Sunday, August 24, 2008

The World of Star Trek







I watched STAR TREK sporadically during its original run but like many others I became a Trekkie during the massive "Star Trek Lives" era of the early to mid-seventies. I bought the fanzines, stayed up way too late to watch the reruns, praised the cartoon even though deep down I knew even then that everything but the writing sucked. I even attended my first STAR TREK conventions in 1975. In 1976, however, came the ultimate (to that time) Trek Geek event, THE WORLD OF STAR TREK, a live touring lecture with the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself, Gene Roddenberry. Like John (Q) DeLancie later on, Roddenberry (unable to recreate the magic with subsequent series attempts) had decided to cash in on his STAR TREK fan base by touring, showing off a few rarities (in this case the then-unseen original pilot in its original form) and recounting some perhaps apocryphal stories connected to the series, its actors and its creation. The whole thing was captured on an LP, which got a lot of press but as I recall was very hard to find. Roddenberry was a savvy producer but not the most mesmerising speaker in the world. Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum did NOT sell out that evening but there was a good-sized crowd in attendance. A return visit a year later was cancelled due to increased activity on what would become STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE. I exchanged my ticket for a copy of a L'IL ABNER reprint book.
Around the time of his death, there were two thick biographies--one official and one unofficial. The official one portrayed him at times near sainthood whereas the unofficial one delighted in detailing naked cocaine parties in the Jacuzzi. As with most folks, I figure the truth was somewhere in between. He created a truly GREAT TV concept that led to even greater ones and inspired even more. In the end, that's something to be respected!

6 comments:

Jon K said...

Ah, I remember that tour... I saw it in Seattle with the sci-fi club I belonged to at the time! Having never even seen the two-part episode this was edited into, I was shocked, to say the least, to see Spock smiling when he touched those alien plants on Talos IV (or whatever planet it was). I recall the blooper reel was also shown, to much laughter from the huge crowd.

I don't remember anything about Gene's speech, though... it was the only time I ever saw him anywhere (Although many years later, I had the pleasure of meeting his wife at a Creation Con in San Diego).

Thanks for bringing back a fond childhood memory!

Jon

lisa_mynx said...

What are the odds? I was sitting here reading William Shatner's book 'Get A Life' (that I got today) and it popped in my head that I haven't done my blog update checking in awhile, so I set the book aside and started with my number one blog stop and... Trek stuff-- how cool

lisa_mynx said...

oh, and Jon K-- I love your blog (first found out about it when you commented on Steve's 'Galactica' shout-out), but with dial-up I can't load any of your pages for shit(those slide-shows are a killer)... bit by bit I am working through it and am definitely getting a kick out of it

be sure to check it out folks...

lisa_mynx said...

I remember reading one time that Roddenberry had been asked by CBS(?) what kind of sci-fi show he would make if he could, and he said he would do a 'Swiss Family Robinson' in space. They thanked him and told him they weren't interested and turned around and put out 'Lost in Space'-- I am so glad they turned him down (if this is true)... 'Lost in Space' sucks ass (aside from the doctor and the robot) and 'Star Trek' kicks ass.
Although I think Gene was one of those people that can come up with a good idea and inspire people to do really good stuff with it (like Stan Lee) but not all that great at the actual day to day himself

Jon K said...

Lisa - Thanks for the shout-out on the Random Acts of Geekery. Sorry that dial-up makes the pages load so slowly! I guess I've (wrongly) assumed most people have a high-speed connection these days.

Jon

lisa_mynx said...

Most people do have high-speed now... but I live in the house vacated by the Clampetts when they moved to Beverly