The 50s

November 17, 1967: premiere date of the Star Trek episode ‘Journey to Babel’.

While transporting dignitaries to an important peace conference the Enterprise is pursued by a mysterious vessel and an assassin is discovered among the passengers.

This one is my favorite Spock-centric episode.

We meet his parents, Sarek of Vulcan and Amanda Grayson of Earth.

We also meet the Andorians and Tellarites  for the first time.

And it’s the first reference to the Pirates of Orion.

The one scene in this episode that gets me is when Amanda tries to convince Spock to assist Dr. McCoy with a blood transfusion to save his dying father.

When you were five years old and came home stiff-lipped, anguished, because the other boys tormented you saying that you weren’t really Vulcan. I watched you, knowing that inside that the human part of you was crying and I cried, too. There must be some part of me in you, some part that I still can reach. If being Vulcan is more important to you, then you’ll stand there speaking rules and regulations from Starfleet and Vulcan philosophy, and let your father die. And I’ll hate you for the rest of my life.

My own Mom was protective of me as well.

The 50s

October 20th, 1967: premiere date of Star Trek episode ‘The Doomsday Machine’.

I’ve said elsewhere that this is one of my all-time favorite episodes, and one that I can watch over and over and over.

I named my first Star Trek Role Playing Game character Mackenzie Decker, and made him the nephew of Commodore Matt Decker.

So much great quotable dialogue came from this episode.

  • They say there’s no devil, Jim, but there is, right out of Hell. I saw it!
    Matt, where’s your crew?
    On the third planet.
    There IS no third planet!
    Don’t you think I know that? There was, but not anymore! They called me; they BEGGED me for help, four hundred of them! I couldn’t… I-I couldn’t…
  • Bones, you ever hear of a doomsday machine?No, I’m a doctor, not a mechanic.
  • If I only had some phasers.
    Phasers – you’ve got ’em. I have one bank recharged.
    Scotty, you just earned your pay for the week.
  • Vulcans never bluff.
  • A commander is responsible for the lives of his crew, and for their deaths. Well… I should have died with mine.
  • We’re stronger with you than without you!
  • Gentlemen, beam me aboard.

One of the highlights of that Star Trek concert that I attended last year was a live performance of the music (entitled “Kirk Does It Again”) from the final act of the episode.

You’ve seen the episode enough times, you can recite the dialogue as the music plays.

Most if not all of this music was repurposed for the episode ‘The Ultimate Computer’.

I’ll probably watch this one sometime later today.

The 50s

October 13, 1967: premiere date of Star Trek episode ‘The Apple’.

The crew of the Enterprise visits a mysterious and deadly paradise planet which they discover is controlled by a machine called Vaal.

This episode ties a record for the number of red shirt deaths in a Star Trek episode (4, same number as in ‘Obsession’).

  • Hendorff – Killed by thorns of a poisonous plant
  • Kaplan – Struck by lightning
  • Mallory – Killed by explosive rock
  • Marple – Hit with a stick by Akuta

Other highlights of this episodes include Vaal:

And David Soul as Makora:

The 50s

I feel bad that I didn’t continue doing this throughout the year, either for my friends who turned 50, nor the Star Trek episodes that premiered 50 years ago, or movies that first screened in 1967.

That said, Happy Birthday to all of my friends who have turned, or are turning, 50 this year.  May you all live longer and continue to prosper.

October 6, 1967, premiere date of Star trek episode ‘Mirror, Mirror’.

A transporter mishap slips Captain Kirk and his companions into a parallel universe, where the Enterprise serves a barbaric Empire instead of the Federation. This episode spun off several plotlines in Deep Space Nine and Enterprise.

Spock with a beard is an image that always intrigued me.  It’s why I tried to maintain a similar style of facial hair back in my 30s.

[placeholder for picture of me with goatee]

Years later I would meet Barbara Luna (Marlena Moreau) at WonderCon in San Francisco.

[placeholder for picture of me and Barbara Luna]

The one thing that always puzzled me was the idea that the Terran Empire’s ships orbited planets clockwise, instead of counter-clockwise.

Never really looked for an explanation.  It just seems silly.

The 50s

April 6, 1967: premiere date of Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever”.

After accidentally overdosing on a powerful stimulant, Dr. McCoy becomes unbalanced and disappears through the Guardian of Forever, a newly discovered time portal on a remote planet. Kirk and Spock follow after learning that McCoy somehow changed history, removing everything they once knew; including the Enterprise. Arriving in the 1930s, the duo meet Edith Keeler, a New York social worker who gives them a place to stay. As the days pass, and McCoy is nowhere to be seen, Kirk finds himself falling in love with Keeler… but Spock discovers that Keeler must die to restore the timeline.

This has been called the best episode of the Original Series.  I don’t agree, but it is in my top 10 episodes.

Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.

The Guardian of Forever is one of the best… items, certainly one of the most iconic, in all of Star Trek.  Sadly it was only every used once in the Original Series, and once during the Animated Series.  It’s been used in other media, like the Star Trek Online MMORPG.

Let me help. A hundred years or so from now, I believe, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He’ll recommend those three words even over I love you.

My one issue with this episode is the same that writer Harlan Ellison has with this episode.  There are no lasting ramifications on Kirk.

He found the true love of his life, and watched her die, knowing that he could have saved her.  But after the episode was over, that was it, off to the next planet, and the one after that, and eventually Kirk romances a few other women over the course of the 5-year mission.  Edith Keeler meant nothing to Kirk, or he (and/or the writers) hid it very well.

“Let’s get the hell out of here.”

All in all, it was a good episode.

Star Trek 50th

There were 29 episodes of the Original Series that premiered in the year I was born, 1967.  These were the voyages from the back half of Season 1 and the front of Season 2.

I haven’t written about all of them, just favorites of mine.  Perhaps I should have been doing them all along. Ah well.  I’ll continue blogging about my favorite episodes.

For the record, “The Alternative Factor” premiered 50 years ago today.

It was never one of my favorite episodes, truth be told, but it may have been the first time I ever heard of the idea of parallel universes.

And this was the first episode where one of my favorite ‘minor’ Enterprise crewmen got his first screen credit.

Eddie Paskey as Mr. Leslie

The 50s

The tall dude in the green jacket turns 50 today.

We used to joke that Michael Parker was a reverse leprechaun, having been born a day before St. Patrick’s Day.

We met on the first day of 6th grade at the now-defunct Luther Burbank Middle School in the Excelsior District of San Francisco.  It was just one of those weird moments when two people meet and just start hanging out, being friends.

He, along with Jeff Segal and myself, hung out so much that we called ourselves the Awesome Trio, as middle schoolers are apt to do, nicknaming themselves.

We got split up in high school, with Mike going to McAteer and me going to Lowell, and occasionally we’d bump into each other around the city.  Once I saw him at the fire station where he was working, across the street from another friend’s house.

Truth be told, I haven’t talked to him in years, though we remain friends on Facebook.

Happy Birthday, Mike!  Thanks for your friendship during our formative years, and throughout our lifetimes.

The 50s

March 9th, 1967: premiere date of Star Trek episode ‘The Devil in the Dark’.

Dispatched to the mining colony on Janus VI, the Enterprise is tasked to investigate rumors of a strange, subterranean creature responsible for destruction of equipment and the deaths of fifty miners. Kirk and Spock discover a silicon-based life form, a Horta, which lives in the surrounding rock. After Kirk and his Vulcan first officer find the strange creature, Spock performs a mind meld, discovering the reason behind the Horta’s attacks.

This episode holds a special place in my memories because it was the first Star Trek fotonovel that I bought, which means it was one of the first books that I ever bought on my own, with my allowance.  I think I got it from Gemco.

It was a great episode, with a really cool monster, the Horta.

I still have an unopened Spock action figure that I picked up last year after that Star Trek concert.  Perhaps I should open it.

The 50s

My oldest friend turns 50 today.

Senior picnic, 1985 – Don’t worry folks, it’s a water pistol. Though I think he has access to a real one nowadays.

Glenn Young and I were born two days apart, in the same hospital, and grew up in the same neighborhood for the better part of over 30 years.

We didn’t actually meet until Mrs. King’s kindergarten class.  About a couple of weeks into that school year, Glenn was reassigned to the afternoon class, and we didn’t attend school together until we were in Mr. Van Pelt’s Algebra I class in freshman year of high school.

In between that time we’d see each other around the neighborhood, on our way to the corner store or going to or from school.  I recall one day when I saw Glenn coming home from the store, arms full of every pack of the 1976 Star Trek trading cards that they had.  Or so it looked that way.

Glenn has been my conscious at times throughout the years, helping me through matters of the heart and head, and generally helping me keep sane.

He and I pretty much share most if not all of our interests, from comic books to Star Trek to baseball to Star Blazers.

TimeCon ’88: yeah, that’s a TARDIS.

Glenn fed my interest in tabletop gaming and role-playing games, introducing me to both Star Fleet Battles and the Star Trek Role-Playing Game during high school.  He helped me get a job at Gamemasters Distributors in the early days of college.

And we’ve been going to baseball games together for about as far back as the late 1980s.

They couldn’t even get real phasers for the first Star Trek night back in 2009…

We’re both avid Barry Bonds fans, having attended most of the significant events of his career as a San Francisco Giant, including milestone home runs, the day he hit his first grand slam as a Giant (vs the Rockies) and the night he hit the 500-500 mark in his career (homers-stolen bases, vs. the Dodgers).  We plan to take the trip to Cooperstown the year he gets into the Hall of Fame.

The most interesting dynamic between us is that although Glenn is a Kirk fan and I’m a Spock fan, Glenn is more Spock to my Kirk: calm and collected to my over emotional outbursts.

And as I said about another friend who turned 50, Glenn probably knows me better than I know myself.

Happy Birthday, Glenn.  Thank you for telling me what I needed to hear, instead of what I wanted to hear.  I have been, and always shall be, your friend.  Peace and long life.

The 50s

February 23, 1967: premiere date of Star Trek episode ‘A Taste of Armageddon’.

On the day I was born, this episode premiered.

On Eminiar VII, the Enterprise finds a civilization at war with its planetary neighbor. Unable to discern any signs of battle from orbit, Captain Kirk leads a landing party to the surface where he discovers the entire war is fought by computer. Even though the war is simulated, citizens who are listed as virtual casualties still report to termination booths to be killed for real. After the Enterprise is destroyed in an attack simulation, Kirk must fight to keep his crew from death.

I always liked this episode, because it was basically a real live war game run by computers.  Much like what I’ve been playing most of my life on my computers and game consoles.

This episode includes one of my favorite Spock lines:

Sir, there is a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder.

Since I bought the entire series on DVD and later blu-ray, I make a point to watch this episode on or around my birthday.