Whether you were there from the beginning in 1966 or found Star Trek some time in the '70s (or before we got films and TNG) it was a likely a pretty special time: discovering Star Trek when it was pretty much the only game around.
There was other sci-fi, of course, on film and television, but for a lot of us most of it paled in comparison to TOS, For myself, at the time, about the only thing I could enjoy (almost) as much as TOS was UFO. As the '70s progressed and I became more aware I started to appreciate other things, but back then TOS ruled.
The first merchandise I remember that fuelled my interest (besides reruns) were the early AMT model kits and the James Blish adaptations. Not long after I got into TAS and the Alan Dean Foster Star Trek Log adaptations as well as some of the first original novels. The Making Of Star Trek was like a bible to me. And soon Franz Joseph's Booklet Of General Plans and Star Fleet Technical Manual and Bjo Trimble's Star Trek Concordance were added to my small library. Additionally I drew like crazy: lots of starships and other stuff.
Being a Star Trek fan then you could get labelled and teased (to put it kindly) but, man, it was still a great time and a helluva lot of fun.
As someone born in the last year of the 60's, it is certainly fair to say a huge part of my developing years was shaped by viewings of TOS
in syndication. The timing of my birth also led an equally huge part of my developing years to find enjoyment in sci-fi in general, and TV sci-fi in particular (because it was accessible, and I couldn't take myself to the movies). I was 8 when Star Wars
came out and I begged my dad to take me. I was similarly shameless when the Star Trek movies (TMP
particularly) came out. I also loved TV shows like Space:1999
, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
and Battlestar Galactica
Of course, my parents were big readers, and promoted that in myself and my siblings, and we'd take a weekly family trip to the local newsstand, where my dad would pick up copies of The Mother Earth News
, while I got into comics (Star Wars, Star Trek, DC and Marvel superhero stuff, the usual). The artwork in the comics hit me like a revelation. It had never occurred to me that you could draw pictures of spaceships, heroes and villains as A JOB!?!? At one point, I was drawing on every scrap of paper, either blatant rip-offs of things I'd seen in the comics, or things that they'd inspired in me. This was an unintended side-effect of my comic book reading. I don't think that my parents had the foresight to know that I'd be any good at it. After this spark of creativity had gone off in my brain, I turned my eye back to those sic-fi shows I was watching. When I had my own disposable funds, I disposed of them on things like "The Starfleet Technical Manual", "The Art of" Star Wars trilogy, novels, etc, etc, etc. My creative side was fueled by sic-fi, and vice-versa, and I began a love for drawing sci-fi artwork.
Warped9, I envy you for also having the Book of General Plans
, Trimble's Concordance
, and the Making of Star Trek
! I think that I chalk up my NOT having had access to a lot of that fan generated stuff to the fact that I never went to a single Con. I know I missed out on very much creative stuff that only now, as a fan in the information age, is becoming easier to procure and/or view.
Now really is the best time to be a sci-fi fan.