On Sept. 8, 1966, a salt vampire found its’ way onto the USS Enterprise and nearly killed Captain James T. Kirk. Thankfully, Dr. McCoy regained his senses and saved the day but at the loss of a former love. And so began a three-year television journey of a little show called Star Trek. However, my journey as a Trekkie didn’t start that night.
One of my earliest memories is of watching the “Who Mourns for Adonais?” second-season episode sometime in late 1970 or early 1971. My family was watching on a black and white TV set in our formal living room and I was all of three years old. But it was one of my favorite shows to watch. Back then, cable TV was still many years away and we only had four channels to choose from. Thankfully, Star Trek would pop up on weekends and I’d watch it any chance I got. I remember watching both parts of “The Menagerie” on a Sunday afternoon when I was supposed to be napping. I had most of the Mego action figures and I’d snatch up a Gold Key comic any time I could find one. And then we got cable.
In late 1978 or early 1979, cable TV arrived and we received two channels that opened the world to me, channel 41 KBMA out of Kansas City and channel 17 WTCG out of Atlanta. Both would play Star Trek and for years, I was discovering new episodes I had never seen. I would soon start recording it on audio cassettes, much to the chagrin of my parents. I was constantly telling them to be quiet as I was recording using my highly technical setup…a microphone placed on paperbacks right next to the one TV speaker. But it worked and I had those for nearly a decade before purging them in 1989. And yes, I still regret that decision. Eventually, I started to record episodes on VHS tapes, now replaced by DVDs and some Blu-rays. But those early recording days still hold a special place in my memories.
And let’s talk about the novels. I was sick at home one day in 1979 when my mom returned from the local Gibson’s Discount Store with a paperback she thought I would enjoy. World Without End by Joe Haldeman was read numerous times and opened a now expanded world of adventures for me to enjoy. I still have all of those Bantam books. Maybe not as sophisticated as other books that continue to be released but the charm of those stories can’t be replaced.
My love for Star Trek has never wavered. It was a key part of my childhood that continues to live on today. While my other passions would come and go over the years, Star Trek was always at the forefront. From the day I saw my first Trek cast member in 1992 (Walter Koenig at a Creation convention in Wichita) to my first autograph from Nichelle Nichols the following year, it’s always been something that brought me great joy.
Now, I’ve loved all of the other series and movies, even the bad ones, but there is nothing like the original Star Trek. Roddenberry’s vision of a brighter future is firmly intact and the writing is timeless. The bond between Kirk, Spock and McCoy remains to be one of the best relationships ever on television. Okay, there are a few episodes (I’m thinking of you “Spock’s Brain”) that are rough but the hidden messages Roddenberry snuck in some 50 years ago are still just as valid today.
Happy 50th Anniversary Star Trek! We’ve lost so many of the legends but some are still with us. I raise a glass of Saurian brandy to salute the last 50 years and here’s to another 50 more!