I guess this makes me extra nerdy that I already knew this, but over at Blastr, they’re educating the rest of the masses about the lyrics to the theme song for Star Trek (TOS). The classic theme was composed by Alexander Courage (who many years later would fulfill musical duties for the ill-fated Superman IV), and since they used the song in each episode, he’d get a decent chunk of change. As Blastr points out, this is even ignoring Trek’s eventual cult-classic status. The show did run for three seasons.
Ah, but Courage had a handshake agreement with Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in which Gene had the option to pen lyrics to the song; in that event, the two would split the royalties. So after the show’s first year, that’s exactly what happened. But not because The Great Bird of the Galaxy had found the perfect words that embodied the memorable memory. As alleged in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, Trek producers Herb Solow and Robert Justman, Roddenberry did it to make some extra money.
It seems a bit sketchy, but Star Trek wasn’t then even close to the phenomenon it is today (or more accurately, 10 or 15 years ago when it was a cash cow for Paramount), and it’s not unlikely that at least some of that money helped keep the series afloat in one way or another even if indirectly. It really depends whom you ask.
Regardless, Courage didn’t score any other Trek episodes as a result of this.
So you’re probably wondering, “so what are the lyrics? Do they suck?” Read (and most likely weep):
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
Hear them as performed by Tenacious D:
Kinda figures it would end up about people porking, right? This little love ditty is sweet, sure, but lyrically, it makes me want to reach for “Seasons in the Sun” or God forbid, “Playground in My Mind.” Not only that, but you’re probably already trying to sing the words in your head, but they track the melody about as well as really early Green Day songs, in which emPHAsis is placed on the wrong syLLABle.
If I sound bitter about this, it’s because a long time ago (no, not in a galaxy far, far away), I was a 12-year-old Treknerd who happened upon a radio station contest in which they wanted people to make up lyrics to the Star Trek theme. The best one would get free tickets to the upcoming Star Trek convention.
Well, 12-year-old me thought, if I use the actual lyrics that no one knows about, I’d be a shoo-in, because, you know, they’re the REAL lyrics. The drawback: I had to sing them over the phone to some hapless deejay.
Lemme tell you, hitting that last note is a mother. I deafened at least one neighborhood dog, I’m sure of it.