I have several “heroes,” as it is in the vernacular. You know, people that inspire and serve as role models. People I look up to and try to
emulate. Some are imaginary like Spider-Man and Fox Mulder. Some are actual personages like Mohandas Gandhi and John Lennon. When I am inspired by a
real person, I dig deep into the details of their life—I immerse myself in their art, contributions, and/or teachings. I sift through numerous
interviews, documentaries, biographies and memoirs in an attempt to learn who this person really was. I suppose it’s just a hollow attempt at
forging some connection between the ‘celebrity’ and the ‘fan.’
Gene Roddenberry—writer, dreamer, visionary, and futurist—is also one of my so-called “heroes.” I discovered the magic of Star Trek during my
senior year of high school; a time when I had no friends, no faith in myself, and no conceivable future to work toward. As much as I loved the show
and its themes, messages, and subtexts, I never really did learn much about Roddenberry himself.
Sure, entire discourses and lectures on the impact and significance of Star Trek as an entertainment, as a social phenomenon, and as a philosophy can
be discussed. But most information about Gene himself can be fit onto a 5” x 3” index card.
We know the highlights. We know he was a man of discipline:
Gene spent his boyhood in Los Angeles, where he later studied three years of policemanship and then transferred his academic interest to aeronautical
engineering and qualified for a pilot's license. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the fall of 1941 and was ordered into training as a
flying cadet when the United States entered World War II.
We know he was a decorated man in uniform:
He flew nearly a hundred combat missions and sorties and was decorated with both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal…Roddenberry later
received a Civil Aeronautics commendation
We know he also had a creative streak:
in the South Pacific…Mr. Roddenberry began to write. He sold stories to flying magazines, and later poetry to publications, including The New York
Times. He even wrote a song lyric "I Wanna Go Home", which became a popular song during the war.
And we know he heard the call of the storytelling muse:
Roddenberry continued flying until he saw television for the first time. Correctly estimating television's future, he realized that the new medium
would need writers and decided that Hollywood's film studios would soon dominate the new industry. He acted immediately, left his flying career behind
and went to Hollywood
You’d think somebody who inspired 4 spin-off television series to Star Trek, an animated cartoon series (more Trek), soon-to-be 12 Trek films (!),
as well as lesser-known sci-fi series such as “Andromeda” and “Earth: Final Conflict,” would have a lot to say. Heck, even some his projects
that never saw fruition found an audience in the form of comic book series bearing his name following his death.
Is personal information about Gene really so scant? Where’s the nitty-gritty? Where’s the juicy tidbits? Someone as successful, famous, and
influential as Mr. Roddenberry must surely have a grand story to tell. What inspired him? What was he really trying to say with Star Trek?
To help make Star Trek accurate, Gene had a close working relationship with NASA, Lockheed, JPL—the list goes on!
Roddenberry extensively consulted JPL scientists, Douglas and Lockheed engineers, USAF and RAND experts, and the engineers who worked on NASA’s
unmanned space probe program.
Not only was he consulting with these institutions. They were consulting with him as well.
The Enterprise bridge design attracted the attention of the US Navy, who dispatched three officers to the Star Trek soundstages. They were given
extensive access and design blueprints, as well as the accumulated notes gathered from JPL, NASA, etc.
People were interested in what he had to say. Again, we’re talking about a television writer here.
While making Star Trek, Roddenberry's reputation as a futurist began to grow. His papers and lectures earned him high professional regard as a
visionary. He spoke on the subject at NASA meetings, the Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress gatherings, and top universities.
I found a lengthy, in-depth interview with Gene during his last years of life. It mostly details his futurist-humanist philosophy, how he adopted this
stance, and how he incorporated it into his shows. There are a few excerpts that particularly interested me.
First is his reverence for his dad who helped shape his own worldview. His dad also had an uncanny futurist outlook.
Roddenberry: I’d like to say a few more things about him…He was advanced far beyond his time. Once he took me out to the front yard of our…house
and said, "Gene, some day they’ll rip out whole blocks of the city and put gigantic highways through here." He was talking about the freeways that I
later saw being built. He said this to me in the 1930s…
During World War II, while I was visiting home, Dad had shown me a newspaper report on how the Germans had broken through the Russian lines. Dad was
looking it over and said, "I’ve spent some time in open country, and I know something about the military. I figure they’ll be stopped about here."
He was pointing at Stalingrad…He was a shrewd analyst of world events.
(note: this source alone is worth hours of entertainment for Roddenberry fans!)
It was plenty obvious to everyone that Gene was ahead of the crowd. He also astounded people with his forward thinking, and his challenges to the
Alexander: You came very close to getting out of television. You were very successful before Star Trek , but you were unhappy. Before Star Trek came
along, you were about ready to pack it in if you couldn’t do what you wanted to do because of…?
Roddenberry: Censorship! Because of the fact that writers and producers are more or less expected, on network television, to perpetuate all of the
modern myths: the male is vigorous, battle is the true test of a man (that was particularly so in Westerns), and stereotypes about men and women. If
you don’t write them, people will stare at you askance and wonder, "What is he writing about?" It is only quite recently that we have had thoughtful
writing about reality on television. Twenty-five years ago, and longer, it was next to impossible because first there were Westerns and then there
were cop shows… Yes, I was just about to pack it in because there was no way I could write the things that were on my mind.
And just what was on Gene’s mind?
I remember, for example, saying to my mother one time, "Mom" (I must have been a teenager at the time), "as [sic] times I feel sometimes like I could
do things and maybe the ideas I have are worth something to somebody." She turned to me with surprising ferocity and said, "No. You’re just like
anybody else. Don’t talk about things like that because it’s foolish and nonsense."
Did Gene really have a message he felt compelled to share?
Alexander: Are there any subjects that you haven’t tackled on The Next Generation that you would like to?
Roddenberry: There are subjects, yes, but I will keep them secret, because you have to wait until a certain level of thinking permits these things to
be thought about openly and in writing. I have many thoughts which, if I were to voice them now, would turn many people against me.
Then things got decidedly weird the deeper I probed. My google searches started turning up references to something called “The Council of
Nine”—a group of paranormalists, channelers, and new-agers that also had a message to share.
One New Age channeling cult, above all the rest, has had a huge - very disturbing influence on hundreds of thousands of devotees worldwide. Known as
'The Nine', its disciples include cutting edge scientists, multi-millionaire industrialists and leading politicians.
This council had plans to prepare Earth for integration into a larger body of space-faring cultures, civilizations, and institutions. (Sound a little
like the Federation, hmm?)
In the mid-70’s, Gene found his way into this group. It's known that Gene was involved with The Nine, but it isn’t exactly known to what level of
intimacy they shared, or to what degree he was influenced by The Nine’s agenda.
It's well known that Gene Roddenberry had extensive contacts with the Nine as did Jon Povill, who worked on the show Sliders as well as
Synchromystic cult fave Total Recall.
Here’s a little of what this “Nine” has to say:
I am the beginning. I am the end. I am the emissary. But the original time I was on the Planet Earth was 34,000 of your years ago. I am the balance.
And when I say "I" - I mean because I am an emissary for The Nine. It is not I , but it is the group.We are nine principles of the Universe, yet
together we are one.
Looking at this source is like looking at a list of names associated with The Nine. We find a network of people possibly influenced by this group such
as Ira Einhorn, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, and Richard Hoagland. The Nine’s influence is reported to have reached up the echelon as high as Gerald Ford
and Al Gore.
And this was no ragtag bunch of hippie phreaks that Roddenberry was dealing with. According to Picknett and Prince, “the Nine's disciples
included multimillionaire businessmen (many hiding behind pseudonyms and including members of Canada's richest family, the Bronfmans), European
nobility, scientists from the Stanford Research Institute and at least one prominent political figure who was a personal friend of President Gerald
But what was Gene’s connection to this group?
he was approached with an unusual proposition by a wealthy Englishman called Sir John Whitmore.
Whitmore explained that he had sought out Roddenberry on behalf of an organisation calling itself Lab Nine. His proposal was that the TV producer and
writer should pen a film screenplay based on the group’s research into the paranormal and its belief that Earth was soon to be visited by
extraterrestrial beings traveling in spacecraft; Roddenberry, in other words, was to prepare the ground for the aliens’ arrival by writing a movie
script that would prime the human race for first contact.
Although the supposed screenplay never saw completion, elements are said to be contained in other Roddenberry sci-fi stories.
Roddenberry…even produced the screenplay for a movie about The Nine. How much he was influenced by them is unknown, although it is said that
some of their concepts found their way into the early Star Trek movies, and The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine (what a giveaway!) series.
As a hardcore Trekker, I am a little skeptical of Gene having any influence on Deep Space 9, because he had already passed before the series went into
pre-production. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know exactly how much Gene contributed to latter-day Star Trek and other sci-fi series, as he was
mostly a consultant rather than a writer at that time. (It goes without saying that if any members have more info or insight on this thread and its
direction, I want it shared!)
Even in the 1980s/90s, he was documented as working on Trek related projects with the likes of Sean David Morton – of ‘Dulce’/Area 51 fame. The
influence of his Lab9 experiences continues to be seen in his latter science fiction creations such as his aborted “Planet Earth” pilot and the
series “Earth: Final Conflict”.
Just what did Gene know and what was he trying to say? Referring back to his late interview, we can conclude that he took his sci-fi dramas very
seriously and even commented that they were to prepare people for real life.
Roddenberry: Because what we try to do in fiction is to present people of all ages with many aspects of life. In a way, this trains them and prepares
them for the multiple choices and decisions they have to make during their own lives. The more young people see honest shows, the better they’re
prepared. I can’t imagine making television for almost any other reason except preparing people for life’s travails and excitements.
Okay, maybe I’m taking this quote way out of context, but I find it difficult to reconcile phrases like “trains..and prepares,” “they’re
better prepared,” and “any other reason except preparing people” when talking about a fantastical science fiction program.
He is known to have favoured Science Fiction as a means to comment on the human condition because these hidden messages often escaped the censors.
Perhaps with a legend behind him as big as Star Trek, other invented myths were added to the epic. For example, Gene is said to be a high-ranking
Freemason who used covert symbolism in his original series.
On a more esoteric level, the original series is littered with (what some refer to as “illuminati”) symbolism.
The mystery gets even deeper.
Matilda O'Donnell MacElroy – who claimed to have interviewed an alien during the Roswell Incident of 1947…has several references to the concept of
the “Council of Nine” and mention of a symbol that was ‘shown’ to her by the creature. The symbol is used throughout the design of the book
and is eerily identical to the Starfleet insignia.
I have often found it curious that more people haven’t noticed the continued similarity in the logos of the branches of the Department of Defence
– in relation to Star Trek. The various branches of NASA, JPL, Aerospace, Space Defence, and so forth, all incorporate the chevron aspect to their
logos. This is also true of the space agencies of numerous nations across the world. It is the same chevron that has become synonymous with
‘Trek’. We really should ask the question – why?
(note: please check out all 3 parts of this source if you want to go the full depth behind the ‘Star Trek Conspiracy’)
The waters were again muddied when Gene’s son, Rod Roddenberry, introduced a new sci-fi comic strip called Gene’s Journal.
In addition to running a foundation for science and clean oceans there are several “projects” that the group produces. One of them is Gene’s
Journal…Based on a childhood journal that Gene Roddenberry left behind
What’s the premise of this comic strip based on Gene’s actual childhood diary?
Gene’s Journal® is the untold, true story behind the adolescent years of Gene Roddenberry. It was during these years that Gene was continuously
abducted by aliens for the extraterrestrial purpose of studying human beings
Interesting to say the least. But it becomes even more intriguing in light of the fact that Gene’s reputation as an ahead-of-his-time thinker is not
at all inaccurate. It is already well-documented what existing technology today was conceived by or inspired (or at least made popular) in some
capacity by Gene et all, and dubbed “Treknobabble”
how many of you remember Scotty introducing transparent aluminum for the first time?...
It may sound impossible, but there is such a thing as transparent aluminum armor or aluminum oxynitride (ALON) as it's more commonly known. ALON is a
ceramic material that starts out as a powder before heat and pressure turn it into a crystalline form similar to glass. Once in the crystalline form,
the material is strong enough to withstand bullets. Polishing the molded ALON strengthens the material even more. The Air Force has tested the
material in hopes of replacing windows and canopies in its aircraft. Transparent aluminum armor is lighter and stronger than bulletproof glass.
Fast forward 30 years and wouldn't you know it, it seems like everyone carries a communicator. We just know them as cell phones.
Hypospray is a form of hypodermic injection of medication. A hypospray injection is forced under the skin (a subcutaneous injection) with high air
pressure. The air pressure shoots the liquid vaccine deep enough into the skin that no needle is required. The real-world application is known as a
In science fiction, space ships including the Starship Enterprise snatch each other up using tractor beams…
Scientists have harnessed small lasers into beams capable of manipulating molecules and moving them with precision. Optical tweezers use a focused
laser to trap and suspend microscopic particles in an optical trap. Scientists can use optical tweezers to trap and remove bacteria and sort cells.
Optical tweezers are used primarily in studying the physical properties of DNA. While the beams used in optical tweezers aren't strong enough to dock
the space shuttle to the International Space Station, it's a start in that direction.
"Set phasers to stun"…
Unlike the phaser, the Taser and other stun guns must come in physical contact with the target in order to have any effect. Tasers take care of this
by projecting two electrodes, connected by wires, which attach to the target's skin. Once in contact, the handheld unit transfers electricity to the
target, thus having the stun effect.
The characters in "Star Trek" relied on a small device that when spoken into, would translate the words into English. Guess what? The technology
exists for us in the real world. There are devices that let you speak phrases in English and it will spit back to you the same rhetoric in a specified
language. The only problem is, these devices only work for certain predetermined languages.
A true universal translator like the one on the show may not be a reality, but the technology is available. Voice recognition has advanced
considerably since its inception.
In 2005, a team of scientists from Stanford University successfully implanted a small chip behind the retina of blind rats that enabled them to pass a
vision recognition test. The science behind the implants, or bionic eyes as they're commonly referred to, works much the way Geordi's VISOR did.
Often times the tricorder gave an initial analysis of the new environment. So, what's the real-world tie-in? NASA employs a handheld device called
LOCAD, which measures for unwanted microorganisms such as E. coli, fungi and salmonella onboard the International Space Station [source: Coulter].
Beyond that, two handheld medical devices may soon help doctors examine blood flow and check for cancer, diabetes or bacterial infection.
That’s some pretty impressive insight from such a simple man who doesn’t even consider himself worthy of being interviewed. Looks like Gene got
his futurist knack from his dad after all. Oh, and things like flat screen TVs and compact discs were also the norm in Star Trek.
Although Gene simply called himself a writer—we can’t but help call him a visionary. There is just enough truth and coincidence to open the
possibility that he may have known more than he let on. Recall back to his interview that he had some impending, unexpressed ideas that had to “wait
until a certain level of thinking permit[ed] these things to be thought about openly…”
Perhaps the mystery shrouding Gene Roddenberry mostly has to do with his affiliation with the Lab 9 group. After all, they did approach him with the
proposition of writing a script to “prepare” people for an inevitable alien contact. Gene didn’t say no. In fact, he worked with multiple
In a correspondence with a representative from Lab 9, Gene wrote:
I’ve never seen any proof, or at least anything I recognise as proof, that other intelligent life forms exist, or are or have been in contact
with us. Nor have I ever seen anything I recognise as proof that other laws of physics exist.” 
‘Proof’ was clearly what was required to penetrate Roddenberry’s sceptical defences,
and get him on-message, so Whitmore arranged an expenses-paid tour of a number of parapsychology departments and research facilities across the
country to observe scientific investigation of the paranormal at first hand. And Roddenberry was invited to spend time both at Whitmore’s home in
England and at Lab Nine itself while he spent the autumn of 1975 working on the draft screenplay.
Getting involved with this Lab 9 group raises all kinds of questions concerning Gene and just what he knew, or what he thought he knew, or what he
learned after the fact.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the history of The Nine is its relationship to the career of Andrija Puharich. Recent research has revealed
Puharich to have a distinctly sinister side. As an Army doctor in the 1950s, he was deeply involved with the CIA's notorious MKULTRA mind control
project (see panel). He - together with the infamous Dr Sidney Gottlieb - experimented with a variety of techniques to change or induce actual thought
At the end of the day, Gene Roddenberry called himself a writer and a humanist—nothing more. It is hard to ignore the possibility of several
implications with his work though. He clearly was rubbing some pretty impressive shoulders during his career. He had a professional relationship with
NASA and other institutions. He was introduced to a ‘new-age’ channeling group that were bent on fulfilling an agenda—and he even agreed to
write the script that would get people ready to accept alien contact.
Was he just an insightful chap who hit upon the head of (several) possible future technologies conceived in Star Trek? Or did he know something we
didn’t? What about this childhood diary that inspired a tale of alien abductions?
There are so many loose threads to this mystery and it’s ready to fall apart at the slightest tug. Are we simply looking at the embellished myth of
an honestly down-to-earth man? Was Gene trying to entertain us, or pass along a message? Was he expressing a creative outlet, or was he advancing an
The intrigue surrounding his life, his career, and his colleagues certainly merits some attention.
Whatever this mystery entails, the work that Gene did earned him a commendation for public service…all for creating a television show and a
NASA posthumously awarded him the Public Service Medal in 1992. It seems that Star Trek was considered “a job, well done” by those in the
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed. If you can, please add to this, my tip of the iceberg, thread which I'm burning to learn more about!
edit on 10-4-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)