My meetings with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy

Not the “real” Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, but a remarkable simulation.

I was searching for a new profile picture for my front page and looked through my pictures, looking for appropriate shots of myself.

Now, I am not an especially strong judge of my appearance, and most of that I have in my Pictures folder is “home-made” Motivator posters which, while I think they are very well done, does not work on the front page of a website. Then I found a few pictures of one of my most memorable experiences in SF/Fantasy fandom that could only have happened in Portland.

I’m referring to Trek in the Park.

It was a five-year project in which various episodes of the classic Star Trek series were adapted to the stage. I cam in a week before the very last show, which was “The Trouble with Tribbles”, perhaps the single most well-known episode and a brilliant piece of satire on inane bureaucracies and of how seemingly innocent events can soon spiral out of control. The “real” episode was one of the best stories tp highlight Captain Kirk’s resourcefulness and determination in the face of authorities who have no clue about objective reality.

Thought not nearly on the level of the TV episode, obviously, but it was quite entertaining and the audience loved it. Additionally, people in the audience were permitted to take photos, something that does not happen in professional theater. I didn’t get to pose with the actor playing Kirk, but I did get this picture with the ones playing Spock and McCoy.

MH posing with Spock and McCoy at Trek in the Park
Me (center) with Spock and McCoy at Trek in the Park.

But the biggest surprise, which I did not think to take pictures of, was when the actors and fans took part in an after-show discussion and suddenly People realized someone special was in the Audience — David Gerrold, writer of the original episode 55 years ago. He was in Portland, saw the show, and talked to the audience about it afterwards,

That has to be one of my best experiences as a SF fan.

He told the story of the first time he watched the original episode after it came out. He was young at the time, I believe he was still in college, and tooka chance to write for Trek. When he saw the episode, it was with his roommate at the time Robert Englund (the future Freddy Kreuger, and apparently a very good, genuine person if people are to be believed). When Robert told him that he was impressed with the episode, David told him that nobody would remember a word of it five years later. He was, of course, as wrong as someone could be.

It did get David Gerrold a foot in the door with book publishers, though. His most famous novel is probably The Man who Folded Himself. Which is a pretty good read if you’d like a good mind-bleep.

So as I embark on a new creative adventure (which does not mean I’m not going to continue Pardigan’s adventures — I will), I think back to this lone student who with a manual typewriter and a sense of humor made something that we might be watching as long as humans are on this rock. And I smile, knowing I might not have started too late after all.

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