Today, August 19th, is the 90th anniversary of the birth of Star Trek creator, and "Great Bird of the Galaxy," Gene Roddenberry. It also happens to be the birthday of Star Trek: TNG’s Jonathan Frakes. So today TrekMovie remembers The Bird, and wishes The Beard a happy birthday.
Remembering Gene Roddenberry
In 1964 after his police TV series The Lieutenant went off the air, Gene Roddenberry started thinking about the future – the 23rd century to be exact. After pitching his "wagon train to the stars" concept around town he finally found a home with Desilu and NBC in 1965 and after producing two pilots he finally launched Star Trek in September 1966 – 45 years ago next month. What started as a TV show grew into a phenomenon, with Roddenberry seen as more than just a producer but as a visionary. Re-dubbed "The Great Bird of the Galaxy," Roddenberry went on to bring Trek to the big screen in 1979 with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and back to the small screen in 1987 with Star Trek: The Next Generation. His hopeful vision of the future has inspired millions and still lives on today, 90 years after his birth.
Here is Gene talking about just one aspect of this vision:
Roddenberry passed away in 1991. This was an emotional moment for Star Trek fans. This video from 1991 exempifies what Roddenberry means to the fans as members of the USS Hudson Bay sign a condolence and talk about what Gene meant to them.
Happy Birthday, Jonathan Frakes
Today isn’t just Roddenberry’s birthday, but it is also the birthday of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes. The Beard turns 59 today. Frakes’ visceral Riker was TNG’s counter-balance to the more intellectual Captain Picard. For seven seasons Frakes brought humor and passion to the role. And how many actors are famous just for the way they walk (as seen in video below).
Following in the footsteps of Leonard Nimoy who directed two Trek feature films, Frakes also pioneered the era of actors directing episodes of Star Trek. He also then went on to direct two of the Next Generation films. Frakes is still working today as a director, mostly doing TV. In the last year Frakes has directed episodes of V, Persons Unknown, The Good Guys, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Glades, Burn Notice and especially Leverage. He even cast himself in an episode of Bar Karma, as seen below.
Trek Celebs tweets
Some Star Trek celebrities are also tweeting about today’s milestones: