My brother would be proud.
Where did the time fly? Happy 46th anniversary to the original "Star Trek" series, the first episode of which aired on Sept. 8, 1966 on NBC. This iconic sci-fi series barely lasted three seasons in its first run – the last one thanks only to an unprecedented letter-writing campaign by the show's die-hard fans – but has managed to survive in cult status ever since.
I have never considered myself a science fiction fan, although "Lost in Space" was one of my favorite shows as a young child. I reluctantly grew up watching the original Star Trek series, thanks to an older brother who monopolized the television set whenever he was in the living room. The show was in late afternoon and weekend reruns by then, which means it was on pretty much every day. Oh, how I whined and complained about having to watch such a silly show. It was either that or leave the room, which apparently was not suitable option for me.
So, while Big Bro sat glued to TV set, periodically yelling something like, "Don't do it, Kirk, it's a trap!" or "Beam me up, Scotty" with a hearty laugh, I read my latest Archie comic book and grumbled under my breath. I did not understand all this sci-fi stuff, nor did was there any desire to do so on my part.
It was all pure nonsensical drivel! Seriously, did Gene Roddenberry really think we'd believe that not too far into the future people with thousands of miles separating them would be able to communicate and see each other in real time via tiny little handheld devices, free of wires? And how about those high-tech maps depicting Earth and other planets in vivid 3-D imagery? Yeah, like that could become a reality anywhere near our lifetimes. Hence, the word "fiction" in "science fiction."
Although I tried with all my might to avoid catching glimpses of the show or listening to it, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and the hodgepodge of other characters somehow managed seep into my psyche. Leonard Nimoy's pointed ears and William Shatner's fake blond hair were ingrained in my mind, as was the Starship Enterprise floating through space among hundreds of twinkling dots and other strange-looking cast members. I do believe I even had the layout of the Enterprise memorized at one time.
Pretty good for a non-Trekkie, huh? The photographic memory that's now gradually fading away was hard at work back then.
OK, I'll admit there were a few episodes of Star Trek I actually got into, my favorite being "The Trouble with Tribbles." I never could resist cute little balls of fur, even if they're up to no good. That one, as well as a few others, was actually kind of funny.
When "Star Wars" came out in 1977, I uncharacteristically went gaga over it. All of a sudden, I was a diehard sci-fi fan. I had a cuddly stuffed Chewbacca, a little windup C-3PO and a poster of Luke Skywalker, a.k.a. Mark Hamill, on my bedroom wall. Many of my doodles during that time period were of Princess Leia donning her fashionable white dress and unique braided galactic buns hairstyle. Oh, how I wanted to be her, if only to be able to snuggle up to Luke.
Alas, my interest in the Star Wars saga faded by the time the second installment in the trilogy rolled around, due mainly to the fact that I no longer crushed on Mark Hamill. It also dawned on me that, even though I'd seen the movie a dozen times at the theater, I never really understood it, so I never made it the other installments. To this day, the only Star Wars movie I've watched in its entirety was the first.
I did come to a truce regarding Star Trek, though. When the first movie came out a couple of years after Star Wars, my friends and I actually went to see it – well, we hit pretty much everything that played at the Grand for recreation – and sort of liked it. While some of the plot lines may have escaped us, we were very impressed by the special effects.
These are what eventually moved me into the realm of sci-fi. Unlike my hubby, who thrives on anything and everything sci-fi, my tastes are much more limited. Give me a futuristic movie or TV series with good special effects, a decent not-too-complicated plot and maybe a cute guy or two – at the very least some appealing characters – and there's a good chance I'll like it.
Anytime an episode from one of the Star Trek series is on TV, especially "Generations," Hubby is glued to it. I occasionally join him if it's the original series because they are kind of fun to watch now, decades later. For the late 1960s, the special effects were pretty phenomenal and some of the story lines were easy to follow. I can see how the series paved the way for the sci-fi fare of today. Gene Rodenberry was a genius.
None of this means that I've become a Trekkie, mind you. Heck, I wouldn't even go so far as to call Hubby one. He's a true Star Trek fan, though; maybe the description that best suits me is a tag-along fan.
My brother is so proud of me.