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Remembering The Past Through The Future

Remembering The Past Through The Future

Remembering the Past through the FutureBy Kevin Dilmore

Sure, Keepsake Ornaments inspired by Star Trek bring lots of fun and imagination to our Christmas trees, but their ongoing mission is much more than that. When we create these ornaments, we put thought into every sculpt and each way it might light up or sound with the goal of that ornament being better able to capture your favorite memories of family, friends and experiences you want to relive year after year.

On Saturday, three new Star Trek ornaments will become available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores during Keepsake Ornament Premiere Weekend. As Star Trek fans, we all might end up with many of the same Keepsake Ornaments on our trees, but each one will carry memories unique to us. (Christmas trees as representations of the Vulcan IDIC philosophy? Discuss amongst yourselves.) Here are what this year’s Star Trek ornaments will mean to me.

“Arena” — I have shared before that my entry point into Star Trek was not the original series but the imaginative animated interpretations of Star Trek by Filmation in 1973-74. But once I got tipped to the live-action episodes then running in syndication, I was hooked. “Arena” remains a favorite episode of mine for many reasons, but chiefly for its ability even after uncounted viewings to snap me right back to my childhood. With its awesomely realized alien in the Gorn captain, its interplay among iconic characters, its building dramatic tension and, most importantly, its moral message in Captain Kirk’s decision not to kill his overpowered enemy for mere revenge, “Arena” displays in one episode all of the reasons Star Trek has endured and continues to be relevant today.

U.S.S. Kelvin

I have lots of great memories associated with the release of Star Trek in 2009, particularly because of all the attention from not just fans but from everyone as its opening weekend drew closer. Around Kansas City, where I live, the number of people associated with Star Trek is pretty small, so I was invited along with my longtime friend and writing partner Dayton Ward to be a guest at several early showings around town. We met new fans as well as those who had tuned in from the start. We ran trivia contests and helped to give away a bunch of really cool promotional items. We ended up seeing that movie four times by opening night. But my favorite thing about Star Trek as interpreted by J.J. Abrams is that it made my daughter a fan. Colleen was just finishing her freshman year in high school when she came along with me for one of the early IMAX screenings.

Sure, she had plenty of opportunities to watch the shows and films along with me as she grew up, but it never really grabbed her and I was not one to force the issue. But the movie worked on her in ways none of the series had done before. She came out talking about it and asking to know more about Star Trek in general. The movie’s high profile and popularity even made her just a little bit cooler among her high-school friends since she was seen as an expert by association. This may have been the first time in recorded history that knowing Star Trek made someone cool in high school. Talk about your alternate reality!

Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott — I had the great pleasure of meeting James Doohan twice in my life, once in 1986 (I think?) as a student at the University of Kansas when he visited campus, and once in 1998 when he was a guest of honor at the grand opening of Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton. As a handful of us reporting the event gathered around him, Mr. Doohan spoke of his admiration for the attraction’s fun features and attention to detail as well as his thoughts on the endurance of Star Trek over what then had been 32 years. The true highlight came when a reporter asked “So, what would Scotty think of all this?” Mr. Doohan smiled -- I swear his eyes twinkled -- and he began to speak as the engineering miracle worker we all knew and loved. I was so caught up in the moment that I had to ask someone for his exact quote; the fanboy in me had kept the reporter in me from writing it down.

But this year for me, our Scotty Keepsake Ornament will represent a group of real-life miracle workers: the women and men who keep the hope of space exploration alive at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Last month, I was among a group of Star Trek fiction writers that were given an extensive and sweeping tour of the facility. While we were given detailed briefings on everything from Project Morpheus and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle to Robonaut and faster-than-light space travel—yes, honest-to-goodness warp-drive—the most inspiring facet of Johnson Space Center were its people. From specialists and scientists to directors and astronauts, each person meeting with us showed amazing enthusiasm, creativity and optimism about their own jobs, the space agency’s mission and everything the future holds. And when sharing their initial inspirations toward devoting their ideas and energy to NASA, nearly each one of them attributed some of that to, you guessed it, the storytelling of Star Trek. The tour was an unforgettable experience, and if I have anything to say about it, Scotty will be hanging on a few trees around Houston this Christmas.

So, what is Star Trek going to help you remember on your tree this year?

Click HERE for additional details about Keepsake Ornament Premiere Weekend.