1966. Space was the rage; NASA was sending up rockets and we all watched every launch (they'd bring in TV's in the classrooms so we could watch). We avidly followed the exploits of the astronauts.
My buddies and I were “Lost in Space” fans, but it was getting pretty laughable (even for 9 year olds). A new “space” show debuted on NBC, and we were hooked from the beginning. After the show was over, we would either call or get together and hash out the plot, the characters, how long it took a red shirt to die, etc.
We were little geeks. The show, of course, was Star Trek.
We didn’t know we were watching history, we just knew we liked it.
We all adopted two things: the Vulcan Nerve Pinch and the “Live Long and Prosper” “V”. Spock was everybody’s favorite character (followed, for me, in order, by McCoy, Kirk, Scotty, Sulu, and Uhura). We all adopted the Vulcan method of speaking (which drove our parents and teaches bonkers—“Mother, it is highly illogical to expect me to remove refuse to the external receptacle when Star Trek is on.”).
Leonard Nimoy had no idea then (I’m sure he did later) how much of an impact he was having on so many people.
Every Star Trek cast member, from the Original Series through Enterprise and now the new movies, has had the experience of someone saying, “Oh, I got into science because of you, Mr. Nimoy” or “I wanted to be a doctor because of you, Ms. McFadden.”
The originals are old now and Nimoy was 3rd oldest (behind Kelley and Doohan, respectively). Nimoy smoked heavily and gave himself COPD; you could really hear the rasp in “Into the Darkness”. He died today.
I will always owe you a tremendous debt, Mr. Nimoy.
“Thrusters on full.”