Musings of an “Accidental Trekkie”

I’m not a natural-born “Trekkie.” My first experiences with Star Trek were when I was maybe…4 or so, when my older brother and mom would sit on the brown sofa in the living room with the green shag carpeting (it was the ’70s – everything was covered with shag carpeting back then) and watch the original Star Trek TV series. It wasn’t very interesting to me, so I usually found something else to do while they were mesmerized by the show, which I would call “Star Track” just because it seemed to irritate my brother so much, and he’d ALWAYS correct me. I learned how to push people’s buttons at a very early age! Sometimes my brother would just be too serious for his own good, so it was my job (and still is) to rebel against that by being a total goofball.

Rewind to the early 1990s, and I had a really stiff neck that was bothering me. My dad gave me a neck rub that seemed to do the trick. I told my brother about that later, and he made a snide remark about dad “touching me.” Sigh..(eyeroll). Really?

I retorted: “It’s OK – he didn’t touch me in my ‘special’ place.” Truth be told, there was absolutely NOTHING inappropriate about that neck rub! And it worked, so what was the harm?

The original TV series didn’t really impress me too much, and I probably fell asleep while watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture when I was 7.  All I remember was that there was a… bald woman in it. But Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan? Now THAT was a movie! Those scary ear bugs, Ricardo Montalban as a vengeful guy who hated Kirk and one of the biggest cliffhangers in film ever with Spock’s death at the end? Oh no….Spock can’t be dead, can he? NOOOO!

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Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh in Wrath of Khan. That’s his REAL chest! He was just hiding it under that white tux he wore when he played Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island, apparently!

Want some more trivia? Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was “pushed out” of being involved with Wrath of Khan because producers believed he was to blame for The Motion Picture’s poor reception. “Uh, Gene, we’re just going to lock you in this room while we go ahead and make this movie without you, OK?”

I think I probably saw Star Trek III – The Search for Spock (the first Star Trek film to have a numeral in its title), but honestly, I don’t remember it. The important thing was…Spock was back! Through some magicks or something, they brought him back. Was I supposed to have paid attention to that film? Uh, maybe I’ll read the wiki article later today (LOL)!

Let’s go back to 1986, when Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home hit theaters. I went to see it with my brother and probably his girlfriend (he had to bring me along on some of his dates, which meant I saw a shit ton of movies in the 1980s). I really, really enjoyed that movie! The humor, the “fish out of water” plot (crew members having to blend in with modern day San Francisco society), the whales, Spock hiding his pointy ears with a headband, Kirk putting the moves on the mom from Child’s Play (which had not yet been released), Spock doing the nerve pinch on an annoying bus passenger? To this day, I would rank this among the best of all of the Star Trek films. And judging from the $109.7 million domestic box office gross, a lot of moviegoers probably agreed with me on this point!

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The horror! Going from being in a vessel capable of warp speeds to having to ride in a…bus? A scene from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

It wasn’t until the early 1990s when I started getting into Star Trek: The Next Generation. Captain Jean-Luc Picard was a very different kind of starship captain than the more flamboyant Kirk – and he took some getting used to. It was a fairly common thing for me to fall asleep on the couch while watching reruns with my mom. Not that the show was boring to me – mind you – but it was so…relaxing. Most of the cast members were just so…mellow. Fond memories!

Trivial note? Denise Crosby, who played security officer Natasha Yar, did NOT get fired for posing in Playboy. She quit the show because she felt her character was not getting developed enough. Now… do you want me to wait here for a minute while you attempt to search for nude photos of her on the Internet? Or maybe you still have the old copies of Playboy lying around? You might want to know that Crosby’s nude photos were published in the March, 1979 and May, 1988 issues (you’re welcome)! Did know she’s singer Bing Crosby’s granddaughter? Of COURSE you did!

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Zephrame Cochrane and a Vulcan making first contact in Star Trek: First Contact. First Contact is the first film in the Star Trek film series in which none of the Star Trek: The Original Series main characters appear.

While I’m still on the subject of Next Generation, this brings me to another of my favorite Star Trek films – Star Trek: First Contact (1996). In this one, they go back in time and meet Zephrame Cochrane, who made the first successful warp flight. And when they meet this man – whom is a hero to them – they learn that he’s kind of a layabout…drunk and a reluctant hero. There were also Borg in this movie, which never failed to bring the excitement – and drama! I used to joke that “it must be sweeps month” whenever there was an episode with Borg – or Q!

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“Hugh,” from the Next Generation episode called “I Borg,” which is one of my favorite episodes. Hugh, a young male Borg, is captured by Enterprise crew and and with the help of Geordi (who renames him “Hugh”) gets in touch with his “human” side. At the episode’s end, he gets returned to the site where he was captured, and is re-assimilated by the Borg.

When I started dating a guy in 1992 who was really, really into Star Trek? I had no choice but to be along for the ride! He said the  “rec room” in his dorm (Tate Hall at Central Michigan University, which has since been demolished) was a popular place when Next Generation was on TV, and with the new Deep Space Nine series debuting in 1993 (which one of his stoner friends re-named “Deep Brain Nine”) there was no shortage of ways for sci-fi nerds to enjoy TV!

What about today? I’m doing my absolute best to “cram” for an upcoming Star Trek theme trivia night! A friend has lent us the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, I’m reading the wiki/imdb entries and…reflecting on the numerous ways Star Trek has been a HUGE part of my life!

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