Watching the latest "Star Trek" movie the other day reminded me of 1979 - and the opening of "Star Trek - the Motion Picture" 30 long and somewhat misspent years ago. Remember that opening? The starship Enterprise drifting majestically - and interminably - in orbit above the Earth toward that huge space station. The special-effects guys had run amok. The show was talky, slow, and didn't exactly go where no TV Star Trek had gone before, but I didn't see it opening night.
Instead, I was working that Saturday evening - having been employed by the Helena Independent Record for eight years by then - and we'd been tipped off that "trekkies" would be in the lobby of the theater, (tipped no doubt by the Trek-suited young men themselves). They certainly were eager to be interviewed and photographed.
And there they were as I walked in before the showing, decked out in full Star Trek uniforms, hyped by the upcoming movie, flashing v-shaped Vulcan hand signs at each other, grins trying to beam them into the coming experience. (No hand-held communicators, however, as they hadn't been invented yet.)
They said the usual stuff - how much they loved Star Trek, the 1960s series was sooo cool, etc.
What I remember is that one of the Trekkies - as I recall it was Spock - asked me when the story would run. "Tomorrow morning" I said.
Spock looked surprised. "That soon?"
"Hey," I said, "we're a daily paper."
What a young snot I was back then!