I was so thrilled when I came across this picture on Facebook! I knew that sweater and shirt! How’s that? This was how Leonard looked the very day I met him for the first time on February 18, 1978. This must have been earlier in the day, as Leonard is being interviewed by local news crews in Elmira NY, just before his appearance at the Clemmons Center for his presentation: “ Mr.Spock and I”:An Evening with Leonard Nimoy“. You can read all about my experience at this lecture here. Ah how this brings back memories! So happy to see a close up photo from that night! So cool! (And so darn cute!) I’ll never forget it! 🙂
In Honor of William Shatner’s 82nd Birthday today, it seemed a good time to post this!
Bill Shatner came to speak locally here 11 years ago ( 11,already?) as he was already in the area to host a paintball tournament. He was also the guest of honor at a mini-convention here sponsored by Creation Entertainment, I was delighted to finally see the man in person again (since ’76) and this time with a decent camera! He gave a great talk about his career, activities, and of course, Star Trek, and I’ve got to tell you, he’s one of funniest speakers I’ve ever heard; a natural comedian! It’s no wonder he often goes for offbeat roles. He captivated the crowd from the moment he strode on stage, and even answered my question. I asked “What do you love about being an actor, what do you hate about being an actor, and if you had the chance, would you go back to Broadway again?” He said (approximately) that he loved fleshing out characters, hated the long, boring periods of time waiting between takes, and that he actually did have the opportunity to come back to Broadway in a revival of UrineTown: The Musical as the evil President, but that working in NYC would be too hectic. By the way, this was not too long before he became the immortal Denny Crane on Boston Legal and the spokesman for Priceline, and his star’s been pretty much continuing to soar ever since. He’s really an amazing person, and I’m so glad I got to meet and get my picture taken with him. My only complaint was, of course, how much different from my meeting with Nimoy was 25 years earlier — the main difference being economic. True, the 1970’s were simpler times; celebrity events weren’t so tightly regulated, and I got Mr. Nimoy’s (personal) autograph for free, not the pricey amount required to have an autograph and photo with Bill. One could actually visit and speak with Mr. Nimoy too, but unfortunately, Creation made it verboten to speak with Mr. Shatner. (I sneaked in quick sentence while standing in front of his table anyway, passing him a personal letter with pictures of my kids dressed as Captain Kirk, and at the site of the pictures of my boys, he said “How Sweet!”). Yet despite the pricetag, it still was worth it, and I gotta tell you, when the photographer sat me next to him for the picture, I really just wanted to give him a big hug, but I kept my composure, just leaning in as closely as allowed. Bill, if you’re reading this, you won’t remember me, but I must say, it was a pleasure just to glance into those hazel eyes. The man’s adorable, and like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going and going! Happy Birthday, Sir! And many, many more!
Hi Kids, here’s today’s flashback: From March 29, 1978, the news all Trekkies longed to hear: Star Trek was finally coming back, and now as a movie! Now in my lifetime, there had been many movies turned into TV series, but never vice-versa. The first Trek movie was a pioneer in this aspect. I was so happy that Nimoy was back as Spock, and recall being cautiously optimistic about the movie, which turned out to be with good reason. Despite all the bells and whistles, the first movie to me just wasn’t Star Trek; the uniforms were ugly dull polyester onesies, the Klingons were bumpy, Shatner’s toupee was all wrong! A tally of offenses abounded in first movie. There were intensely loving but terribly long and slo-o-o-o-ow close-ups of the Enterprise. The splendid music and special effects were loud, but the dialogue was annoyingly whispered. The plot meant well, but it was executed all wrong! But the worst offense was that there was hardly any humor in it, (save for McCoy) with the characters so sombre I wondered if Nimoy’s character from Invasion of the Body Snatchers had turned the whole Enterprise crew into pod people! I was so disappointed with it that I was ready to give up on my beloved series. Was there anything I liked about the first movie? Yes. Jerry Goldsmith’s “Illia’s Theme” was dreamily beautiful, and still gives me chills. Alas, even the love story between she and Decker wasn’t utilized as well as it could have been. I give Roddenberry and crew points for trying, but unfortunately, it would be three years until the second movie‘s glory made up for the first ones dearth of spirit (in spades!) By the way — this was the final article posted in my original scrapbook– a fitting end to five years of clippings up to this point. Volume II will start tomorrow (there are four volumes in all). Thanks for coming along for the ride so far!
Okay kids, finally getting back into my Scrapbook groove!
Here’s today’s flashback: From February 19, 1978. You see, the very same night that Leonard Nimoy was appearing in Elmira, NY, The Great Bird of the Galaxy, Gene Roddenberry, was appearing in my own backyard in Binghamton NY! Had they appeared on different nights, I surely would have gone to both, but obviously, Nimoy beat out Roddenberry, and besides, I had seen Gene already in Rochester! Here’s a review of the lecture from our local Sunday Press, I remember how I used to envy Gene Grey, our local entertainment reporter for always getting to see and talk to the big acts that came into town. He was a great reviewer, and years later (in 1996) I actually ended up sitting next to Mr. Grey at a Monkee’s reunion concert! Here’s his take on that other Gene. And an extra little tidbit reminding fans that Gene would be in town.
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)
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
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.
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.
“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)
“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.
Well kids, last week, I showed you a picture of Mr. Nimoy that a fan sent me in 1976, and this week I recall the time I finally acheived my teen heartthrob dream; Meeting Mr. Nimoy. Well, it started in January of 1978 with the announcement that Leonard Nimoy would be in Elmira NY on a lecture circuit on February 18 at the Clemons Center. I was totally on board! I was aware of this already since my quarterly bulletin from the LNAF had informed me of his impending arrival. Suffice to say, I was buzzing for month in anticipation. Could I get his picture and autograph? What would I say if I met him? Could I shake his hand? (Insert teenage “squee!” here). My mom ordered the tickets, and weeks later, we were off to Elmira, 40 minutes away, on a freezing cold night in February. Halfway there I realized — I FORGOT MY CAMERA!!!! But then again, my pocket camera took crappy pictures and my mom’s Kodak Instamatic would be just fine, except she FORGOT HERS TOO! Crushed. I’d just have to rely on a good memory and journaling for this one. Oh well, at least we had good seats (second row!) and couldn’t wait to see him in person. Looks like the poster here had some last minute editing on the date, but as long as he was really coming to town that’s all that mattered!
(Tomorrow: Leonard Nimoy in Person!)