The final frontier.
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise;
It’s five year mission:
To explore strange new worlds,
To seek out new life and new civilizations,
To boldly go…
Where no man has gone before.
These iconic words from Gene Roddenberry, brought to life by William Shatner have withstood the test of time.
Fifty years ago today, Star Trek began what would be its fifty-year and ongoing mission. Roddenberry’s vision for the future is still some way off, but I just saw a video on the realities of transparent aluminum, most of us use communicators in some fashion or another, and having a Black woman superior to us in the workplace is more common than 1966, although we could do better.
In 1966, it was somewhat controversial to have such a mixed race crew, let alone the actors who played them. While Jim Kirk was born in Iowa, Williams Shatner hails from Canada. He is still a Canadian citizen, and not a naturalized American. He, Leonard Nimoy, and Walter Koenig are all Jewish. Sulu and George Takei are Japanese. Nichelle Nichols was a Black woman. She and Shatner hold the first for an interracial kiss on television. Pavel Checkov’s character was a breakthrough especially during the space race of the 50s and the 60s. The idea of working with the Russians was nearly impossible to imagine then. And of course, Jimmy Doohan’s Scotty gave homage to the many Scotsmen and women who led the industrial revolution and got the engines running.
Even in today’s Kelvin timeline, not reboot (according to Mike and Denise Okuda), there is an homage given to the original cast as well as bringing the story into the 21st century for us moviegoers.
I’ve watched every iteration of Star Trek including reading the comic books, every new series (Deep Space Nine is my favorite after the original series), every movie, every animation. Wasn’t there a Star Trek meets Scooby Doo or am I imagining that? Somewhere in the depths of my basement boxes is a photojournal of Trouble with Tribbles that I had once memorized. I learned Klingon as a young adult, and went to conventions so long ago that there were no charges for photos or autographs.
Reflecting on 50 years of science fiction, watching it intersect with science fact, sitting in the captain’s chair at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and forging our own new worlds through our own inspiration to write and world-build.
Star Trek is many things to many people. I have been a fan my whole life, and will continue to be into the next half century and beyond.
Happy Birthday, Star Trek!
And many more to come.
The stories yet to be told are out there, and I for one, can’t wait.
US Postal Stamps, issued 2016