Born: August 19, 1921, Texas, U.S | Successful For: Creator Of Star Trek | Zodiac Sign: Leo
3 Reasons How Gene Roddenberry Created The Successful Star Trek:
Gene Roddenberry Had A Strong Desire To Push Humanity Forward:
As a child, Gene Roddenberry almost died in a house fire along with his mother and siblings but was saved by a mailman. Perhaps this was his first taste for seeing good in humanity. When Gene became a co-pilot for Pan Am airlines, he survived a terrible incident where the engine failed. Rather than panic, he let the pilot do his job, while he assisted the passengers. He sat with a young woman who was sitting alone and ensured her everything would be okay, event though it wasn’t. This is who Gene Roddenberry was, someone who believed in hope and humanity. The plane crashed in the Syrian desert and 14 people died. Although his ribs were broken, he heroically went into the burning plane to save lives. Some argue, that this event served him to realise the preciousness of time. He has been quoted for saying “Time is the fire in which we burn.” The incident made Gene rethink his life’s work and he resigned to become a writer.
Upon being a writer his imagination quickly enabled him to want to create something that reflected his real life experiences and opinions about the nature of humanity and oneness into a form other people could relate to. “If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”
Gene always wanted to have a healthy equal blend of women and men on the show, however the execs said no. He would however, get a woman to be second in command, which the NBC producers believed “nobody’s going to believe that”. He pushed for it nonetheless because of his strong core beliefs. Gene Roddenberry also believed strongly in diversity and had an Asian male actor as well as a black female star who performed kissing scenes with white co-star William Shatner. He was a humanist who believed humans created many of their own problems and with applied intelligence could uncreate them.
“Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”
Understanding That Trying New Things And Following Curiosity Led Gene Roddenberry To Finding Big-time Passions:
As a kid, Gene Roddenberry was a bright student who loved to read science fiction books and comics. He was an avid fan of pulp magazine, Tarzan, John Carter, and Skylark as they expanded his imagination. As a teen, he was apart of the debate team, he enjoyed playing the guitar, enjoyed writing and listening to radio programs. All these early interests and findings sparked him to be curious and try new things often so that he could find things that really resonated with him.
After high school he was determined to get out on his own adventures. Eventually he went to study pre law and policing at LA College before obtaining his pilot license. Gene Roddenberry found a deep desire for flying. “When you get into an airplane by yourself and take off, you find yourself in this lovely, three-dimensional world where you can go in any direction. There is no feeling any more exciting than that.”
Gene Roddenberry would fly for the army during World War 2 upon the Pearl Harbor bombings and for Pan Am Airlines. During this period, he also studied literature at Columbia University and pursued writing stories and selling them to flying magazines, and even poetry to big newspapers like The New York Times. After enduring 3 plane crashes and realizing a strong pull towards helping people he decided to get into police work like his father and joined the LAPD. However he found it more exciting to write about make belief cops and robbers so to speak, and began jotting down stories of beat cops and crafting press releases. His passion grew strong and he correctly predicted the boom o television wen he saw it for the first time, which urged him to become a screenwriter. As a self learner, he would borrow scripts and learn about stage direction, framing and he would watch TV shows with the sound turned down so he could learn about blocking. Looking away from the television and listen as if it was the radio to get the flow of dialogue so that he could write efficiently. Soon, he got strong callings from within to create a new kind of series is Star Trek to align with his purpose to impact humanity by removing borders between each of us.
Gene Was A Was A Non-Conforming Ambitious Man Who Didn’t Take No For An Answer:
“These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five year mission… to boldly go where no man has gone before.” The catch phrase was a very telling tale of the true story behind the journey.
Certainly born ahead of his times, Gene Roddenberry was a pure non-conformist who went against the grain to follow his inner nudges. The Star Trek series was no where near an easy launch and it was something foreign to the world as space adventures were left for kids. No one before him had ever thought of making a series with such radical concepts. At the time, westerns and cowboys ruled the industry and Gene was eager to prove that jealousy, greed, drama and violence were not the only elements to make a TV show “exciting”.
However, Gene believed very strongly in his idea, so when he received constant rejection for his pilot, he would never settle. Network executives were not impressed with a futuristic show about a peaceful world via knowledge and technology. Gene persevered through many no’s but continued to convince producers by pitching and comparing it to westerns. Eventually, Lucille Ball, who owned a studio called Desilu, ended up producing the show, and she personally approved of it and kept it alive after the first pilot was rejected. Paramount would later have the rights to the show when they became a parent company and at one point they became so desperate to get ride of it, that they tried to cash out Gene. It was a very costly venture with a small budget. Costumes were even made by a sweatshop and snuck into the studio. It was also considered too erotic with its dancing girls and sexual connotations. When producers wanted no black people he argued so much that he lost his role for some time. It was not a smooth ride whatsoever and Star Trek faced constant critics. However, the fan base was the exact opposite, it had a huge cult for a following.
Unfortunately, after 3 years it was cancelled for being “too cerebral”. “My dreams were going downhill because I could not get work after the original series was cancelled.” He stated that he felt “perceived as the guy who made the show that was an expensive flop”. But again, with an ambitious spirit, Gene Roddenberry revived it with a new name called Star Trek: Phase II. “It isn’t all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.”
“It is the struggle itself that is most important. We must strive to be more than we are. It does not matter that we will not reach our ultimate goal. The effort itself yields its own reward.” – Quote by Gene Roddenberry
- Image Source: Posted by NASA via Wikimedia Commons
- Image Source: Posted on Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons
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