A ROSE, BY ANY OTHER NAME, STILL SMELLS LIKE A RED SHIRT

I grew up on the classic Star Trek episodes.  The first time I saw Captain Kirk was like instantly knowing the secrets of the universe.  Here was somebody relatable.  I was an intrepid and brave explorer, and somehow different than all the other kids.  Kirk was a kindred spirit.

Friday nights meant two things: My favorite food ( Mexican TV dinner) and Star Trek on NBC.  It was a fight to watch it sometimes.  Hondo and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. came on at the same time, and after Gomer Pyle was the first half hour of the CBS Friday Night Movie.  Dad always wanted to watch the movie and always controlled the television.  Dad always missed the first half hour of it.

My very first crush was on a Star Trek character.  Barbara Bouchet in the episode “By Any Other Name”.  I didn’t actually know her real name or process the fact that she was probably old enough to be my mother, but it didn’t matter.  She made me feel funny inside and want to boldly go where no man had gone before.  I didn’t even care that she had hair like a teletubby.

 

 

My parents did what they could to encourage my Star Trek fascination without letting it spill over into an obsession, but it was no use.  I’m the sort of person who clings tenaciously to an idea once it takes root.  Plastic model replicas of the Enterprise, shuttlecraft, and Romulan Bird of Prey ships lined the top of my dresser.  My sock drawer was full of Parachuting Spocks that you’d throw in the air to watch him float down, admittedly not a very “logical” thing to do in outer space.  My favorite model was a diorama of the Enterprise Command Bridge that gave me a 3D view of what the bridge actually looked like plus a little Kirk, Spock and McCoy.  I didn’t like McCoy being on the bridge, and it didn’t really look like him anyway, so I painted his shirt red with some model paint purchased at the drug store that had probably been on the shelf since the Kennedy administration.  Trying to color those tiny little guys with old clumpy paint was a massive fail.

 

 

Because most of my afternoons were a series of Star Trek adventures on alien planets, I got a cool Star Trek Utility Belt set for my birthday that included a phaser gun that shot little round discs, a plastic tricorder, and a communicator.  None of the toys made any sounds, but they were still a full win and all kinds of bad assery.

The only thing missing was a uniform shirt.

In the Star Trek world, there are three colors of tunics: Command Gold, Science Blue, and Dreaded Red.  Red was the color of shirt worn by nameless security personnel whose only job on the show was to get eaten, shot, stabbed, evaporated, frozen, desalinated, crushed, or take a vaporizer in the chest for Captain Kirk.

 

 

I begged and pleaded for mom to get me a colored long sleeve t-shirt at the store.  It wouldn’t be easy because I was skinny, but the shirt absolutely had to be a few sizes too small.  I explained, that in outer space, clothes must be snug.  It was a safety thing.  And the shirt absolutely had to be gold or blue.  That settled, I got busy with cutting out an iron-transfer in the shape of the Star Trek emblem.  All we had to do was peel off the backing and iron it on.  Gold paint, glue, and glitter awaited.

Mom usually did her daytime shopping and banking on Fridays.  I chugged home from school that day in breathless anticipation of the uniformed tunic and all the Starfleet stature it promised.  My mind raced and decided that when the shirt got old in a few months, a strategic rip across the chest in true Captain Kirk fashion would be added.  It didn’t matter who Kirk battled, only that his shirt be ripped in the process.  It was Star Trek law.  It was scripture.  Fighting and ripped shirts helped Kirk cope with the pressures of command.  Barbara Bouchet probably liked ripped shirts.  Contrary to popular belief, Kirk didn’t get involved with a girl in every episode.  This only occurs every second episode.  Ah hell, who am I trying to kid, Kirk got more ass than a toilet seat.

 

 

Indeed, my Star Trek shirt was waiting for me when I got home.  Mom had even ironed the emblem on.

Guess what color it was.

You see, the store didn’t have any blue or yellow shirts, let alone gold.

My uniform was Dreaded Red.

With an audible sigh, I dropped my head in defeat and silently took my shirt to my bedroom.  “Thanks, mom.”  She probably didn’t understand my reaction.  She didn’t know that Captain Kirk would be soon kneeling over my corpse.

No way was I gonna get a smoookin’ hot chick like Barbara Bouchet now.

 

 

Barbara Bouchet was born in Germany and San Francisco raised.  This vixen still has the powers to melt me with her cold gray eyes.  With 85 film and TV roles to her credit, she’s had quite an amazing acting career for over 50 years.

After Star Trek, she was especially in great demand in Italy where she starred in numerous horror films, sex comedies and crime flicks.  In The Black Belly of the Tarantula, a dog barks his ass off trying to warn her that a killer is skulking about in the yard.  She ignores the dog and gets a needle jammed into the back of her neck to paralyze her, and then the maniac goes to town on her body with a big knife.

She usually played women who, through some unfortunate circumstance, are damaged in some way.  In Don’t Torture a Duckling, she played a spoiled rich girl who tries to kick a serious drug habit by hiding out in the boonies.  The first time we see her, she’s sunning herself in the nude.  A little kid (about the same age as my first crush stage) shows up to give her some lemonade.  She remains completely nude and teasingly half-seduces him before mocking him for being a mama’s boy.

In the slashfest The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, she plays a young woman who inherits a big scary estate, a family curse, and people try to drive her insane.  She accidentally kills her sister, gets raped by a junkie, falls several stories into a bale of hay, and nearly drowns in the catacombs of her own castle.  With all that crazy stuff being thrown her way and no one that she can trust, her sanity is nearly torn asunder.  But with a little luck and whole lot of general gob-smacking gorgeosity, she somehow manages to get through it all.

 

 

In Search of Pleasure finds her looking for her best friend who’s gone missing.  The trail leads her to Venice and the gothic mansion of an eccentric writer who makes lots of portentous pronouncements and Barbara ends up getting drugged, rendering her lethargic and compliant for the writer’s oversexed lesbian wife.  You can always count on Barbara Bouchet to class up a joint, with, among other things, her groovy, easily-removable wardrobe.  Take a just-out-of-the-oven chicken pot pie, toss its innards into a white-hot coal-burning furnace, and then dump that furnace into the bowels of an active volcano, and you’re still only just approaching the incredible HAWTNESS of this scene.

Sigh.

I’ve long outgrown Star Trek, but I’ve never outgrown Barbara Bouchet.  And I’ve had to share my lifelong crush on her with Quentin Tarantino.  Makes sense as we’re about the same age probably.  Maybe it wasn’t her appearance on Star Trek that got him, but she got him all the same.  At heart, he’s still the geeky video store clerk who hands you a tape of one of her Italian sexploitation films from under the counter and says, “You wanna see this one, huh, huh, HUH?”

 

 

Oh well.  Guess I should have become a film director.  Maybe someday my wife will get me an autographed photo of her, suitable for framing, that I can embellish my office wall with.  That would be seriously cool and a loving thing to do.

But for now, I’ve got a gift idea and I’m sending some nice cologne to Quentin Tarantino:

 

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