My parents and Star Trek

Back in 1986, I suggested that Mom and I see Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

leonardnimoyIn light of Leonard Nimoy’s death on February 27, a not-unexpected event which nevertheless saddened me greatly, a couple family recollections.

When I was a teenager in Binghamton, NY, my father was a big fan of Star Trek, airing on NBC-TV in 1966-1969. He watched it every week, barring some meeting conflict. I’d wander into the living room, watch a scene or two, and walk away, bemused.

Dad seemed particularly fond of this part-human, part-Vulcan character named Mr. Spock, played by Nimoy, who, I gathered, had nothing to do with the famous pediatrician of the era, Dr. Benjamin Spock.

There WAS a show Dad and I tended to watch together, and it was the spy show Mission: Impossible, which ALSO started in 1966, on CBS-TV. Among the stars was Martin Landau as Rollin Hand as a master of magic and makeup.

When Landau decided to leave M:I in 1969, he was replaced by Leonard Nimoy, who played a very similar character named Paris. Apparently, Nimoy was up for the Rollin Hand part, but opted to do the space opera instead.

It wasn’t until the original Star Trek was shown in reruns that I finally “got” it. I was primed to see the first Star Trek movie in 1979, which I found a little slow, but then I watched the second and third movies, in which (can this be a spoiler?), Spock apparently dies, and then survives.

My parents and baby sister Marcia moved to Charlotte, NC in 1974. One of the traditions I had with my mother, when I would visit her down there was for us to go watch a movie at the local cinema. We saw the original Rocky and Dreamgirls, for two, the latter with my sisters.

For some reason, back in 1986, I suggested that Mom and I see Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which, as it turned out, Nimoy directed and co-wrote. This was not my best idea because Mom had not seen either II or III. She DID seem to enjoy the story, but was a bit confused by the back story, which I tried to explain as quickly as possible.

The only non-Star Trek movie I recall seeing Leonard Nimoy in was the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I did watch the original Three Men and a Baby (1987), which he directed. Of course, I remember hearing his distinctive speech in several voiceover gigs.

I’ve found a LOT of nifty Nimoy stories this weekend. I liked Live Long and Prosper: The Jewish Story Behind Spock that also shows up in his New York Times obit. Read also Mark Evanier and Jaquandor tell stories about Leonard Nimoy, and Chuck Miller shows some nifty videos.

This quote I found on Daily Kos is true: “We lost the man who played the first ‘cool’ science nerd… Maybe that’s why his death is having a bigger impact on many of us than we would have thought, until now.” As his last tweet read: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.”

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “My parents and Star Trek”

  1. I suspect another reason a lot of people liked Spock is that he was someone who was so in control of his emotions (Well, except for once every seven years…). I was not a big Star Trek fan as a kid (it was into reruns by the time I was old enough to recognize it) but my dad was a fan so I kind of learned about it by osmosis.

    As an adult, I admit I can appreciate the idea of being a creature-of-pure-logic as Spock was; there are too many times I react to things in a way that is emotional and therefore not very useful.

    (I also think it’s interesting in TNG, how the character of Mr. Data was somewhat similar, but he seemed to experience some kind of regret – or regret-like cognition – that he could not feel as humans did.)

  2. I was a huge Star Trek fan; Spock was my favorite character. I remember buying a slim paperback about the creation of the series. It detailed Gene Roddenberry’s longtime relationship with Nichelle Nichols, who was one of the trailblazers of black women on TV, along with Gail Fisher on Mannix and of course Dianne Carroll, among others. Uhura was amazing. I was jealous that she got to work right next to Spock on the bridge!!

    Leonard Nimoy’s Jewish heritage was well-known in my daughter’s dad’s family, and it made them very proud. Didn’t know about the “live long and prosper sign”; that is a wonderful bit of history.

    Thanks for this, Roger. Live long and prosper, Amy

  3. As far as I know, the original Star Trek was the first Science Fiction venue to posit and display true desktop computers. There was an entire episode about trying to break through the security firewall in the Captain’s personal PC before the entire ship blew up, indicating that by the 2500s somebody will figure out security and encryption. I think it was Spock’s mind-meld thing that finally got into the machine to bypass the password. Can you or anybody else think of an earlier exposition of the desktop PC in popular culture, SF or otherwise?

  4. Spock is one of those iconic personas that will live forever. His “live long and prosper” mantra was one he lived up to in real life as well. I think people love his character because it’s what we all secretly wish we could be….but even though he was overly logical, he did have a vulnerability about him that made him soooo human!

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