Ever since I was a little cub, I've always liked the pointy-eared alien. Granted, I've always been VERY interested in aliens. Maybe it's because when my mom was mad at me she claimed that I was an extraterrestrial and that her real son had been abducted. LOL. That's entirely possible. Anyways, one aspect of Spock that I always resonated with is that he is a child of two very different worlds. My dad being from China and mom from the States, I am as well. I've listened to SPOCK's audio book "I AM SPOCK" about 100 times and learned a thing or two. 10 things off the top, here we go.
1. Gene Roddenberry was JEALOUS of SPOCK.
Back in the day when the ENTERPRISE began to blast off into mainstream consciousness, the most popular character on the show was SPOCK. He was WEIRD. He was SPIRITUAL. He could WHOOP some ASS. He was the definition of COOL. Many television shows have their standout character. Game of Thrones has Tyrion. Breaking Bad has Walter White. And Star Trek had SPOCK, apparent from the insane amount of fan mail that began to fly in addressed to the green-blooded alien. Now, yawl would think that the producers of Star Trek would be extremely pleased. They weren't. Show creator and writer GENE RODDENBERRY was concerned that SPOCK was garnering too much attention for himself and stealing the show, as were the other producers. They started being COLD toward Leonard, wrongly assuming that he had gotten a big head. Instead of congratulating him for helping to make STAR TREK the POP CULTURE sensation that it was, they did the typical HUMAN thing and caught FEELINGS about it. Sadly, Gene always had a chip on his shoulder about it up until his death. After STAR TREK's cancellation and later its surge in popularity, there was a plan to bring the show back as STAR TREK : PHASE 2. For the new series, they wanted SPOCK to return in only 2 or 3 episodes per season with limited screen time. He declined, seeing it as a part-time job that would only interfere with doing serious full-time acting jobs. NIMOY never understood why they would only offer him such a minute part when he had been an undeniable aspect of the franchise's success. More than likely, Gene and the producers of the new show wanted to avoid giving SPOCK too much influence over their own creation. Haters.
2. William Shatner was JEALOUS of SPOCK.
This will come as no surprise. SHATNER is famous for manipulating the screenwriters of STAR TREK to get more screen time and more close-ups, leading to conflicts with many of his co-stars, especially George Takei. He had the writers re-write episodes to take away the mathematical scientific problem-solving away from Science Officer SPOCK, and give it to Kirk. While SPOCK would be stating calculations given by the computer, Shatner as Kirk had himself finishing SPOCK's sentences, already knowing what the DANG computer was going to say. Leonard, always classy, dealt with this by writing a polite letter to the show's producers, asking them to let CAPTAIN KIRK be the most BADASS captain in the galaxy. He also asked them to let the rest of the members of the team each play their part, equally as BADASS. I'm paraphrasing here. Then, there were the pranks. SHATNER used to hide NIMOY's bike all over the set, including in a tree. Leonard had to borrow a crane to get it down. What a douche.
3. The VULCAN hand sign created by NIMOY is a JEWISH blessing.
In the episode AMOK TIME, NIMOY felt that Vulcans needed a cultural hand greeting. Humans have the hand shake, the wave, and the salute, and he wanted Vulcans to be able to give DAP. So, he recalled when he was in church as a boy peeking at the Rabbis giving their blessing and making that particular hand sign. The hand sign is also the letter "SHIN" from the Jewish Kabbalah. It is the first letter of the Jewish word for 'GOD'. Every time you do the VULCAN wave, yawl are blessin' folks.
4. Leonard Nimoy was estranged from his father for about 16 years.
Leonard's parents did NOT want him to be an actor. They, like many parents, thought it was an indulgent waste of impractical time. (I can RELATE.) He didn't listen, thank goodness. They didn't really mend their relationship until NIMOY had become truly famous as a pop culture icon. Ironically, his character of SPOCK was also estranged from his father for choosing to go his own way. SPOCK's father SAREK was a Vulcan ambassador to Earth, who wanted SPOCK to join the ranks of Vulcan Science Academy. SPOCK decided to join STARFLEET instead, and SPOCK and SAREK's relationship deteriorated from there. My interpretation of this is that in LIFE, sometimes the son must make his own way, and the father must LET him.
5. Leonard Nimoy played CALIGULA on stage and PEOPLE LAUGHED when...
...in the play as Caligula, he had to perform the line, "WE ARE RESOLVED TO BE LOGICAL!" (In the audio book, he kinda yells when he says this part.) He always dreaded THIS. And it just happened to be a very intense and quiet part of the PLAY.
Well, it is f'n FUNNY. I seriously LOLed at this part. Other than that, he got great reviews.
6. He directed 3 MEN AND A BABY.
When I first heard this, I was shocked. One of the great comedies of the 80's. He got this job, because STAR TREK 4, which he directed and conceived, was the highest grossing STAR TREK movie at that time. (This also shocked me, because on the surface the whole idea of ST4 seems ridiculous. With them catching whales and all. I'll come back to this.) On the strength of 3 MEN AND A BABY, the studio let NIMOY do whatever project he wanted. He chose THE GOOD MOTHER. It's about a MOM who lets her boyfriend be naked in a bed with her 5 year oldish daughter and the gray areas of morality. I tried to watch it, but it's not an easily entertaining kind of watch. Kinda slow and weird...I'll get back on this after I finish it.
7. He didn't hate being SPOCK.
Leonard Nimoy wrote an autobiographical book, titled "I AM NOT SPOCK." Shit hit the FAN(S). There was a HUGE backlash from the fans, sending him letters saying, "WE MADE YOU AND WE CAN BREAK YOU." Do NOT get these NERDos pissed ! I've heard a lot of media on this, and they all seem to think that NIMOY didn't think highly of the VULCAN. Ya, it's not true. NIMOY is a philosophical DUDE, man. He was trying to be DEEP, and he needed a title that had the name 'Spock' in it. He also wanted something controversial. He wanted to express his META-dilemma. He played the character so much that inwardly he sometimes felt confused as to his true identity, and aspects of SPOCK's character become part of NIMOY in real life. Also, when people recognized him on the street, they would call him 'Spock'. When people complimented him, more often than not they would compliment Spock's character. It messed with his head, and this was the main inspiration for the book. LOGICALLY (see what I did there), he's not Spock. He doesn't have pointy ears and green blood. Technically, he's not Spock... that is to say he's not JUST SPOCK.
8. He directed STAR TREK 3 and 4. He conceived STAR TREK 6.
No big surprise there. Leonard also started a trend of the franchise allowing it's actors to direct. SHATNER was the next with many more to follow. They first let NIMOY direct ST3, because the idea of it sounded DOPE to the producers. "STAR TREK 3: THE RETURN OF SPOCK, directed by LEONARD NIMOY."
He came up with the idea of saving the whales in ST4, because it was an issue that needed to come to light. He wanted to do a movie that was about saving Earth's environment, and got suggestions from GREEN PEACE. He chose saving the humpbacks. When I was a kid, I thought it was really COOL. Later, I thought the idea was just some dated ridiculousness. Now, I think it's honestly good. Funny, too.
He also conceived ST6, the idea being that KLINGONS were the RUSSIANS in the 90s, past their prime and asking for support. It's one of the best ones. In case yawl didn't know, ROMULAN EMPIRE = ROMAN EMPIRE. VULCAN = EAST ASIAN. ENTERPRISE = PLANET EARTH.
9. He had EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWNS off-camera.
All of that non-emoting took its toll. He would find himself getting angry and upset over small disagreements, then go into another room and cry. That's one thing I've always wondered about being an actor. Seems to me that it would do very STRANGE things to your MIND.
10. He wants YAWL to stop SMOKING.
NIMOY was a hardcore smoker. He smoked hard until he was about 50 years old. "I could smoke in the shower," he said in an interview. If you look closely, you'll notice his shortness of breath as early as STAR TREK TOS. The last years of his life he was on an oxygen tank, and unable to walk from one room to the next for shortness of breath. He had severe pulmonary disorder, which means he had very little lung capacity.
Rest in peace, homie. LLAP.