A Trekker’s Take: Leonard Nimoy, AKA Spock, Lived Long and Prospered
Leonard Nimoy, or more commonly known as Spock of 'Star Trek,' died Friday at the age of 83.
In my office there is a speaker that is connected to the ABC Radio newsroom in New York. It squawks about meetings at the State Department, audio being fed on different channels and it also tells us about breaking news.
Today, without warning it told me that Leonard Nimoy has passed away.
The Associated Press reports that Nimoy's son, Adam, said the actor died Friday morning in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83 when he passed away.
Even if you don’t know ‘Star Trek’ from ‘Star Wars’ and can’t tell a Gorn from a Wookie, you know who Spock is. We never knew his first name. In fact, while once under the influence of spores that caused euphoria, he told a love-interest that she “would not be able to pronounce it.”
But you knew the basics. The pointy ears, that “Live Long and Prosper” hand gesture separating the index and middle fingers from the other two fingers (I could never do that). Spock was supposed to be impeccably logical like all members of the Vulcan race.
Problem was that dad married a human woman. That shameless hussy screwed up Spock in all kinds of ways because he had a human half that constantly got in the way of all that logic.
Indeed, there was a time when Leonard Nimoy was so associated with the Spock character that he came to dislike all things Star Trek. There were even tales of disdain between Nimoy and series star William Shatner.
Time passed, and Star Trek conventions became more popular… and more lucrative. They could pay some pretty big bucks to get people like Nimoy to attend and speak.
Then in 1979 came ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’. True Trekkers (yes, they are actually Trekkers, not Trekkies) will tell you that the movie sucked on more levels than there are decks on the Enterprise. Yet it did serve to reboot the franchise.
It brought forth several more Trek movies, TV shows and the eventual reboot of the whole Star Trek Universe with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as the central characters.
But it is noteworthy that Leonard Nimoy’s Spock character was part of ‘Star Trek The Next Generation’ in a two-part season finale episode, ‘Star Trek Deep Space Nine’ if you count the Tribble episode, and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock met Zachary Quinto’s Spock in the recent reboot (if you didn’t see it, don’t ask. It’s time travel and it’ll make your brain hurt).
But alas, this is Hollywood. 2013’s ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ brought Khan back for a third time in franchise history, so why not have Spock put in a video call to Spock Prime to ask for advice. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but you kind of got the feeling that they had two Spocks and they just wanted to take them both out and play with them.
Leonard Nimoy was, of course, more than just Spock. He was a published poet, a noted photographer and (hello New England) he was born in Boston. But most of us will remember the character that he created, one that could only be described as… Fascinating.
My Top 5 Spock Moments:
5. ‘Amok Time’ from the original TV series. Apparently Vulcans get crazy horny every 7 years. Spock winds up in a duel to the death with Captain Kirk and kills him. Except Dr. McCoy faked the captain’s death and Spock was over-joyed to find Kirk was alive. By the way… Over-joyed isn’t a good thing for a Vulcan.
4. Sticking with the death angle, Spock’s death scene in the movie ‘Wrath of Khan’ was epic.
3. The original TV series episode ‘Mirror-Mirror’. The crew finds a whole alternate universe where the Federation are the bad guys and there’s an “evil” Spock complete with mustache and goatee.
2. Every moment of the movie ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’. Again, time travel but this time the entire crew has to go from their own time of 2286 to the year 1986 to save the universe. It was memorable because as cool as these folks are in the future, in 1986 San Francisco they all come off as dorks. Spock’s dorkiness is amplified by his pre-exisitng lack of understanding humans coupled with the fact that he’s got to keep hiding the pointy ears. It had more laughs then the ‘Tribble’ episode and has always been my personal favorite.
1. The last scene of the 2009 Star Trek reboot, where Zachary Quinto’s Spock meets Nimoy’s Spock (referred to by producers as ‘Spock Prime’). It was a great scene and should have been Nimoy’s final appearance as the character. It would have been fitting and appropriate.