Contributor: Rick McGimpsey
I grew up with Star Trek. It was introduced to me as early as Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Disney, or the other multitude of things children are introduced to so early in life they cannot remember when they first became acquainted with them. I simply cannot remember a time when I was not a fan of the movies and shows featuring the space adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his faithful comrades Doctor Leonard McCoy, Chief Engineer Scotty, Helmsman Sulu, Navigator Chekhov, Communications Officer Uhura, and not least of all the stoic green-blooded science officer Spock.
In later years McCoy had grown to be my favourite character, but as a young boy I was enthralled by mister Spock. He was smart, calm, wise, and mysterious. I found myself wanting to be like him. In fact, I was so fascinated by his character that as a young child I tried to imitate his suppression of emotion by trying to hold in all emotional outlet and be as logical as possible. To my frustration I could never succeed because within an hour I was sure to fail thanks to my sister making me angry or one of my cartoons making me laugh. Spock was harder to be than I thought.
I soon gave up on my dreams of becoming Mister Spock, but I never lost my respect and admiration for him. In many ways he represented what I regarded to be best qualities a human could strive for. He was logical, intelligent, strong-willed, resourceful, and a loyal, steadfast friend who would always present you with reason and scientific data to help you in making a decision. For Kirk, Spock and McCoy were his yin/yang. McCoy emphasised the need for humanity and warmth in handling crisis while Spock maintained a veneer of calm and calculating mathematical precision. Everyone has a little bit of both qualities but I tend to lean more toward the logical/rational so I identify with Spock more so than I do McCoy. For this reason Spock was a means for me to come to terms with myself approaching life differently than most people.
I got to know the character well from watching the 8 films in which he is featured and all the TOS (the original series) and animated series episodes including the The Next Generation two-parter Unification.
Despite his absence in Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise Spock is the quintessential Star Trek character because of how prevalent he is in people’s understanding of what Star Trek is when you mention it. People who never watched it will often make remarks like, “that’s the show with the guy with the ears, right?” or “I have heard of Mister Spock, but don’t know much else”. Spock has been the face of Star Trek forever.
And let us not stop there with remembering Leonard Nimoy. Spock may be his most famous role, but he certainly has done other things. His acting talents have been seen on Fringe, Transformers, various films and TV shows, and even a strange music video with Nimoy seeing a Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.
I feel sad remembering him. Knowing that he is gone causes me to realise that very few of the original Star Trek crew are left now and that I shall never now get an opportunity to meet the man who played a major role in my childhood entertainment. But I am comforted to know that even though he is gone his legacy will still live on in Star Trek. One of my shelves contains every Star Trek episode/film on DVD and that means my children (one of whom will be born this August) will also be given an opportunity to grow up with Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and all the others who living or dead made such a great impact on my life.
Leonard Nimoy lived long and prospered and he, as Dr. McCoy observed, “isn’t really dead as long as we remember him.”
For anyone interested in watching the essential Star Trek stories featuring Spock here is a small list:
The Menagerie Parts 1 and 2 (ST: TOS Season 1)
Amok Time (ST: TOS Season 2)
The Journey to Babel (ST: TOS Season 2)
Yesteryear (ST: TAS)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Sarek (ST: TNG; this episode doesn’t feature Spock but it is a necessary bridge between itself and the next episode on this list.)
Unification Parts 1 and 2 (ST: TNG)
Live long and prosper.