Back in 1981, Tucsonan Ellen Adelstein had the opportunity to interview Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, for station KZAZ-TV. The interview was filmed in Roddenberry's Beverly Hills home and, according to Adelstein, is the longest and most intimate TV interview he ever gave.
The interview originally aired in Tucson in the summer of 1981 in conjunction with a 24-hour Star Trek marathon. In 2006, Adelstein released a digitally re-mastered DVD of the interview for the 40th anniversary of Star Trek. Today, as the new Star Trek film is released, fans can check out www.roddenberryinterview.com for more info on the Gene Roddenberry Up Close and Personal DVD.
Adelstein says Roddenberry "discusses a wide breadth of topics including how he got his start in Hollywood, the early days of Star Trek, the challenges he faced in getting Star Trek produced, his favorite episodes, the art of writing, and his philosophical beliefs on race, religion, and much more."
The 82-minute DVD also includes an intro from Roddenberry's son, Rod. Adelstein also interviews Rod, and he shares childhood memories of his father. They also discuss the impact Roddenberry had on society. (Those communicator devices Kirk, Spock and crew used were precursors to our cell phones.)
Reviews have been positive, with Paul Simpson, editor of Star Trek Magazine, commenting "... there are far too many 'exclusive' interviews around that are anything but. It is a rare treat to hear the words directly from Roddenberry's own lips."
Adelstein was the host of a public affairs program on KZAZ from 1976 to 1984 and also interviewed Barry Goldwater, Michael Landon, Danny Thomas and others. Adelstein graduated from the UA and also worked as a teacher and in the consumer protection movement. She has three children and five granchildren.