Several of my recent blogs here have been about Star Trek and all of its various iterations.
It’s apparently sparked a bit of a trip down memory lane because Marilyn just posted a funny (and true) blog about Star Trek called Ten, Nine, Eight… (Shut Up Spock).
It seems we have inadvertently (or advertently?) begun to write new mini-episodes of an old radio show we did a long time ago in a galaxy not that far away — and that Marilyn wrote what was probably the first parody of Star Trek.
When the original Star Trek went into syndication in the early 1970s, Marilyn and I (and many others of our tribe) watched them. Constantly. Repeatedly. Usually under the influence of Romulan Ale.
I’m just kidding. It was usually Acapulco Gold.
We all loved all of them. Back then I was doing a one hour weekly radio show called “Fulton’s Folly” at WVHC. Our college radio station. (Note: Our alma mater is on Fulton Street, hence … )
It was a sketch comedy show. Most of it was pretty dumb, but sometimes it was truly funny. One of our most popular recurring skits was the previously mentioned Star Trek parody. Marilyn and a friend of hers had the idea, and called it “Sterling Bronson, Space Engineer.”
Why? First, it was an inside joke about the radio station’s real chief engineer. Second, we figured if we called it anything with “Star Trek” in it, we’d probably get sued. Looking back “Star Trek, Oh God Not Another Generation!” would have been cool. The episodes recounted the adventures of the merry band of miscreants who flew a United Federation Organization Star Ship, the UFO Sloth.
Its crew consisted of:
- Captain James P. Clerk,
- Science Officer Mr. Spook,
- Chief Engineer Sterling “Scotty” Bronson,
- Chief Medical Officer Dr. Femur,
- Communications Officer Lt. O’Hara
- Helm Officers Ensign Tolstoy & Lt. Guru
- Nurse Temple.
They were not the sharpest pencils in the Star Fleet box.
Hell, they spent the first 6 episodes just trying to get out of the transporter room and beam down to a planet. Marilyn and her friend wrote the first dozen episodes.
Our listeners really liked them. After a while a young aspiring writer who worked at the radio station began writing longer, more complex episodes. One story is was a humorous send up of “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.” The young writer went on to become a successful science fiction and fantasy writer. His name is Simon Hawke.
He wrote one of my all-time favorite book series called “Time Wars,” available on Amazon.
A few years later I wrote and produced a full length one hour episode of the series. It was called “Sterling Bronson, Space Engineer.” Original, right? It’s online and you can hear it here.
It was serialized on another show I did later called A Half Hour Radio Show.
If I can ever find the tapes of the original series Marilyn wrote, I will put them online too. They are in my basement somewhere. I found them once. Damn it, I’ll find them again.
Years and years ago, I wrote the beginning of a Sterling Bronson episode that I never finished. I found the script a while back. It was printed on old dot-matrix computer track paper.
(Yeah, it’s that old). I’ve always regretted having not having finished it. What cracked me up is that it’s based on the same point that Marilyn’s blog made. That being how Spock has an annoying habit of constantly counting things down.
All of our recent Star Trek blogs have made references to, our “So Called President”.
In that light I’ve updated the episode. A smidgen. Here it is: the “Lost Sterling Bronson Episode”. It’s supposed to take place in real time. (“24” ripped me off!).
ENSIGN TOLSTOY: Captain! A Trumpulan ship has De-cloaked and is arming its weapons!
CAPTAIN CLERK: Trumpulans? Who the hell are they?
MR SPOOK: A recently discovered species sir. They are an off-shoot of the human race. Apparently, hundreds of years ago a small group of humans left Earth and colonized a remote planet. They worshiped some long-forgotten despot they referred to only as “The Donald”. They are known for their lack of attention span, their rejection of anything factual and their tradition of wearing dead animals on their heads. They are easily offended and will attack anything that does not worship them.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Great. A bunch of narcissistic alien assholes. God, I miss the old days when we just had to deal with Klingons.
ENSIGN TOLSTOY: Sir, the Trumpulan ship is firing!
MR SPOOK: Shields are down to 90 percent. At this rate we will lose shields in 75.1243575789
CAPTAIN CLERK: ROUND IT OFF SPOOK!
MR SPOOK: A couple of minutes Jim.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Arm photon torpedoes! Lock all phasers on that ship! Ensign Guru, FIRE!
ENSIGN GURU: But sir, if we fire on them, then they will fire on us. And we will fire on them. We will just be creating very bad karma.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Damn it Guru, I know you’re from the planet Gandhi Five but I don’t have time for your left-wing peace and granola crap right now. If you don’t fire the phasers, we are all going to die!
MR SPOOK: In 69.268 seconds captain.
ENSIGN GURU: I’m sorry sir. It is against my beliefs to attack anyone. Even if they are narcissistic alien assholes.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Then why the hell are you the Weapons Officer?? Never mind! I’ll fire them myself.
LT O’HARA: Now old on sir. You can’t fire those phasers. You’re not in the union. You’re senior management.
CAPTAIN CLERK: WHAT? Are you serious?
LT O’HARA: Yes sir. Article 15, section 5 of the contract states …
CAPTAIN CLERK: OK. Fine. Whatever! Then you do it!
LT O’HARA: I Can’t sir.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Why not??
LT O’HARA: I’m in a different union.
CAPTAIN CLERK: I don’t believe this! There must be something I can do!
MR SPOOK: There is sir. But I suggest you hurry. Shields will be down in 51.7865 seconds.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Stop telling me the time and tell me what the hell I can do!
MR SPOOK: I believe you might be able to get something called “A Waiver”. It would allow you to fire the weapons systems on a provisional “one time” basis.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Great! Get me one of those!
MR SPOOK: I’m sorry sir. You would need to get that from the ship’s shop steward.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Shop steward! Who the hell is that?
MR SPOOK: Chief Engineer Bronson.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Attention Chief Engineer Bronson. This is the captain. I need to get a waiver to fire the phasers immediately! If I don’t we are all going to die!
MR SPOOK: In 52.7685
CAPTAIN CLERK: Shut up Spook! Can you do it Scotty?
SCOTTY: I can sir, but I’ll need more time! There’s a lot of paperwork involved. I get can get it for you in about a week.
CAPTAIN CLERK: We don’t have a week!
MR SPOOK: We have 41.3454
CAPTAIN CLERK: SHUT UP SPOOK! OK, listen Guru, how about this. We don’t shoot the Trumpulan ship. We just “wing it”.
LT GURU: Wing it?
CAPTAIN CLERK: Yeah! We “wing it”! Just like they did in those old holographic 20th century Westerns you love to watch. We just target the weapons systems. We “shoot the guns out of their hands”!
LT GURU: Hmmm. That sounds reasonable.
SFX: Phasers being fired.
MR SPOOK: Direct hit on all weapons systems sir. And I might add with 1.209384765 seconds to spare.
LT O’HARA: Incoming message from the Trumpulan ship sir.
CAPTAIN CLERK: Put it on speaker.
LT O’HARA: It’s an old-fashioned text message sir.
CAPTAIN CLERK: OK, put it on the screen
I miss Klingons too.