August 19 in Sci-Fi History: Frontiersman-ing with Orville Wright and Gene Roddenberry

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Aug 19, 2017

Two Star Trek legends, Gene Roddenberry and Jonathan Frakes, were born on this day in sci-fi history. Different years, of course, but let's not get ahead of ourselves ... because before there was Star Trek, there were space shuttles ... and before that, airplanes.

So, let's go back to the beginning real quick. Because it was on this day in 1871 that Orville Wright was born in Dayton, Ohio. He and his brother Wilbur would later go on to invent the airplane. And we're hoping it was as adorable as this:

But this one has ragtime music:

So, flight captures the American imagination and changes the world forever. And then in 1921, Gene Roddenberry was born. He wrote scripts for television shows like Highway Patrol and Have Gun Will Travel, and then in 1964 he created Star Trek.

Roddenberry was the first television writer with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was also one of the first humans to have his ashes carried into space. And … Star Trek gave way to the career of countless science fiction actors and writers. Including Jonathan Frakes, born on this day in 1952.

Frakes got his start in New York theatre and eventually jumped to television, with some roles on The Waltons, Eight Is Enough, and The Dukes of Hazzard. Then he played Charles Lindbergh on Voyagers.

And finally, and perhaps most notably, he was William T. Riker on Star Trek: the Next Generation.

Tomorrow: Fifty Dollar Bill!