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At 50, Star Trek Lives Long And Prospers

Daniel Scully
Flickr via Creative Commons

 On Sept. 8, 1966, a new television series debuted, telling a tale of exploration and adventure in a space saga that, while only lasting three seasons, has gone on at warp speed to inspire an entertainment empire.

The original Star Trek TV series is now 50 years old.  It's spawned several more TV shows and over a dozen films.  Shari Zeck, Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and GLT's Culture Maven said the original show is special for many reasons.  When it  debuted in 1966, it wasn't a huge hit, but Zeck said right from the start that she show found a small but loyal and active audience.  "They put a lot of pressure on the network to keep it going, particularly for that third season, and then obviously to bring it back later for all the later series and movies."

Stark Trek succeeded at speaking to the values of its time, but also the values of that time that persist in our culture today.  "It was a show that was a modification on a very resilient genre -- the western," Zeck said.  "Creator Gene Roddenberry though of it was a western that was a morality tale. One of his going titles for the series was Wagon Train to the Stars.  It was a morality tale about integration, about peace, about the place of violence within an ethic of peacekeeping." 

Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.