Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gene Roddenberry Article from Starlog #2

From the second issue of Starlog, published in November of 1976, comes this article on the Great Bird of the Galaxy, Gene Roddenberry. Not a Trek cover, sadly, but a nice Space:1999 painting anyway.
(Click on images to enlarge.)

"Oh, no, Fred Frieberger is in control, we're doomed!"

The whereabouts of the three-foot filming miniature on the desk has become a minor mystery in the years since that photo was taken. Maybe someday it will show up again. Update: Susan Sackett sheds a little more light on the subject in a comment on the Facebook ST Scrapbook fan page: "Last I heard, it was on someone's coffee table. It was ripped off during the late 1970s when the first movie was being made. It was last seen at a special effects house... btw, I took that photo!"

Below, the next article in the issue was about the planned movie, still in its early stages at that time. In one paragraph we see that Gene's script named "The God Thing," essentially a vehicle for expressing his low opinion of religion, was rejected by the studio honchos. To their credit, they at least realized that a script debunking God as a petty, deceiving alien computer would not make a well-received film (as we can see from the later ill-fated Star Trek V, which re-worked the idea). Happily, this did not end the chances for the first movie being made. (Read more about the rejected script here and here.)

Below is a two-page collection of quotes from the same issue from various well-known people about the show...

Personal note: Although I admired Gene as the mastermind behind Star Trek, (he was my hero for many years) I do not share his views on the Judeo-Christian understanding of the Creator, and am uncomfortable posting them without clarifying that point. Although this is a light-hearted blog sharing nostalgic material about the original series (where the subject was hardly an issue), when a subject this close to my heart is brought up in the material and presented in a negative light, I feel the need to comment. And since this is my blog, I feel it's not infringing on anyone's perceived right to not be confronted by issues such as this. My readers come here, I don't take it to them. Escape is only a click away.

Gene, a vocal secular humanist, was not bashful about sharing his views, and neither am I. Contrary to appearances online, not all Trekkers are atheists. Although Gene's earlier Star Trek IDIC philosophy obstensibly made room for all, later statements in his personal life particularly excluded those who believed in God. Apparently universal tolerance could only extend so far. Some fans, too, seem to resent believers coming to the party. But we're here, and we love Trek too... even though we don't necessarily share the worldview it sometimes promotes. "Eat the meat and toss the bone" is my way of looking at it. I shall now descend from the soapbox, thank you for your patience.

Bonus: In keeping with the theme that has surfaced this time, below is a photo of Jeffery Hunter in his biggest role, the title character in the 1961 film "King of Kings," years before he took command of the starship as Captain Christopher Pike.

"Come unto Me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest."

I've just found this tribute page to our favorite pre-Kirk captain of the Enterprise... enjoy!


jzipperer said...

Nice post. Roddenberry of course liked that soapbox, and he returned to it in Starlog's 100th issue. In an interview by the co-publisher, Kerry O'Quinn, Roddenberry shared more of his thoughts on religion, particularly Christianity. Readers fought back and forth in the letters column over that interview for many, many issues after it appeared.

A bit of a description of it is here in mywriteup of Starlog #100.

PS: I once attended a presentation by the entire advertising staff of a major Christian magazine – and they were all dressed in their Star Trek uniforms (circa Next Generation). Fans, every one of them. So you're not alone!

david_b said...

This was one of my favorite issues of Starlog..! Being a huge 1999 fan (still am..), it was nice promo for the 'less-than-great' 2nd year. It was also a super Trek follow-up to the first issue..

I love the next ish featuring Trek Cons and the script to the SNL Trek sketch..! Great posts!

Frederick said...

Thanks for the kind comment, I enjoyed reading your blog entry, and the blog in general as well!


I hold those first three or four issues particularly close to my heart! I liked the SNL article as well, I've already posted it in fact:

david_b said...

I do as well.. It was a GLORIOUS time in Fandom, long before the 'corporates' got a hold of it all.. Which is why I loved the Galatica and 1999 cons: Very much still 'homegrown' in nature, no $40 autographs..

I believe I collected Starlog up until the 50th ish or so, but have discarded them all (first cutting out the cool full-page photos..), saving the first 20 issues. They were in many ways my childhood and adolesence.., waiting for the next issue.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Famous Trekkies, what did Rod Serling one of my favorite writers, have to do with Star Trek. Did her write any of the eps??? I am curious. Thanks for your scrapbook. It's a treasure.
-Fenna from Trekspace

Frederick said...


Thanks, glad you enjoy it! Serling never contributed to the show directly, he only liked it as did many and was quoted since he was well known. Calling the people in th article "trekkies" was a stretch since most of them only liked and respected the show (aside from those involved in it), and probably weren't trekkies in the sense that they were consumed by it like we are. :)

Phil Donaldson said...

Yes, there are Trekkers who are believers. I am one. My friend, Rick who does the Take Him With You podcast is a big Trek fan and shares his faith openly.

Cool to see others not backing down.