Imagine 50 years ago this month, TV Guide printed its first cover article on Star Trek, and although it featured both Bill an Leonard on the cover, the main article centered on that interesting young actor who had to wear those pointy ears… Enjoy this piece on the popular, but humble Mr. Nimoy. <3 (Thanks Bobbie Reno for the scans!)
Here’s today’s flashback: From a movie magazine in the early 70’s, this article declares that Nimoy is at last a man!. No, it’s not about his Bar Mitzvah some 30 years earlier, but rather how he’s finally playing a human male inMission Impossible! Yet despite it’s praise for Nimoy’s achievements, the actor was never far from the shadow of Mr. Spock. I have to admit though, I’ve never thought of Mr. Spock as having ‘green skin’ (it was more just pale with a touch of green cast!) The snotty caption under the publicity picture doesn’t help! One has no doubt than Nimoy was all man to begin with!
Well kids, this was it; my ambition, my dream , my ultimate fan-girl fantasy coming to fruition as a tender 16 year old. As I mentioned in the January 14th post, my Mom had secured tickets to see Leonard Nimoy (in person!) on a lecture tour in Elmira NY on February 18th, 1978 , and as we traveled out on that cold winter evening, I had realized to my horror half way there that none of us had brought a camera! Too late to complain, too cold and too far to go back, so we carried on. All I knew was I never wanted to forget this night, and fortunately, after it was over, I hastily scribbled eight journal pages of the whole event. (see below)
One of the eight pages I scribbled after our night with Nimoy!
Looking back at it now, I’m glad I wrote these girlish scribblings, for I’m finding all these little details that I had forgotten over these 35 years. Like the excitement of just getting out of town to do something different, and how I was so nervous that my hands were trembling in anticipation of seeing my hero in person! I remember the pretty chandeliers in the lobby of the Clemens Center, and how my Mom gave me gum to settle down while we waited. A musician came out to warm up the crowd before the lecture, and although he played delightfully on the grand old theater organ, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the light emitting from the thin space beneath the hem of the heavy blue velvet curtains, for there were clearly feet shuffling back and forth to the podium (Is it him, is it him?). I suppose I could only compare my excitement to the girls awaiting The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show or modern ‘tweens awaiting One Direction. Thirty long minutes later, our anticipation was rewarded when, quite casually, Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy Vulcan salutes the crowd at the Clemens Center, Elmira NY, February 18, 1978
sauntered across the stage in a pale blue sweater, beige and grey plaid shirt and brown trousers. The audience erupted in whoops, hollers, and Vulcan salutes, I could feel my face grow warm with excitement as I saluted too. Nimoy began with a cheeky ice-breaker: “You are an emotional bunch of humans!” he grinned. And for the next two hours with just a pitcher of water for the occasional sip, he regaled us with funny and thoughtful tales of about life as an actor, as Mr. Spock, and little philosophies about life, the universe, and everything. At the end I recall he even recited a poem (his?) with its refrain “Hallelujah”, and everyone in the audience saying it along with him in a wonderful moment of communion. One of the funniest stories he related was how, one day while filming on the Star Trek set he had an awful toothache; so awful in fact that on his lunch break he went straight to the dentist in full costume, ears, uniform and all! He recalled getting plenty of odd looks while driving across L.A. to the dentist, yet at the office, throughout the entire check-up, neither the receptionist nor the dentist uttered a word about his other-worldly appearance. “Could you imagine what they said after I left ?” he joked.
And then it was time for questions. My hand shot up and I was the first one he called on. In anticipation of this evening, I had created a gift for him. I had been practicing my calligraphy for my 10th grade advertising class and I had painstakingly recreated on parchment in pen and ink with the prettiest font I could muster, a quote from his recent biography I Am Not Spock. The quote read something like: ‘We spend so much time doing what me must do, that we forget what we can do.” and was bordered in a simple pine frame. I nervously said “Mr. Nimoy, I made this for you in honor of your upcoming (wedding) anniversary.” and I reached over the brass railing that separated us from the stage, and pushed the frame as far forward onto the grand piano in front of the stage as I could.
Mr. Nimoy comes out from behind the podium at the Clemens Center in Elmira NY, and reads the calligraphy gift from Therese on the piano.
Surprised, Nimoy came out from behind the podium and bent down to read it. Flashbulbs burst all over the place as he did, and he smiled saying, “Thank You! I’ll pick it up after the show.” My mission completed, my only ambition now was to meet the man and get his autograph. And I gotta tell you, after the show, Nimoy awaited every last fan in his tiny dressing room to greet, sign autographs and have pictures taken. You see, this was in the days before the Creation conventions where you have to pay over $100 for an autograph. I remember getting in the line that was already growing exponentially off to the side of the stage. It would be a long wait, and I chatted with a couple of other fans and told them my woes forgetting my camera. A nice, lovely woman named Linda Jessup told me she had taken a few pictures already, including Nimoy looking at my gift and would send me copies! I was so thankful to her, and these are the pictures I present to you today! Amazing how the kindness of a stranger can make a difference in ones life. Linda, if you’re out there, I thank you again 35 years later, I have always treasured these and am thankful to share them with my readers today. (and hey, if you have any others laying around, let me know!) As Linda and I chatted, my sister Mary-Anne suddenly came up and took me by the arm “Come with me!” she said, and ere long we were heading out backstage behind the curtain, my gift in hand, where a stage hand stood near Nimoy’s dressing room. I’m supposing that my sister didn’t want to wait all night to drive us back home and got permission to let me skip the line! She said “Tell that man there that the organist sent you so your present could be given to him by one of them! (God bless her!) ” So I told the stagehand just that, and he said “You can give it to him yourself!” (Okay, my my teenage heart is about to burst here). So here I am, approaching my big moment with THE MAN, and all I can think is don’t do anything stupid, don’t do anything stupid. As the people exited ahead of me, I stepped into the tiny room, and said with my voice all a-quiver:
“Hi Mister Nimoy.” and I put forward the gift.
“Ah yes!” he replied “Thank you very much, it’s is really beautiful! I told him (again) it was was in honor of his upcoming wedding anniversary, and he replied “Yes, it’s in four days!”Then looking at the writing on the piece he asked “Are you into calligraphy?” And without thinking I said “No, but I’m taking Advertising in school!” (I felt really stupid after saying that, since my gift to him WAS a piece of calligraphy, I just couldn’t put two and two together!) He sat at the dressing table and gestured for me to sit at the other chair there, and as I did, he noticed the three LNAF membership cards I had pinned to my blouse.
The three LNAF cards I had pinned to my blouse that exciting night.
“So, you’re an LNAF’er?” “Three years!” “Did you get your Yearbook yet?” “Not the ’77. ” “Oh,” he smiled Well, Louise* was snowed in , you know!” “Oh.” I replied, and glanced into the mirror, instantly slapping my hands to my face “Oh My God, I’m beet red!” Nimoy just grinned, no doubt used to this teenage hysteria. Flustered but determined, I grabbed my new paperback copy of I Am Not Spock from my purse and handed it to him along with a purple Flair pen. (Yeah, I still have that pen)
Photo of Leonard Nimoy after his Clemens Center lecture, taken by fan Linda Jessup , who sent me these three Nimoy pictures the following month. I am forever grateful.
“How do you spell your name?” “Therese” and I aimed my membership cards at him. To this, he smiled, and with that beautiful baritone voice, and in a French accent at that, he charmed: “Ahhh, Thérèse!” (Okay, my heart may have just stopped right there.) He signed the inside cover of the book, and I thanked him, vigorously shaking his right hand in both of mine. (He must have thought I was a total kook.) The inscription simply read “To Therese – Thank You! -Leonard Nimoy ’78” As I headed out the to car, I couldn’t even feel the cold night air as I got in. My Mom joked “Therese doesn’t have to be driven home, she’ll float!”
Okay, writing this post has reduced me to a pile of jello. Clean up in aisle 12 please! Thanks Mr. Nimoy, and if I ever meet you again, I’ll bring my camera!
*Louise Stange, the president of the Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans (LNAF) in Ohio.
Scrapbook is back! Sorry I haven’t posted much of this lately, but I’ve been busy with family, holidays, and launchingmy home business.
Here’s today’s flashback: First, from January 1978, an article about real space explorers–This was a big improvement in NASA operations, this was the first class of astronaut candidates who weren’t exclusively white males–(Nichelle Nichols’ work as a NASA promoter really worked!) You see a photo of candidate Anna Fisher and her husband William. Among the candidates, 6 women, three African-Americans, and one Asian, including future first woman in space Sally Ride, and sadly, three of the future doomed shuttle Challenger, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, and Judith Resnik. To see the enthusiasm and joy these candidates felt at the time is now bittersweet, but we will never forget their drive and determination, not to mention being pioneers of NASA integration.
The other exciting post here is a hot, actual photo of Leonard Nimoy taken by fan Joanne Brooks of Indiana, whom I had met a the Star Trek Convention in ’76. (scroll down for bigger copy). As I recall, Joanne was a pretty, tall, blond 30-something mother wearing a perfect home-custom designed blue Trek uniform-she looked great! Spock was her favorite (hence the blue). I wish I had a picture of her, but OF COURSE my pocket camera wasn’t working well! I envied her not just for her great costume, but because she met Nimoy at a play that same year! She had sent me this sweet letter with the picture right after the convention. I wrote back with great delight, sheepishly asking if she could possibly make me a costume too, but eventually I made my own uniform.Hey Joanne, if you’re still out there, drop us a line! And thanks for the wonderful memory!
Here’s a close up photo-shopped version of the candid. Nimoy is still very much in his ascot phase here (which suited him fine) – always happy to pose for a fan!
Here’s today’s flashback: From the late 70’s, a reprint of the original MAD Magazine Star Trek Parody — Star Bleech. Funny and brilliant, back when MAD magazine was the go-to for delightfully skewered satire. Excellent art by Mort Drucker, (with a nod to Don Martin’s everyman) and hilarious writing by Dick DeBartolo, Enjoy!
Here’s today’s flashback: From 1978, word that the new Star Trek II series was filming, but it would be back without Leonard Nimoy — However there would be a bald lady! Also, a movie ad for a William Shatner-narrated documentary Mysteries of the Gods (maybe he was envious of Nimoy’s stint as the narrator of In Search Of…) Nimoy himself was part of an NBC stint “Big Event”
Here’s today’s flashback: From the TV Star Parade, an article from February 1978, an article touting the new Star Trek TV series (we all know now this version never happened, which I suspect was a small blessing! Note how the mask of Kirk next to Roddenberry is similar (if not the same one) used by ‘Jason’ in those silly slasher movies.
Here’s today’s flashback: More from the Star Trek Bi-Centennial-10 Convention Program. Some nicely drawn portraits of the Star Trek Cast by beloved fanzine artist Gee Moaven. These are some nice pen-and-inks, but unfortunately, there’s no Nurse Chapel. (Well, Majel couldn’t make it to the convention anyway). Oddly, Mr. Spock, (actually all of them) vaguely remind me of Alec Baldwin! You can check out more of Gee’s work here, and here’s a rendering of Nurse Chapel from another publication of the time. And Gee, if you’re out there, a belated Congrats on getting your work published in the program, and thanks for all of your fantastical work!
From the back of the program, a couple hundred names and addresses of “Star Pals”; Trekkies who entered their names, addresses and birth dates –in Stardate code* to be Pen Pals with other Trekkies across the nation! Are people still Pen Pals anymore, or is it all Twitter and Facebook? The fans range from early teens to the mid twenties, and I’ve blurred out all but their first names for their privacy, but my how times have changed! Also note the ads for that new publication Starlog Magazine and ads for April Publications and New Eye Studio, jumping on the Trek bandwagon with UFP flags and Saurian Brandy Bottles. Note on the last page, along with the convention layout of the Statler-Hilton Hotel there’s an ad for a Mr. Spock Computer Image. I actually had one of these! I’ll have to dig it out for a future post. Of course, we’re talking a computer rendered drawing made by a machine with little markers that draw out an image — pretty impressive for 1976.
Hey Kids! I’ve been taking my time off from posting here to organize and create a bunch of new stuff when I come back on Monday, September 24! Looking forward to sharing new fun Trek stuff with you then! New categories, favorite Trek and other videos, Fan Art, and of course – the reason this blog was created – you will soon see inside my old, one of a kind, TREKKER SCRAPBOOKSfrom the 1970’s and a few surprises!
Please post a comment to let me know you’re still here!