I REMEMBER ‘I AM NOT SPOCK’
Temecula, CA – I remember Leonard Nimoy from a lot of things, mostly movies like a lot of people but there was a time when he didn’t want to be remembered as Spock. That would be the time when I met him.
Star Trek had ended its three year run and the cartoon series had also done its first run with the actor’s voiceovers. Nimoy was ready to move on and had written a book entitled, “I Am Not Spock”. It was more than his attempt from being typecast, it was an effort to separate Leonard Nimoy from the character Spock. He had played a successful character on Mission Impossible but Spock was indelible. People saw Nimoy as Spock with or without the ears.
In the years after the series was cancelled, reruns were run every afternoon when Wesley [Memoirs] and I would watch while we burned a couple of trees [joints], laughing our asses off and Monday-Morning quarterbacking on whether ‘Jim’ made the right call or if the alien women Kirk banged were 'pink on the inside'. While we guys wondered about Kirk’s love life the women were swooning over the always rational Spock and wondering about his Vulcan anatomy.
Nimoy appeared on the campus of St. Ambrose [Davenport, IA] as part of the college speaker program and the lecture talk was free to the students. The hall was not full as there were many people who were turned off by his reluctance to indulge the adorning Spock public. I understood having seen what happened to George Reeves and Clayton Moore, so I went to see what the former Spock had to say.
Though I don’t remember many specifics I do remember that he did address the Spock issue and why he decided to write ‘I Am Not Spock’. He read some poetry and talked of his life and I remember thoroughly enjoying the lecture though I was unsure of anything at first. A few years later the first Star Trek movie came out and Spock was back. It may have been then or after the next ST movie that the book ‘I Am Spock’ appeared and Nimoy made peace with the character he had so brought to life.
Perhaps the funniest reference to both Spock and Nimoy comes from the Monorail episode of The Simpsons. After having been identified by Lisa S and the Professor as Leonard Nimoy, Mayor Quimby, the archetype for many city mayors including those who expect exoneration from DUIs, looks at Nimoy seconds before the episode ends and says, “May the force be with you!” Nimoy shoots back to the mayor, “Do you even know who I am?” Then he wishes Lisa the Vulcan [Jewish] greeting as he ‘beams’ off, dematerializing in front of a mystified Lisa. As per Simpson usual, it was classic.
Thank you, Leonard Nimoy, and thank you, Spock. R.I.P. – Temecula Calendar