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!)
For this week’s Spock, I found a classic article about Spock written by Issac Asimov for TV Guide in 1967 — Titled “Mr Spock is Dreamy”, Asimov attempts to wrap his brain around the appeal of Mr. Spock. He concludes that it’s from the fact that Spock is smart, and that women like smart, (of course!) and regrets that he didn’t realize this in his youth. Of course we all know Spock was dreamy because he was LEONARD NIMOY!! Enjoy the piece, and I’m adding a few pics of Spock looking dreamy to emphasize the point!
MR. SPOCK IS DREAMY! … ISAAC ASIMOV
A revolution of incalculable importance may be sweeping America, thanks to television. And thanks particularly STAR TREK, which, in its noble and successful effort to present good science fiction to the American public, has also presented everyone with an astonishing revelation.
I was put onto the matter by my blonde, blue-eyed, and beautiful daughter, who is just turning twelve and who, in all the practical matters that count, is more clear-sighted than I.
It happened one evening when we were watching STAR TREK together and holding our breath while Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock faced a menace of overwhelming proportions.
Captain Kirk (for those, if any, who are not STAR TREK fans) is a capable hero and a full-blooded human. Mr. Spock is half-alien and is a creature of pure reason and no emotion. Naturally Captain Kirk responded to every danger with an appropriate twist of his handsome and expressive face. Spock, however, kept his long, serene face unmoved. Not for an instant did he allow emotion to dim the thoughtful gleam of his eye; not for a split second did he allow that long face to grow shorter.
And my daughter said, “I think Mr. Spock is dreamy!”
I started! If my daughter said Mr. Spock was dreamy, then he was dreamy to the entire feminine population of the world, for my daughter is plugged into that vague something called “femininity” and her responses are infallible.
But how could that be? Mr. Spock dreamy? He had a strong face, of course, but it was so solemn and serious, so cool; his eyebrows were drawn so outward and upward, and his large ears came to such a long, sharp upper point.
How could he compare with full-blooded Earthlings with normal ears and eyebrows, who were suave, sophisticated, and devilishly handsome to boot? Like me, for instance, just to pick an example at random.
“Why is he dreamy?” I asked my daughter.
“Because,” she said, “he’s so smart!”
There’s no doubt about it. I have asked other girls and they agree. Through the agency of Mr. Spock, STAR TREK has been capitalizing upon a fact not generally known among the male half of the population.
Women think being smart is sexy!
Do you know what this means to me? Can you imagine what a load of guilt it has taken off my back? Can you imagine what a much greater load of vain regret it has put on my back?
But, heaven help me, it wasn’t my fault. I was misled. When I was young I read books about children; books for which Tom Sawyer was the prototype. Anyone else old enough to remember those books?
Remember the kid hero? Wasn’t he a delightful little chap? Wasn’t he manly? He played hooky all the time and went swimming at the old swimming hole. Remember? He never knew his lessons; he swiped apples; he used bad grammar and threw rocks at cats. You remember.
And do you remember that little sneaky kid we all hated so? He was an unbearable wretch who wore clean clothes, and did his lessons, and got high marks, and spoke like a dude. All the kids hated him, and so did all the readers. Rotten little smart kid!
As I read such stories, I realized that because I had known no better I had unwittingly been committing the terrible sin of doing well at school. Oh, I did my best to change and follow the paths of rectitude and virtue, and dip girls’ pigtails in inkwells and draw nasty pictures of the teacher on my slate, and steal a pumpkin—but girls didn’t have pigtails and I didn’t have a slate and nobody I knew across the length and breadth of Brooklyn’s slums had any idea of what a pumpkin was.
And when the teacher would ask a question, I would, quite automatically and without thinking, give the right answer—and there I would be. Sunk in vice again! Talk about a monkey on your back!
There was no way out. By the time I was in high school I realized I was rotten clean through and all I could do was hope the FBI never saw my report card.
Then, somewhere late in high school, I became aware of an even more serious difficulty! I had been noticing for a while that girls didn’t look quite as awful as I had earlier thought. I was even speculating that there might be some purpose in wasting some time in speaking to one or two of them, if I could figure out how one went about it. I decided the place to learn was the movies, since these often concerned themselves with this very problem.
Remember those movie heroes? Strong, solemn, and with a vocabulary of ten easy words and fifteen grunts? And remember the key sentence in every one of those pictures?
You don’t? Well, I’ll tell you. Some girl is interested in the movie hero. She sees something in him she does not see in any other character in the film, and I was keenly intent on finding what that something might be.
To be sure, the hero was taller and stronger and handsomer and better dressed than any other male in the picture, but surely this was purely superficial. No female would be in the least attracted to such mere surface characteristics. There had to be something deep and hidden, and I recognized what this might be in that key sentence I mentioned.
The woman says to her girl friend, “I love that big lug!” Or sometimes she says to the hero himself, “I love you, you big lug!”
That was it! Hollywood was of the definite opinion that for a man to be attractive to women he had to be a big lug. I ran to Webster’s (second edition) to look up the word and found no less than eight definitions. Definition number eight was: “A heavy or clumsy lout; a blockhead.”
It was school all over again. I could manage being clumsy but I could never keep up that blockhead business long. I’d be doing fine for a while, glazing my eyes, and remembering to say “Duh” when spoken to. But, sooner or later, at some unguarded moment, I would say something rational, and bitter shame would overcome me. It was no use; I could never attain that glorious lughood that would have put me at ease with women.
I got married at last, somehow. My theory is that the young lady who married me must have seen that under my suave man-of-the-world exterior, there was a lout and a blockhead striving for expression. So she married me for inner beauty.
Then came television. Remember the husbands in the situation comedies? Stupid, right? Have you ever seen one who could tie his shoes without help? Have you ever seen one smart enough to put anything over on his wife? Or on his five-year-old niece for that matter?
That was one thing all situation comedies had in common—the stupidity of the husband. The other things were the smartness of the wife and the depth of her love for her husband.
These points can’t be unconnected, can they? Anyone can see that the only deduction to draw from this is that wives, being smart, love their husbands because they are stupid.
All I can say is that for years and years I have done my best to be a stupid husband. My wife, loyal creature that she is, has assured me over and over again that I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and that I am the stupidest husband who ever lived. She seems so sincere when she says it, and yet I have always had to ask: Is it merely her kind heart speaking? Can she be just flattering me?
And then, then, came this blinding revelation. Here I had been watching STAR TREK since its inception because I like it, because it is well done, because it is exciting, because it says things (subtly and neatly) that are difficult to say in “straight” drama, and because science fiction, properly presented, is the type of literature most appropriate to our generation.
But it hadn’t occurred to me that Mr. Spock was sexy. I had never realized that such a thing was possible; that girls palpitate over the way one eyebrow goes up a fraction; that they squeal with passion when a little smile quirks his lip. And all because he’s smart!
If I had only known! If I had only known!
But I am spreading the word now. It may be far too late for me (well, almost), but there is a new generation to consider! Men! Men everywhere! Don’t list to the lies! I have learned the secret at last. It is sexy to be smart! Do you hear me, men? Relax and be your natural selves! Stop aiming at lughood. It’s sexy to be smart!
Just one thing bothers me. Can it be Mr. Spock’s ears? Webster’s (second edition) gives that blockhead definition as its eighth. Its definition number two for the same word is “ear.” Could it be that when a girl says, “I love you, you big lug,” she means the man’s ears are as big as Mr. Spock’s?
Well, just in case, while I’m being smart, I’ll also let my ears grow.
For this week’s Fan Art, I created what I think would be a much better cover tribute to Leonard for this week’s People Magazine. I think Leonard was short-shifted in memory in the actual magazine cover that looks like this (and to add injury to insult, Kim Kardashian is on the cover,ugh!) For Heaven’s sake People Magazine – what’s up with that???
I was hoping that Entertainment Weekly or even TV Guide would offer a better tribute cover, but no, he’s practically a speck on the cover! (or should I say, barely a Spock?) It’s like he’s an afterthought — for shame! I hope you all complain to them. Here’s hoping they put out a tribute issue (I’m sure they will).
* A FAIR UPDATE: I just got my issue of Entertainment Weekly in the mail, and yes, even though his photo is postage stamp size on the cover, there’s a full page pic of him contents page, a very nice tribute article on pg. 28, and in this week’s Bullseye page, Nimoy is in center with the words “Permission to mourn freely, Sir?” (*sniff!*) They did a good job. I’m sure the other mags have nice tributes too– and I’ll probably post them here too. Sorry I was grouchy, but I’m still glad I made my own version of the People cover!
Here’s the actual three covers for the three magazines:
Another page of assorted bits notably, a postcard from TV Guide, thanking me for my letter to the editor (I was curious as to why Mr. Asimov did not mention Star Trek in the article “What makes good Science Fiction?”) They didn’t print my letter, of course, (I was such a dope!) but it was nice to be acknowledged. And why is there a picture of Prince Charles, looking somewhat fey here, in my Star Trek scrapbook? He’s watching the space shuttle Enterprise of course. Ironically, this was a key to my next scrapbook obsession; the Prince’s future wife, Diana Spencer, who was the same age as I. (I’ll be posting those scrapbooks here too eventually, in their own section)
And then one last look at Equus, for Nimoy’s run in it was quite successful. First, a blurb explaining Nimoy’s variety of jobs and salaries, and how the actor kept his integrity through it all. Interesting comment at the end “I can be bought, but if you bore me, we’re through!” (I’m guessing it was a LOT of money that got him to do the first Star Trek picture, which was incredibly boring!) This article was sent to me by my Aunt Eileen from Piscataway NY, clipped from my Uncle Eddie’s Money magazine. I always knew when something was from Aunt Eileen, for she loved the fancy font ball on her electric typewriter, which you can see here. (Her actual cursive handwriting was beautiful too; an art that is sadly dying out in the digital age).
On a lighter note, my mom, our neighbor Flo Watts, and Flo’s Aunt Sue took a day trip to NYC to see Equus with Leonard Nimoy!!! (and WHY was I not invited?). Mom said Nimoy was wonderful (rub it in, Ma!-just kidding!) and apparently, my sweet, devout, Catholic mom handled the full nudity in the play well (no, not Nimoy, but Mr. Ralph Seymore as the troubled youth…okay, this was why I wasn’t invited) You can at right see my pretty Mom (in blue jacket) with Ralph and Sue , and on the left, Sue with Flo (a great native New Yawker) in her rain bonnet with the big picture of Nimoy and Seymore.
I dedicate this post to Flo Watts and Eileen and Eddie Porowski, whom I all love and miss very much.
Good morning, Scrappers! Here’s today’s flashback: So obsessed was I with Trek in the 1970’s, I actually made two pages in my scrapbook devoted to the original Star Trek listings, which were plentiful since it was on at least 6 times a week! I included almost every listing in original broadcast order (!) Yet at the time, Imissed two, The Naked Time and A Taste of Armageddon, but that didn’t matter at the time. After all, full TV Guide listings for Star Trek were always going to be around, weren’t they? 😉 Looking back now, it’s an archive, so maybe my time on this wasn’t wasted after all, eh?
(You’ll note that in the upper left is a clipping of an ad for an ATM plastic model kit of the Enterprise, my brother had one of these, and the words STAR TREK are from a convention flyer I had laying around)
Here’s today’s flashback from 1976. Trek news from the TV Guide ‘teletype’ section, notes on Leonard and Bill, an article from Parade Magazine about a middle-aged ‘Trekkie’ Mom Roberta Rogow, from New Jersey who wrote Trekindex, a fanzine guide to everything Trek, and comments in TV Guide from a fangirl who differentiates Trekkers from Trekkies. The label didn’t really matter to me; just the fact that I was into Trek made me a freak among normals anyway. There are also three fun limericks here from two girls I met at the Star Trek Bicentennial 10 convention in NYC, Barbara Louis and Marie Letiza. Barbara also supplied me with all the articles you’ll find here in pale Xerox grey. ( I had some of her stuff copied for my scrapbooks, it was so nice to know that I wasn’t the only one!) Barbara was a cool chick, with long blond hair and a big smile. I recall not long after the Trek Convention, we kept in touch for a while, and when she and her family were vacationing in nearby Oneonta, my brother, Mom and I drove out to meet them and she and I shared all our Star Trek scrapbook material, sighing over Leonard Nimoy and wondering if a new Trek TV show would really happen. I still have a letter she wrote me where she gushed about seeing actor/singer David Soul (Starsky & Hutch, and one of the red natives in The Apple) in concert, singing his one hit wonder “Don’t Give Up On Us”. Barbara was more a a typical teenager than I, (she even had a boyfriend!) Oh how I envied her! Wonder what she’s up to now? Probably a president of a company.