Happy 76th birthday to Star Trek‘s original Hikaru Sulu, George Hosato Takei, who was born on April 20th in 1937 in Los Angeles.
As an actor, politician, activist, and writer, Takei has had a career many would hope for but few achieve. He and his family were sent to relocation centers during World War II when he was only 5-years old. Certainly an austere beginning but one that led him to study architecture at UC Berkeley, to be followed by a B.A. in theater at UCLA and and then a Masters Degree in theater by 1964.
One of the few Asian-American faces to grace television in the 1950′s and 1960′s, George was fortunate to be a part of “the Golden Age” of television. On the big screen he was seen alongside Cary Grant, Alec Guinness, Star Trek‘s first captain, Jeffrey Hunter, James Caan and John Wayne in the 1968 classic, The Green Berets.
Of course, we all know of his casting in Star Trek giving Mr. Sulu performances of depth and imbibing a likability into the role. We also know even though we saw the helmsmen and future captain return throughout the decades, that would hardly be enough to sustain a career.
Takei as Sulu in the Original Series episode "The Naked Time"
The tri-lingual Takei, (English, Japanese and Spanish,) almost became a Los Angeles City Councilman in 1972 and was appointed by L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to sit on the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit district.
Voice over work and TV guest appearances has kept him in the public spotlight as well as his relationship with The Howard Stern Show and his now famous “Oh my” catch phrase.
Takei on stage with John Cho and Garrett Wang at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention
His work for gay rights has been going on for decades as his public fame allows him to be heard, seen and quoted by international media. In 2008, Takei and long time partner Brad Altman, married at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles – Takei is one of its founders.
Arsenio Hall, Lou Ferigno and Takei on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice"
Last year, we saw George get “fired” on The Celebrity Apprentice. Quite frankly, he has created a legacy far superior to “The Donald.”
In 2012, Takei starred in Allegiance, a musical based on Takei’s experience and research into the Japanese American internment during World War II.
So happy birthday, George! Something tells me you’ll make it a good one.
Takei brokers for Star Peace between William Shatner and Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher
Takei shows off his happy dance
To keep up with George, you can follow him on Twitter at @GeorgeTakei.
Though there are several documentaries, interviews, and biographies telling of the story of Star Trek’s production in television, comics, and movies, it should always be remembered that it is the fiction that made Trekkies out of all of us.
With Star Trek having one of the most expansive universes in science fiction, there is much to be covered in the canon of the series history. Now, from television writer and producer David A. Goodman, comes “Federation: The First 150 Years,” a publication that will cover the history of the United Federation of Planets development and put together the history of the Star Trek universe.
Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years Cover
“Federation: The First 150 Years” will be presented as a history book about the development of the United Federation of Planets. It will include fictional essays, treaty excerpts, intelligence reports, and letters documenting key moments in Star Trek history that did and did not occur in the series and movies. The book is reported to start with the first contact the human race made with the Vulcans, move into the Organian Peace Treaty that initiated the United Federation, and go into the trials and victories that occurred after the fact.
Outside of the fictional documents and essays, the book will include several illustrations of “historic” scenes in the Star Trek cannon drawn by such artists as Joe Corroney, Mark McHaley, Cat Staggs, and Jeff Carlisle. The book itself will come with a specialty display case including electronic lights and audio narrations from George Takei.
Displayed on pedestal
The book is currently available for preorder on Amazon with a release date set for November 20th 2011.
The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo that occurred this past weekend had its fair share of exciting guests and panels spanning the subjects of television, comics, and movies. However, inarguably the biggest event of the weekend came with the reunion of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary. The cast took questions from the audience, shared memories of the show, and were treated to a few surprises along the way.
The panel began with a swing style big band playing the cast in with specialized introductions. Sir Patrick Stewart, who played the fan favorite Captain Pickard, received an elongated intro with the Calgary native host introducing him as “One of the greatest actors of stage and screen and certainly one of the sexiest bald men alive.” Once the crowd was calmed, Stewart recalled that the last time he and the cast had gathered all together was a party to celebrate his knighthood.
Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn and Denise Crosby
The cast began the panel by recalling the early days in the show. Marina Sirtis, who played Deanna Troi, recalled that the show had not always been as big a hit with Trekkies. “You’re all cheering now,” said Siritis “But when we started you weren’t happy.” The cast then took turns telling stories about some of the humorous beginnings in the shows rise into popularity, including Jonathan Frakes, who played William Riker, recalling a convention when every action figure of the cast came with “a free Riker action figure.” The cast went on to remember some of the more disgusting and uncomfortable props and sets that they had to deal with during the show’s lifespan, including a constantly used low cave landscape in which stray cats constantly defecated.
Once the cast was done talking about the hardships and learning experiences of the early days, they went on to describe the more successful time period of the show. Will Wheaton, who played the young Wesley Crusher, talked about how excited he was when they began shoot two part episodes and Gates McFadden, the Enterprises’ Doctor Beverly Crusher, thanked the fans personally for “Keeping me on the show.”
Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden and LeVar Burton
The cast also answered questions given to them by five contest winners within the crowd of fans. During this session, surprise guest Aaron Douglas (Glen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica) was able to give his thanks to the cast for the inspiration he had taken from all of them and also to have a fan service argument with Wil Wheaton over the different theories of how the Warp Drive functioned. John De Lancie, who played the antagonist Q, also made a surprise guest appearance during a section where the cast was asked about their favorite villains from the show.
The panel was not without its emotional moments. Wil Wheaton reminisced what it was like to leave the show and the feelings of shame he had to deal with after the fact. Michael Dorn, who played the emotionless and hard boiled Worf, remembered his emotional breakdown during the final episode’s filming stating “I had never cried so much in my life.”
The TNG cast celebrate a very special moment
The entire cast ended the panel by saying how lucky they were to have the time they had had together and thanked all the fans that were present for supporting them as much as they did.
Though the Star Trek franchise owes its fame and success to a number of people, it is commonly seen as the brainchild of television writer and futurist Gene Roddenberry.
In 2011, Roddenberry’s son and chief executor of Roddenberry Entertainment, Rod Roddenberry released the Saturn Award nominated documentary Trek Nation, a tribute to his father and the vision he created in 1964. Now, the acclaimed documentary will be making its international debut at the annual Sci-Fi-London film festival along with the world premiere of Roddenberry Entertainment’s newest production White Room: 02B3.
Trek Nation acts not only a tribute to Star Trek through interviews of such notable fans and alumni as, J.J. Abrams, Seth MacFarlane, and George Lucas, but also follows Rod Roddenberry as he takes a step back and sees what his father’s creation means to magnitudes of Star Trek fans and the people who worked directly with the man himself. Rod Roddenberry called the film an “Opportunity to introduce the world to a Gene Roddenberry it’s never met before.”
Besides using the festival to launch Trek Nation internationally, Roddenberry Entertainment will also be premiering their newest project White Room: 02B3, a 360 degree visual experiment starring Breckin Meyer, Tamlyn Tomita, David Blue and Rachel True, Tony Janning and Milynn Sarley.
White Room 02B3
In preparation for the international debut of Trek Nation, the London Sci-Fi movie festival Director Louis Savy has said that anyone wearing a Star Trek uniform at the convention on April 29th will be given a pass to the festival’s after party.
Watch the Trek Nation trailer below.
LONDON; April 24, 2012 — Roddenberry Entertainment, the successor of the science fiction pioneer that brought television and film audiences Star Trek, announced today that its Saturn Award-nominated film Trek Nation will make it’s much anticipated international debut on May 7 at the 11th Annual Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film in London’s Apollo Piccadilly Circus at 4:55 p.m. local time. The film will appear as part of a Roddenberry Entertainment double feature along with the company’s groundbreaking 360-degree film White Room: 02B3.
Trek Nation made its US debut in November 2011 on SCIENCE Channel to acclaimed reviews of Rod Roddenberry’s tribute to his father, Gene Roddenberry, including a nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for a 2012 Saturn Award in the “Best Television Presentation (10 Episodes or Less)” category. Through exclusive footage and interviews with devoted fans, including George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Seth MacFarlane and many notable Star Trek alumni, Trek Nation chronicled a son’s journey to discover his father and the creation that helped define modern-day science fiction.
“By exploring my father through a variety of untapped touchstones, we were able to introduce the world to a Gene Roddenberry it’s never met before. Through this process of humanization, Trek Nation reminds us that none of us are perfect but that within our imperfections lays the potential for greatness,” said Executive Producer Rod Roddenberry.
While it will be the first time a European audience is given the opportunity to view the documentary in its entirety, Sci-Fi-London will also play host to the world premier of Roddenberry Entertainment’s new film White Room: 02B3. Shot with the world’s most advanced high-definition 360-degree camera, White Room:02B3 stars Breckin Meyer, Tamlyn Tomita, David Blue and Rachel True, as well as Internet icons Tony Janning and Milynn Sarley. The film will debut during the Blink of an Eye program on Saturday, May 5 at 4:55 p.m. local time before it’s screened with Trek Nation on May 7.
Boldly going where no camera has gone before, Roddenberry Entertainment used cutting edge 360-degree SA9 camera technology to create an engaging, interactive audience experience. Sitting in the middle of the room, the camera captures 360-degrees outward in high-definition panoramic video with no gaps or distortion during filming.
While White Room: 02B3 is premiering at film festivals, Roddenberry will also launch it as an immersive cinematic trailblazer in 360-degree dome theaters around the country and as an interactive experience online. A click-and-drag function will simulate the dome experience.
“In addition to quality science fiction, Roddenberry is known for taking strides into new technologies and pushing entertainment boundaries. With White Room: 02B3 we are certainly at the birth of a new kind of filmmaking,” said Trevor Roth, chief operating officer and head of development at Roddenberry Entertainment.
Roddenberry Entertainment is a science-fiction leader with a tradition of revolutionary entertainment. Originally founded in 1967 by Gene Roddenberry, the company has since led a steady stable of science-fiction successes including Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict, Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda and, most notably, Star Trek. Roddenberry Entertainment has continued to bring the Roddenberry philosophy to a new generation and has evolved its groundbreaking science fiction into an innovative, multimedia portfolio of graphic novels, comics, television and film projects, while continuing its unique tradition in quality merchandising. With insightful explorations of humanity, Roddenberry Entertainment has set itself apart by creating smart and provocative science fiction that challenges its audiences to think, question and explore the world, as well as those beyond. For more information on Roddenberry Entertainment please visit www.Roddenberry.com. Roddenberry Entertainment can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Beginning his fame as the U.S.S Enterprise’s original senior officer Hikaru Sulu, George Takei has taken to becoming one of the most diverse and multifaceted members of the original series cast. Acting as a gay rights activist, philanthropist for Asian cultural centers, as well as internet humor personality, Takei celebrated his 75th birthday on Friday by speaking at a fundraiser for the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto.
“I am celebrating my seventy-fifth birthday in the way that I’ve spent most of my life,” said the actor in a recent interview “Raising funds for good causes.” Takei told Moviefone.
An intelligent and historically aware man, Takei acknowledges that his birthday doesn’t come without its share of baggage “It’s also Hitler’s birthday.” the actor said of spending the day at a charity event. “I share that birthday with the blackest villain in history and I have to be particularly good in this life in order to make up for that.” He also acknowledged that it is also the anniversary of the Columbine Massacre. “If only my mother could have held me a little longer or pushed me out a little bit earlier.” the actor joked.
Along with attending the charity event, Takei also used the occasion to post blog entry reminding people of the World War Two Japanese-American internment camps, one of which he was placed in at a very young age.
“I am one of an ever-shrinking number of survivors of the internment,” Takei wrote. “which resulted in the incarceration, without charges or due process, of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry.”
Takei will be starring in an upcoming musical called Allegiance, which as he says in a recent video “Will, for the first time, deal with Japanese Americans during the Second World War.” He then, as thanks for his fans helping him raise over $150,000 for the production, did what he called “his happy dance” “With reluctant permission from my husband Brad.” he added with a wink.
“We owe so much to Gene, he was such a visionary.” Takei said of Star Trek‘s creator, Gene Roddenberry. “So much of what he envisioned has become reality today. We are literally living in a science fiction world today. What Gene used to say, and reminded us constantly, was that the Starship Enterprise was a metaphor for Starship Earth, and the strength of these starships lay in its diversity coming together and working in concert to face a common challenge. Technology has bound us together where we are literally now a global society, a global culture, a global economy and a global politics.” he said.
“Back in the ’60s we were frozen in the coldest of Cold Wars — the Soviet Union and the United States threatening each other with mutual nuclear annihilation. Today, we have the international space station, and the crew of that space station come from all over this planet.”
“So much of what Gene envisioned, as an aspiration, has become reality today. We are all tied together by this thing called the Internet. I can send emails to someone in Europe or Latin America or Asia. And we’re now talking to each other like they’re on the next block. We are a global society, something that Gene Roddenberry envisioned. ”
Takei’s resurgence popularity-culture came at the hands of an unlikely appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show in the 1990s. After making several appearances, he became the show’s “official announcer” in 2006, when it moved to Sirius satellite radio.
“Howard can be both outrageous and munificent. Going on speaking tours to colleges, on equality for the LGBT community is good and necessary, but it’s more or less speaking to the choir. When Howard gave me that invitation to become his “official announcer,” I accepted because I thought he would give me access to a whole different audience, that are decent and fair-minded, but don’t think about issues like equality for the LGBT community. He has an amazing reach and he gave me the opportunity to say to these people that we are all members of your families. We’re literally your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, we’re literally kin. We’re your flesh and blood, and that made a lot of people think.”
Takei with Leonard Nimoy on the set of Star Trek
“After about three or four months on the Howard Stern Show, I started getting letters from people who identified themselves as straight, married, male, some Republicans, some Democrats, and they said I made sense and they would be supportive of LGBT equality. I was very touched by that and I owe that in large part to Howard. So, if it’s comparing Bill Shatner and Howard Stern, most definitely Howard Stern has been more outrageous, but he gave me the kind of opportunity that I never dreamed of. Bill has never given me that, only grief.” he said with a laugh.
In addition to being Star Trek‘s original Captain James T. Kirk, William Shatner has taken to being an online personality on the social network Twitter. As part of his online campaign for his comedy tour and 81st birthday celebration, Shatner created a contest in which he would dine with his millionth Twitter follower.
Enter Troy Pound, a resident of Wagner, South Carolina, who became Shatner’s lucky millionth follower.
Shatner stayed true to his word and on Tuesday night, met with Pound and his wife after a performance of his current comedy tour Shatner’s World, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The couple were able to see the show and then were treated to a dinner with original Captain afterwards. The dinner was captured briefly on video to prove Shatner made good on his promise.
“As promised, the millionth Twitter follower,” said Shatner, in the video posted to his Youtube channel from the dinner. “We’re having dinner. Thank you, everybody.”
“Still in awe of last night’s dinner,” Pound tweeted to Shatner and wife Elizabeth after the meeting. “What a wonderful time we had. Thank you.”
Friends I would like to do a special #FF to my one millionth follower @pdoxjr ! Please give him a welcome to our community. My best, Bill
Of all the iconic science fiction technology synonymous with Star Trek, possibly most recognizable is the teleporter. A somewhat temperamental machine, the device has sent the several different crews of the series to alien planets, enemy ships, and (on its bad days) mirror universes. Now with Star Trek: The Next Generation celebrating its 25th anniversary, the town of Vulcan, Alberta has teamed up with The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo and E-Axis to bring one of Star Trek’s most beloved staples into reality with a promotional Transporter app for iPhone and iPad.
Two displays have been set up in Calgary, AB bus shelters by the Ontario based tech company E-Axis and the Vulcan Tourism Bureau. The displays implements Augmented Reality technology using an app available for iPhone and iPad, allowing fans to take pictures of themselves and their friends in front of the display and simulate the famous transport sequence on the display screen.
On top of the initial two bus shelters, a third display will be made available at the Vulcan Tourism booth at the The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (April 27th-29th), an event that will also host the first reunion of the principle cast of The Next Generation in over two decades in celebration of the shows anniversary.
The displays will be available in Calgary until the end of April, when they will be sent to Vulcan, AB and set as a permanent display in honor of the city’s annual Star Trek celebration, Spock Days (June 8th, 9th, and 10th). There, additional features will be added to the app including guided scavenger hunts and science tours for guests of the celebration.
The current displays are available at the bus stops at 9th Ave/2 Street and 4 street/17 Ave in Calgary.