One of our Star Trek Commemorative Plates of the man or should I say Spock himself
Being an avid Science Fiction (sci fi) fan, I have read many novels seen moves and TV and radios series of the genre.
I prefer to read, watch or listen to sci fi that has potential to become science fact and indeed has happened!
One such TV series is Star Trek. I grew up in the 1960s and there was not much sci fi on TV. I listened with my parents to some sci fi plays such as the classic ‘Quatermass’ on BBC radio every Sunday evening. When ‘Dr Who’ came along on BBC TV in 1963 (now the longest running continuous sci fi tv series in the world). I was so happy and despite the black & white viewing and sometimes wobbly stage sets and minimal primitive special effects (sfx), the excellent actors and stories ultimately enchanted millions of viewers.
With the advent of colour viewing TV in the mid 1960s, more sci fi Tv series were produced, many from the USA.
One such was, of course ‘Star Trek’. Created by Gene Rodenberry, it introduced the crew & their weekly adventures in a faster-than-light travel space ship called the ‘USS Enterprise’. There were British sailing ships called HMS Enterprise AKA Enterprize) in the 1700s and one in 1800s.
In the pilot episode (1964) of Star Trek, one of the crew was referred to as a ‘Vulcanian’ a humanoid from from the Planet Vulcan orbiting the star 40 Eridani . about 16 light years from earth, Vulcan could reached in a few days in the warp speed Enterprise class star ships. The Vulcanian was called ‘Mr Spock’, as apparently his Vulcan name was unpronounceable to humans!
A new to the scene actor named Leonard Nimoy was chosen to play Spock.
The Vulcan race looked human except for pointed ears, arched eyebrows, distinctive hairstyles, a slight green skin pallor due to green blood.
Vulcans were stronger and faster than humans, due the higher gravity less oxygen rich atmosphere and heat on Vulcan. Vulcans were extremely long lived too 300 years. They exercise extreme control over their emotions as taught by a venerated philosopher named Surak. as early in their history Vulcans were prone to violence.
My Spock was later described as being half human with his father the renowned, statesman like ambassador Sarek (well played by actor Mark Leonard) and human mother Amanda Grayson.
This early Mr Spock looked rather harsh and shouted a lot!
After the pilot show, Gene Rodenberry was not satisfied and made big cast changes for the series proper in 1966. A new captain of the Enterprise was brought in ( William Shatner as Capt Kirk), A new ships doctor, actor Deforest Kelly as Dr (Bones) McCoy.
Leonard and his distinctive appearance as Spock now known as a Vulcan, was retained and he became the second in command to Kirk.
Spock’s appearance was softened, as was his voice and manner, becoming calmer and most logical as befits a Vulcan.
Spock’s ‘bantering’ and put downs with Dr McCoy with Kirk as referee were brilliant, but their underlying loyalty and friendship to each other shone through as the series progressed; His Vulcan catchphrase and hand gesture became legendary too!
Off course, this crew became legendary in TV sci fi & the motion picture history.
Leonard Nimoy was also known to us in early ‘Mission Impossible’ TV show fans as ‘Paris’, a master of disguise brought in to the ‘Impossible Mission Force’ 1969-1971. Mission Impossible was made at the same studios at the classic Star Trek series and so Leonard could swap pointy ears for various disguises!
Leonard was also a guest star in one my favourite detective series ‘Columbo’. Spock’s logic was no match for Columbo’s detective ability
Mr Spock appeared in the various Star Trek sequels and movies including the excellent reboot of the franchise under JJ Abrams
Zachary Quinto’s likeness as the young Spock although in a different time line captures that essence of Nimoy.
Spock and then other characters live on in the Star Trek novels I enjoy reading.
Leonard Nimoy crafted and evolved Spock into one of the most popular, recognisable & iconic characters in entertainment.
Where ever you are now in that ‘undiscovered country’ Leonard “Live Long And Prosper“…
Spock in his second Century A young Spock (Zachary Quinto)
Paris in Mission Impossible A baddie in Columbo
Farewell Leonard Nimoy