Friday, December 19, 2008

Joining the Great Bird.

Well, what a week. Forrest J. Ackerman, Bettie Page, and now Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. She has been an integral piece of Star Trek since the very beginning. Most people remember her as Nurse Chapel on the Classic show, or later fans remember her as Lwaxana Troi on Next Generation. She was of course the voice of the Enterprise's computer in several incarnations of Trek (to include the new film currently in post-production).

To me though she will always be Number One, the unintentionally mysterious first officer of the Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike. See, when Gene Roddenberry developed the first pilot for Trek, he included a female first officer, referred to in the episode only in grand naval tradition as "Number One." We never hear her real name. We never find out why she is stoic while even the young Spock is smiling. She never shows up or is mentioned again (unless you read Peter David novels regarding Morgan Lefler). She's the consummate Starfleet Officer, holding her own when Captain Pike disappears, and deciding at one point the answer is to use the biggest goddamn gun she can find to negotiate with the Talosians. The idea of such a character in 1965 was so radical, the network made Gene Roddenberry drop the character. So, in real life he married her, put a blonde wig on her, and cast her as Nurse Chapel when the show was finally picked up. I, however, still miss Number One.

Bye Majel- say hi to Gene, DeForrest, and James for me.

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