Now that the holidays are here – with Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa upon us within a few days of each other – we reached out to some StarTrek.com favorites and asked a single question: What’s the best Star Trek gift you ever got or gave? William Shatner replied, as did Nichelle Nichols, Robert Picardo, Scott Tipton, Kevin Dilmore, J.G. Hertzler, Mike Westmore, Chase Masterson and other StarTrek.com interviewees and bloggers. In fact, we received so many replies that we’re spreading this feature across two parts, today and tomorrow. So, please, read on and enjoy, and from the StarTrek.com team to you and your family, may you have a happy and safe holiday season.
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.
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 set around and watched the Star Trek blooper reels over and over and laughed our heads off!
Hands down, the best Star Trek gift I ever got was several years ago, when I was a guest on Caroline Rhea's now-defunct talk show. Caroline presented me with a mint, Ken-doll sized action figure of me as Decker from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It was pristine, still in the box. A few years later, when my dog was a puppy, he found the box, chewed it up, and de-pants'ed me/Decker. Sic transit gloria mundi.
The best gift I ever got from Star Trek was the gift of time. It has been a blessing to spend time with the fans over the years... to hear the ways Star Trek: Deep Space Nine affected your lives, to see the way the stories we told matter, to know how life in space in the 24th century life cast a light on your own situations and gave you perspective, introspection and hope.
And the way that time has affected my life has been, well, astronomical. The fact that Star Trek has given me an ongoing job for the last 15 years has made it possible for me to live without worry and therefore spend a great deal of time reaching out to a world in need. And you all have been there, supporting this work for children with AIDS, victims of 9/11 and of Katrina and in Haiti, and most recently, highly at-risk kids right here in gang-ridden East Los Angeles, through Homeboy Industries. Thank you for all of those things... for letting us make a difference in your lives, and for helping us make a difference in the lives of so many people.
The best Star Trek-related gift I ever received technically went to my wife, but since what's mine is hers and vice versa, I think I get to count myself as a recipient. The gift consisted of two pieces of white cardboard, both of which bore signatures made with (I think) Sharpies. One of the signatures is William Shatner's, and the other is Leonard Nimoy's. These signature cards were among several made for the animated signature sequences that appeared at the end of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The studio discarded them, but they were subsequently fished out of a wastepaper basket. We don't know for certain if these particular signature cards were the ones the animators ultimately used to generate the self-writing signatures seen in the movie's end-title sequence. But we regard them as sacred Trek relics either way. Needless to say, we still have and cherish them.
The greatest Star Trek gift I've ever received is the opportunity to teach #TrekClass at the Syracuse University iSchool. I created this course to inspire students to think about issues of society, technology and leadership that impact our world. As an educator and Star Trek fan, it is truly an honor to teach these lessons through the lens of Gene Roddenberry's creation. Star Trek is a gift I am pleased to pass on to a new generation of students in my classroom.
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!
The best Star Trek I ever got was the friendship of Max Grodenchik.
His kindness, support, patience and warm heart have stead me through many trying and god-awful situations. His humor and life perspective has kept me in good spirits countless times. He has taught me how to sing his praise. His friendship means the world to me.
The one Star Trek-related gift that meant the most to me was the Mego USS Enterprise Action Playset and action figures that I got for Christmas as a young child. I'm pretty sure the action figures were the entire first wave: Kirk, Spock, Bones, "Scotty," Uhura, and a Klingon. The bridge playset was the standard version, so the action figures must have been bought separately. I think we had the version with "mixed" accessories -- blue command chair, yellow helm console, black stools -- instead of the all-blue one. I do recall that I put some of the console decals on upside-down. I think I might've also put the yellow moire decals on the wrong part of the "transporter" gizmo, but that didn't matter to me, since it was still great fun.
The "transporter" was a little carousel thingy with two identical compartments on opposite sides; you'd put the action figure in on the "bridge" side, spin the carousel until it blurred -- with the yellow decals blurring with your view of the action figure to simulate the beaming effect -- then you'd hit the red button on top, and the carousel would stop with the empty side facing you, so the figure had beamed away. Then you'd go around to the other side of the playset and open a little door on the back to pull out your action figure, and there was a planetscape printed on the back of the case, so it was like the character had beamed down to a planet. Then you'd reverse it and hit the green button to beam them back up. Very clever stuff.
I -- and my sister, to a lesser extent -- had a lot of fun with the bridge playset and action figures for several years. Tragically, I lost the playset, figures, and some of my other favorite toys when we moved shortly before my tenth birthday. They all happened to be in the one and only box that disappeared during the move, and I never found out what became of them. So I cherish the memory of my Mego Star Trek toys as a lost treasure of my childhood. I gather it's pretty easy to find near-mint playsets and figures these days, and there are the recent recreations as well, but it just wouldn't be quite the same.
Now it's your turn: What's the best Star Trek-related gift you ever gave or got?