Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Secret Star Trek: Charlie is 17

For a concept created by a self-confessed atheist, there are a hell of a lot of gods in Star Trek. I've been watching selected episodes of Deep Space Nine in a state of utter disbelief (the show is unvarnished religious drama of a very strange variety) but the very same themes we see in that show are abundant in the original series as well. 

As well as in TNG, as we looked at in great detail last year. I've been watching a whole lot of Star Trek and am nowhere near putting it all together (the connections are too complex and enormous). But I am seeing patterns emerge that are remarkably consistent over the franchise's 43-year history. 

I have a copy of Brad Steiger's 1976 book Gods of Aquarius, that has a dual interviews with Roddenberry and none other than the author of The Sacred Mushroom, Andrija Puharich, taken while Roddenberry was working with Lab-9. 

 In it, Roddenberry referenced the two episodes, "Charlie X" (the second episode of the series, originally titled "Charlie is God") and "Where No Man Has Gone Before," (the second pilot) starring none other than 2001: A Space Odyssey's Gary Lockwood, as well as Sally Kellerman and the painfully gorgeous Andrea Dromm. 

Both episodes are about humans that acheive godhead through the agency of alien overlords. Really fascinating stuff:
During his career, especially after Star Trek's cancellation, Roddenberry gave many lectures to supplement his income. Those speeches may be lost in time, but thankfully he also discussed UFO's and psychic phenomenon in a book called "Gods Of Aquarius" by Brad Steiger. 
In a chapter discussing the phenomenon of UFO's and developing psychic powers in children, here's what Roddenberry said: "We wrote a couple of episodes about individuals who had such unique talents. 
As a matter of fact, our second pilot - and the one that sold the series - was on that subject when Gary Lockwood began to find out that he could, after having undergone a strange experience in space, accomplish things like moving a glass of water without touching it. And then he developed more and more power... It was too much power to put into the hands of an unprepared person."

 "Being 17 is more than how many years you've lived, it's a whole other thing." Truer words have never been spoken.