In 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.”