Being a TOS fan back in the day...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Warped9, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yep I was a fan back in the day catching the 70s rerun.

    No-one, no-one I knew was a fan. I used to bring the Blish or Alan Dean Foster books to school to read at lunch time. My friends just humoured me.

    I went to the bookshop every few months or so waiting for the next Blish adaption to come out. I even bought a model Enterprise kit. I still have the decals but must have used some evil glue and dissolved the plastic.

    I liked 'Planet of the Apes', 'Blakes 7', UFO, 'Land of the Giants', even when I was desperate Space 1999 and Original Battlestar Galactica.

    I was less enthused for a whie while TOS was off TV (not even in re-runs) and thought I would come back to it and not find it as good as I remember when the DVDs came out. However I found it was even better than I remembered.
     
  3. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    TOS has been such an important part of my life; an inspiration, a hopeful vision of the future when I needed one, an old friend that has never let me down.

    Just a TV show? It is so much more than that..
     
  4. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    That could almost be me talking. We had the same experiences at the same time. :)
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I had a couple of friends who were into the show at the time, but over the years they drifted a bit away from it. Even then I think I was more into it than anyone else I knew.

    I could also feel a bit isolated. I started to learn of fandom through David Gerrold's books like The World Of Star Trek, but this was all still twenty years or more before the Internet. So all I had were books and Starlog magazine.
     
  6. LOKAI of CHERON

    LOKAI of CHERON Commodore Commodore

    Well said... +1.

    Although, I can't claim to have been there from the beginning! I starting getting heavily into TOS early in '84, when I was already 15. But, TOS will always be "my" Trek.
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    +1
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    When you're young you can watch a lot of television. A lot of it you grow out of---things that once entertained you can seem rather lacking as your perspective changes with the years. But Star Trek is one of the few things that I learned to appreciate more as I got older. I became more aware of its nuances and all the wonderful aspects of it that eluded me while being dazzled by cool spaceships, weird aliens and exciting adventure.

    It was a show that worked on many levels and engaged the mind, or so it did for me. I never thought of it as a kids show, but as something adult that I wanted to understand. I'd hear things I didn't understand and soon look them up at the library to better appreciate what was being said on the show.
     
  9. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The "rerun era"... It was different, I'll say that. I first came to Star Trek by way of original run TAS and toy commercials, so early I can't really remember when it began. TOS soon followed, usually on weekend afternoons. When I was about 8 an independent UHF station started in my area, and they started showing TOS on weekdays, or seven days a week, and kept it through my high school years. They switched to a VHF channel when I was 16-17.

    About twice a year, the station would change its schedule and move Star Trek somewhere else. Every time they changed the schedule, though, it seemed like they would re-start the order of episodes. I had no idea of which season an episode came from at the time, but I knew there were some episodes I saw a lot and some I rarely saw. And once in a while, even after watching the show for going on ten years, there would appear an episode I'd never seen before!

    When I was 16 I bought a book called The Star Trek Compendium, in a new "20th Anniversary Edition." Now I knew which shows were from which season, and I found out that the ones that were hardest to catch were from the third season. And more than that, I found there were some I still hadn't seen. They were "The Cloud Minders," "That Which Survives," and "The Lights of Zetar." By then we had a VCR and I could tape reruns so I didn't miss any, but still it took a couple of years to see the last one ("Lights"). (Episodes were coming out on VHS by then , but the video rental places didn't have all of them and I wasn't going to buy them).

    It seems really odd now, this almost random way of seeing the show. The strange thing is, sometimes to this day I will have a dream about seeing an episode of Star Trek I've never seen before, it was such a feeling.
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, I've experienced much the same thing occasionally.
     
  11. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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 and TWoK 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.
     
  12. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Add me to the list. It was in November 1975 that I became hooked on Star Trek. It was in December that I started buying the Blish books (#4 and #6). I couldn't wait to see the episodes I'd only read about. It took YEARS to finally see the first half "Conscience of the King" (ST was shown on two different channels - one at 4:30 and the other at 5:00).

    I was pretty Trek-obsessed in junior high and high school, and was walking on air when I got to attend an afternoon "Star Trek Festival" in Calgary in 1979, when George Takei was the guest. Unfortunately I didn't get to meet him - I was coming down with the flu that day (hadn't realized I was so sick that morning before the drive from Red Deer), and by the time he was ready to sign autographs I was too dizzy to stand up. So I never did get to meet him, or any other cast member.*

    *unless you count Bjo Trimble and David Gerrold, who had cameos in TMP and Trials and Tribble-ations.

    Yep, Starlog was my monthly lifeline to Star Trek. Strange to think it's all available online now, along with so much of the fanfic I'd read about in Star Trek Lives! and despaired of ever finding. But eBay and other sites have been helpful to me in my decades-long hunt for fanfic, and some other classic stories (ie. Kraith) are available for free online.

    I honestly don't think I'd be so much into it if I'd grown up later, after there was so much that was easily available. I remember one time, on a Saturday in a store that no longer exists, when I found the first New Voyages anthology. I remember thinking that $1.50 was awfully expensive for a book (back then it was, especially for a kid whose only spending money came from babysitting for 50 cents an hour), but I was ecstatic to find it.

    I still remember the Christmases when I received some of the 8" ST figures, the first Puzzle Manual, a Star Wars blanket - all of which I still have. My grandmother and great-aunt were incredibly supportive of my interests (my grandmother gave me the ST stuff and my great-aunt gave me the blanket and a space-themed notebook "for my outer space stories").

    These are 30-year-old memories, and they're very precious. :)
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Back in the day (and long before the Internet) if you didn't buy Trek merchandise in the store then the only other way was either by (snail) mail order or at a conventions dealer room.

    My very first convention was Toronto Trek '76 at the Royal York Hotel when I was 17. I went on a Friday afternoon and it was a wild experience seeing so many Star Trek fans gathered in one place---it was mind-boggling for someone who felt like he was pretty much the only one around. Even so I didn't get to attend another convention until about 1990. A few years later I attended Toronto Trek every summer for several years throughout the '90s. A lot of that time was spent manning a fan table where I and two friends peddled our fan writings. The rest of the time I really enjoyed sitting in on discussion panels.

    I drifted away from the conventions when the feeling started to change. The convention was getting smaller and there was more and more interest on things that didn't interest me. That said one of the great appeals of Toronto Trek was that it was organized and run by fans---you felt welcomed. I tried attending one of the bigger media driven conventions, but I never went back because the feeling was totally different with seemingly everything carrying a price tag. Toronto Trek felt like what the first conventions might have been like: a gathering place for folks enthusiastic about the same thing and eager to share their enthusiasm with others. The media type conventions make me feel like it's just an oversized dealers room and not a cheap one at that. And candidly with what you can get online at any time a convention's dealers room comes across a rather redundant.
     
  14. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    I never have been to any conventions with the actors. I've attended a lot where the guests were writers, artists, costumers, and scientists (ie. Dr. Phil Currie from the Royal Tyrrel Museum in Drumheller). The focus in Alberta has always been on writing and art, whether original or working in another already-established universe.
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    At Toronto Trek '76 I saw Mark Lenard, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Grace Lee Whitney. Very cool. In later years I got to see Nichelle Nichols again, but the rest of the actors I've seen were non Trek performers: Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Christopher Judge, Andreas Katsulas. I also got to meet and speak with John Colicos and later Leni Parker from Earth Final Conflict. I also got to meet and speak with several times over the years with Canadian SF writer Robert Sawyer. We got a bit chummy and exchange messages every so often. Sawyer is a HUGE TOS fan.
     
  16. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I had both the AMT Enterprise and Klingon Battle Cruiser models, and a Mego Spock figure. As for books, I had (still have somewhere) The Making of Star Trek, David Gerrold's Tribbles book, and The Star Trek Compendium. I also would buy every edition of Starlog that had any Trek-related articles or interviews in it.

    I have only made it to one con, a small one back in the early 90's. James Doohan was the featured guest, and I'm glad that I got to see him in person, as Scotty was always one of my favorite characters, and probably the one that I most wanted to be like.

    When I was young, I was into ham radio, electronics, model rocketry, early 8-bit video games and computers, and loved NASA and anything to do with space exploration, so I guess I fit the Trek fan profile pretty well.
     
  17. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I've stated before that I think shows back then (pre-VCR) were more special in their way because they were so ephemeral, you never knew if you'd get to see another. There weren't easily accessed sources of information on every detail of a production. It was years after TWOK before I discovered the existence of Space Seed, watched at my cousin's house, also a fan but who hadn't seen it.

    I'm not advocating a return to that, there were plenty of minuses, but I think it's a particular feeling that is probably lost today.
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Getting my first AMT model of the Enterprise on Christmas Eve was a magical experience. Since then I built a number of AMT Enterprise kits throughout the '70s. Today I have Polar Lights very nice little 1/1000 scale Enterprise kit as well as their gorgeous 1/350 scale Enterprise they released last year. The more recent kits are light years better than the old AMT kit...but you get that magical feeling only once.
     
  19. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    This is very true. I remember reading about fans who would tape record (on audio) the episodes. I did that myself with Doctor Who, since it was before VCRs.

    While it's great to be able to go shopping for all kinds of goodies on eBay, Amazon, ThinkGeek, etc. on any given day and have a package show up 3 weeks later, it's not the same as hunting for 10 or 20 years for one particular book or fanzine and finally finding it.

    I'm STILL hunting for some specific books from the '70s - damn, some of them are elusive!
     
  20. wissaboo

    wissaboo Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I remember hearing about people who would actually move to cities where they were running tos in syndication.

    As a child I had this fantasy of owning the whole series and being able to watch any episode I wanted. Of course, at the time I was envisioning it being on reels like the movies they showed us at school.

    A few years ago when my husband bought me the whole series for christmas I almost cried when I realized I was holding my childhood dream in my hands.