For The Love of Spock

I know very little\almost nothing about the Star Trek universe, but I do know Mr. Spock. He’s a pop culture icon who transcended the television show with his message of peace and reason. William Shatner soon learned that though the captain’s seat was his alone, the spotlight would have to be shared. The man behind the pointy ears and the Vulcan salute was none other than Leonard Nimoy, hand-picked by Gene Roddenbury to portray this cool and calculated character.

tumblr_nv1msf7Hdg1ug3pr6o1_400The documentary For The Love of Spock was originally a collaboration between Leonard Nimoy and his son Adam but Nimoy Senior got sick and died very quickly, leaving his son to alter their plans somewhat, honouring the character, but also his father. It’s clear Adam Nimoy’s knowledge of the Star Trek universe is encyclopedic; the footage of the original series is a lot of fun, but also well-chosen and well-timed. A part of me badly wants to gush about all the cool things I learned watching this documentary, and I’m barely restraining myself so that you’ll have your own joyful moments of discovery upon seeing it for yourself.

Almost all of the original cast members are interviewed, and most from the new Star Trek movies as well (including J.J. Abrams), and everyone’s got glowing things to say. It’s nice when the man behind such a beloved character is a nice guy himself. In fact, the only person who seemed to have a problem with him was his son, the film’s director. So no, this isn’t a puff piece. It’s an honest look at intriguing and sometimes enigmatic man who put a lot of himself into his character, and gave a lot of himself to his fans.

Watch this documentary to see Jason Alexander to a spot-on Kirk impression, to hear Shatner Spock_Good_Evilpronounce who was the better singer, to get George Takai’s take on the Spock-Kirk slash fiction, to find out who came up with the Vulcan salute, to hear how Harry Belafonte inspired the character, to learn where Nimoy’s kids had to watch the show’s premiere, to note who once called it a “treadmill to oblivion”, and to discover who spent hours responding to Nimoy’s fan mail. You don’t have to be a Trekker to enjoy this movie, but by the end of it, you might just be one.

Adam Nimoy says that his father was eternally grateful to have created this character, never jaded by the experience or the fame. Clearly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the Vulcan tree. Though Leonard’s work kept him away from the family and Adam often felt he was competing tumblr_inline_nkfyuoaAP21rlqxn6with fans for his father’s attention, he still describes Star Trek as “hitting the lottery.” Creating this film was an act of mourning for the son, and absolutely an act of love. At the end of the documentary, Adam asks the many interviewees to describe his father in one word. People offer: hope, integrity, love, but the final word comes from Zachary Quinto who plays Spock in the rebooted version, with Nimoy’s blessing. Quinto throws it back to the documentarian and the son, asking “What’s yours?” Adam Nimoy was at the screening of this film at the Fantasia Film Festival, and he was able to answer that question for us in person.

He said “Passion.”

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51 thoughts on “For The Love of Spock

  1. emmakwall

    Great write up, I kind of missed the Star Trek boat but I’d still watch this doc, sounds very good.

    Without sounding corny I got a bit goosebumpy reading the last bit “passion” (though it could be the air con in the office).

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, they hurried to finish it for this, the 50th anniversary, and it was really cool timing wise to see it right before the release of the newest film – seeing the 3- movie marathon on Wednesday!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. mikeladano

        That’s cool Jay, have fun with that!

        Gene Roddenberry lived long enough to see the 25th anniversary. Soon, Star Trek will be around without Gene, longer than it was with Gene.

        Like

  2. Bun Karyudo

    I’d be interested to see this. I grew up watching the original series and Spock was always my favorite character in the show. It might be a nice trip down Memory Lane for me.

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  3. thelonelyauthorblog

    Great post. Bravo.

    A wonderful tribute to one of the greatest characters in sci-fi. Kirk may have been the captain, but it was Spock who usually won the fans. I’d love to see this documentary. Thank you for sharing this

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Some enthusiasts were really excited to see footage from the show in HD for the first time. And they also showed footage from the original pilot…where the captain was a guy named Pike…everyone from that show was scrapped except Nimoy.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Nimoy grew up in the west side of Boston according to the documentary, and I assume he was born there also. Shatner definitely was born in Canada – in Montreal, in fact, the city where this film festival takes places!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Christopher

    I’ve seen Jason Alexander’s Shatner impersonation–not only is it spot-on, it’s hilarious.
    There are many great Nimoy stories and I’m very sorry DeForest Kelley, who played Dr. McCoy, couldn’t be around to share some. McCoy and Spock had an adversarial on-screen relationship but I got the impression they got along very well off-screen.
    And there’s a great story Nimoy tells about getting phone calls from fans in his hotel back when “Star Trek” was still on the air. I hope it’s included. It’s a story he told in both his books, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock, and he also repeated it for Shatner’s book Get A Life!.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Sean

      I don’t remember the story about calls to his hotel room but in the documentary it is mentioned that during the first season of Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy was still listed in the phone book! That of course led to some strange calls being received and even stranger visitors showing up looking for Spock.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
      1. Christopher

        I’m paraphrasing, but here’s the story: Nimoy was making appearance in Chicago. He checked into his hotel and got a call from a young woman named Susan in Maryland who said, “I love Star Trek and I think what you’re doing is great.”
        He asked how she knew where to call and she said, “I read you were making an appearance and I called all the hotels there until I got connected to you.”
        A few minutes later he got a call from someone named Alice in Oregon. He said, “Let me guess, you called all the hotels in the area…”
        She said, “No, Susan told me where you were staying.”
        This was 1967 or 68 and Nimoy told the story to illustrate how passionate and well-connected Star Trek fans were even during the show’s original run.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. fragglerocking

    I will need to watch this having grown up with Star Trek, I was 7 when it started and I watched them all, then went on to The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space 9. Oh crap, I’m a geek. :/

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    Reply
  6. Wendell

    Wow. I need to see this. I consider myself an part-time Trekkie. By that, I mean I am a fan of the original series and watch the movies, but none of the other shows. I definitely don’t do conventions and costumes. In other words, this doc is right up my alley. Great review.

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  7. reocochran

    To all of you reviewers, Jay, Matt and Sean: Thank you for the input on origins of the actors in the original TV series, as well as creating more interest in the documentary. It sounds fantastic!
    To Jay, you had me getting excited when you said you wanted to “gush!” I watched it with some enthusiasm since not much else I could do with Dad being a big fan!
    I will find out if available soon at the library.
    My Dad really loved Star Trek and we watched “Guns of Will Sonnett” (3 generations of gunslingers, Walter Brennan the oldest and the youngest was attractive. . .) the show on before Star Trek. The lead in show.

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  8. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    I am a diehard Star Trek fan; I can even, sometimes, watch the worst of the series, the name of which I have forgotten. The exhibit at the Air and Space Museum is worth playing (not just seeing) if you’ve been won over.

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    Reply
  9. kmSalvatore

    Nice job Jay, it’s hard not to know a few things about all this Trekie stuff, but.. I’ve never been a fan..AT ALL, I’m not sure if it’s becuz it was the X’s favorite or not, but I could never get into it..at all.

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