Now 50, “Star Trek” continues to live long and prosper
“Star Trek”’s exploration of the final frontier has spanned five decades now, with more to come, as Faith Salie now explains…
“Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise …”
It’s a line that launched a pop culture powerhouse — a line that, would you believe, even 50 years later, STILL doesn’t sound quite right to William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
“When I heard it, I thought, ‘I’m not doing it right. There’s something I’m not doing,’” Shatner told Salie. “It’s not right.”
“Star Trek,” the original series — which lasted just three years from 1966 to 1969 — boldly set off on a voyage that’s still travelling at warp speed half a century later.
That show led to spinoff series and movies, including a 2009 big-budget reboot that introduced Kirk and his gang to a new generation of fans.
It’s a good time to be a Trekkie! And those making the pilgrimage to last month’s annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas — no matter the species — were feeling out of this world.
There, among the Kirks and the Spocks and the Hortas, Salie found perhaps “Star Trek”’s most important fan of all: 83-year-old Bjo Trimble.
Trimble told Salie that, upon sitting down in front of her TV on September 8, 1966, “We were thrilled to have grownup science fiction finally. Not, you know, ‘There’s an ugly monster, let’s kill it!’”
That night, Bjo and her husband, John, discovered a sci-fi show they could warm up to, in the middle of the Cold War.
Salie asked, “What kind of message did ‘Star Trek’ give to audiences who were worried that the world might be blown up in the next ten years?”
“Well, the message was, maybe it wouldn’t be,” Trimble replied.
Creator Gene Roddenberry may have pitched his show to the NBC brass as “a ‘Wagon Train’ to the stars,” but it was his hopeful view of the future — stories of a racially-diverse crew settling problems peacefully — that turned its viewers on. Still, by the end of the second season, word got out that the voyages of the Starship Enterprise were about to be cancelled.
Trimble said of her husband, “We talked about it. And he said, ‘There oughta be something we could do about that.”
Using 20th century technology of pen, paper and postage stamps, Trimble boldly went where no fan has gone before, and began a letter-writing campaign to save “Star Trek.”
Letters were sent not just to NBC, “but to all the NBC affiliates, to all your local TV stations and, most importantly, all the sponsors,” she said.
It worked! “Star Trek” was renewed for one more season. Though officially cancelled after that third season, Trimble’s efforts meant that “Star Trek” now had enough episodes (79 of them) to live on in reruns.
Read more at CBSNews.com.
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