Growing up I always enjoyed the Star Trek television series. The CBC used to play episodes of The Original Series on the weekends. I distinctly remember seeing the episode “Arena” and thinking the Gorn Captain looked silly. I also remember enjoying the episode “Space Seed” with Ricardo Montalban where Captain Kirk wonders aloud what will become of Khan after he and his crew are marooned on a distant planet. Thankfully I watched this episode before watching the second movie which answers this question.
My generation grew up with Star Trek The Next Generation in syndication on cable, and Star Trek Voyager regularly running on local TV stations. In hindsight Voyager was a missed opportunity. The show involves crews from two different factions thrown together on the opposite side of the galaxy forced to work together to get home. The concept has a lot of potential, but in execution there is very little interpersonal conflict between any of the Voyager Crew.
Unlike Deep Space Nine which features a stable of recurring characters, Voyager is peppered with abandoned possibilities. By the late 90s and early 2000s the reruns of The Original Series had been replaced with reruns of The Next Generation, so there are numerous episodes I’ve never seen.
Lately with the addition of The Original Series on Netflix I have been working thru watching all 79 of them. I’ve concluded that Star Trek episodes are a bit like musicals. When done right they are very good and hold up in a timeless way. When they are done badly, they are terrible.
The worst episode of them all was “Spock’s Brain”. Marj Dusay plays an alien who beams aboard the Enterprise, and steals Spock’s brain out of his head. Then the Enterprise crew has to find her and put Spock’s brain back into his head.
That’s it. That’s the entire episode.
During the early 2000s Marj played the villain Vanessa Cortland on the soap opera All My Children which I used to watch during lunch in high school. For some reason I decided I wanted to contact her and get her autograph. Unfortunately, Marj died before she could respond.
Now am I attempting to contact as many actors from the Original Series and collect their autographs as I can before they are all lost to history. It is surprisingly early to locate their addresses online and many have been kind enough to respond.
It has been an enjoyable hobby. Occasionally I will open my mailbox and find one of my self-addressed stamped envelopes has boomeranged back.
My friends Mike, Josh and Tim perform the podcast Two and Change where they discuss politics and current events, while Mike and Tim throw in Star Trek references whenever possible. Tim and his wife Laura even got married in a Klingon ceremony complete with battling using Klingon Bat’leths, suggesting a dedication to fandom that I don’t possess.
Josh, however, didn’t grow up with Star Trek and tells me that if you are not watching it with nostalgia goggles it looks very silly.
So, I have come up with a new project and a use for all these autographed photos. Me, Mike, Josh and Tim are planning on watching episodes of the Original Series and discussing them with Josh to get a fresh perspective on an old subject matter. The current plan is if we use a video component, we are going to decorate the “set” with these autographs.
Tentatively we are thinking of calling the show Nerding Out With My Friend, and I think we should start with some of the better episodes like “The City on the Edge of Forever” or “The Trouble with Tribbles” before we introduce Josh to episodes like Spock’s Brain. If we don’t foster a love of Star Trek in our friend, at least we will have a great time and produce something creative.
In the meantime, here are some of the autographs the Star Trek actors have been kind enough to send me.
Charlie Brill from “The Trouble With Tribbles”
Jon Wheeler from “Journey to Babel”
Lou Antonio from “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”
Robert Brown from “The Alternative Factor”
Antoinette Bower from “Catspaw”
Bruce Mars from “Assignment Earth” – he put a sticky on it apologizing for personalizing it to my last name instead of my first, its okay, its so common I answer to both!
Louise Sorel from “Requiem for Methuselah”
Michael Forest from “Who Mourns for Adonais”
Sean Kenney from “The Menagerie”