"Star Trek," now dubbed the "The Original Series," went on the air on Sept. 8, 1966 ... that's 50 years ago Thursday.
Not just because I'm a Trekkie but because the show's influence is felt continuously in culture, we've aired a number of "Star Trek"-related segments on Off-Ramp in our ten years on the air. Here are a few of the best:
1. John talks with "Star Trek's" Sulu, George Takei, on the 10th anniversary of his coming out as gay
Rabe: "Were any of your fears realized?"
Takei: "As a matter of fact, my fear was losing my career, the reverse happened. My career blossomed!"
2. We go to Comic Con and John talks with David Gerrold, the unlikely author of one of the best "Star Trek" entries of all time, "The Trouble with Tribbles"
'I was in college. I was just this geeky, skinny, gangly, college student with no social skills. I was a big science fiction fan, and I said to myself, "They've got to do their science fiction right," so I sat down and wrote an outline for them. Gene L. Coon said, "We're gonna buy your story, but we'll give you a chance to write the treatment." ... "Next thing I knew, the whole thing had gone through and they were shooting an episode.' -- David Gerrold
You know, this area of town really reminded me of when I was first in New York, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. SoHo was sort of just happening. They had these spaces that were great but were weird when you went inside.
4. After an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of CBS's ground-up restoration of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," KPCC's Chief Trekkie, Dale Hoppert, tells us why we should buy the new discs
What's really special about this new high-tech release is the chance to re-experience, more intimately and up-close than ever before, the performances of one of the finest casts of actors ever assembled. Ensembled. Whatever. There were a bunch of them, led by Shakespearean-trained Patrick Stewart, and despite their reputation as the more sedate Star Trek generation, these guys were chewing up the scenery and spitting out technobabble with faith and earnest and a bellyfull of investment.
Remember, they were acting through all the same technological limitations that made the special effects look so muddy once upon a time. And now ... finally ... we can see it all.
First, Jonathan Frakes is not a stiff! Poor old Commander Riker had this reputation as the statue that stood at Picard's right hand and dumbed-down the technobabble. And that was a big part of his job. To be the third guy to say the same thing in a scene. But it turns out that Will Riker was positively smoldering all the time. Oh! Watch his eyes! Anytime he is slighted, his captain is slighted, or if anyone looks askance at Counselor Troi, just watch him flash and flare! Don't forget, the man honed his craft in soap operas!
Now, what are your best Star Trek memories, fifty years after the show first hit the airwaves? Share them in the comments below!