Ask Dayton 47 – Fond Memories of Star Trek
It’s the 47th Ask Dayton, so in honor of this auspicious occasion can you tell us your favorite episode from each series, favorite moment from each series and favorite film and film moment from Star Trek?
Nah. I’m not going to do that.
For one thing, boiling down my enjoyment of Star Trek into this episode or that moment from an episode is too much damned work. I have too many favorite episodes, scenes, characters, and lines of dialogue to ever be able to condense it down for a list which would take Nick something less than two hours to read. Besides, he can’t even get through one of my normal-length answers without getting distracted by some shiny thing bouncing through the studio.
Also, making up such lists just really isn’t my thing. Now, if you’d asked me my least favorite episodes or films and why, I at least could’ve had fun with that, because I’d be able to use all sorts of bad language, and I’d probably throw in a couple of red herring selections just to piss off people and ignite a fanboy war or two. Why? Because that’s the kind of thing I like to do on a Sunday morning while the football pre-game shows are on.
However, rather than dismiss this question of out hand—because that would be a dick move—I’m going to take it and give it a twist. I’m going to offer up a fond memory or two that ties into the various series or films. No, I didn’t propose to my wife while watching “Amok Time,” and neither did I quote Worf from “Disaster” when she was in the delivery room. You know, “Congratulations. You have fully dilated to ten centimeters. You may now give birth.” Pro tip for expectant fathers with a Trek fetish: This sort of thing is liable to get your balls crushed into a fine powder and sprinkled on the dog’s dinner, all right? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So, what do I mean? Here’s an example: for a long while, the original series (along with the animateds) was the only Star Trek to be had when I was a kid in the 70s. I used to watch the reruns on a little black and white TV. I had to move the antenna to get the channel to come in, and sometimes the signal was so bad that I’d have to decide between picture and sound, but somehow I made do. I used to “play” Star Trek outside with my friends, the way you played “Cowboys & Indians” or whatever. You know that big-assed ball at the center of the playground with all the windows and slides and ladders leading in and out of it? That was our Starship Enterprise. And we played with the toys, and built the models, and tried to shoot each other with those semi-sorta phaser-ish looking plastic guns which fired those little colored disks, and I still remember how excited I was to find my first Star Trek book at the library. Back then, Star Trek was fun.
I also remember how jazzed I was when my father, of all people, brought me a poster for the first Star Trek movie that he’d picked up at a trade show. It was months before the film came out, and I waited and waited for the day it opened in theaters. There was this monstrous display in the theater lobby, with the new Enterprise and the characters in their new uniforms, and I remember getting goose bumps the first time I saw the ship on that giant movie screen.
(Of course, the rest of the flick ended up boring the shit out of twelve-year old me, but I eventually learned to appreciate the thing.)
Squirrel: I also got a little chill the first time I went to the National Air and Space Museum and saw the original Enterprise filming model hanging from the ceiling. I still have the pictures I took of it in 1986 with one of those shitty little Instamatic cameras.
I remember the fun we had as a group of us sat in our barracks rec room and watched the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We had a good time that night, though in hindsight it was probably due more to the beer than the episode itself.
I remember smiling upon finding the soundtrack to Star Trek V at a music store on Okinawa, complete with liner notes written in Japanese. I still have that CD.
Another rec room, a different group of Marines, but we watched the fourth-season premiere of TNG, wondering if Captain Picard was going to be rescued from the Borg. No beer needed to enjoy that episode!
September 1991: The “Sit Long and Prosper” Star Trek movie marathon, which back then meant the first five movies. The sound went out at the start of Star Trek V, so we the audience started supplying our own dialogue. As Sybok rides up to that weird bald dude in the desert on Nimbus III, I called out, “Excuse me, but are those Bugle Boys you’re wearing?” I got nice applause for that one.
Remember the closing credits to Star Trek VI, with the Enterprise flying away and the cast signing their names? That’s when I knew that my Star Trek, the one which had been with me as far back as I could remember, was finally coming to an end.
After watching DS9’s “The Visitor,” I called my dad, just to say, “Hi.”
When the original Enterprise appeared on the Defiant’s viewscreen in DS9’s “Trials and Tribble-ations,” I grinned like a geeky fanboy, and didn’t stop grinning until the episode was over. Then, I rewound the tape and watched it again.
Another squirrel: I remember having an absolute ball the first time I went on the ride at Star Trek: The Experience, and wanting to know where the hell this kind of cool shit had been when I was a kid? I wish it had stuck around long enough for my girls to see it for themselves.
Christmas Day, 1999: Cheering and clapping at the premiere of the greatest Star Trek movie ever made, Galaxy Quest.
As the final scene of Star Trek: Voyager faded out, I remember being so pissed. “Seven years, and that’s how they end it? FUCK YOU, VOYAGER!”
Later that same year, getting excited to see Enterprise’s premiere. Who didn’t want to know how the whole Star Trek saga began? I wanted Enterprise to succeed, and I remember so badly wanting to love it. I didn’t really begin to dig it until its third season, and the two-part “In A Mirror, Darkly” with the old Defiant and all the TOS goodies just tickled my fanboy heart. I’ve had reason to revisit the series recently, and I’m finding I like it more now than I did during its original broadcast.
As for the “reboot” Star Trek film, say what you want, but I enjoyed the shit out of it. I also remember the packed theater on the Saturday before its formal premiere, and the energy infusing that place as Kevin conducted a trivia contest before the movie started, and we gave away books and other stuff brought in just for the occasion. Star Trek was cool again!
Final squirrel: After being an admirer of his work for decades—I’m talking about going back to the Star Trek Poster Books from the 1970s—earlier this year I finally got to meet and shake the hand of Doug Drexler. We’d exchanged e-Mails over the years, and we’ve both figured we’re some sort of long-lost, separated at birth by a decade or so twins or something, due to our mutual love for the original series. That fate also has seen to it that this man eventually would create cover art for some of my Star Trek novels is just icing on the cake.
So, that’s how I like to think of Star Trek: not just listing out favorite episodes, but instead remembering how much fun it’s brought me in so many different ways. It’s good to be a Trekkie, isn’t it?
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.
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