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:
Happy Birthday Jonathan!
To Gene Roddenberry in whatever dimension of reality he currently inhabits: Thanks dude!!!
GR–a great man and the reason we’re all here at trekmovie.com!
Without his vision of a better future:
A. A lot of actors wouldn’t be as well known as they are today
B. I probably would be a lot more normal then I actually am.
To that, I say this: Thank you, Mr Roddenberry. I hope wherever you are now, you are happy.
Also, happy birthday, Mr Frakes!
As McCoy said in Trek 2. He is really not Dead. As long as we Remember him. The great Bird will always be remembered.
Happy Birthday John. May you have many more.
happy birthday Mr. Frakes!
Also, happy birthday to Diana Muldaur!
Gene Roddenberry! Happy Birthday and thank you for so much! Our world just would not be as cool if you hadn’t been there.
Jonathan Frakes, Happy Birthday. It was a pleasure to work with you on Trek – Insurrection and Nemesis as well as Clockstoppers. You are one the the most awesomely cool personalities working in the industry.
Thanks for forty odd years of fun, thought-provoking entertainment Gene.
And happy Birthday Mr Frakes. Hope it’s a great one. :)
Wow I didn’t know that Frakes is only 5 years younger than Gene! ;) Just kidding, Mr. Frakes, I love you. :)
Happy Birthday to you all!
Thank you, Mr. Roddenberry!
Happy Birthday, Jonathan Frakes!
I second that; I like Dr Pulaski. She was a better doctor than Crusher any day of the week. I liked her more irascible nature; the show NEEDED that. Not to mention her two memorable TOS roles…
Happy Birthday, Diane Muldaur. You were missed after TNG season two. ;-)
Happy Birthday to Jonathan Frakes and Diana Muldaur and big happy birthday to the great bird of the galaxy.
Roddenberry is a legend.
Thank you, Gene Roddenberry, for the gift of Star Trek.
Happy Birthday to Jonathan Frakes and Diana Muldaur.
I never had any problem with Dr Pulaski or Dr Crusher – both good characters.
They will never be another like him… and the tragedy in that statement is that there should be.
I’d have a cup of coffee with the guy at the bar…
Happy bday Number One.
Which episode was it where the crew (esp. Data) talked/joked about Riker’s walk w/ Data offering to show him his walk?
Thank you Gene,you have changed lives!! Happy B-Day #1!! :)
I owe Mr. Roddenberry a great many years of enjoyment, and so I would be remiss if I did not pause to say thank you.
Requiescat in pace. Dominus misereatur animi eius et in vitam aeternam ducat.
Jonathon Frakes…many more happy years to you, sir. Deus benedicat te!
Its Diana Muldaur (DR.Pilaski ) Birthday today also, she turned 74 today
Happy Birthday Jonathan… hum 59 years young , Have a great Birthday
Mr Roddenberry is gone but will never be forgotten the great Bird of the galaxy will always be a part of us always. he gave us fans so much of enjoyment all these years.we are keeping you dream alive…just think in about two 1/2 weeks trek will be celebrating its 45 Birthday.
How could they miss Diana Muldaur!!! Seriously!! She played 2 guest characters back in TOS and Dr. Pulaski for a whole season (#2) in TNG. Wow… embarrassing, guys. Oh well.
A little reminder note to Anthony Pascale – Next Friday, 26 August, our beautiful new Captain Kirk has a birthday. This event cannot/must not be forgotten.
Maybe?, perhaps?, possibly?, the man himself, Chris Pine, could post a comment here on this site so that we can send him adoring best wishes for his 31st birthday…
Oh well, a rose pinenut can dream
Because some of us liked her better than Dr Crusher, that’s all. ;-)
To the Great Bird, though I’m sure that we would have argued voraciously over certain issues…I gotta say, you made a heck of a TV show, one that I love in spite of some of it’s “messages”. (And even those, I don’t mind because I like being made to think, even if the argument doesn’t change my mind.)
Happy B-Day Frakes…and make sure you don’t let Deanna drive the “Titan”…
Happy Birthday to Gene, Jon and Dianne.
HB to Mr Roddenberry and Mr Frakes, Felicidades.
“The Lieutenant” was not a police drama, but rather a military drama about the peacetime Marine Corps.
But aside from that, Happy Birthday, to the Spirit of the Great Bird and to Jonathan Frakes.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Roddenberry–the Anointed One, the Great Bird of the Galaxy.
Thank you so much for giving us a vision of the future in which humans actually do not annihilate themselves. Thank you for giving me the source of my greatest friends, even if they are years older than me. Thanks for giving us (especially me) hope for the years to come.
And thank you for Vulcans. Definitely for Vulcans.
Happy Trekking, everyone.
We need more people in Hollywood these days that have vision like Roddenberry. The Star Trek he created may be old but the messages it sent are still entirely relevant to today.
And The Beard. Well, I hope he remains stolid, as Q was so keen to comment.
Happy bday gr–Your vision of a better humanity and future resonated with so many of us that a phenom was born–no small accomplishment–then u made lightning strike twice with tng,and this time your creation was popular and insightful–and now trek tos has been reborn rising phoenix like out of the ashes with a young n talented cast, great contributers like roberto orci,alex et al with the creative reins passed down to jj abrams the next spielberg–for new n older generations to enjoy–thanks to all those involved! star trek lives indeed! And always will thanx to genes creative vision–
And happy bdays also to diana and jonathon-thanx to them for many years of superior acting and entertainment-ka plahhhh!
It was my Birthday yesterday too. Happy Birthday to us.
Happy Birthdays, Gene and Jonathan!
Thanks, Gene, for creating Star Trek, and Mr. Frakes for being the best guy to not let his Captain beam down with an Away Team.
Happy Birthday to my namesake and to the man who started us all dreaming.
Ah, where would we all be were it not for Gene Roddenberry? How many other franchises have commanded such passion, loyalty and enthusiasm as Star Trek?
Happy Birthday Jonathan Frakes. Maybe it’s time you wrote a “Titan” novel?
Happy Birthday Diana Muldaur.
Happy Birthday to everyone who has a Birthday.
Frakes did a really good appearance on CRIMINAL MINDS playing against “type” last season – a real creepy episode!
@13 Dr. Crusher was a much better fit with the rest of the cast. She seemed much more realistic. I couldn’t see Dr. Pulaski commanding a Star Ship as Dr. Crusher did in “All Good Things”.
I knew I had seen that Riker walk somewhere before… here is a link to a vid that shows the comparison! (just for a laugh!! LOL)
Dr Pulaski wasn’t really given a fair shake though, was she? One season and they brought back Crusher. Too bad.
I just though that Pulaski acted more like a doctor than Crusher (who was too bland and uninteresting, IMO). Again, this is just my two cents…
You say it’s your birthday; well it’s my birthday too, yeah. I was born on 8/19 in 1966, the same day they recorded the music for the first airing episode of STAR TREK.
When Riker’s father came to visit, Pulaski was sort of acting like a mother to Deanna. Totally different fit. I enjoyed both doctors very much. They just did things differently.
“8/19 in 1966, the same day they recorded the music for the first airing episode of STAR TREK.”
I didn’t know that. Now that’s a great date! Good to know. And Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday! Roddenberry’s creations inspired me to major in physics. Frakes inspired my son to play trombone.
Go Star Trek!
My understanding is that Dr Pulaski was a temporary replacement for Dr Crusher who was on a sabbatical. In real life, Diana Muldaur was standing in for Gates McFadden while she was on maternity leave.
41. Edmo “I knew I had seen that Riker walk somewhere before…”
Hmmm. And Riker is from just up the coast from the Pacific Northwest.
It’s true. He’s Beardfoot!
McFadden was pregnant in the fourth season, not the second. Her being replaced by Diana Muldaur came (supposedly) from some bad blood between her and the producers.
As it turned out, Muldaur wasn’t happy on the show either, so McFadden was asked to return.
While Beverly was more pleasing to the eye, I’d take Pulaski any day in terms of being a more interesting character and more believable doctor. She wasn’t impressed with the captain and had no use for protocol when it interfered with a patient. Picard was pissed when she went right to work on a case when she reported to the ship rather presenting herself to him. She was a good foil for him and it taught him to be a little more grounded and not to take himself so seriously. I think she helped mold him into the captain we saw further into the series.