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 MSNBC.com 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!”