Waiting on Walter. My lunchbox needs him

Star Trek’s 50th anniversary was in 2016. The premiere is celebrated September 8 for the day in 1966 when Willliam Shatner introduced the US viewing public to TOS with: “Captain’s log, stardate fifteen thirteen point one. Our position, orbiting planet M one hundred thirteen. On board the Enterprise, Mr. Spock, temporarily in command.”  

Those words were actually heard first in Canada, a full two days earlier, because CTV had Star Trek on its schedule for Tuesdays instead of NBC’s Thursdays. Another bit of Man Trap trivia: the opening voiceover was added at the suggestion of associate producer Bob Justman. His memo to Gene Roddenberry read:

After viewing “THE MAN TRAP” with Sandy Courage this afternoon, I am of the opinion that we need Narration for the opening of the TEASER. The TEASER starts out with a shot of the Enterprise orbiting about a planet and then we DISSOLVE FROM that to an ESTABLISHING SHOT of planet surface and then from that to a shot of Kirk and his companions materializing on the surface of the planet. These three shots take quite a bit of time on the screen.

And since this is liable to be our first or second show on the air, I think it would be wise to establish where we are and what we are doing, over these opening shots. Therefore, feel free to write a lengthy narration for Captain Kirk. It could run as much as half a minute, if you wished it. 

A screen capture of the bridge of the Enterprise from The Naked Time
The bridge scene from The Naked Time

Justman was right. Since our introduction to all of Star Trek is a view of Spock and the bridge crew, it is important to at least hear the voice of our hero. The opening footage of the bridge and of Spock in the command chair are outtakes from The Naked Time and What Are Little Girls Made Of?, respectively. For more detail on this, see this excellent Star Trek Fact Check article

What does this have to do with a lunchbox?

A photo of the 1968 Aladdin Star Trek lunchbox
The 1968 Aladdin box

My lunchbox is not the coveted 1968 Aladdin one — which I indeed covet but do not own — but rather a nice little 50th anniversary unit made for the 2016 Fan Expo convention. And this is where Walter Koenig finally enters this post. It is signed by all the main cast who are still with us: William Shatner, George Takei and Nichelle Nichols — but not Walter Koenig. The other three attended the 2016 Fan Expo but Koenig did not, and he has not visited southern Ontario since.  

(Astute Star Trek fans will note that, in discussing the 50th anniversary, I am talking about the first season of TOS — and Koenig wasn’t in the cast yet. True, but Chekov was on board the Enterprise. Khan Noonien Singh told us so.)

So, I am waiting for Koenig to visit my fair city or its environs. Without him, my lunchbox is incomplete. Of course, I have his autograph — nine times, including on a program from the Toronto Star Trek ’76 convention. Sadly, that one I did not get in person in 1976, but I really like it and will write about it soon.

So why am I bothered about the anniversary box? Well, first, because it is an anniversary item and should be signed by everyone who was still with us in 2016. Second, because collecting autographs is like eating potato chips: it’s hard to stop.

The lunchbox is in your court, Mr. Koenig. Please come to Toronto.

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