#9. Gene Roddenberry Crash-Landed In A Desert
Gene Roddenberry’s classic show Star Trek wrote the rules for modern sci-fi. It became so beloved that Roddenberry has both a crater on Mars and an asteroid named after him. Yet television history very nearly had a big, Star Trek–shaped hole in it. Years before he became a TV legend, Roddenberry nearly died when his plane crash-landed.Roddenberry’s plane from Calcutta lost two engines in mid-flight. It then caught fire. The result was a spectacular crash into the middle of the Syrian Desert—a place “abnormally inhospitable” to life. There, Roddenberry’s story should have ended, had he not noticed a distant light just as the plane went down. The light belonged to a small Syrian military outpost. Roddenberry sent two men there while he stayed with the wounded. He later received a Civil Aeronautics commendation for his incredible eyesight, while we got to witness one of the greatest shows in TV history.