You really can’t mention Gene Roddenberry without mentioning him as the creator of Star Trek. Star Trek was the first series to feature a multi-racial cast and its scripts were filled with social commentary and depicted a utopian ideal. I’ll come back to Star Trek at the end of this story but I want to talk about the man.
Gene grew up in LA the son of a LAPD cop. He had planed on following in his fathers footsteps and studied police science. He developed an interest in aviation along the way and when WWII stared he joined the Air Force and trained to be a pilot. He flew 89 combat missions. He crashed one plane killing two people and was shot down as a passenger in another plane.
After the war he got a job with Pan Am and flew passenger planes. One day when he was serving as the relief pilot the plane crashed in the Syrian desert. He wasn’t flying at the time but he and two other crew members helped save passengers stuck inside the fuselage and drag them to safety.
After that incident he moved back to LA and applied for a job with the LAPD he worked in the public relations writing press releases and started writing speck TV scripts on the side. This led him to start work as a consultant for many TV shows and finally to writing for TV full time.
Then came Star Trek. When Star Trek came to be Gene Roddenberry feared the show would not make any money. He was right at first the show was canceled in its 3rd year. Gene Roddenberry secretly and perhaps unscrupulously wrote lyrics for the Star Trek theme so he could receive 50% of the royalty payments on the music. The lyrics to The Star Trek theme are bellow.
(Lyrics by Gene Roddenberry)
The rim of the star-light
Is wand’ring in star-flight
He’ll find in star-clustered reaches
Strange love a star woman teaches.
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.