Star Trek Day with the EOA

George Takei, who played Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek television series and subsequent movies; circa 1991.

Happy Star Trek Day! Arkansas has lots of connections with Star Trek, whose original television series premiered on this day in 1966.

The original series starred George Takei, who was interned at the Rohwer Relocation Center during World War II and has also made several return visits to Arkansas to promote the preservation of history relating to Japanese American incarceration.

Ena Hartman of Jefferson County, a groundbreaking Black television actress of the 1960s and ’70s, made a brief appearance in the original series episode “The Corbomite Maneuver,” while stuntman Hal Needham, who grew up all around the state and later went on to direct Smokey and the Bandit, did stunts for the original series.

Fort Smith native Laurence Luckinbill starred as Spock’s half-brother Sybok in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Daniel Davis of Little Rock made two noteworthy appearances as Professor Moriarty in Star Trek: The Next Generation, while Malvern native Fran Bennett played Fleet Admiral Shanthi in the Next Generation episode “Redemption II.” (Her later appearance as a Vulcan midwife in the 2009 Star Trek reboot was cut from the theatrical release but restored in the DVD special edition.)

Laurence Luckinbill (left) portraying Sybok in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; 1989.

Stuntwoman Monica Staggs of North Little Rock had appearances in both the series Star Trek: Voyager and the movie Star Trek: Insurrection, and Gil Gerard of Little Rock, better known for his role as television’s Buck Rogers, appeared in the fan-created online series Star Trek: Phase II in 2013.

But Arkansas has provided more than just on-screen talent. Before Laurell K. Hamilton, who was born in Heber Springs, became famous for her “Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter” book series, she published the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Nightshade. Likewise, Melissa Scott, born in Little Rock, also contributed to the Star Trek book series, writing both Deep Space Nine and Voyager novels.

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