Sunday, September 8, 2013
In a summer full of life distractions from our ever-busy Trekland, there's one moment at least that I simply must stop and celebrate.
I mean, it's September 8! It's Star Trek's July 4th, or May the Fourth ... it's THE Anniversary. The date of first airing on NBC in 1966! We herald it every year, right? RIGHT? I mean, you DO have your Star Trek Day presents all shopped and wrapped? The cake decorated? The Holodeck programmed?
But, hey—forget your 20th or 25th anniversary... or the 40th or 45th. Hey, forget the 50th coming up in 2016 (gulp).
Nope, if there's one Trek birthday year above all others, as unique as anything could be, it's THIS year: 2013.
Otherwise known as Star Trek's 47th anniversary!
Now... I'm sure some readers just blinked, and assumed that "47" was a typo.
Maybe you're one of them.
Well, it wasn't. It's not.
So let me take another opportunity to get one more fan educated on the best inside joke of them all: Yes, it's high time you found out about Star Trek's own Legend of the 47. Thanks to staff writer-producer Joe Menosky's influence on TNG and later Trek series, and all the writers and other designers around him, the infamous status of 47 as the universe's most common random number—you heard me right—was transplanted from his alma mater at Pomona College right into the heart of the Star Trek universe. With that seed Joe sowed from Pomona's "47 Society," the Trek franchise would never be the same again....at least, on an insidiously subversively subtle level.
The legion of "47" fans and perpetuators even extends to the alternate universe—writers and artists working in JJ's recent films. Don't believe me? Then check out what area alt-Kirk rides his motorcycle into at the Riverside Shipyards in ST09.
We laugh and wink about the 47s— and yet, go back and see how often "47" pops up in TOS—long before, obviously, the mid-TNG years after Joe had a chance to soak it all up at Pomona and bring the 47 phenom to his place of work.
That pre-Joe time includes, incredibly, the name of TOS's *47th* episode. Look it up! I kid you not: it's "Obsession." The names says it all, eh?
Of course, I always throw out the caveat that Sep. 8, 1966 is hardly the "birth" of Star Trek. There had been two pilot episodes already filmed, much less written, (much less several episodes of the series) long before then: You can go back to at least March 1964 and Gene's infamous and original Star Trek format pitch for CBS, then NBC.
But, while every series gets to celebrate its own premiere, or finale (or syndication week thereof, in the case of TNG and DS9), we pretty much rally around Sept. 8 to mark all things Trek across the franchise
So, yes: party long and hard today as you mark the grandest anniversary ever of your favorite futurist sci-fi morality fable and cool gadget generator. And reflect on what it all means—or Google it if you're unsure. Heck, you worship this thing the other 364 days of the year—a little research won't kill ya.
Maybe you could even put in 47 minutes of research. On my mark ...