A few years back, StarTrek.com asked some of the franchise's most-beloved actors and authors, as well a couple of our StarTrek.com guest bloggers, to share their answer to this simple question: What was the best Star Trek gift you ever got or gave? Today, we're pleased to reprise and update that well-received story. Please read on and enjoy, and from everyone at the StarTrek.com to you and your loved ones, a very happy and safe holiday season.
So many wonderful Star Trek gifts have come my way over the years that it's difficult to choose. (A few years ago), a wonderful lady approached me at a convention wearing the most gorgeous Star Trek necklace that I'd ever seen. She told me that she had made the necklace herself and it was one-of-a-kind. Much to my surprise it was later delivered to my hotel suite among the other treasures that had been given to me. I have been wearing that necklace every day since and I draw positive energy from it. I never got a chance to thank the woman that gave it to me. She was tall, slender and beautiful. If anyone knows her identity please let me know because I would love to let her know how much it means to me and I bless her every day.
The other best Trek gift came from a fan not too long ago. I always carry a big book, usually a bestseller, with me on long flights. I had such a book with me when I flew from Paris to L.A. to interview for Star Trek. That book was Robert Ruark's novel and treatise on Africa, UHURU. I carried it into the interview at Desilu with me, which caused quite a bit of discussion. Obviously, I got the role. The next day Gene (Roddenberry) asked to meet me for lunch and he asked me about the book because he wanted to use the title in the name of my character and he asked me what the name meant. I told him that UHURU was the Swahili name for Freedom. He loved the name, but thought that the name UHURU was a little too harsh-sounding. I picked up my glass of congratulatory champagne and blithely said, "Why not do an alliteration and soften it with an A instead of a U? And make it UHURA?" Gene screamed, "That's it! You've named your character. That belongs to you. You're from the United States of Africa. Now create your background and how you came to be in Starfleet."
I loaned my copy of the book to someone, never to see it again. I've told the story about the book many times, including in Chicago during Creation Conventions' small group of 10 (event), when I told them that I no longer had the book. Much to my surprise, I received in the mail from Dave Arlend, Trekker Supreme, a copy of UHURU that he had found on the internet. Dave, I bless you every day.
There’s always a danger of being disappointed when you get to meet your idols. The best Star Trek gift I’ve received was having a few of my idols' status cemented for life. After my book, Fun with Kirk and Spock was published, I received an extraordinarily kind congratulatory email from Leonard Nimoy; then, at this year’s convention, I met Grace Lee Whitney, who read the Rand story and hugged me until we were both welling up with tears of gratitude, and Nichelle Nichols, who stopped a very, very very long line of people waiting for her autograph to read aloud from the book, pausing only to laugh and ask for more copies. What class. What genuine generosity. What a gift.
The second best gift I've received and still receive is the loyalty and love from Star Trek fans. They continue to make me feel special. The best gift was the role of Marlena Moreau in "Mirror Mirror." The alternate universe and the fans have added a third dimension to my life, and for this I am grateful.
The best gift I ever gave and received in Star Trek was getting to know “Capt. Dave” Sparks and his indomitable spirit for a brief moment. He was totally paralyzed except for being able to blow in a mouthpiece. His bright blue eyes betrayed his spirit. While filming The Captains and Fan Addicts, he scooted back and forth at 10’s of miles an hour, providing us with laughter and admiration. He passed on December 2, 2011.
I was at a convention many years ago and two gentlemen approached me. They told me that they were huge Star Trek fans and that they worked for NASA. When they were boys they said it was Star Trek that inspired both of them to become scientists. They then handed me a test tube with a small of amount of reddish dust. They informed me it was moon dust and it was their gift to me for being a part of the Star Trek universe. Can you imagine? It is mere feet away from as I write. I keep it close, always.
The best Star Trek gift I ever received was when I was 14 or 15 years old. I had gotten a Super 8 projector for my birthday earlier in the year. All I wanted for Christmas was the Star Trek blooper reels for my projector. As I recall, there was only one or two reputable companies you could order them from back then and I passed along the name of one to my mom and dad. My mom ordered them, but they didn't come until the day before Christmas, so she was panicked! However, under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning was my set of three Star Trek Super 8 blooper reels. I was the hit of the holiday family gathering later that day as we all sat around and watched the Star Trek blooper reels over and over and laughed our heads off!
Maria Jose and John Tenuto
The best Star Trek gifts we ever got were hand-made craft projects from our sociology students. Two students gave us an amazingly detailed Kirk and Spock made entirely of folded paper. Another student crocheted a super-cool Kirk for us. These gifts have a place of honor in our collection and represent traits common to fellow Trek fans in general - creativity, kindness, and thinking out of the box. The gifts also are a symbol that the real next generation coming up in society will do just fine - today's students are much more creative, industrious, and selfless than usually given credit for... and these gifts remind us of the best in others.
I've received 100's of wonderful gifts, which, by the way, I keep all of them. I love the energy that I feel from each and every one of them. But, I would have to say, out of all the really cool Klingon bat'leth, drawings, pins, patches, plaques, paintings, etc... one of my favorite Star Trek gifts is my Klingon Christmas Tree Ornament. It's a black bulb with a hand-painted Klingon symbol. I love it because every year when my family decorates our tree, I get to hang it up during the most loving time of the year and look at it with such great memories of every fan I've ever met!
Don't even have to think about it. A 1970s Christmas. The Mego USS Enterprise Bridge playset. Finally, my Mego Captain Kirk had a vinyl-covered cardboard ship beneath his feet. That cool light-blue plastic Captain's Chair, the replaceable alien landscapes that would hang from the viewscreen, and best of all, the Transporter. Put a Mego figure in the booth, spin the knob up top, press the green button and with a satisfying "KA-THUNK!" -- vanished! Not exactly the height of 1970s technology, but to my five-year-old eyes? Sheer magic.