Today, August 19, marks a very special anniversary for Star Trek fans everywhere. On this date in 1921, a man named Eugene Wesley Roddenberry was born in Texas. Following distinguished service in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, he became a police officer while trying to start a career writing for television in Hollywood. When that career began to take off, he quit the police force and wrote full-time, on many different 1950s TV shows. After a stint on Have Gun, Will Travel, he produced his own series, called The Lieutenant. When that didn’t do very well, he produced a pilot for a science-fiction series, which he famously pitched as “A Wagon Train to the Stars.” Of course, that series was the original Star Trek, or at least it was after another, different pilot was made. He was also heavily involved in the films and the other series, right up until his death, of heart failure, on October 24, 1991. Great Bird of the Galaxy, we still miss you.
But wait: there’s more! Today is also the birthday of Jonathan Frakes, the man behind the beard of Commander William T. Riker. Frakes is a multitalented man, able not only to act but also direct and play the trombone, though probably not all at the same time. He was born on this date in 1952, and we at GeekDad wish him a very happy birthday, and many more to come!
And, as if that weren’t Trekkie enough, today is also the 72nd birthday of Diana Muldaur, who memorably played Dr. Katherine Pulaski on Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s second season, as well as guest-starring on two episodes of the original series. Happy birthday, Ms. Muldaur!
[A version of this post was originally published on GeekDad last year and the year before.]