I did not know how much I would appreciate this detailed exploration of Star Trek: TOS prop computers.

I’m amazed at the level of detail that went into analyzing the prop computers created over 50 years ago for the original Star Trek. Not only has this website collected screen shots of the various props, but some include diagrams indicating which practical buttons on the props activated which lights. (The same website has sections on reused set elements, changes in the depiction of Klingon foreheads, and more.) Back in the 60’s and early 70’s the thought of having a portable desk-top computer was unthinkable. This made the computer props from Star Trek so intriguing and just plain cool. During…

Shatner’s live, extemporaneous post-touchdown monologue on mortality was better than Kirk’s death scene

After returning to Earth in Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin private spacecraft, Shatner is delivering an extemporaneous monologue about viewing Mother Earth and reflecting on death. “I hope I never recover from this,” he says, of the emotions he experienced. Much better than Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations. Someone (I was listening, not watching… I think it was Bezos) says “Beautiful,” and Shatner thinks he’s commenting about the view from space, but the comment was referring to Shatner’s words. And I have to teach.

Reuben Klamer, designer of Trek’s “phaser rifle” and Milton-Bradley’s “The Game Of Life” dead at 99

Although more modern-looking rifles appeared as props in ST:The Next Generation and later iterations, the iconic phaser rifle only appeared in the second pilot, the first to feature William Shatner and the character James Kirk. Reuben Klamer, the inventor of Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life board game and the designer of a Starfleet phaser rifle for the original Star Trek TV series, died at his home in La Jolla, California on Tuesday at the age of 99, according to the Toy Association. Klamer was commissioned to create The Game of Life by the Milton Bradley toy company, now owned…

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No, Kirk and Uhura didn’t share the first interracial kiss on television

Great post from Fake History Hunter: It is often said that the first interracial kiss on TV was the (involuntary) kiss between Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) and translator and communications officer Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) in the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” that was broadcast on the 22nd of November 1968. This is not the case. There had of course been interracial kisses before in Star Trek but these were between humans and aliens but for some reason those don’t count when people are talking about interracial kissing. A lot of people seem to be obsessed with people…

Kirk’s manly, sensitive advice to young Charlie

In poplar culture, Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek has a reputation of being a womanizer. Chris Pine’s portrayal of Kirk in the rebooted movies certainly plays up that character trait, but in Kirk’s original appearance, the second pilot episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” it’s Kirk’s helmsman Gary Mitchell who follows a female crewmember with his eyes, holds hands with a pretty yeoman during a crisis on the bridge, and calls Dr. Dehner a “walking freezer unit” when she rebuffs his advances. Mitchell recalls that during their academy days Kirk was a “stack of books with legs.”…

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Devil’s Due (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 13) Picard vs. sexy devil Ardra

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Picard searches for a legal loophole in peaceful planet’s pact with the devil. Memorable scenes include Data playing Scrooge on the holodeck, courtroom hijinks (“The advocate will refrain from making her opponent disappear”), and Picard padding around on the planet in his jammies (“Just have Mister Data fetch me in a shuttle. And have him bring along a uniform.”) Ardra’s Q-worthy antics are enjoyable, but it’s a stretch to believe someone with her abilities would settle for scamming a peaceful agrarian planet. Yes she convinces the Ventaxians, but she also bypasses security aboard the…

“This Is Probably Going to Kill Us:” How First ‘Star Trek’ Movie Avoided Disaster

This article left out someone important! Reassembling the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise (Shatner as Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelley as McCoy, George Takei as Sulu, Nichelle Nichols as Uhura and Walter Koenig as Chekov) years after the end of its five-year mission — with added, pivotal Starfleet characters Decker (Stephen Collins) and Ilia (Persis Khambatta) carried over from Phase II —  the plot of Star Trek: The Motion Picture raised the dramatic stakes with a deadly threat in the form of an alien entity called V’ger, a massive space cloud heading on an intercept course with Earth, determined to meet its…

Vulcan mind-melds from Star Trek: The Original Series, in the order that I can think of them…

With Dr. Simon Van Gelder in Dagger of the Mind the Horta in Devil in the Dark; mirror Spock melds with McCoy in Mirror Mirror with Nomad the floating space probe in The Changeling. Kinda sorta with random guard (remotely projects the vague idea that the prisoners have escaped, so not really a meld) in… sorry, can’t think of the name of that episode… By any Other Name? At the end of Requiem for Methusula, Spock touches Kirk’s head and says “Forget,” which I take to be a form of mind meld; with Kirk’s consciousness in Janice Lester’s body in…

STAR TREK’s Still as Relevant on the 50th Anniversary

In situations of change, it is natural for human beings to look for touchstones. As a human being, I had always sought a center to my life, an example to follow. What I hadn’t realized was that I was already following a path into the future. It was pointed out to me at a business meeting. I was comparing a current problem to something I had watched on television the previous night. I can’t recall the particular problem, but I do recall saying, “well, we could be diplomatic, but as Scotty said on Star Trek last night, ‘The best diplomat…

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Franz Joseph and Star Trek’s Blueprint Culture

In 1977, when I was about nine, I saw the original Star Wars, and I certainly enjoyed it, but unlike many of my friends, I kept my allegiance to Star Trek — which was on every afternoon in reruns, and was also available as an animated series, novels, comic books, etc. My fourth-grade classmate Dean Weigh sold me his Star Trek Starfleet Technical Manual, a big paperback full of cross-sections and blueprints, diplomatic texts, and trivia. A little while later my sister found the Star Trek Enterprise blueprints at a rummage sale — in mint condition, except where someone had…

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Computer Interfaces in Star Trek’s “Assignment Earth”

I was watching classic Star Trek with my son a few days ago when I came across this scene, from Assignment Earth, which is set on Earth during the 1960s (when the original show aired). This episode featured the adventures of a human raised by apparently benevolent aliens who want to stop Earth from destroying itself. As a kid I remember being thrilled at how much NASA footage they worked into the episode. At Computers and Writing 2015, I will be presenting a paper on 20thC imaginations of futuristic composition practices. I will discuss the onstage depiction of an artificial…

Fun with Kirk and Spock

See the Enterprise. See the Enterprise go boldly. Go Go Go, Enterprise! Go Boldly! Join Kirk and Spock as they go boldly where no parody has gone before!Description Since the 1930’s, the book Fun with Dick and Jane and its various adaptations have helped children learn to read. It’s inspired several parodies and movie and television references, but none as amusing as this clever spoof, written with Trekkies in mind! —Simon & Schuster.

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Proto iPads and Paper Coexist in Classic Star Trek

Rewatching the classic Trek episode “The Conscience of the King,” which features a Shakespearean acting troupe. In one scene, McCoy writes a report on a wedge proto-iPad… …but in the very next scene Kirk scrawls on a piece of paper. This episode also features characters doing computer searches, using an exposition-friendly voice interface to call up photographs of individuals and compare their biographies, which must have seemed very futuristic back in 1966.

Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk – Forbes

Both Spock and McCoy are frequently at odds with each other, recommended different courses of action and bringing very different types of arguments to bear in defense of those points of view. Kirk sometimes goes with one, or the other, or sometimes takes their advice as a springboard to developing an entirely different course of action. However, the very fact that Kirk has advisors who have a different worldview not only from each other, but also from himself, is a clear demonstration of Kirk’s confidence in himself as a leader. Weak leaders surround themselves with yes men who are afraid…

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Star Trek The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute

Set phasers to “meh”! My wife arranged a visit to The Franklin Institute a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t actually know that this Star Trek exhibit was there.  I was ready to pass, in favor of the more educational exhibits, but my wife made it a Father’s Day treat and shelled out enough gold-pressed latinum for the four of us. No photography was allowed in the exhibit, which was annoying, so I wasn’t going to blog it at all because, well, sometimes words are boring.  But this YouTube clip, in between the chatter and the promos, shows some of…