Before Trek’s Data, there was Questor!

A few years ago I watched part of a film about an android who was hunting for his creator. Sadly I missed both the start and end of the film, and it was banished to the back of my mind. Until that is, I read a recent review of The Questor Tapes, a 1974 Gene Roddenberry TV movie made by NBC.

The plot from the DVD distributors website explains things perfectly:

From the creators of Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry??s The Questor Tapes follows the incredible journey of one seemingly superhuman android as he attempts to find his creator. Project Questor (Robert Foxworth) is cutting-edge android technology: brilliant, resilient and able to outwit the human race??s greatest minds. But the one question the android cannot solve is the location of its genius inventor, Dr. Vaslovik (Lew Ayres), and half of the tapes that provide detailed instructions on how his creation can best help humanity. With a nuclear bomb counting down in its chest, Questor must rely on the help of another scientist, Dr. Jerry Robinson (Mike Farrell), to solve the mystery of its origin.

Project Questor

Sadly, Youtube is devoid of any significant footage from the movie, but I did manage to find this brief Japanese trailer which confirmed that this was indeed the film I watched:

With the film now out on general release, I hope to track it down and see this proto-Data in action. Have any of you seen the full movie already?

Happy 45th Anniversary to Star Trek! We Have Cake!

Thanks to Geekologie for this awesome Captain Kirk cake photo and to GeekMom for this wonderful bit of text presented below. Make sure to follow her link to read the rest of her moving tribute.

“Once upon a time, there lived a man. This man was a dreamer. This man had hopes and visions of a better future, a future built upon true equality and mutual respect. This man’s name was Gene Roddenberry.

Gene had an idea. He wanted to share his dream and his ideals. The way he did this was through a television series called Star Trek. However, many people at the time did not want Gene to share his dream. He was told that it was too cerebral, too liberal, too unbelievable. It took a lot of work for him to find someone willing to embark on this dream with Gene. But Gene did not give up. After five years of a lot of hard work and dedication, on September 8, 1966, Star Trek aired for the first time.”

Gene Roddenberry’s “Genesis II” and “Planet Earth” on DVD

genesis II planet earth

“My name is Dylan Hunt. My story begins the day on which I died.”

If those words sound familiar you are lucky enough to own a copy or caught “Genesis II” on television. Genesis II was the first of three attempts by Roddenberry to create a new science fiction television series following the success of Star Trek. Genesis II aired on CBS on March 23, 1973; although Roddenberry had scripts lined up for a 20-episode first season, CBS declined to pick it up, opting instead for the short-lived Planet of the Apes live-action series. Roddenberry reworked the material into a second pilot, “Planet Earth”, in which John Saxon replaced Cord in the role of Dylan Hunt. Based on network recommendations, this second pilot focused more on action and physical conflict than its predecessor. Though it aired on ABC in 1974, it was also declined. Warner Bros, which owned the rights, reworked Roddenberry’s material yet again for “Strange New World”, also starring Saxon, which aired in 1975. Years later, Robert Hewitt Wolfe would us the name “Dylan Hunt” and many ideas from Roddenberry’s “Genesis II” notes to create Andromeda television series.

I had been looking for a copy of “Genesis II” on Amazon for a while, but all of the copies were by individuals who had raised the price. Yet they all seemed like new copies, a quick search and voila, Warner Bros Archive is selling Genesis II exclusively on their site for a much more reasonable $19.95. So if you are a fan of Roddenberry and 70s SF, pick up a copy today. If you like the concept you can pick up the aforementioned “Planet Earth” at the Warner Bros. store as well for the same price as “Genesis II”.

concept art

At Auction: Early Production Apple Macintosh 128 computer given to Gene Roddenberry by Apple Computer

gene roddenberry apple

Auction Site, Profiles in History is auctioning off a double threat. A piece of Star Trek AND computer history. They are auction off an Early Apple Macintosh that was gifted to and owned by Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry. The target price is between $800-$1200, which seems like a bargain. According to Profiles:

This is an early production Macintosh 128 personal computer presented to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry as a gift by Apple Computer, Inc. Bearing the serial number F4200NUM0001, this machine is listed as being the 776th example built. The Macintosh was a revelation among personal computers when it came on the market in 1984, being the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface rather than a command-line interface. This computer was subsequently upgraded to a Macintosh Plus by Apple for Mr. Roddenberry (the original Mac’s Achilles heel was its insufficient memory). The computer features the beige-colored case with 9 in. display, 3.5 in. floppy drive and includes the short keyboard, external floppy drive, mouse and deluxe Apple logo padded carrying case. An incredible artifact with a wonderful association between the visionary computer designer/manufacturer and legendary Star Trek creator, and is a stellar example of the powerful synergy between technology and entertainment. Accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from Gene Roddenberry’s son, Rod.

Early Production Apple Macintosh 128 computer given to Gene Roddenberry by Apple Computer [@] Profiles in History