Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We Salute the Birthday of Gene Roddenberry!

Few television series have endured the steadfast rapture of the Flaming Nose founders more than Star Trek, so it is only fitting that we honor the birthday of its creator, the late Gene Roddenberry. Born August 19, 1921 in El Paso Texas, Mr. Roddenberry passed to the final frontier on October 24, 1991.

From his 70 year tenure on the planet Earth, Gene Roddenberry's most lasting legacy will be as creator of the original Star Trek television series in the 1960's, a phenomenon that has gone on to spawn 4 additional programs (including Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise) as well as 11 feature length movies. The most recent Star Trek movie was a J.J. Abrams blockbuster that has grossed over $200 million dollars and was reviewed here back in May 2009. The Flaming Nose has posted a total of 29 individual articles about Star Trek over the past few years, proof of our devotion to the brand and the dream.

Along with George Lucas and Neil Armstrong, it's fairly safe to say that Gene Roddenberry is a God to space fanatics and Sci-Fi geeks everywhere. But few probably realize that Mr. Roddenberry's life was an excellent adventure even before he gained fame for Star Trek. He was a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps in World War II, flying in 89 missions. After the war he became a commercial pilot for Pan American Airlines. He even had a 7 year run on the LAPD, a job he held to support his family while he tried to make it as a writer in Hollywood. I love the picture of Gene Roddenberry posted here. You can see the cocky swagger that inspired the iconic character of Captain James T. Kirk.

Mr. Roddenberry is one of the few celebrities who has ever been approved to have his ashes scattered in space by NASA. He did not live long. But he most certainly has prospered.

Check out this 2008 interview with his widow Majel Roddenberry (who appeared in the original series) and son Eugene (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Chris Pine...Captain Kirk in the new movie).


Lisa said...

I'm sure I must have told you about the time that I visited Paramount at the time they were doing "ST: TNG" and while touring around with Mel Smith, our wonderful Tribune Programmingmiester at the time, this big Rolls Royce came into the parking lot and kind of parked a little crazy. Out came Gene Roddenberry, as friendly as can be, and we were introduced and shook hands. For some reason I don't remember as much as I should about that Trek tour! But it was wonderful meeting Roddenberry. Actually, I believe I also got his autograph at an early L.A. convention -- I'll have to scan and post it! Thanks for this heartfelt post! Roddenberry made history -- changed history, indeed!

Jane said...

Wow!!! If you told me this it did not register. What a fabulous encounter. You are very lucky. Yes, he was an amazing man. Die hard Trekkies will probably turn him into a religion and there will be a Roddenberry church a few hundred years from now. Of course, he would hate that. His best legacy will be when we actually get an interplanetary space program going.