PORTLAND, Ore. — The late, great Leonard Nimoy stopped into our studios back in 1967 to chat with us about the new character he was playing: Spock.
I have to wonder if the 30-something Nimoy knew, at the time, that his character would later become a household name, beloved and cosplayed by millions.
“The point is, is that Vulcan was a planet that was very war-like and a very fierce race of people who almost did themselves in because they were always in conflict with each other and their emotions were so strong," said Nimoy. "They finally decided emotion had to be done away with. It became a wise choice to control emotions and gradually breed them out of the race so they could function more logically and survive.”
The first episode of Star Trek aired on September 8, 1967, and changed the sci-fi world forever. Many things from Star Trek are entrenched in our everyday culture and have deep personal connections for many. (I used to watch it with my grandpa and have very fond memories of that, personally.)
Nimoy spoke about how Spock was a half-human half-Vulcan man who had complete control over his emotions, which he said was an acting challenge.
“It’s a challenge, but of course that's my job, showing emotion or not showing emotion, that’s the actor's craft," he said. "I’m often surprised when a man comes into my house and can fix a leaky faucet, that I've been working on, perhaps, for a couple of hours and only managed to make it worse, you see? That’s his craft, he comes in and does it. My craft is to play interesting and unusual characters.”
Longtime fans might be surprised to find out that Nimoy had originally asked Gene Roddenberry, creator of the show, to can the ears after they had been working on them and used several prototypes that did not end up working out. Roddenberry, however, said he was married to the idea of Spock having his iconic pointed ears.
“I got a little nervous about it I thought, 'This is going to be awful funny if these ears don’t look right,' and I went to Gene and I asked him to give up the idea of the pointed ears and he said, no he wouldn’t we’re going to keep working on this and we will get it right eventually," Nimoy said. "And he said, 'I promise you if you do the show with the ears, at the end of 13 episodes if you're not happy, I’ll write you a script where you get an ear job.”
If nothing else, you'll want to be beamed back to 1967 to be a fly on the wall of this interview for the beehive-esque hairdo of the fairly Star Trek clueless, albeit professional, anchor. Not to mention, Nimoy's calm way of explaining everything from his character's success, his haircut, and whether or not being beamed up and down from the ship is painful.