.