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Remembering Roddenberry, 26 Years Later

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Gene Roddenberry made a difference in the lives of countless millions of people across the globe, thanks in large part to his greatest, most-enduring creation, Star Trek. The man passed away on October 24, 19910, or 26 years ago today. And to mark the occasion, has culled together some of his most memorable quotes about the franchise…


“I'd been an Army bomber pilot and fascinated by the Navy and, particularly, the story of the Enterprise, which at Midway really turned the tide in the whole war in our favor. I'd always been proud of that ship and wanted to use the name.”

“Jonathan Swift wanted to write about his times, but he would have had his head chopped off if he talked about stupid kings and queens, crooked prime ministers and all of that. He decided to create a place where he could talk about such things – and get away with it. So, he created Gulliver’s Travels. I started thinking, ‘Well, maybe if I could have all my stories happen on far off planets, then I could talk about all those things I wanted to talk about. That seemed to be a good idea, and Star Trek came fairly easily after that.”


“Number One was originally the one with the cold, calculating, computerlike mind. When we had to eliminate a feminine Number One—I was told you could cast a woman in a secretary’s role or that of a housewife, but not in a position of command over men on even a 23rd-century spaceship—I combined the two roles into one. Spock became the second-in-command, still the science officer but also the computerlike, logical mind never displaying emotion.”

“I had been arguing with the studio for seven years, saying Star Trek could make a huge success as a movie. They kept saying, ‘You’re crazy! Science fiction doesn’t work. The mass audience doesn’t like SF. When Star Wars came out, they suddenly got very excited. They said, ‘Wow, we were wrong.’ Well, they never said they were wrong. They just said, ‘Wow, we’ve got Star Trek, let’s go with it.’ Then they wanted to go with it too fast.”


Star Trek was an optimistic show that said, ‘There is a future for us humans, the human adventure is just beginning.’ In a time when so many people were saying, ‘In 20 or 30 years, it’s all gonna go boom,’ it was a breath of fresh air to turn on the TV and hear them say, ‘Hey! We’ve just begun. Most of our adventures are ahead of us.” It’s that spirit of optimism.”

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