Exactly 50 years ago today, Star Trek
debuted on television. And I'll admit: Hi, my name is Jon, and I'm a Trekkie.
I'm not hard-core like the sad geeks mocked by William Shatner in the brilliant Saturday Night Live skit
, But I watched the original series as it aired from 1966-69, watched it in reruns, and I own the box set of Star Trek
I also found myself shopping at the Redmond QFC one day in the company of Scotty. Yes, James Doohan relocated later in life to Redmond, where he died in 2005. I read that he moved to Redmond to be near his daughter.
The summer before I started junior high school, I recall seeing NBC ads promoting this intriguing new science fiction show. What's up with that guy's pointy ears, I wondered? On Sept. 8, 1966, viewers found out.
As has been well-chronicled, Star Trek
started out as anything but a huge success. It earned modest ratings, and NBC tried to cancel it after season two. But fans buried NBC under so much protest mail that the network reconsidered and renewed it for a final season, though with a reduced budget, and in an undesirable 10 p.m. Friday time slot. Star Trek
ratings dwindled and it finally bowed out in June 1969 after three seasons and 79 episodes.
Like all Trekkies, I have my favorite episodes – "Balance of Terror," "Mirror, Mirror," "The Enemy Within," "Amok Time," "The Enterprise Incident," "The Ultimate Computer" and others.
But I'm particularly fond of one third-season episode because it was so bad
. Trying to be hip and reflect current culture, "The Way to Eden" featured a band of space hippies who hijacked the Enterprise
to search for the planet Eden. They had a jam session
with awful, corny songs, on which Spock sat in, playing some kind of a Vulcan mini-harp.
Preposterous. The episode was so bad, it was good. Star Trek
got the last laugh when a few short years after its cancellation, it drew huge ratings in syndication and eventually became the top syndicated TV show of all time.
For the record, I love the entire cast of the rebooted Star Trek
movies. They capture much of the personna of the original cast, especially Karl Urban's "Bones" McCoy. And the chemistry between the two Spocks, Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, was magical, especially in their memorable Audi commercial
Live long, and prosper!