50 Ways to Celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary
By Chris Gore
The very first episode of the original Star Trek series debuted on September 8, 1966. The year 2016 marks 50 years of the groundbreaking television show that spawned multiple TV series, a film franchise, and birthed a fandom all its own. It’s difficult to measure the impact that Star Trek has had on our world in the areas of science and space exploration and even providing insight and inspiration as we grapple with the human experience.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, here are 50 ways to mark this once-in-a-lifetime anniversary. And you can enjoy these celebratory suggestions whether you are a lifelong fan or have only recently discovered the world of Trek. Happy Birthday Star Trek … may you live long and prosper.
1. Binge-watch every episode of every Star Trek TV series.
This will only take 523 hours or about 22 days without sleep (if you include the animated series from the 1970s). If you plan to only view the original series, that’s just 79 episodes at 50 minutes each for a total of 3,950 minutes or 2 3/4 days.
2. Build a Star Trek model.
Many of the original Aurora model kits have been reproduced so that you can rebuild the ones from your youth. I personally took the time to assemble the version of the Starship Enterprise that reveals the insides so that I could place a tiny figure of myself aboard her.
3. Make Star Trek cookies.
Remember, baking is a science and cooking is an art. So apply your science skills to baking something worthy of a Starfleet officer. You might even consider baking your Star Trek cookies using a Vulcan oven mitt.
4. Wear a Starfleet uniform.
I once created a Captain Kirk costume from the JJ Abrams Star Trek film from the scene in which Kirk had numb tongue. It was hilarious and illogical, but got laughs at WonderCon.
5. Collect Star Trek ornaments.
Hallmark has an entire armada for you to assemble. These highly detailed ships are truly impressive, but there’s nothing stopping you from hanging these Christmas tree ornaments in other places like the ceiling in your bedroom or an archway in your home.
6. Visit the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Watch a documentary narrated by Leonard Nimoy. Live long and prosper.
7. Follow your favorite Trek cast members on Twitter.
While everyone follows @WilliamShatner, you’ll find the most entertaining to be @GeorgeTakei. Oh my! And don’t forget to tweet using the hashtag #StarTrek50 to show off photos of your cookies, crafting, and that photo of you sitting in the captain’s chair. You’ll also want to follow @Roddenberry and click on the hashtag #Project366 to see a never-before-seen Star Trek original series photo relic or document every day.
8. Join Starfleet.
Or at least look like it with a fancy new email address. You can get an officially licensed email address from StarTrek.com. You can also choose to join other factions of the Trek universe with a Klingon.net email address or join the collective with a the-borg.net email. Resistance is futile.
9. Attend a concert.
There are several touring Star Trek shows in which you can hear music from the films and television series, as well as many local orchestras joining in the celebration. You can find some of the dates and locations at startrek.com.
10. Visit Riverside, Iowa, which is the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.
As referenced in the movies and television series, this is where Captain Kirk is born and each year the town celebrates with a Star Trek–themed parade. And don’t forget to pick up something from the gift shop. See Nerdy Places.
11. Learn to speak Klingon.
Several websites translate English to Klingon, so you can find out that “Live long and prosper” in Klingon is “Chep ’ej qaStaHvIS yIn.” One site to visit is Translate.com; select the option to translate English into Klingon.
12. Sit in the Captain’s Chair.
There are numerous photo-ops at conventions to sit in the captain’s chair on the bridge … so take a seat, get a photo, and imagine what it’s like to be fully in command.
13. See the original, screen-used Captain Kirk chair.
The original chair, from the original Star Trek series is at the EMP Museum in Seattle in their new exhibit Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds. See our gallery of the exhibit or get information on the official EMP Museum website.
14. Learn about the life of Gene Roddenberry.
Did you know that he survived a plane crash? And that he met George Lucas only once in a meeting where the two complimented each other profusely? Once you learn about how Roddenberry lived his life, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for Star Trek. There are several books, but I recommend “Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry.”
15. Do some Star Trek shopping.
You’ll find plenty of items from all over the galaxy with Wayward Nerd’s curated list of Star Trek Nerd Buys.
16. Engage in some Trek-related crafting.
And for some inspiration for your creative endeavors, view the YouTube show “Glue, Guns and Phasers.” I appeared in an episode about upcycling old T-shirts. Check out the YouTube channel for all the episodes.
17. Own a piece of Star Trek.
Several reputable auction houses such as the Prop Store have items available ongoing or auctions planned for this anniversary year. Many items can be found for under $100.
18. Do a super throwback Thursday.
Watch William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in their first television episode together. Look for the 1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode: “The Project Strigas Affair.”
19. Go in search of Leonard Nimoy’s and William Shatner’s early recordings on vinyl.
Records are making a comeback and old recordings on vinyl have become highly collectible. Finding these records may become a quest in itself. And you have not lived until you have heard William Shatner belt out David Bowie’s “Rocket Man.”
20. Visit the Vasquez Rocks.
This Los Angeles County Park has unique rock formations that have been featured in countless movies and TV shows. Most notably, the original series episode in which Captain Kirk fights the Gorn was filmed at the Vazquez Rocks Natural Area Park. Be sure to visit the museum on site where you’ll learn about other films and television shows that were shot there, including “Galaxy Quest.”
21. Experience what is considered to be one of the best episodes of Trek ever.
Read Harlan Ellison’s original script for “The City on the Edge of Forever.” The original ending will bring tears to your eyes.
22. Go on a poetry trek.
Did you know DeForest Kelley wrote poetry? In fact, he was a very talented poet and you can experience his work in “The Dream Goes On.”
23. Watch a Star Trek fan film.
There are fan films out there that rival some of the best Trek. I would recommend Star Trek Continues, in which I did a cameo as an alien dissident in episode 4 entitled “The White Iris.” The admirable goal of Star Trek Continues is to complete the original five-year mission by finishing enough episodes to bring the story right to the point where “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” begins. View all the episodes for free on their website.
24. Learn Star Trek history.
You’ll find a wealth of information about the show along with interviews and even deleted scenes from certain episodes. All this great information about the original series can be found at www.startrekhistory.com.
25. Play a Star Trek video game.
There are so many great Star Trek video games from console versions to ones available on PC and for mobile devices. I recommend “Star Trek Timelines” for your mobile device, which brings together all your favorite characters from every Trek series.
26. Binge-watch every Star Trek movie.
This movie marathon should include all the original and Next Generation films and, if viewed back-to-back, will run 23 1/4 hours. So stay up for a full day and enjoy all the Trek movies in one sitting.
27. Read a Star Trek novel.
You might even consider listening to an audio version. You’ll find Star Trek books narrated by John de Lancie, Kate Mulgrew, and even Leonard Nimoy. Search Audible.com and select one based on your favorite story or narrator. Pro tip: Listen to one of these Star Trek audio books on one of your nerdy road trips.
28. Visit the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
On display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. Get all the information on the official site.
29. Become a cadet at the Starfleet Academy Experience.
The event launches at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum May 13 – September 5, 2016, and at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, July 9 – October 31, 2016. Get more information on their respective websites.
30. See “For the Love of Spock,” a documentary from Leonard Nimoy’s son Adam Nimoy.
The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and should be commercially available by year’s end. Here’s a look at the teaser trailer for this heartwarming look at the life of Leonard Nimoy.
31. Learn about space exploration and visit JPL or NASA.
You can sign up for a number of tours, and some even allow the opportunity to have lunch with astronauts. It’s an experience that will make you proud of our space program. There are tours in Los Angeles, Houston, and Florida. A little googling will help you plan your trip, but to get you started, here’s the link to JPL in Pasadena.
32. Take in Trek-inspired art.
“Star Trek 50 Artists—50 Years: A Global Art Exhibition” is touring the world from July through October 2016. Take a look at some of these incredibly creative works of art.
33. Take a Trek road trip.
With a little inspirations from Wayward Nerd’s Nerdy Places. And while you’re at it, follow Wayward Nerd on Twitter and Facebook.
34. Get a real communicator.
It’s fascinating how much of an impact the world of Star Trek has had on modern technology. Today’s smartphones function much like tricorders from the original Star Trek series. Well now you can get a communicator powered by Bluetooth that connects to your mobile device allowing you to make calls. You can actually speak into your communicator and say to a friend, “Beam me up.” Unfortunately, we are still years away from transporter technology.
35. Visit Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
You'll find Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s star. You’ll also discover William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, and Leonard Nimoy. Find the locations for each of these stars on this site.
36. Watch the Star Trek animated series from the 1970s.
While the animation itself may be unsophisticated by today’s standards, the stories for this animated series were derived from the original series and feature voice-acting from all the original series actors.
37. Like Star Trek on Facebook.
If you’re a Star Trek fan, you have probably already done this, but visit the official page again and see which of your friends like Star Trek too. You’ll be surprised to learn who among your friends is a closet Trek fan.
38. Listen to a Star Trek podcast.
I highly recommend Mission Log hosted by John Champion, which is endorsed by Rod Roddenberry himself.
39. Explore the psychology of the final frontier.
Read Travis Langley’s upcoming book “Star Trek Psychology: The Mental Frontier.” (Okay, I have to admit that I wrote the book’s foreword, so I have a reason for telling you about it.)
40. Drink tea, earl grey, hot from a Star Trek mug.
See Nerd Buys to get the tea.
41. Find love in the galaxy.
Are you single? Then it’s time to find your Star Trek soulmate. Set your phasers to stunning and search that dating app or site using the keywords “Star Trek.” There’s someone for everyone in this galaxy.
42. Play a Star Trek board game.
Engage in a game of Star Trek Risk, or Star Trek Panic or even Star Trek Catan (the Bird of Prey being the robber, of course).
43. Celebrate Gene Roddenberry’s birthday.
Star Trek’s creator was born August 19, 1921, and the date of his birth should be cause for celebration. So when you bake those Star Trek cookies or make that Enterprise cake, do it on August 19 and sing the praises of Gene.
44. Read a Star Trek comic book.
There are plenty of great comics out there, but if you want to combine your love of Marvel and Trek, read the Star Trek meets X-Men series. You’ll also find the Star Trek/Green Lantern The Spectrum Way comic highly entertaining as well as the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover. It’s also worth hunting down the Gold Key Star Trek Original Comics collection from IDW.
45. Meditate to Star Trek sounds.
You’ll be delighted to find these videos on YouTube featuring a 12-hour sound loop that puts you on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. You’ll discover every bridge, starship, and engine room on playlists on YouTube. Start with this playlist and enjoy the calming hum of the Enterprise’s ample nacelles.
46. Take a trip to the Paramount Lot.
Many consider the place where the Star Trek movies were shot to be hallowed ground, so see it for yourself by going on the Paramount Pictures Studio Tour. I promise that your jaw will hit the floor from the gift shop alone.
47. Drink Romulan Ale.
And don’t forget to use a Starship Enterprise bottle opener. Okay, Romulan Ale is really just beer with a fancy label, but how cool is it that you can get this? If you are unable to find it at a reasonable price, there are Romulan Ale recipes on the web that may suit your fancy. And if you’re considering hosting a Star Trek cocktail party, google recipes for Saurian Brandy, Finagle Folly, Aldebaran Whiskey, Risan Mai-Tai and Klingon Blood Wine. And do not forget to toast… “To absent friends...”
48. See a Star Trek movie in the movie theater.
Yes, “Star Trek Beyond” opens in July 2016, but there also will be retrospective screenings of old Star Trek movies this year, so to really appreciate it, see one in the theater.
49. Attend a Star Trek Con.
Creation Entertainment is the official licensee for Star Trek conventions and they put on an amazing show. This is a convention put together by fans for fans, so they never sell more tickets than there are seats in the main ballroom. You can show up to a panel at the last minute to see William Shatner and you’ll always find a seat. Creation cons are total immersion and you’ll feel totally comfortable dressing up in your Starfleet best as you mingle with fans from all over the world.
50. Boldly go.
If the lessons of Star Trek mean anything, it’s about seeking out new experiences and being good to your fellow man… or woman… or alien. So live the virtues of Star Trek and boldly go. And don’t be afraid to show your love for Trek by flashing the Vulcan sign to a stranger. And may you live long and prosper.
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Chris Gore is a comedian, a writer and an occasional TV host. He is a trekkie. A film devotee. He is in constant search of the nerd universe and will report back with news of alien life. He is batman.