Star Trek is all about the future, about looking ahead to a better world, but it’s always important to gaze into the rearview mirror, to reflect on the past and the people, places and things that helped make Star Trek the entertainment and cultural giant it is today. So, each month, StarTrek.com is selecting a seven-day period and recounting the important and memorable events in Trek-related history that occurred that particular week. This month we peer back at August 25 to August 31.
Star Trek: The Next Generation wins two Emmy Awards on this day in 1991, one for Outstanding Sound Editing and another for Outstanding Sound Mixing, and both for the same episode, “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II.” Sharing the sound editing award were Bill Wistrom, James Wolvington, Mace Matiosian, Wilson Dyer, Masanobu “Tomi” Tomita, Dan Yale and Gerry Sackman, and sharing the sound mixing award were Alan Bernard, Doug Harvey, Chris Haire and Richard L. Morrison.
Chris Pine is born on this day in 1980. Pine is the son of Robert Pine, a character actor who’d guest starred on Voyager and Enterprise. Chris, of course, went on to forge his own Star Trek connection, starring as James T. Kirk in the J.J. Abrams-direct Star Trek reboot feature in 2009… Also born on this day was Georgia Schmidt, who played the First Talosian in the original TOS pilot “The Cage.” Footage from her scenes would eventually turn up in “The Menagerie, Part I” and “The Menagerie, Part II.” Schmidt went on to appear in numerous films, telemovies and TV series, among them Kansas City Bomber (with Raquel Welch), CHiPs (with Robert Pine), The Incredible Hulk (her episode was directed by TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise director Michael Vejar and co-starred DS9 guest star Charles Napier) and Highway to Heaven. Schmidt passed away in 1997 at the age of 92.
Brandon Tartikoff died on this day in 1997. He was just 48 years old and succumbed following a prolonged battle with Hodgkin’s disease. A television executive, he had a hand in developing/green lighting many popular NBC series, including The Cosby Show, ALF, Hill Street Blues The Golden Girls and more. He arrived at Paramount Pictures in 1991 and it was he who approached Rick Berman and Michael Piller about creating a new Star Trek show for first-run syndication. That show was Deep Space Nine. Upon his death, Deep Space Nine paid tribute to Tartikoff, as a title card that read “In Memory of Brandon Tartikoff” appeared before the start of the sixth-season opener, “A Time to Stand.”
The Voyager episode “The 37’s” premiered on this day in 1995. It was shot as the finale of season one, but held by UPN to air as the second season’s opener. The episode was a favorite of Kate Mulgrew, whose Captain Janeway character met her hero, legendary pilot Amelia Earhart, played by Sharon Lawrence of L.A. Law. Another guest star in the episode was David Graf, best known as Tackleberry in the big-screen Police Academy comedies. He played Earhart’s navigator in “The 37’s” and later returned to Trek to play Leskit, a Klingon, in the DS9 episode “Soldiers of the Empire.” Sadly, Graf – who also provided voices for a quartet of Star Trek videogames -- died of a heart attack at the age of 50 on April 7, 2001.
Pocket Books publishes the DS9 young adult novel “Field Trip” on this day in 1995. Penned by John Peel, the story depicts a class trip gone awry and finds Jake Sisko and Nog dodging Cardassian raiders on their trail. A prolific sci-fi writer with more than 100 titles to his credit, Peel authored four other Trek novels, including “Prisoners of Peace” and “The Death of Princes.” Peel is currently working on books 11 and 12 in his Diadem fantasy series.
The score for the TOS episode “The Doomsday Machine,” composed by Sol Kaplan, was recorded on this day in 1967. The episode aired several months later, on October 20. Kaplan, a prolific film and television music composer, also composed the score for the TOS episode “The Enemy Within.” His son, Jonathan Kaplan, is an Emmy Award-nominated film and television director and producer whose credits include The Accused, ER and Without a Trace.
Surrounded by friends, loved ones, fans, and TOS co-stars – and serenaded by a bagpiper – an ailing but obviously humbled and happy James Doohan receives his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on this day in 2004. Among those on hand are Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney, Doohan’s wife, Wende, his son, Chris, and several of his other children, including Sarah, who was four at the time. It would be Doohan’s final public appearance, and Star Trek’s beloved Scotty passed away at the age of 85 on July 20, 2005.