I hesitated when I chose to write on this piece of music. Mostly because it comes from the original Star Trek that I grew up with ages 0-10 in the 1970’s. I know a lot of Star Trek fans are much younger than I and are more interested in the later sequels and remakes of the tv series. I also figured it might already be taken as a topic. After emailing Becky, the Blogathon host (thank you Becky), I had the approval to go for it so here I am.
The main theme song of the original Star Trek TV series is powerful because of Captain Kirk, his crew, and the dramatic impact they had on television. It’s also a noteworthy piece of music on its own. It’s musical accomplishment belies the trifle of a catchy jingle or household name, but it has become like that too. It’s instantly recognizeable in my family. I know this because I just tested them. 5/5 family members recognized it.
The theme was originally scored under the title “Where No Man Has Gone Before. It was composed by Alexander Courage for Star Trek, the science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry and originally aired between September 8, 1966, and June 3, 1969. source.
The song has had many other recordings and uses through the years. How can we know if Star Trek would ever have been as exciting for the masses without this song and it’s “Whooosh” sound effect of the Enterprise traveling into space. In some ways, it reminds me of a “space” version of Bonanza or Mission Impossible. It starts at a low tempo and builds until the song is flying with the viewer on their tv screen. It makes one feel as if one is on the Enterprise. I’ll always have a special inspired place in my psyche for this song. It certainly has “launched” an idea in cinema and television that may continue into infinity.
Did you know the Star Trek theme actually had lyrics? Here they are! reference: Snopes
The rim of the star-light
Is wand’ring in star-flight
He’ll find in star-clustered reaches
Strange love a star woman teaches.
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.
Personal memory: The sound of the first Star Trek TV theme has a hedonic component for me. I’m not sure if the main melody is played by an instrument or a singer in a psychedelic opera. Staying home sick on a school day was when I used to hear it most. I used to pretend I was in space. It almost makes me dizzy now hearing it still, but in a good way. it reminds me of childhood: grilled cheese sandwiches I’d make for my brother and I in between stealing oreos from atop the fridge. The song brings me back to those times. It is indeed a powerful piece of music in film.
This post and link to the blogathon was published first on Riley on Film.