1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



My Favorite Alien

Barry Worrell - March 17, 2015

In case you don't recognize the pointy eared, stoic alien to the left of you, it's actor Leonard Nimoy, aka Mr. Spock, of the 1960s television show and subsequent movies, Star Trek.

I have always been a fan of science fiction and watched every movie and TV show I could on the genre. Where I worked in the late 60s, we had a small TV on the front counter and I got to see parts of the show in between waiting on customers. A few years later there was a TV that was never picked up from service and I would eat my dinner at the service bench and watch the show in re-runs on that TV.

If you're wandering what this is all about, Leonard Nimoy passed away last month, February 27, 2015.

I got a lot of enjoyment from watching Leonard in Star Trek, and other television shows, but I always saw a little of "Spock" in everything he did. Maybe he wouldn't have wanted his fans to always think of him as the pointy eared alien named Spock, but the character was, "fascinating", as Spock used to say frequently.

With an acting career that started in 1951, Nimoy was in numerous TV series, sometimes multiple appearances in the same series but in the one time appearances, only one to three times a year. Rolls for this struggling actor were far and few between.  It wasn't until Gene Rodenberry cast him as the resident alien in his upcoming pilot for a show called Star Trek, that Nimoy costarred with film Jeffery Hunter star in his own series. (When Roddenberry first met Nimoy he thought, "I'm going to put pointed ears on him and paint him green. The green skin obviously was dropped and green blood was substituted.)

The roll of Spock was very interesting which Nimoy gave excellent performances. Spock was a Vulcan, from the planet Vulcan. Vulcans had practiced non-violence for centuries and to express emotions would have been socially unacceptable.  This cause a different dilemma for Spock for he was half human. Vulcans are extremely intelligent and physically stronger. (Don't you know everyone from outer space is more intelligent physically stronger than us.) Their minds are computer-like. He could keep perfect time in his mind and at times would correct his fellow shipmates when they would estimate time. He could place three of his finger on a person's face and forehead and meld their mind with his. His life expectancy was much longer that humans. He was the conscious of the star ship Enterprise, keeping serious issues under control with coolness and logic.

You may have noticed Spock holding up his hand in a V shape. This was the Vulcan  gesture of greetings or goodbye, usually accompanied with the phrase, "Live Long And Prosper". Nimoy was asked where he came up with the V shaped hand gesture. As a young Jewish boy in the synagogue, he was peeking at the Rabbi during prayer and that was how the Rabbi was holding his hands.

The first pilot of Star Trek was rejected by NBC, but for reasons unknown, NBC asked for 2nd pilot, something that just wasn't done in the 60s. Nimoy and Jeffery Hunter were the only actors retained by the producers for the 2nd pilot, however, Hunter was already involved with his next picture. William Shatner was hired as James T. Kirk for the role of Captain. The second pilot was another story line with many scenes from the first pilot, use as flash backs. They pull it off nicely. NBC bought the series and it ran from 1966 through 1969.

After the series was canceled, Star Trek had a very loyal following and they were crying out for more of Star Trek, especially a full length movie.  During this time Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner were enjoying the fruits of they popularity, both with new series and even a recording contract. While the rumors of a movie were written and discussed, in 1979 the first Star Trek picture was released. Although it wasn't that great of a story, it momentarily pacified the fans. There were a total of 6 motion pictures in the original Stat Trek franchise and Nimoy was of course in them all of them.

As you can see in the list below of movies, it took 12 years to make them all and the cast grew older. Someone referred to them as "geezers in space". In the 1982 film, "The Wrath of Khan", Nimoy's character dies saving the ship, but through a process that wasn't fully explained, was back in the next film, "The Search For Spock".

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

In 1987, 21 years after the original series, a new series of Star Trek - The Next Generation was launched. There were no original cast members, but Nimoy's Spock show up in a special two hour episode. I guess Vulcans do live longer than humans.

Leonard Nimoy accomplished much more in his chosen field of being an actor. But it was the vehicle Star Trek that made it possible. He has donned the ears for the last time and another appearance as Spock seems impossible, even for Vulcans. "Live Long and Prosper" Leonard, you had a great run and I'm glad I was there to see it.

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