Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gene: You look much younger than 90!

Gene would have been 90 today.

I call him Gene, sure. Although, unlike so many other Trekland friends and colleagues I've met and worked with since moving to L.A. in 1994, I only met him once. On my first visit to Paramount, ever...and when, so naively, I still took the "no cameras" studio signs seriously. I can recite the memory, and his graciousness in thanking me for my concordances for the writers, like it was yesterday. But I will never have the cool "Gene and me" pic to post here. Today, this one will have to do (from a pre-TNG film start party.)

But through all of my Trek buds who were there every day, before he passed ... and their stories ... and through Majel, and now Rod ... I can call him Gene.

Not in a name-dropperly way, but in a purely familiar way: Ironic, given my earlier statement. But he has shared so much, and inspired so many, that I think I can claim it. As can you. We all "know" Gene—from both his words and his actions. And yes, some of them proved he had only too-human failings, as well.

And, yes, so much of Star Trek has been written and developed by others ... from Dorothy Fontana and Gene Coon to Matt Jefferies and Bob Justman, Bill Theiss and Wah Chang, Fred Phillips and Jerry Finnerman, Vince McEveety and Marc Daniels ... and Herb Solow's salesmanship, yep .... and oh yeah, all those actor guys and gals, too.  And all their descendants. But none of it would be here, in this way ... inspiring still-record passion from cosplaying con-goers and armchair fans alike ... without Gene.

Remember too that he was a decorated Army Air Force B-17 bomber vet, a PanAm pilot who saved his passengers after crashlanding in the Syrian desert, and an LAPD cop—field, motorcycle, and desk. Much less a guy who tried to "grow up" television—where of course I'm talkin' 'bout a controversial little show called .....

The Lieutenant.

(Gotcha! Look it up.
And only later came Pike, a Martian named Spock, and the notes from Harvey Lynn at JPL ...)

So for all that, we all say: "Happy 90th birthday, Gene! You look young as ever!"

(I could repeat McCoy's penultimate line from The Wrath of Khan, but I'll let you silently recall it and smile to yourself. Or look it up—as you should, if reading this!—and then smile to yourself.)

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