When I volunteered to write this, I was excited (and possibly insane). I felt I could bring my own special brand of smart-assery straight to all of you, no filter. Immediately I started thinking of how many people I could awkwardly offend in one single blog post. It was going to be my Tiburon version of a Comedy Central Roast. Then, like a hammer, a certain someone squashed my dreams. I was to keep it clean and inoffensive. Normally those words don’t even appear in my vocabulary, so i had to switch gears.
Now unlike most of you, I am not a walking Star Trek encyclopedia. Anyone who played the Trivia night I participated in knows that. I got one question right. And I’m pretty sure it was a Star Wars question. Let’s just say if I played “Are you smarter than a 5th grader,” Star Trek edition, I’d likely not make it out of kindergarten. So, I decided to look up some cool facts/stories about the Star Trek universe that i didn’t know, and who knows, maybe you won’t either.
1. Majel Barrett left $4 million to her dogs. Yep, you read that right. The dogs. Upon her death in 2008, the dogs received a $4 million trust, a mansion to live in, and their long-time caretaker would continue to look after them. To be honest, the folks who have to feel the worst about this are her kids, Dawn and Rod. I mean, they received plenty of money, but how much would it suck to learn Mommy gave Lassie 4 mil and a palace?
2. Spock’s skin was originally supposed to be red. The change was made to a slight green tint because at the time most families owned black and white televisions, which would cause his skin to appear very dark. So basically, Spock was originally supposed to look like Sinestro, pointy ears and all.
3.The Vulcan salute is actually a Hebrew blessing. As a very knowledgeable Jew, I absolutely knew this one. Leonard Nimoy witnessed the gesture as a child when attending an Orthodox Jewish synagogue. The hand gesture represents the Hebrew letter Shin, which represents the word Shaddai, a name for God. Totally knew that part as well. I absolutely did not forget it was Passover last weekend. Nor did I tell the Rabbi “no thanks” when he stopped by to bring my parents matzah. At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ll melt if I try to step into a synagogue.
4. Bones’ signature line was not his own. Leonard McCoy’s signature phrase every time he had to do something that wasn’t medically related actually originated in a 1933 film called “The Kennel Murder Case.” The character of Dr. Doremus utters these quips: “I’m a doctor, not a magician.” “I’m a doctor, not a detective.” I assume we all knew this one, because who hasn’t seen this classic film starring legends William Powell and Mary Astor? I know I sure have. Another neat fact is that when reading for the part of the doctor, Robert Picardo ad-libbed the line”I’m a doctor, not a light bulb.” To this day, he claims he had never heard the catchphrase beforehand.
5. The Original Series was upgraded for HD broadcast and released in 2006. I mean, it’s kind of like putting make-up on a pig, but why not? My love for the original series is about on par with my love of treadmills and kale, so this meant absolutely nothing to me. However, if they are going to upgrade Star Trek, I suggest the motion picture. Maybe they can cut out some of the time Kirk spends in a shuttle flying around drooling at the Enterprise at the beginning. If they can even cut that in about half, there would still be about a good 20 minutes of movie left to sleep through. However, i will point out that with a large dose of caffeine and experimental medicine, I was able to stay awake for the entire movie. The gentleman to the left of me did not make it. He fell asleep almost immediately, lucky bastard.
6. Kira’s pregnancy was real. Those of you who remember “Cheers in Space” remember that in season 4, Bashir is forced to move Keiko’s baby to Kira to save its life. The reason for the switch? Nana Visitor got knocked up. During production her romance with Alexander Siddig, the actor who played Bashir, resulted with a bun in the oven. She was able to continue filming by the writers adding the baby-swap subplot. The romance was short-lived, however, as they divorced only five years after baby Django (yes, that’s actually his name) was born.
7. Professor Berlinghoff Rasmussen was originally meant to be played by Robin Williams. Williams was a huge fan of the show and really wanted to appear in an episode. The episode “A Matter of Time” was written to allow Williams to star as the professor. Unfortunately, when the time to film arrived, Williams was unable to make it. What a damn shame. I would LOVE a Robin Williams cameo in Star Trek. The man was amazing.
8. The transporter ceiling in TNG is actually the floor of the transporter in the original series. It is believed this was either a cost-cutting move or a sly Easter egg (or both). Another recycled prop was the orbital office complex from The Motion Picture. That was reused in Wrath of Khan and again in TNG, DS9, and Voyager.
9. The Kazon were written out of Voyager because no one liked them. The species, written to mimic in-fighting of Los Angeles street gangs, was extremely poorly received by fans. By the end of the second season, both the writing staff and cast agreed the Kazon had overstayed their usefulness. In an attempt to cut ties with the Kazon, Seska’s baby was originally written to be killed off, but that was reversed. Instead, the baby was magically turned into Cullah’s kid, instead of Chakotay’s. I for one fully agree. The Kazon are terrible. And their look is ridiculous. They look like Klingons in a 1980s hair band. Half the time I expect them to start belting out the soundtrack to Rock of Ages.
10. The original Janeway quit after one day. It took actress Geneviève Bujold all of 36 hours to bail on the role of Captain Nicole Janeway. The official story is that she was unaware of or accustomed to the rigorous pace of television filming versus movies. Given that she did not even spend two full days on set, i’m going to call bulldinkey on that one. Her departure led to the hiring of Kate Mulgrew, and the name change to Kathryn from Nicole. Good choice on that one, as Mulgrew took her role seriously. She refused to allow the producers to sexualize the character, which likely led to Jeri Ryan’s character (I’m NOT complaining). The role turned Mulgrew into a feminist icon and has continued Nichelle Nichols’ legacy, bringing countless young women to the sciences.
Well, that’s all, folks. It was supposed to be three pages but I’m tired, hungry, and I’m pretty sure my dog just ate the cord to my Peloton. He’s damn lucky he’s so cute. I hope some of you learned something, and if not, be content in the fact I just wasted five minutes of time you’ll never get back. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to write another article until 2023, which coincidentally corresponds with my uniform due date, so you won’t have to suffer me often.
Chief of the Boat, aka Supreme Leader, OUT.
MCPO Dan Zaltsberg, Chief of the Boat USS Tiburon