The More Things Change
Warping back to the first Star Trek convention
Welcome to Star Trekking, my attempt to share points of interest and random intersections in the final frontier.
I am about to slingshot you around the sun, initiating time warp (don’t worry, you will not get fried).
Welcome to 1972.
Fact Trek recently published a transcript of a Q&A with Majel Barrett and Dorothy Fontana, introduced by Isaac Asimov.
On January 22nd, 1972 the doors were thrown open to direct interaction between thousands of Star Trek’s fans and some of its makers at the first Star Trek Lives! convention—the first major Trek con—held in New York City on January 21, 22, and 23, 1972, only two and a half years after the show’s final curtain on NBC.
This was quite possibly the first time fans could truly interact with Trek’s cast and creators.
The first question brought up the famous bicycle story, so we can see that was already established lore.
Audience Member #1: Members of the cast were quite prone towards practical jokes on the set, especially Shatner, I’m told. Can you tell us some of the more known episodes?
Majel Barrett: Most of them are untellable. I mean—
[Interrupted by audience laughter.]
Majel Barrett: As Gene would say, they’re all X-rated. I’m trying to give it to you. Outside of the bicycle thing with Leonard, we did that.
The second question touches on relevance and self-worth and the whole Trek phenomenon itself. How long can this thing last?
Audience Member #2: Do you think that this whole convention is, as one of my friends described it, 3,500 kids flogging a dead horse?
And the third question was pure, beautiful nerd pedantry. Witness a stereotype being created before your very eyes.
Audience Member #3: This is for D.C. Fontana. In “Balance of Terror,” one of the main points was a phaser room, but the ship was firing photon torpedoes. I’ve always wondered, why? Was it just a technical error, or...?
January 1972. The first big Trek convention. The third question asked in the first Q&A. And Trek fans already needed to Get A Life.
The ongoing thesis of this newsletter is that, whether you’re actively looking for it or not, Star Trek is everywhere.
This week it arrived in my inbox courtesy of the great Ron Charles, book critic for the Washington Post.
In Friday’s edition of his always entertaining (and informative) weekly newsletter, Ron ended, as usual, with a peek into his week at home.
For my wife’s birthday, my folks sent her a self-contained countertop garden made by a French company called Veritable.
It looks like something from the Starship Enterprise. Dawn and I are more obsessed with our hydroponic seedlings than the most nervous parents with a new baby. We can't wait till harvest time when we can sit down and enjoy a small $200 salad.
Yeah, I could see that device fitting right in.
I encourage you to subscribe to Ron’s FREE weekly Book Notes newsletter. I look forward to it every Friday.
Nice overview of the Galaxy class starship.
The Enterprise is #12 on a list of 25 most iconic spaceships? Ahead of the Enterprise is that clunky colonial shuttle from the original Galactica at #11? Buck Rogers fighter is #7?
12. USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A)
The movie: Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Why it's a damn fine vessel: Every Star Trek fan has their preferred version of the iconic Enterprise, but for me, this is the one that takes the cake. Probably the most recognisable star ship ever put to screen, this update on the classic original added just the right amount of fresh detail to make a timeless design take on another level of credibility as a real-life vessel.
Here’s the original theme done on synthesizer because I love crazy cover versions of Trek music almost as much as I like the actual Trek music.
And speaking of actual Trek music, here’s a fun ranking of great cues.
Food for thought - could Data ever actually exist?
I had a couple of these and I loved the design even if they had nothing to do with Trek whatsoever. Also, wish I’d been at the birthday party where these were handed out as party favors.
Quite enjoyed Ryan Britt’s article about Star Trek Villains Who Actually Had A Point.
I’m not saying that the article made me actually feel some empathy for the Borg Queen and Seska, but I’m not NOT saying that. (But I have definitely not changed my mind about Ossyra because she just plain sucked.)
"You've not experienced the hurdy-gurdy until you have heard it in traditional Klingon."
Also there is this (which actually opens with a nod to Voyager). Cameo appearance by a cat.
DS9, too? Sure!
Here’s a deep dive if you’ve got a couple hours to spare.
Star Trek and religion. Discussing such things as Borg habits and how this relates to religious cults, and Bajoran religious culture and how this relates to mainstream Christianity.
And finally, a bit of silliness. I admit it brought a smile to my face.
In honor of the Asimov mention earlier, here’s a link to Leonard Nimoy reading Asimov’s great short story, The Last Question.
I finally picked up a copy of Dayton Ward’s highly entertaining travel guide to the planet Vulcan. It came with a couple of groovy postcards, so if you want me to mail one to you, send me your mailing address.
Worth watching: Woman in Motion - Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA.
Until next time,
LOVE long…and prosper.