Jeff Bezos’ mom saved ‘Star Trek’ toys he made as a kid — William Shatner just took them to spaceOctober 14, 2021
It's a big week for Jeff Bezos' inner "Trekkie."
On Wednesday, the Amazon and Blue Origin founder lived out something of a childhood fantasy by launching Captain James T. Kirk — that is, the "Star Trek" actor who portrayed Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner — to the edge of space in a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket.
But, that's not all. In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Bezos revealed that Shatner would take a few special pieces of memorabilia along for the ride: a set of homemade cardboard "Star Trek" toys that the billionaire crafted when he was just 9 years old.
The toys appear to be drawn-on cardboard cutouts, made to resemble some of the sci-fi props that Shatner's Kirk and other "Star Trek" characters used on the show. "I made these tricorders and communicator to play 'Star Trek' with my friends when I was 9 years old, and my incredible mom saved them for 48 years," Bezos wrote on Instagram.
"Star Trek" debuted on television in 1966, when Bezos was just two years old.
Writing about his old toys, Bezos said his mother "dug them up this past week" and that Shatner was game to take them along. "Please don't judge me for the artwork," Bezos joked on Instagram.
The spaceflight took Shatner more than 340,000 feet above the Earth on Wednesday morning, making him the oldest person to ever reach space. The previous record was set in July, when 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk flew to space alongside Bezos himself.
Shatner's flight took off from Blue Origin's facility in Van Horn, Texas, and lasted 11 minutes before landing safely in the Texas desert.
Bezos' love affair with the "Star Trek" franchise is well-documented. He once even named a dog Kamala, after an obscure character from an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and scored a cameo in the 2016 movie "Star Trek Beyond."
In 2016, Bezos told The Washington Post that he first began obsessing over the show in the fourth grade, when he and a few friends "would play 'Star Trek' almost every day" in their Houston, Texas, neighborhood.
"We'd fight over who'd get to be Captain Kirk, or Spock, and somebody used to play the computer, too," Bezos told the Post. "We'd have little cardboard phasers and cardboard tricorders, you know. Good days."
Bezos has also said "Star Trek" helped inspire him to launch Blue Origin. And, he told the Post, the series' fictional computer system inspired Amazon's Echo smart speaker.
Upon returning to Earth, Shatner thanked Bezos for a spaceflight that he described as "unbelievable."
"What you've given me is the most profound experience I can imagine," Shatner said.
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