William Shatner Talks to AARP About Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 11:49 am

William Shatner spoke to AARP The Magazine’s Bill Newcott about the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek.” My favorite quote:

I was making a documentary, and I needed an airplane. So I cold-called an executive at the Canadian airplane manufacturer Bombardier and asked to borrow one. He said, “Sure! I became an aeronautical engineer because of you. This is my payback.”

More for Trekkies: check out The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years

And don’t forget the wonderful documentary “Trekkies” and the sequel.

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Television

Star Trek: An Oral History

Posted on May 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm

The Smithsonian has paid tribute to Star Trek, one of the most beloved and influential television series of all time with an excerpt from a series a series of oral history interviews conducted over 30 years. The first volume of the oral history, will be published next month:
The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years.

It was the most wildly successful failure in television history. First shown on NBC 50 years ago this September, the original “Star Trek” lasted just three seasons before it was canceled—only to be resuscitated in syndication and grow into a global entertainment mega-phenomenon. Four live-action TV sequels, with another digital-platform spinoff planned by CBS to launch next year. A dozen movies, beginning with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture and resuming this July with the director Justin Lin’s “Star Trek Beyond.” It finds Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) in deep space, where they are attacked by aliens and stranded on a distant planet—a plot that may make some viewers glad that at least the special effects are new. Over the decades “Star Trek” merchandise alone (because who does not need a Dr. McCoy bobblehead?) has reportedly brought in some $5 billion.

Creator Gene Roddenberry described it as an outer space western, and he included allegories that directly addressed cultural and political issues. It featured not only the first television series character who was an African-American woman in a professional position but the first interracial romantic kiss on television as well.

The richness and persistence of the original vision are what make an extensive oral history of “Star Trek” so compelling.

And so are the stories behind the scenes.

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Behind the Scenes Television

Gorgeous Matte Paintings for “Star Trek”

Posted on February 13, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Copyright Paramount 2008
Copyright Paramount 2008

Take a look at this gorgeous collection of matte paintings used for backgrounds on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” They are the last of their kind; everything is CGI now.

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Behind the Scenes Special Effects

The Original Starship Enterprise is Being Restored at the Smithsonian

Posted on February 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm

The Washington Post reports that the original “Star Trek” spaceship, the legendary Enterprise, is going to be restored in a delicate months-long process.

Enterprise is a venerable ship — launched in 1964 at a Burbank, Calif., prop maker’s shop for the original “Star Trek” television series.

Ariel O’Connor, a conservator at the museum, shows where screws were hidden under a rail on the main body of the Enterprise model. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
It’s also a piece of history, along with the Wright Brothers’ “Flyer” and Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis.”

The museum is now restoring the make-believe voyager as a part of America’s real-life air and space heritage.

The original Captain Kirk is coming to DC for a one-man show. Maybe he’ll make a visit to see how his old ship is doing.

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