I recently purchased this beautiful photo of Leonard on eBay, and I just love it. He’s not posing or smiling with a fan or group, just signing a autograph. But you can see the gentle joy in his face and just a hint of a smile as he signs. I’ve seen other pictures of this particular event and it looks like he was really enjoying himself here, but there’s something about this image that just has quiet dignity to it.. He really cared for his fans and never took them for granted. Weren’t we lucky? Photo by Peter Warrack.
And by the way, if anyone knows where and when this was taken, please comment below. I”m guessing it was during his Vincent tour.
What do you get when you cross an iconic TV character with A legendary American car? Only the coolest autographed photo ever!
The other week I just couldn’t resist the offer to buy this autographed photo of Leonard from his internet store LLAP. This is classic Americana! A grand shot of Nimoy on the Paramount parking lot posing in his Spock gear with his newly acquired 1963 Buick Riviera Gran Sport! I bet he loved that car. I remember a friend of our family had one, and we were in awe of how the headlights had magic shutters that opened and closed at your command! The license plate reads PDL 257 — I think the PDL stands for “Pretty Darn Logical!”
The photo was one of 50 being offered, freshly signed by Nimoy himself with a silver marker. 🙂 I got a little fan-girly when I got it, suddenly realizing that he had held this picture (insert silly squeal). It’s a nice little memento and a great picture. The envelope it came in also included a little printed thank you and a bonus baseball card-sized autographed pic of the famous shot from Amok Time of Spock giving the Vulcan salute. Not sure if that autograph was applied by Nimoy or a machine (it appears to be black marker) but what a nice little bonus! Thanks Mr. Nimoy!
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.
Today I’ll be sharing the rest of the contents of The Box, including one very special souvenir. As I scratched through the pieces within, I came across several writings I had forgotten about — breathless explanations of events Trek related -the convention of ’76, of course, which I’ll transcribe here later, as my original writing was pretty horrific in both style and execution. There are bus ticket stubs and jotted lists my mother made of what we spent there at the NYC con., and some letters from people I met at various Trek events, and letters from an aunt or two when then found an article related to Trek in their newspapers. It’s fun to see how cheap so many things were then, although they were a big expense to us at the time. I recall it cost us $35 a night to stay a the Statler-Hilton. There were 3 of us, my Mom, sister and me, and it was my first trip ever to NYC. I just wish we took more pictures, as my only equipment at the time was my state-of-the-art pocket old flashcube Instamatic which took the incredibly poor pictures you’ll see here. ( I apologize for the quality; this was the best I could do) I remember that we were on the 33rd floor, and that we had a grand view of the Chrysler Building from our room; oddly at the time I found it somewhat ugly and creepy, but within a couple of years I appreciated it for the glory of deco art it is, and it remains my favorite skyscraper to this day.
Winner of the Spock look-alike contest
Here’s the few pictures of the con that did develop from my crappy camera. First, a Mr. Spock look-alike contest, the winner of which was a guy dressed up as a transporter malfunction! The sign pinned to the guy here says “Is the Transporter fixed yet?” as he also carries his ‘head’. Clever stuff!
Then the celebrities! Almost the entire cast was there, from Shatner to Koenig, only Nimoy and Majel Barrett couldn’t make it. We saw all the stars that came, but my camera was so crappy that only a few pictures developed. Here’s James Doohan and George Takei.
Jimmy Doohan ‘touches hands’ at the convention
Doohan was newly a father and talked at length about the Lamaze method that he and his wife used to deliver the baby; interesting, but probably not what the fans wanted to hear. He also sang and jigged a little to “Roamin’ in the Gloamin”, a song my mother (embarrassingly) insisted that I ask him to sing! But he was a a good sport about it, and I remember him walking up and down the aisles of the auditorium to ‘touch hands’ with the enamored thrall.
George salutes us!
Takei was happy and bright, in a powder blue leisure suit, although at the moment I can’t recall anything he said. I think he was asked about an audition he made for a silly sitcom called “Mr. T. and Tina”, glad he didn’t get that one, for it’s hardly the stuff of TV legend.
Leisure suits were the uniform of the day- that hideous melt-able double knit polyester garb that almost every male wore. I recall Shatner wore a dark blue one, De Kelly wore a black with a wild orange and white floral print shirt under it, and Doohan wisely opted out of a jacket, just wearing beige trousers and a white shirt instead. But every male celeb had huge lapels and wide bell bottoms.(God the 70’s were atrocious) The convention had a lot of fun events, from art shows (I was heart broken I couldn’t enter my home made bust of Mr. Spock), the endless dealer room with oodles of Trek merchandise, to the wildly popular episode and blooper showings, and, of course, autograph sessions, which were FREE — something you never get anymore.
But speaking of autographs, the box contains the ultimate prize of my youthful fandom, and I only had to wait a couple of years after the con to get it; Nimoy’s autograph. I got to meet Mr. Nimoy on February 18, 1978 after a splendid lecture he gave in nearby Elmira NY. But since we FORGOT THE CAMERA that fateful night, I hung on to the pen he signed my copy of I Am Not Spock with; a purple Flair fine point! (made in the USA!) Good ol’ Flair, and no one has used it since Mr. Nimoy.
Then the piece de résistance. There inside the front cover my well- thumbed paper-backed edition of I Am Not Spock are 7 little words that made me so happy:
“To Therese, thank you! Leonard Nimoy, ’78.
And why was Mr. Nimoy so grateful to a giddy 16 year old girl that night? Well, get your mind out of the gutter and I’ll explain this, along with a couple of photos, in a future post!