On Thursday night, September 8, 1966 NBC premiered a new Fall show called Star Trek. Life would never be the same for the youth who watched the series faithfully and took its messages to heart.
The 1960s and 70s were turbulent times where the young were searching for their own voice. Establishment structures (church, school, government, etc,) held little confidence.
The Vietnam War which was an extension of the Cold War did not make much sense to the young people caught in the whirlwind of change. The racial strife across the nation and especially in the South was mind boggling to these young people.
Star Trek, week after week, beamed into our living rooms with its international crew working together and actually enjoying each other’s company. Tossed into the mix was a true alien (half human and half Vulcan) who struggled with his own identity and with those pesky human emotions. Mr. Spock became a cultural icon with his Vulcan hand salute of “Live long and prosper” and those devilish ears.
If Star Trek could present a future where all the people of earth could live in peace and harmony, why couldn’t that be a reality on this planet traversing the cosmos? In the second season a Russian ensign was added to the crew.
Russian! They were the enemy or so we were told over and over again. On Star Trek the Russians were just like everyone else on the starship working together for the common good. No enemies among the Terrans. The enemies of the Federation were out there in the dark recesses of space, not on a beautiful earth with no pollution, no hunger and no strife.
Star Trek dealt with the social issues of the times in clever stories. Great writing from some of the best writers of the time.
Happy 45th anniversary! May the concepts, themes, and philosophies of Star Trek as envisioned by the Great Bird of the Galaxy, Gene Roddenbery, live long and prosper!
With the current mess that the world is now, a message of hope could go a long way, especially if we dedicate our lives to helping our fellow brothers and sisters of earth. Like it or not, the reality is that we all share the same planet.
Ponderings of an aging star trek traveller…
G. D. Williams © 2011
Note: Gene Roddenberry wanted the women dressed in pants like Janice Rand above, but NBC said no pants on women. In the original pilot the women wore pants. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gene finally got his way–women in pants!
STAR TREK HOMEPAGE
STAR TREK SEASONE ONE OPENING THEME
STAR TREK PROMO