50th Anniversary of Star Trek

You can’t call anything about it obscure but I would be remiss if I didn’t take some time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. It is one of television’s most famous/iconic/influential shows. More has been written about Star Trek than perhaps any other TV show in history. Its history has been told and retold and retold again.

Were you watching the “sneak preview” of Star Trek (“The Man Trap”) on Thursday, September 8th, 1966 on NBC? If so, are you still a fan five decades later?

Star Trek and Television Obscurities

I’ve written about Star Trek here at Television Obscurities several times over the past decade. My article A Look at Star Trek attempts to determine what impact, if any, demographics had on the cancellation of the series.

Here are some of my blog posts relating to Star Trek:

Scan of a color advertisement for Star Trek in syndication.
Advertisement for Star Trek in syndication, from the March 24th, 1969 issue of Broadcasting magazine (Copyright © 1969 Paramount Television/Broadcasting Publications Inc.)

Today, however, I have nothing new to offer other than a brief personal reflection.

Growing Up With Star Trek

I’ve been a fan of the Star Trek franchise practically since birth. I grew up watching syndicated repeats of Star Trek alongside new episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The original series isn’t my favorite and I haven’t seen every episode. When the “remastered” episodes began airing back in 2006 I watched a few but I don’t like the new special effects.

As a kid, it was so easy to be a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was new, for one thing, and didn’t look as corny as Star Trek. But it was the toys and collectibles that really did it. I’ve got action figures, playsets, magazines, books, and so much more. I think the only Star Trek toy I have is a Playmates phaser my grandmother bought me. I remember my mom being upset because, unlike the Star Trek: The Next Generation phaser, the Star Trek one actually looked like a gun.

The last time I watched an episode of Star Trek was the day Leonard Nimoy died last February. As a tribute to him, I watched the original unaired pilot episode (“The Cage”) on Netflix.

Star Trek at 50

It’s an interesting time for Star Trek–both the original series and the franchise overall. The reboot movies offer a different take on the original series–which of course makes them controversial among Trek fans. A new TV series called Star Trek Discovery debuts in January, with the premiere airing on CBS before the show moves to the CBS streaming service. I’m tentatively excited but not looking forward to paying for CBS All Access.

The amount of merchandise being released in connection to the 50th anniversary is staggering. I do hope to pick up some of the Star Trek stamps later this week but that’s about it.

Then there’s the Roddenberry Vault Blu-ray set coming out on December 13th. It includes 12 episodes of Star Trek, all of which have been released at least twice on Blu-ray already. The big selling point is the inclusion of unseen footage from the series: alternate takes, outtakes, deleted scenes, and more. Here are some preview videos:

I am very excited to see all these footage but not excited at all about having to pay almost $80 for the set. Hopefully the price will come down quickly after the holidays.

What does the 50th anniversary of Star Trek mean to you? Hit the comments with your thoughts.

7 Replies to “50th Anniversary of Star Trek”

  1. My father was a news reporter for the local NBC affiliate, and a special he produced and wrote about a trip to Europe he had taken that summer pre-empted the first episode of Star Trek. I still have the TV Guide for that week.

  2. I remember when it was practically the only SF on TV, or at least the most advanced. There were the Irwin Allen shows but those had much simpler stories and usually a premise of getting home that was never resolved. (As with Time Tunnel, Lost In Space and Land of the Giants.)

  3. I remember my first introduction to STAR TREK was a comic book I bought while on vacation once in 1969. But, I didn’t start watching it until STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE came out in 1979 and I went to see it.

  4. My mom was a First-Gen Trekkie, so I guess a bit of that rubbed off on me. I took in Trek Classic repeats on WGNO-TV 26 in the 1970s and WNOL-TV 38 in the 1980s. First saw the first 2 movies on microwave TV channel STAR/STAR TV before we first got cable.

  5. I’m a first generation Trekkie, having watched it as a kid. I loved it. I did my own stories (with a Mary Sue character) and followed the fan activities after it was cancelled. I’ve done science fiction/fantasy conventions since 1979, first as a dealer and volunteer, now as an author.

    I’ve also met most of the original cast. William Shatner did a signing/fan event at the mall near me a couple of years ago and I went. George Takei was practically family, having been at several conventions with him. I sat in a quiet hotel hallway at 3 a.m. talking to Jimmy Doohan about his then-recent heart attack. Walter Koenig brought my 6 year old daughter back to our dealer’s table to tell me how cute she was at the costume contest. I managed to meet Nichelle Nichols at a Papacitos restaurant here, she was having lunch with Mae Jemison, the astronaut (I live close to Johnson Space Center in Houston) and got both lady’s signatures. Unfortunately I missed meeting Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly before they passed away.

    Yes, 50 years later, I’m still a huge fan. I liked the reboot movies. I literally cried when Karl Urban showed up in that shuttle, ranting in a Georgia accent, playing “Bones” McCoy. I would swear the man was actually channeling DeForest when he was doing those movies.

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