Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek.

September 8th, 1966. Fifty years ago, tonight:

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No, I wasn’t there. I wouldn’t even be a fetus for another month or so. As such, my earliest memories of Star Trek were of the reruns of the original show as broadcast every day after school, the Saturday morning animated series, the odd comic book or collection of episode adaptations penned by James Blish, the AMT U.S.S. Enterprise model or their “Exploration Set” with phaser, communicator and tricorder, my Mego Captain Kirk and crew action figures, and those tracer guns that spit little spinning discs of doom.

But make no mistake: Those reruns grabbed ahold of me very early on, and they never let go.

Star Trek has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My obsession with those old episodes never waned, and in fact only deepened as the age of home video dawned and I could watch my favorite installments whenever I wanted, either by buying the VHS tapes or LaserDiscs or renting them from places like Blockbuster Video (remember those?). Tapes gave way to DVD and later Blu-ray and streaming. I have the entire Star Trek TV and film library at my fingertips and thanks to my smartphone, I can carry my favorite episodes around in my pocket. Then it gets crazy when we start talking about things like music and games and comics and books……..

Oh, yeah. Right. The books.

At some point, I was able to channel my Star Trek love into a short story that somebody bought and published in a book. Then they did it again, and again. Eighteen years later, I’m taking a break from finishing my 20th Star Trek novel so that I can jot down these rambling, disjointed thoughts. I literally feed my kids thanks to Star Trek. How crazy is that?

Pretty damned crazy.

So, while I’m not quite as old as Star Trek, we’ve been joined at the hip pretty much from the jump. It’s given me so many friends, afforded me so many opportunities, and just been a tremendous amount of fun. I remember thinking, back during the 25th anniversary celebrations in 1991, that maybe we’d reached “peak Star Trek.” The death of Gene Roddenberry less than two months later seemed to strengthen that notion.

I’ve only rarely been so happy to be proven so very, very wrong.

Is there a future for Star Trek after 50? A gander at the Magic 8-Ball tells me “Signs Point to Yes.” A new television series is set to debut next year. There’s talk of yet another feature film. There are comics and games and toys and all sorts of crazy collectibles out there. Oh, yeah, and those books. Keep buying those, would ya? I’d like to keep writing them, and indeed I will for as long as fate allows me the good fortune to do so.

And all the while, I’m watching those favorite episodes and movies and reading those books, eagerly awaiting all that new stuff to get here. I’m still a fan. Always have been. Always will be.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek. You wear your age pretty damned well.

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About Dayton Ward

Freelance word pusher. Husband. Dad. Trekkie. Rush fan (the band). Tampa Bay Bucs fan. Observer/derider of human behavior. I know where my towel is.
This entry was posted in fandom, nerdity, trek, tributes. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek.

  1. I will do my part by buying every Star Trek novel that is released. I recently finished the Legacies Trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was nice to see (read) Number One in action! I find that I enjoy going back through my library of Star Trek books to reread them. Like the episodes, these stories never get stale, dull or repetitive because they are built on a great founding myth tale. I doubt I will be around for the 100th Anniversary celebrations but who knows, Star Trek may have inspired a scientist to come up with a breakthrough that will prolong my lifespan so I can celebrate Star Trek on Mars in 2066! Mr. Ward, continue writing these great Star Trek stories and we’ll keep reading them! LLAP!

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  2. Phil Friel says:

    Reblogged this on Tales of Time & Space… and commented:
    Unlike Dayton, I’m slightly older than Star Trek. I was three months short of my 6th birthday when it first aired in the US, and five months shy of my 9th birthday when it first aired here in the UK, when “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was broadcast on BBC1 at 5.15pm on the evening of Saturday, July 12th, 1969. And my life would never be the same again.

    Star Trek, along with Doctor Who, have been with me since my early childhood, and have always retained a special place in my heart. They have been the pillars of my sci-fi “self” my entire life. Other sci-fi series such as Babylon 5 and UFO have challenged strongly, but none have ever surpassed these two in my affections.

    Once a Trekkie, always a Trekkie: Happy 50th Birthday Star Trek!

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