In 1997, six years after his death, the inventor of the television series “Raumschiff Enterprise” was put into orbit. At least his ashes have flown into the infinite expanses of space and are thus on the trail of his television characters, well known on earth: the science officer Commander Spock (Leonard …

In 1997, six years after his death, the inventor of the television series “Raumschiff Enterprise” was put into orbit. At least his ashes have flown into the endless expanses of space and thus are on the trail of his television characters, well known on earth: Science Officer Commander Spock (Leonard Nimoy), a longtime logician with pointy ears. from the planet Vulcano, the charming and arrogant Captain Kirk (William Shatner), the Scotty, slightly overweight chief engineer Scotty (James Doohan) and the good soul of the crew, the doctor of the ship “Pille”, Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley). They all work on the Enterprise spacecraft and fearlessly explore distant worlds and alien civilizations.

In television history, there is little or perhaps no series that has achieved such cult status, with as many loyal fans as “Star Trek” – the name of the original television series. Perhaps the excitement also comes from the fact that for the inventor of the TV series, it was about more than entertainment right from the start. The ardent humanist Roddenberry embarks on a cultural mission with the Enterprise: “From the start, I was on a sort of crusade with the series. I wanted to show that TV shows don’t have to be full of violence to create tension. was on this human unit. Engaging in showmanship with basic emotions such as envy, greed and sex shouldn’t exist on Star Trek, ”he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times six months before his death.

Born August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas, Eugene Wesley Roddenberry showed his predilection from an early age: he studied aeronautical engineering at the prestigious Columbia University, among others. During World War II, he flew the Boeing B-17 bomber, which has become legendary as the “Flying Fortress”. While stationed in the Pacific with the Air Force, he began writing articles for newspapers and magazines. After the war, he worked as a pilot for the Pan Am airline for four years. From 1949 to 1953, he worked as a sergeant and spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department. Germany under the title “Police Report” and at the same time a model for the German police series “Stahlnetz”.

Roddenberry received his first Emmy nomination for the western television series, “Have Gun, Will Travel”. But his final breakthrough came with “Star Trek”. The series begins September 8, 1966 on US broadcaster NBC. Roddenberry never tires of pointing out that the original series was shot with the simplest technical means, and not just from today’s perspective. “First we had to explain to the public what computers are. To create certain effects, we draped the actors with black fabrics, in which we cut holes and then illuminated them with light from behind.

When Roddenberry told NBC he wanted to appoint a woman as Captain Kirk’s second-in-command, a definite ‘no’ came from the station’s executive suite. The fact that Roddenberry, in his way with the series, not only campaigned for equality for women, but also for black people, was welcomed by American viewers. But Roddenberry’s political commitment was a headache for NBC decision-makers. From an audience perspective, the cast of Communications Officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura with African American Nichelle Nichols and Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu with Japanese American George Takei was a perfect combination. But the casting of the two non-white actors for roles in which they played authorities who also command white crew members was a break from television conventions in the United States even in 1966. Nichelle Nichols actually wanted to break up after the premiere. season. At an event hosted by the NAACP, America’s most influential black civil rights organization, she meets civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., who begs her to continue in this role. She is a positive role model in this area, and such role models are needed in times of struggle for equality. Nichols remained on the Enterprise and later played a major role in another major stage of popular culture. On November 22, 1968, Lieutenant Uhura and Captain Kirk kissed for the first time on the television screen, placing the first black and white kiss in television history on the floor of the command bridge.

But the inventor of the Enterprise Roddenberry not only helps overcome racial segregation with his supposedly extraterrestrial ideas: he invents “human” weapons like the “phaser” which paralyzes the enemy, but does not kill him, and he contributes to which the verb makes its way into the Duden and is explained there as “that someone is dissolved to the point of invisibility and goes to another desired location”.

Roddenberry writes the scripts for the original series, but thinks outside the box from the start. For all of the following screenwriters, he creates a textbook that he calls the “Star Trek Bible”. There he explains in detail how he imagines the 23rd century, expresses philosophical reflections on the depths of the universe and describes concrete ideas for new figures and technical innovations for spaceships and their equipment. Later writers lamented that it is difficult to write for “Star Trek” because no other series demands so much knowledge of history, economics, technology, or philosophical concepts.

All 79 episodes of the original television series “Spaceship Enterprise” have aired in at least 48 countries, and worldwide “Trekkies”, as fans of the series call themselves, hold annual reunions to celebrate their heroes of the world. ‘space and want them in elaborate costumes not just to be similar in appearance.

From 1979 to 1991 alone, six films and several television series, like “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, which opened in the United States in 1987, slipped from the shell of Roddenberrys Enterprise. What few non-Trekkies realize: There are only three seasons of the original series, and yet the Star Trek Empire still boasts thousands of fans across galaxies today.