Star Trek | Trelane vs. Trelaine | Radioactive Dreams | Calling All Trelaines
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I am Trelaine. The alpha. The original. There was none before me, because my mother made up the name. As the story goes, when she was 13, she started telling everyone that someday she was going to have a brown-eyed, blonde daughter whom she was going to name Trelaine. My mom's family lived in a rural area where a dirt road lined with trees growing together overhead was called a "tree lane." Mom thought that would make a pretty name for a girl. It was her Aunt Faun (real name, too) who came up with the spelling "Trelaine." Just as Mom wished or predicted, she had me when she was 24. I am an only child, although supposedly I was going to be a twin. Either the other embryo never developed (as my mother believes) or, as I prefer to think, I absorbed my sister in the womb.
From the first time I saw Star Trek I was hooked. I guess I was ahead of my time, because I didn't know any other little kids who thought it was interesting. As it turned out, the stepson of a friend of my late father was a cameraman on the show, and as a treat, in October 1967, I was invited to visit the set. I was eight. The episode being filmed was the one where Spock's parents come on board the Enterprise.
The first person I met that day was Jane Wyatt, who played Spock's mother. She was very gracious, considering I had no idea who she was. My mother kept whispering to me, "You know, from Father Knows Best." I was clueless. Being a fatherless eight-year-old didn't exactly predispose me to care about any TV shows involving families.
The next person I met was Leonard Nimoy. He was in full costume and seemed very, very tall and intimidating. The only other person I remember meeting was Bill Shatner. He was so cool. He took me all around the sets and played with me the whole time I was there. At one point, they were filming a scene with Leonard Nimoy, and Bill and I were off to the side watching. We were in part of the engine room set. Bill picked up one of the golden orbs that were part of the Enterprises's machinery and bounced it, showing me that it was really just a toy ball, spray painted gold. He started playing catch with me, and a couple of times we dropped it, messing up the shot and ticking off the director.
Later, I saw the Star Trek episode "The Squire of Gothos," featuring a character named "Trelane." My mother and I have always assumed that, even though the character's name was spelled differently, it must have been the result of my visit. But only now, 32 years later, have I learned that - guess what? - it wasn't. While looking up the name of the episode so I could include it on this web site, I discovered that it first aired nearly a year before my visit to the set. So I don't know where the Star Trek writers came up with the name. Hopefully someday someone will tell me. For now, it's in the X-Files.
But I do know one thing: the Star Trek Trelane is spelled without an "i" while my name is spelled with one. Strangely, throughout the World Wide Web, site after site refers to their Trelane but uses my spelling. Since so many Trekkies seem to have difficulty keeping the two of us straight, I've prepared this simple guide:
My next time on a set was as an extra on the 1986 film Radioactive Dreams. The story, set in the future, is about two boys put into a bomb shelter by their fathers when nuclear war breaks out. They grow up in the shelter with only old detective novels to read, so their view of the outside world is based mostly on Raymond Chandler. One day, they break out and go in search of their fathers. Planet Earth has almost been destroyed, but some people have survived and, while doing so, have reverted back to whatever era in which they felt most "comfortable." Some are 70s punks, some are 60s hippies, one is George Kennedy. Into this mixed-up world come our young heroes. That is the film's plot, personally told to me by Albert Pyun, the director. You will not figure any of this out by just watching the film.
If for some reason you are possessed to rent the video, look very carefully in the marketplace scene and you will see part of my shoulder and a little of my hair in the corner of the shot, just before we all get blown up.
This was the total of my film career.
When I tell people my name they often ask where it came from. Sometimes I tell the truth. Most of the time I don't. I'm not sure why, except that having a name that maybe sounds Cornish seems far more romantic than being named after a dirt road.
But while searching around the web I have found, in addition to the misspelled Trelanes, some other Trelaines. Very rarely it's a given name; more often it's an identity used in a role-playing game. Whichever, if you have or use the name Trelaine, I'd like to hear from you. How long have you been Trelaine, and where did the name come from? What were you told it means? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
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