The past week has been kind of hectic, between starting a new job, celebrating a birthday and keeping up with other responsibilities. But I didn’t want to overlook the passing of Leonard Nimoy, known to many as Star Trek’s Mister Spock, some as Galvatron (and a host of other roles in a career that began in 1951.)
I grew up as a Star Wars fan, but with no new movies coming out after 1983 I was willing to give the Enterprise crew a chance when they undertook “The Search for Spock” in 1984. At the time, I didn’t really have a clue who Spock was and I remember being much more impressed by the Klingons.
I enjoyed Spock’s turn as the straight man in the much more comedic Star Trek IV a couple of years later, but I didn’t really begin to appreciate him until I saw the reruns of the classic Star Trek series.
One of the first episodes I remember watching was “The Devil in the Dark,” where the Enterprise is called out to a mining colony because an unknown creature was destroying equipment and killing miners. Spock manages to figure out that the creature (portrayed by an actor in a blobby-looking costume) is an intelligent silicon-based life form. He uses logic to talk Captain Kirk out of killing it, and then manages to mind meld with it. It turns out that the Horta is just trying to protect its eggs from the miners, and the episode ends with the possibility of a partnership between the miners and the aliens. It really fell to Nimoy to sell the unconvincing alien as a believable and sympathetic character, and he pulled it off.
As Dr. McCoy said in Star Trek II, “He’s really not dead… as long as we remember him.”
I never knew Nimoy, but I do know that little pieces of him will live on as long as we remember Spock and the other characters he brought to life.