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Gene Roddenberry

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Gene Roddenberry listening to fans after his l...

Gene Roddenberry listening to fans after his lecture at the Student Union of the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (1921-91) was an American television and film producer best known for creating Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Apparently Roddenberry’s hands-on involvement with the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation dwindled away after the first few seasons. But TV execs kept his name in the credits, knowing it boosted credibility among fans.

Roddenberry was born into a Baptist family but came to reject religion, calling himself a humanist. This comes through in the Star Trek franchise, where religion is not eschewed but sometimes homogenized, suggesting that all paths are the same. A nice sentiment, this is an aspect of Star Trek that arguably oversimplifies. Otherwise, Star Trek productions tend to be intellectually satisfying.

Roddenberry also had a military background as a pilot. He flew commercially too. These experiences led him to envision a starship as a tight, military style outfit, with a clear line of command. After a commercial crash, he resigned from PanAm in 1945 and took up his career as a TV writer. The rest is history.

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