"The Starship Enterprise was a metaphor for Starship Earth. It was the diversity of this planet - people of different backgrounds, different cultures, different races ... all coming together in concert and working as a team ... I think that's why, even a half century later, it's as popular as it is." - George Takei ("Lieutenant Sulu")
Happy 50th birthday today to that most memorable (and one of the most profitable) of sci-fi creations, ever - Star Trek!
When the very first episode of Star Trek aired on American telly on 8th September 1966, no-one would ever have guessed it would have created such an enduring impression on the world - born as it was in a world dominated by the Cold War and Vietnam, an age of racial segregation in the "Land of the Free" [sic], its recipe of simplistic, classless integration, heroes, villains and cod-science was dismissed by many as "kids' stuff", and largely ignored by the pundits. Star Trek was cancelled twice by the network, and even the cast never believed it would have any kind of future.
The rest, of course, is history.
Facts about Star Trek:
- Creator Gene Roddenberry used the acronym IDIC, or Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations to describe his vision of an almost Utopian future world.
- When the producers originally approached Lucille Ball (then in charge of Desilu Productions) to tell her about the "Star Trek" idea, she thought it would be a series about a group touring a war zone to entertain the troops.
- The original series was only three seasons long, yet blossomed in the wake of Star Wars into much more than just a "cult" - the Star Trek film franchise alone has grossed $2.2 billion.
- James Doohan ("Scotty") was actually Canadian, and he chose to massively over-emphasise the accent as he believed that the Scots had a reputation for being great engineers; he also invented both the "Klingon" and "Vulcan" languages.
- U.S. Censors initially rejected Spock because he was seen as a satanic representation with his pointy ears.
- When Nichelle Nichols ("Lieutenant Uhura") confided to Dr Martin Luther King that she wanted to quit the show (his favourite, allegedly), it was he who managed to convince her to stay.
- Captain Kirk never actually said "Beam me up Scotty".
And they sang!
Nichelle Nichols - Star Trek Theme:
Leonard Nimoy - The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins:
William Shatner - Common People:
...after a fashion.
An idiot's guide to Star Trek, courtesy of The Daily Mirror.