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Star Trek 50

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

8th September 2016

The Chairman (Age 5)

I don't remember the exact date that I first saw Star Trek, but I remember how it happened. I was maybe five, or six, years old and I went to bed around 7 PM, like I did every night. But one night, for whatever reason, I was awake enough around 8:45 to hear the doorbell ring. I was aware enough to know what that meant, and I was overcome with an incredible amount of curiosity about who could be at our house.

So naturally, because even at 5 I was too curious for my own good, I snuck out of my room. After waiting an appropriate amount of time, so I wouldn't be immediately caught. I tiptoed down the stairs in our new house - the same house where my parents still live, three decades later. I quietly crept down the hallway to peek around the corner towards the living room, and spied on my parents. Those traitors had ordered pizza! Without me! I loved (and still love) pizza! That was so unfair!

My mom and dad were watching TV, chatting quietly and eating pizza. I was still in stealth mode, so I didn't storm out and call them on their nefarious late-night pizza ordering. I waited, and I watched. Suddenly, I payed attention to the television and was immediately enraptured. There were bright colors, cool music and sounds, and a spaceship. I was definitely more of a space kid than a dinosaur kid, so this was so cool. I had interrupted an old ritual of my folks - order pizza, relax, and watch Star Trek.

Now, I was five years old, and even though I was fairly smart for my age, there was no way I could follow what was going on in the story from the hallway. But I was completely fixated on the show. I figured out that it was about a spaceship and the people who worked on it, and their adventures. I also figured out I wasn't as stealthy as I thought I was, because it didn't take long for my folks to catch me watching. When they asked me what I was doing, I told the truth: I wanted some pizza. But my hopes had changed from getting a piece of pizza, to getting to sit and eat the pizza while the show was on.

I can only imagine five year old Charlie, sitting on the floor, small plate in front of me, staring wide-eyed at my very first episode of Star Trek. Whatever it was about that show, or the combination of pizza, being up late, and that show, had me hooked. Eventually I convinced my parents to let me stay up on Star Trek night with them, and watch. They recorded episodes for me, we rented video tapes, and obsessed together about the news that a new Star Trek was going to be on TV soon!

Now, the above story is exaggerated. For all I know, it might be entirely made up. But I vividly remember pizza and Star Trek with my parents, no matter how it happened. I remember recording every episode of The Next Generation on VHS tapes (6 episodes to a tape) and re-watching them obsessively. It quickly became a huge part of my life, to this day, and we owe it all to Gene Roddenberry and his vision of humanity's future.

Today, we celebrate the 50th birthday of Star Trek. An idea that has transcended any one show or movie. A show that has become such a part of our culture, it's influenced generations of scientists, engineers, officers, and creators to strive for something greater than themselves. It has influenced technology and music and millions upon millions of human beings across the entire world. And it all started fifty years ago today, on September 8th, 1966.

The Continuing Committee is proud to announce Star Trek 50, a trio of brand new virtual expansions dedicated to the history and heritage of humanity's future. Our teams of volunteers have worked long and hard to capture the spirits of each of the five television series and the ten prime universe movies, and bring those to life in three different eighteen-card expansions. Star Trek 50: First Edition brings to life some of the most famous stories in Star Trek history. Similarly, Star Trek 50: Second Edition focuses on the struggles of good and evil and features some of Trek's most terrifying villains. Finally, Star Trek 50: Tribbles explores how some of the history of the future's moments might be a little different if things were a little more... greedy.

All of these expansions will begin previews and release later in September. But we can't let the actual anniversary go by without giving you guys something to talk about. Today, on Trek's 50th birthday, let's go to where it all began for this community. A First Edition card from The Original Series:

Prepare Landing Party

Star Trek may be 50 years old, but with more movies and a new television series on the way, she's got plenty of life left in her. Let's all celebrate 50 years past and a hopefully future, together. Live long and prosper!

PS: Thanks to my mom for the tiny Charlie photo. Thanks Mom!

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