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Friday, May 19, 2006
Star Trek Auction
How cool would it be to have the money to bid on some of the props, costumes and items used in all five Star Trek shows? Imagine how just cool it would be to have the Captain Kirk command chair sitting in your living room.

OK, I'm geeking out here a bit. I know I can't afford any of these items, but it's still kind of cool to think about. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket and see if I can't win a couple of million so I can have one of the models of the Enterprise used to film Star Trek VI in my collection.

Reading about some of the items up for bid, I was reminded of back in '92, my family lived near Washington D.C. when the Air and Space Museum had a special exhibit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of classic Star Trek. I went to the exhibit twice--once on a spring break home from UT and then that summer with some friends. The exhibit looked at how certain episodes reflected the time they were written and produced and what comment they made on that era. There were also a few props that were still around such as the data tapes for the computers and tricorders.

But two things I recall that were the most fascinating to me about the exhibit. One was an original script of "The Enemy Within" (the one where Kirk is split into good Kirk and bad Kirk). The script had the original lines crossed out and penciled in were the classic lines we'd all heard for years--improvised and re-written on set by Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley. As a Star Trek fan, that was just cool. They also had an original outline by Harlan Ellison of the classic "City on the Edge of Forever." I won't bore you with details on the re-writes done to it and Ellison's reaction to be re-written. If you're interested, do a Google search and you will out more than you ever wanted to know.

The other fascinating thing was an interview with some of the cast and crew on the impact Trek had on their lives and careers. One that was particularily haunting was given by William Shatner. He told a story of being picked up by a limo driver, being recognized (he is Shatner, after all) and the driver saying something like, "Hey you were that Captain Kirk guy." The driver then wanted to tell him how much he liked Star Trek and how much it meant to him. At this point, Shatner figured it was just another crazy fan but he'd be nice and listen since, well, the guy was driving his limo. Instead, the limo driver says that he was a POW in Vietnam and was held prisoner with some other Trek fans. Star Trek had just barely entered syndication at this time, but they each had three or four episodes memorized. During their captivity and torture, the thing that kept these guys sane was Star Trek. See, these guys would all re-live the episodes, each person taking on a certain role each day and saying the lines to each other. One day he'd do the Kirk part, the next day the Scotty part, the next day the Spock part. Doing that helped them to get through the suffering they were enduring and the limo driver just wanted to thank Shatner for Star Trek becuase the show had literally saved his life.

At this point, Shatner said the limo had to pull over as both men were in tears and that he began to realize that it had made an impact beyond being just a TV show.

I'm not doing the story justice in re-telling it. When I heard it, it gave me goosebumps. It was a powerful story.

Sure, I know deep down that Star Trek is just a TV show. And sometime I know I seem a bit silly in my devotion to it and my enjoyment of it. But you know, sometimes you're reminded that while it's just a TV show, it's also some pretty darn extraordinary.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/19/2006 10:48:00 AM | |
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