Khan Noonien Singh – 50th Anniversary of “Space Seed”

 

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Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

 

 

This week we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of my favorite Star Trek episode, “Space Seed”  (Season 1, Episode 22) with Ricardo Montalbán as Khan Noonien Singh.

 

Broadcast on February 16, 1967, the storyline was written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber, and directed by Marc Daniels. The plot explored the concept of Eugenics,”super-intelligence and the result of creating a group of “super people” (from Earth’s past) bred to conquer the world. 

 

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The subsequent 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was a brilliant sequel to “Space Seed” as we find out what subsequently happened to Khan and his people on the planet to which Kirk banished them.

 

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The film ratcheted up the intensity of the television episode proving to be a full-out sci-fi thriller which I give two, very enthusiast, thumbs up!👍🏼👍🏼

 

 

Khan: To the last, I grapple with thee. From hell’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee. 

 

 

Wow, what a statement! In 1966, an authentic representation of an international crew. Radical stuff which showed the brilliance and social awareness of creator, the late Gene Roddenberry.

 

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Set in the 23rd century, the series would evolve to follow the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew who were charged with solving intergalactic conflicts without interfering in the planet’s culture. This vehicle was Gene Roddenberry’s method of initiating dialogue around controversial human and sometimes not so human, issues such as racism, technology, war.

 

(Front to back – William Shatner (center) DeForrest Kelly (L) Leonard Nimoy (R) James Doohan (back L), Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei)

I’ve always been of the mind that art is revolutionary. The great Renaissance masters like DaVinci, and Michelangelo, were considered subversives in their time. They had to hide their political messages inside their remarkable works to keep from being prosecuted. In his way, Gene Roddenberry could be considered a “Renaissance Man”.

 

star trek roddenberry

(August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991)

Roddenberry had a vision that we can co-exist in a multicultural, multinational world and, as an eleven-year-old black girl from the east side of Detroit, I was right there with him. I had the same dreams and beliefs for my future.

 

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The series was produced from September 1966–December 1967 by Norway Productions and Desilu Productions, and by Paramount Television from January 1968–June 1969. Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, and was actually seen first on September 6, 1966, on Canada’s CTVnetwork.

 

original star trek images

“Trouble with Tribbles”

Star Treks Nielsen ratings while on NBC were low, and the network canceled the show after three seasons and 79 episodes. Several years later, the series became a bona fide hit in broadcast syndication, remaining so throughout the 1970s, achieving cult classic status and a developing influence on popular culture.

 

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Star Trek eventually spawned a franchise, consisting of five additional television series, thirteen feature films, numerous books, games, toys, and is now widely considered one of the most popular and influential television series of all time. (Wikipedia)

 

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Live Long and Prosper

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“Beam Me Up Scotty” – 50th Anniversary of Star Trek!

 

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Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I am an original Trekkie and very proud of it! I treasure my memories of sitting in anticipation on the floor in front of the tv on Friday nights, watching Kirk (William Shatner), Bones (DeForest Kelley), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), “Scotty”(James Doohan), Sulu (George Takei), Chekov (Walter Koenig ), Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and the crew of the Starfleet starship USS Enterprise begin their adventure and “boldly going where no man has gone before.”(I was very pleased when they acknowledged the sexist nature of the tagline and changed it from no man to no one.)

Wow, what a statement! In 1966, an authentic representation of an international crew. Radical stuff which showed the brilliance and social awareness of creator, the late Gene Roddenberry.

(Introduction to pilot “The Cage”)

Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike was actually the first captain of the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek pilot episode, “The Cage“. The original pilot was broadcast on September 8, 1966. Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock was on board by his captain’s side as well as Majel Barrett (Number One), who went on to portray Nurse Chapel, the recognizable voice of most onboard computer interfaces throughout the series and later become Roddenberry’s 2nd wife.

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Star Trek Pilot “The Cage” – USS Enterprise Crew featuring Jeffrey Hunter

Set in the 23rd century, the series would evolve to follow the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew who were charged with solving intergalactic conflicts without interfering in the planet’s culture. This vehicle was Roddenberry’s method of initiating dialogue around controversial human and sometimes not so human, issues such as racism, technology, war.

(Front to back – William Shatner (center) DeForrest Kelly (L) Leonard Nimoy (R) James Doohan (back L), Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei)

I’ve always been of the mind that art is revolutionary. The great Renaissance masters like DaVinci, and Michelangelo, were considered subversives in their time. They had to hide their political messages inside their remarkable works to keep from being prosecuted. In his way, Gene Roddenberry could be considered a “Renaissance Man”.

star trek roddenberry

(August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991)

Roddenberry had a vision that we can co-exist in a multicultural, multinational world and, as an eleven-year-old black girl from the east side of Detroit, I was right there with him. I had the same dreams and beliefs for my future.

Related image

My favorite Star Trek episode would have to be “Space Seed” (Season 1, Episode 22) with Ricardo Montalbán as Khan Noonien Singh.

It was first broadcast on February 16, 1967. The storyline was written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber, and directed by Marc Daniels. The plot explored the concept of Eugenics,”super-intelligence and the result of creating a group of “superpeople” (from Earth’s past) bred to conquer the world. 

space seed star trek

The subsequent 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was a brilliant sequel to “Space Seed” as we find out what subsequently happened to Khan and his people on the planet to which Kirk banished them.

Image result for space seed star trek

The film ratcheted up the intensity of the television episode proving to be a full-out sci-fi thriller which I give 2, very enthusiast, thumbs up!

The series was produced from September 1966–December 1967 by Norway Productions and Desilu Productions, and by Paramount Television from January 1968–June 1969. Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, and was actually seen first on September 6, 1966, on Canada’s CTVnetwork.

original star trek images

“Trouble with Tribbles”

Star Treks Nielsen ratings while on NBC were low, and the network canceled the show after three seasons and 79 episodes. Several years later, the series became a bona fide hit in broadcast syndication, remaining so throughout the 1970s, achieving cult classic status and a developing influence on popular culture.

original star trek images

Starship Captains over the years – Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew)

Star Trek eventually spawned a franchise, consisting of five additional television series, thirteen feature films, numerous books, games, toys, and is now widely considered one of the most popular and influential television series of all time. (Wikipedia)

 

In Memoriam

Although we’ve lost some light over the years with the passing of those who loved, crafted and inspired us with Star Trek’s spirit, the sentiment lives on.

May they all rest in peace.

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Leonard Nimoy

(March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015)

R.I.P “Live Long and Prosper”

Leonard nimoy

Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015)

 

Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing the character Spock in the Star Trek television shows and films, died at 83.

Feeling the loss from today’s news of the passing of Leonard Nimoy – forever Mr. Spock.

I am from that generation, the Baby Boomers and yes, James T. Kirk (William Shatner) is my Captain, Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Bones (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), Chekov (Walter Koenig ) and Sulu (George Takei ) the crew on the Starship Enterprise.

Gene Roddenberry had a vision of a time and space where all races, nationalities and creeds would work together with a common purpose. “…to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” He set precedence with an African-American woman, and Asian not only a part of the crew, but officers on a Starship.  Roddenberry also tackled issues of class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism, feminism, and the role of technology.

Gene Roddenberry also imagined Spock. Half human, half Vulcan. Although Spock embraces his Vulcan, void of emotion logical side, he at times also has to deal with his less logical, emotional, human side. These are some of his best episodes. My favorite is “Amok Time.” Spock goes straight up “anger man” slamming dishes, changing ship’s course and going into blind “kill mode” against Kirk in the “koon-ut-kal-if-fee” fight. Awesome!

I saw an interview with Leonard Nimoy talking about his stint as The Great Paris on “Mission Impossible” and how that experience made him appreciate the complexity of Mr. Spock. As Paris, his character didn’t have those layers. As Spock, he had to balance keeping that stoic face and rational demeanor with storylines that required his ability to convey love, compassion and occasionally frustration in what I like to call his “Menage a trois” relationship with Kirk and Bones. A much more complicated approach to storytelling than the usual TV fare of 1966.

Thankfully we have the Star Trek series, the movies and his body of work to continue to revisit and enjoy. But the fact still remains, we’ll miss you Spock.

R.I.P –  You’ll forever “Live Long and Prosper” in our hearts.

 

To Remake or Not To Remake. That is the Question.

I’m on the record saying I hate remakes. If it was genius in the first place, why mess with it? If it stunk, why bring it back? Are you so ego driven Mr. Director that you feel your “version” outshines, oh say, Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho? Or Mr. Director, do you so lack creatively that you cop-out and warm over some – why was it made in the first place (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) flick?

That being said, there are those exceptions. Websters’ definition of a remake is: to make again or anew as in a new form or manner. If a film can pay homage and capture the essence of the original but also bring freshness, I consider that film to be a great remake!

 

This classic has a great remake:

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

 

Directed by Don Siegel and Produced by Walter Wanger, the film starred Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. This 1956 sci-fi thriller taps into a hideous nightmare, what if we went to sleep and awoke as a “pod person?” (Our physical self but void of emotion.) This movie in and of itself is an update of the 1950’s fear of space, atomic energy, and aliens. However, instead of giant mutated spiders, this tale is of an invasion from within.

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

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“From deep space the seed is planted.”

Directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams, this remake ups the ante. It honors the original sense of foreboding but the degree of terror is raised to a pandemic level.

There’s a scene in the original involving a dog that alerts the “pod people” that “Becky” (Dana Wynter) isn’t one of them. In this version they remake the dog scene but takes it to a much freakier place.   Outstanding!

I won’t give away the ending but, holy crap, that was frigging frightening!  Totally fresh update!

 

A box office success, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was well received by critics and is considered by some (myself included) to be among the greatest film remakes.

To Remake or not to Remake. That is the Question.

In this instance – YES!