I was going to grade school in Washington, DC at a place called Randall Highland. It was a private school and I lived outside town in "suburbia." It was just after the assassination of RFK and MLK and while I vaguely rememeber those events, I was just a kid who watched Get Smart, Hogan's Heroes and yes, Lost In Space when I went home at night -- that was until a schoolmate named John Novak told me I should take a look at Star Trek. Strange name. Lost In Space was understandable to me -- but ''trek?'' What was that? Did he mean to say ''track?'' Anyway, so I went home and I'm not sure, but I think it was still on during the week as opposed to Friday night. I hit a repeat, but they were till making new ones -- just not for another few months. Good for me because I had a lot of catch-up and they were all new to me. However, it didn't immediately grab me. It took probably a couple shows to keep me watching. My first episode, believe it or not, was ''The Menagerie.'' Good timing. I was a bit overwhelmed by it because I didn't really know who the stars of the show were since it was probably the most elaborate envelope episode in TV history -- but I do remember it vividly.
So, having watched Lost In Space, I was fortunate to still have a black and white TV, so the retarded colors that came into use when it went color didn't throw me. The stupidity did, however. Occasional zipper-lines along the back of the ''franchise'' creatures that wandered the different Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea etc.). To be honest, Lost In Space wasn't half bad with their first few episodes -- before they got campy, corny, and stupid. I seem to remember always wanting to have a Chariot (future mini-van?). Anyway, that's another story. So -- Star Trek. The other vivid memory was being absolutely frightened to death of the Gorn. I had to have my finger on the ''off'' switch on the TV every time it went back to the planet where the Gorn and Kirk were battling it out (nope, no remote control).
So, while all the ''cool'' kids were watching Speed Racer and Batman, I was eventually, totally and completely absorbed and couldn't get enough Star Trek. I was hooked. Why? Certainly it was the positive characters portrayed and the new approach the show offered. It didn't seem "science fictiony" in the sense of monsters attacking humans. It seemed real and plausible.
After that, the summers were spent in the woods and creek on the alien planet that bordered my basement. My brother and I would spend long hours until daylight was replaced by blinking lightning bugs exploring the "brave new worlds" the seemingly endless forest had to offer. It truly was "the best of times" because many of these fond memories still sweep through my mind's eye as I recall the precious little time I had with my brother, who left this planet far too early. I miss him very much and as far as I'm concerned, I will always be Captain Kirk and he will always be mister Spock. Apologies to Shatner, Nimoy and whoever is cast in the new movie.
Wow, this got a lot longer than I planned. Thanks for reading.