“Hey Eugene, Can You Spare A Dime?”
Doug Palumbo called me up first thing this morning and read an article to me while I was driving to my chiropractor's office. After he was done, I thought I needed to stop off somewhere and get checked out by a cardiologist and bring home my own defibrillator. I was astonished by what I heard and felt, that as a mild Star Trek fan (and a recovering Science Fiction junky) that I had been cheated or my intelligence was insulted. Why? In short, Majel Roddenberry leaves a "pile of cash" and a mansion to her dogs and their keeper and $90 Million to her son...
'Star Trek' Widow's Trust -
For the Dogs
Before Gene Roddenberry's wife
joined the "Star Trek" creator in the great beyond
last year, she made sure the couple's dogs would live long and
prosper after her death -- by willing the pets a frickin' fortune!
TMZ has obtained the Roddenberry trust documents, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, in which Majel Roddenberry made sure her dogs would get to live in one of her multi-million dollar mansions until they die. There's even a $4 million residential trust set up simply for the upkeep of their incredible doggy digs!
There's more: A domestic employee named Reinelda Estupinian -- the person who cared for the pups -- gets $1 million and the right to live in the mansion with the dogs.
In the papers, Majel claimed Reinelda deserves the massive stack of cash because she "did an excellent job of caring for my animals (giving them comparable or better care than that which I gave them during my lifetime)."
As for the Roddenberry's son -- he gets the Bel Air mansion, $60 mil up front and $10 million bonuses when he turns 35, 40 and 45.
Before I go forward, let me clear the air about a few things.
I never said I hated Star Trek, but that I hated the laughing stock that a lot of fans turned it into. I'm frustrated by the people who took the message of a better tomorrow through hard work and turned it into an excuse to be lazy and obsess over every minutia of this uplifting fantasy. A source of inspiration has turned into a object of scorn and ridicule. The world would be a lot better off if people would stop obsessing about the intricate details of imaginary space craft and fixated on actually finding new ways to get to and from orbit.
Let me remind you folks that I'm on record for saying that I'm not opposed to people making a living off of their own hard work. God forbid that I'm allowed to tell anyone what to do with their own money after the government takes there cut. [I also make the argument that the government takes too much...] You should be allowed to make as much money as someone else is willing to pay you and keep the profits from your original idea. Nobody else should be making more money off of your efforts and talents then you. Period.
I also don't have any guff to give in regards to leaving everything to your kids and make sure they're set for life. It can often be a burden to live in the shadow of your parents but having a trust-fund to live off sure takes the sting out of the loss you feel after they're gone. But I don't believe that people should leave their kids so well off that they become the idle-rich - it's a parents obligation to challenge their kids and give them goals to meet. The world needs as many trust-fund babies as it does new Star Trek fan sites on the internet.
Also, I have NOTHING but good things to say about Majel Roddenberry who loved and adored the fans of the franchise that her husband started. I honestly and sincerely believe that she cared more for the fans of Star Trek then her late husband, and they (maybe even we) could not have had a stronger advocate for true exploration and science. She made a second career out of standing behind the podium telling fans to actually do something with the inspiration they get when enjoying the TV shows and movies. Get off your couches, stop blogging and boldly go where no one has gone before. She was not shy about telling Star Trek fans to get a life, but she was far more polite about it then William Shatner or even myself.
But, [and you knew this was coming] there's something about the aforementioned news story that irked me. I'm not even sure I know where to begin.
Gene Roddenberry wasn't alone in creating Star Trek. I completely concede that he deserves some credit for creating the Space Fantasy phenomenon and deserved compensation. But at the same time I think people like Matt Jefferies who designed the original Enterprise (NCC-1701, for all you wags out there) deserve just as much credit for Star Trek's success. I wonder about Mr. Jefferies kids and if they are well off, just as I wonder about the writers (other then Roddenberry Sr.) who hammered out the scripts from the first series that became cornerstones in Trek-Lore. What about the other production people, music writers, and so on. There are a lot of other people who deserve credit for making Star Trek what it is. As time progresses I wonder how much of Star Trek Roddenberry really create. Or was he a mere figurehead for the franchise?
But another thing that bothered me about this news item is that this seems to be apathetical to the fans, atypical behavior of people who I thought I knew from their interviews, speeches and their bodies of work. I was reminded of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker who took "PTL" donations from their followers and used some of that money on lavish homes and air-conditioning for the dog houses. Reading that the person who took care of the Roddenberry dogs will continue to do so in a mansion seemed to me to be the antithesis of what kind of people who I thought they were. There have been moments since reading that article that I felt as if my nickels and dimes that went to the Star Trek movies, merchandise (that I've all but given away) and TV shows have some how been absconded. How much did he really do after the initial idea?
There's the sense that someone took our hopes, dreams and aspirations for a better tomorrow and put them into a bottle and resold them to us at a huge mark up just to live in opulent estates and throw money around like it's confetti.
So, what should Mr. Roddenberry Jr. do now with his millions his parents left him?
Again, it's not like I have any business telling him what he should do with his inheritance that was created and built upon the Star Trek legacy, of which millions of fans claim as their own and they believe they're a part of. This is a franchise that brought together other peoples thoughts, ideas and aspirations on the screen while it championed the idea of making the world of tomorrow a better place.
Within the next few years, I hope to see him take an active roll in pushing his fathers ideals forward; to make a name for himself by giving enthusiastic men and women the tools necessary To Boldly Go into the admission offices of their colleges and trade programs. Rather then give lip service on how we all need to do our part in making his father's vision of the future a reality, I believe that it's his obligation to help people do just that. And for those people who benefit from his programs and realize their own dreams and meet their own goals, they should also contribute and help raise funds to replenish the foundation for The Next Generation.
Since the omnipresent space adventure that has become a part of so many people's lives and identity, I'm issuing a challenge to Eugene Roddenberry Jr. to play a bigger roll in giving young students a head-start towards making superluminal spaceflight a realty. Mr. Roddenberry should also become an advocate for space exploration and travel, our voice to NASA and The European Space Agency (ESA) and push them in the right direction: forward and upward.
That would be the ultimate tribute to his parents and it would insure his own legacy by taking mere fantasy and making space travel and exploration a reality for all mankind.
Don't Forget to tell us how much you hate Trekkies, too!