Goodbye, Mr. Spock


I’m not sure exactly why I feel so bad about Leonard Nimoy’s death, but I do.   Writing is one way to get rid of these feelings, some of them anyway, so here I am on my laptop.   Hope it works.

I met Nimoy only twice, once during a benefit at the Rape Crisis Center in Santa Monica, for an interview way back in the early 80’s.  The second time was on the lot at my former employer, KTLA-TV in Hollywood.

It was my custom when arriving at work to begin a daily process of excessively high caffeination, so my first stop would be the coffee urn on Stage 8.    On this particular day, I went through the doors and into the foyer between stages 7 and 8, and there, all alone, stood Mr. Spock.   That is to say, Leonard Nimoy.  I stared at him.  He looked back at me.  I thought he was taller than he actually was which had no bearing on anything as I introduced myself and asked if he wanted a cup of coffee.   He assured me he did not and said he was waiting for someone, so I went into the studio for my caffeine fix.

When I came back out, he was still there.   It felt so strange, seeing him standing there all alone that I felt compelled to again ask if there was anything I could get him.   Did he want me to show him where the vending machines were?   Was he sure he didn’t want a cup of coffee?   “No, I’m fine” he assured me once again.

I left feeling it was one of the strangest encounters of my professional life, if only because I so rarely bumped into a Vulcan on the lot at KTLA.   At least, that’s how it felt, as I had been following Spock, since the very first airing of the original “Star Trek” in the fall of 1966.

I had just started my Freshman year in college when “Star Trek” went on the air in September of 1966.   There were two tv viewing rooms in the dorm, one for men and another for women.   That’s the way it was in 66.  They were full to overflowing for two tv shows each week.    One was “The Monkees.”   The other was “Star Trek.”   So I guess I was an original “Trekkie,” although I lost interest in the series in my next year of college and didn’t really get back on board the Enterprise until getting hooked on the movie series and then the reruns of”Star Trek The Next Generation.”

I think that I, and so many others, were drawn to the original series because it had so much going for it.   Good stories, mini-morality plays really, great characters well acted and futurism, something that probably has always been a draw for young people.   Boy did the network that cancelled that original Star Trek series (NBC) blow it big time, walking away from a key demographic like that.  But walk away they did and now Spock, Bones  and Scotty are all dead and gone and so far,  writing about it hasn’t made me feel one bit better.

It has though,  forced me to remember another chance encounter, this one with DeForest Kelley while waiting in line to by movie tickets here in the San Fernando Valley.   For no particular reason I turned around and there was “Bones” looking back at me.   This is Los Angeles, these things sometimes happen,  and it’s my policy not to pester celebrities.   However, bumping into Kelley like that left me feeling almost as strange as my encounter with Spock.

For those of us who came of age in the 60’s, the passing of Scotty, Bones and now the powerful character of Spock, is undoubtedly a reminder of our mortality.  But they did at least leave us with their stories, our memories linked both to the series and its place in time and space and a vision for something better than we currently have.   A more elevated version of humanity.   Not something to be overlooked.

Thank you, Mr. Spock.   And goodbye Mr. Nimoy.    Thanks for reminding us that logic plays a necessary role in the human condition.

Okay, now I feel better.

One thought on “Goodbye, Mr. Spock”

  1. Very nice Ron!

    Star Trek was incredible, and so was it’s wonderful cast.

    To say Mr. Spock was a serious stand out is an understatement. He was the cool, super geek of the time, and he played his role extremely well.

    He was great in the “Mission Impossible,” and “In Search of” series’ too.

    Another beauty of the Star Trek series was the fact that it was one of the first TV programs to showcase such a diverse, multi-cultural cast [of people and creatures]. Not only from earth, but throughout the entire galaxy!

    The program had story lines that set one’s imagination into motion regarding the possibilities of co-existing, and interacting with people/beings that did not look like them. (What a concept.)

    When I look back, the 60’s needed Star Trek, and the genius of Gene Roddenberry. His “morality plays” made sense… Just like Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone.”

    In fact, watching reruns of the original Star Trek series still fascinates me to this very day.

    We sure could use another series like Start Trek, and a visionary like Gene Roddenberry. Until then, I’ll remain grateful and content with what the originals left us…

    Good-bye Mr. Spock, and thank you for generations of intrigue and delight.

    “Falcon 7, over and out…”

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