September 8, 2016

20,000 Vinyl LPs 67: 50 years of Star Trekkin'

Inside Star Tre
detail photo

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the comet created by Gene Roddenberry that hit Earth on September 8, 1966, and the world was never the same. The comet was named, "Star Trek"!

I was blown away by the cartoon look of the original series because of its saturated colors. It had phony, at times even cheesy, costumes and sets. It occasionally had banal story lines. But it was a whole lot of  fun and, of course, I love the music that went with it. Alexander Courage wrote the theme music, bongos 'n all, for the original series. Some of the greatest film composers had a crack at it on different episodes.    

Star Trek 1 & 2

And who didn't love Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock? He with the logical approach to existence who occasionally knew/felt what it was like to be (half)human; then quickly doing his reality check to bring it back down. 

Mr. Spock's 
Music from Outer Space
vinyl LP

Then there were the movies that came along; some of them good, some of them not. My favorite scene of ALL the movies was when Scotty talks to the computer in The Voyage Home (link below to scene on YouTube).   

vinyl LP

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
vinyl LP

Star Trek ~ The Wrath of Khan
vinyl LP

I remember when Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted in 1987. I was very excited that the series was being revived. The colors were new and space-like, whatever that means. The stories were well written and the production values were very much higher than the original series. The series had the most amazing characters ever created and fleshed them out to the point that they were real-life people. 

Heroic Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) was the epitome of Interstellar Suavery (don't look it up, there's no such word). And who wasn't fascinated by the beautiful Borg drone, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan nee: Annika Hansen)? What about the android, Lieutenant Commander Data, (Brent Spiner)? An excellent follow up to Mr. Spock!

Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) and her son, Wesley, (Wil Wheaton) brought a wonderful touch of humanity: a family dealing with outer space and they added a deeper dimension to the story lines. An alien known as The Traveler tells Captain Picard that Wesley possesses a unique intelligence and great potential when provided encouragement and opportunity, comparing him to a child prodigy like Mozart. Picard appoints Crusher as an acting ensign. As the series ran for seven years, we watched Wesley grow from a boy to a young man.    
None other than the brilliant film composer, Jerry Goldsmith, wrote the music for the main theme for the series (link below to music on YouTube). 

Star Trek: The Next Generation became the first and only syndicated television series to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. The series received a number of accolades including 19 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award

Star Trek: The Next Generation
vinyl LP

Then the spin-offs came along and one was a doozy. Deep Space Nine was ok but somehow it didn't quite make  it for me as much as Generation.  

Star Trek ~ Deep Space Nine
vinyl LP

However, for me, the best of all the many series, Star Trek: Voyager, came along in 1995 and I was hooked once again. Captain Kathryn Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew), was just what the series needed but we didn't know it until we had her.

The Janeway character was originally called Elizabeth Janeway, after the noted writer. However, after Geneviève Bujold was cast, she requested the character to be renamed "Nicole Janeway". Bujold was unprepared for the schedule demanded by the television series, was unwilling to do news interviews, and dropped out on the second day of filming for the pilot episode "Caretaker". Kate Mulgrew was brought in. She suggested that the name to be changed to "Kathryn", to which the producers agreed.  

After watching  Orange Is the New Black for a year or so, I finally realized that Mulgrew is the Russian inmate, Galina "Red" Reznikov. For this role Mulgrew won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (comedy, really?) in 2014.     

The Borg drone, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) as well as the android, Lieutenant Commander Data, (Brent Spiner) reappear and both are more human and even lovable, a brilliant feat of script writing and character development.  

I felt the Voyager series had the most beautiful main theme music of them all (link below to song on YouTube). Jerry Goldsmith composed and conducted an entirely new main theme for Voyager. As was done with The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, a soundtrack album of the series' pilot episode "Caretaker" was released by Crescendo Records in 1995 between seasons one and two. There is a pretty decent techno dance version, replete with chorus, on YouTube (link below).   


Star Trek ~ Voyager

All of the Star Trek endeavours have been wonderful to watch over and over again for the last 50 years; they've been great companions on quiet afternoons or late at night when I couldn't sleep. 

The Best of Star Trek

Happy birthday, Star Trek, and thanks for all the hundreds of hours of adventure, fun and great music listening! I'm looking forward to the next fifty years.       

Net links:          
Leonard Nimoy ~ The Way I Feel               
Original 1960's theme on YouTube          
Next Generation theme on YouTube               
Deep Space Nine theme on YouTube               
Voyager theme on YouTube             
Voyager theme (extended version) on YouTube             
Voyager theme (techno dance version) on YouTube              
Scotty talks to the computer on YouTube            

Live long & prosper!

Styrous® ~ Thursday, September 8, 2016       

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