For as many years as Airlock Alpha (and our former incarnations with the old "SyFy" moniker) has existed, we have resisted pulling April Fool's pranks.
In fact, I have used this very space more than once to lecture other news sites out there about how putting fake news in the same place you normally publish real news is unethical, unprofessional, and a disservice to your readers.
That has created an impression over the years that I'm not very fond of pranks. In fact, I am. I used to be quite the prankster, especially when I was a teenager (going as far as to starting a rumor about my death, which didn't go over too well with some of my friends -- and my family).
I'm even more fond of pranksters, especially when it comes to my science-fiction. But to be honest, I don't think there was a better prankster than one Gene Roddenberry.
Yes, that guy really had a sense of humor. And so did the people around him. If you read any of the biographies of Roddenberry, or many of the behind-the-scenes of the original "Star Trek," you'll learn a lot of the ways Roddenberry and his crew would like to pull jokes on each other.
Pranks, of course, are a part of many television productions. It's a way to break the tension, and add a little fun to what can typically be very, very long days. Who can forget "Firefly" in the episode "Out of Gas" where Alan Tudyk's character of Wash dons a mustache, and in the outtakes of the episode, he crawls out from underneath a console only to find his castmates -- including the beautiful women on the crew -- all wearing the same mustache.
Thanks to the Internet, other pranks have come to light over the years, especially those in and around the various incarnations of Star Trek. Tim Russ, who played the very serious Vulcan Tuvok in "Star Trek: Voyager" was known to do everything he could to invoke a laugh while on set. And do a quick search on YouTube to find a prank Patrick Stewart pulled on Roddenberry on the set of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," doing a musical number in the middle of a shoot, just to see if the Great Bird was paying attention during the running of the dailies.
So what about Roddenberry? What were his pranks? Well, many of them involved that creepy head from "The Corbomite Maneuver." Probably the most famous prank with that head came from one of William Shatner's memoirs where a producer of the show was heading out on a trip, only to get on the plane and find out Capt. Balock had already taken his seat.
Sigh. The days when you could just walk on a plane and deposit a big plaster head in a seat.
And, according to Robert Justman, it was no accident that Herb Solow's name appeared in the credits over Balock's head.
So enjoy this day, as I know I will too. It's mean to be fun, even if websites like this one doesn't partake.
But if you decide to pull a prank on me ... be warned. Because the next death won't be a fake one.
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