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R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015)

by on 2015/02/27

Leonard Nimoy

“I would not remind you of that which you know so well.” (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)


Today a living legend became simply legend.

In the days to come thousands, maybe millions, will celebrate the late Leonard Nimoy, who has passed away at the age of 83. They will ruminate on his faith, his photography and, of course, whether he was or was not Spock.

I know too little of the man himself to add much to those conversations. I have only my memories, associations, and an odd kind of ruefulness.

In Search Of…

My earliest memory of Nimoy is not associated with Star Trek, or even the original Mission: Impossible, but a late Seventies TV show Wikipedia dubs crypto-science: In Search Of

To a single-digit aged geek-in-training, his gritty antecedent to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not — or perhaps The Twilight Zone’s National Geographic — clued me into the tantalizing terrors of Bigfoot, Loch Ness, and the Yeti.

Three Men and a Baby

He later directed less geeky fare which I nonetheless came to know well: Three Men and a Baby. I saw it during its initial run, mostly for its trio of leads: Ted Danson (Saving Private Ryan), Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy), and Tom Selleck (2003’s Monte Walsh).

This mainstream feel-good family flick came back to me over the years. It was obviously tantalizing for being “directed by Spock” but also as an early example of production in Hollywood North (Toronto). I would meet a good friend who had a cameo in it and later, as a father myself, would share it with my own “little lady”.

The Next Generation

On and off over four years in high school, I met my first girlfriend, but it’s probably fair to say she was more in love with Nimoy’s Spock. Despite her own religious leanings, she admired this figure of logic . . . probably more to do with the romance of his suppressed humanity.

When I tried to appeal to her sense of Trek, I studied the wrong generation. Years later Nimoy himself would validate the crew of Picard’s Enterprise but, by that time the relationship was over, just memories to be triggered by “our” songs including, you guessed it, those with Star Trek origins…

“The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”

In the early Nineties, I was slightly frustrated by the rise of “lounge” culture. Where had these aficionados been when Space Age Pop was uncool? A definite up-side, however, was the sudden access to rarities.

Among those reissued oddities were old albums by Shatner and Nimoy. The latter revisited Bilbo Baggins long before Peter Jackson and, though I did enjoy his Vulcan take on humanity’s foibles, his Hobbit video is a trainwreck too amusingly awful not to watch.

The Final Frontier

Just a few months back we all re-watched the J. J. Abrams Star Treks and something struck me, almost in embarrassment. I still got chills when I heard that speech about space being the final frontier. It’s played nearly to death, parodied just as often, with words and speakers and placements changed on a whim . . . and yet — like the James Bond gun barrel sequence — it moves me every time. Hell, I’m not even a particularly die-hard Trek fan, but when Nimoy intoned it solemnly as the final credits rolled, I choked up just a little, I’ll admit.

And it didn’t even matter it doesn’t include his catchphrase to live long and prosper. Leonard Nimoy, may he rest in peace, has already accomplished both.

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  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) | Geek vs Goth

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