|Mary Higgins Clark||Alexandre Dumas père||Victor Hugo||Erich Kästner|
|Erich Maria Remarque||George Sand||Jaroslav Seifert||Stefan Zweig|
(1921 - 1991)
Master of the Universe
writer and producer Gene Roddenberry was already enthusiastic about science
fiction when he was a child and he read magazines like "Amazing"". But
it was a long way from the pubescent teenager to a successful author.
During World War II he served as a B-17 bomber pilot for the US Army Air Force, after the war he continued his professional life as a pilot for PanAm till 1949. "
In 1949 followed a professional reorientation and he joined the Los Angeles Police where he worked till 1956 as a sergeant at last.
Besides his job by the police he was able to sell as a freelance author first scripts for TV productions. Among others he wrote, at the beginning under the pen name Robert Wesley, stories for well-known US serials like "Mr. District Attorney" (54), "Highway Patrol" (55-56), "Dr. Christian" (57), "West Point" (56-57), "Boots and Saddles" (57-58) and "Jefferson Drum" (58).
Gene Roddenberry realised his first own serial in 1959 with "333 Montgomery Street". But the pilot film with DeForest Kelley in the leading role failed, but the collaboration with the actor was important for the future teamwork.
Roddenberry continued to write single episodes for popular serials, among them "Shannon" (61), "Dr. Kildare" (62), "Naked City" (62), "Have Gun - Will Travel" (57-63) and "The Virginian" (63).
He managed his breakthrough as creator of an own serial with "The Lieutenant", of which they shot a total of 29 episodes between 1963 and 1964. In the first episode Nichelle Nichols was part of the cast.
Gene Roddenberry was promoted to an executive producer at MGM-TV in
1963 and they ordered to create a new serial.
So Gene Roddenberry began to create a complete new concept and he transported a message into the story he cared about. As a humanist it was important for him to highlight a future world where people of different religion and different race can work together as a unity.
Because MGM-TV refused his concept, Gene Roddenberry offered his idea to the Studio Desilu Productions and this studio convinced NBC to shoot a pilot movie. At the end of the filming which lasted from October 1964 to February 1965, the product "Star Trek" was realised. The members of the crew were consisted by other actors than we know today with one exception. Leonard Nimoy was already part of the cast. The leading role was played by Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike and Gene Roddenberry's wife Majel Barrett played "Number One".
No one guessed at that time which dimension the adventures of the starship Enterprise would assume and what a world wide success it would become.
The beginning was done but the first steps remained difficult.
Because the filming for this pilot film gobbled a lot of many and also the success by the public was rather moderate, "Star Trek" teetered on the brink of collapse.
Still they decided to shot a second pilot film, this time with the today well-known cast with William Shatner as Captain Kirk. But even the second pilot film could not fulfill the expected viewing rate.
But it was enough that the outcome of this was a core of fans who were able to influence the decision of the production studio with letter actions. Therefore the serial was continued till 1969.
But afterwards the serial became abandoned definitely because the financial success still failed to appear.
This could have been the end of "Star Trek" which was ahead of the times. But it turned out the other way soon.
In the meantime Gene Roddenberry worked again as an author for other TV productions, among them "Pretty Maids All in a Row" (71), the serial "Alias Smith and Jones" (71), "Genesis II" (73), "The Questor Tapes" (74), "Planet Earth" (74) and "Spectre" (77).
When Paramount Television run into financial problems at the beginning
of the 70s they began to sell "Star Trek" to many TV stations for a favorable
price. This changed the life of Gene Roddenberry and the leading actors
of the serial promptly.
Now the serial found a broad-minded and curiouos public which was faszinated by the adventures in the wideness of the space.
The serial became a worldwide success in no time and catapulted the actors into the Olympus of TV stars.
But only with the decision to realise a motion picture called "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" with the original cast activated the jump start.
From now on it went in quick succession. There were more motion pictures produced with "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" (82), "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" (84), "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" (86), "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" (89) and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (91).
In 1987 they released a complete new TV serial with "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (87-94), which not only presented a new cast bust also initiated a string of other successful TV serials.
Gene Roddenberry could rejoice in the success of his Star Trek creation
till he died in 1991 at the age 70. A part of his ashes was shot into the
orbit with the Peagsus XL rocket in 1997.
The idea of Star Trek survived and inspires numerous spectators around the world.
After Gene Roddenberry's death there were more motion pictures produced with "Star Trek: Generations" (94), "Star Trek: First Contact" (96), "Star Trek the Experience: The Klingon Encounter" (98), "Star Trek: Insurrection" (98) and "Star Trek: Nemesis" (02) as well as TV serials like "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (93-99), "Star Trek: Voyager" (95-01), "Star Trek: Enterprise" (01-05) and "Star Trek: New Voyages" (04-11).
J. J. Abrams shot the motion picture "Star Trek" (09) which shows the teens of the sworn in team around Captain Kirk and Spock with a wink. It is only a question of time till a sequel will follow.
After Roddenberry's death his widow Majel Barrett created with others two more TV serials from the estate of her husband: "Earth: Final Conflict" (97-02) and "Andromeda" (00-05).