Captain, This is Not Logical- A Star Trek Memory by Tony Piazza
A few years ago at Thanksgiving we had a family gathering and I was able to touch base with my niece- a then aspiring actress. She did eventually land a role on the television show, “The Unit” (a couple of lines) but it wasn’t enough work to pay her S.A.G. dues. Since then she has established herself in a more reliable (keep the day job) profession as an event planner for the Getty Museum and absolutely loves it. But, I digress- returning to that holiday; I had also visited with her ex-boyfriend who had come by to share turkey with us. He was a native of England, and a 3D animator by trade. He worked for a company that designed video games, and more recently worked on some feature films- most notably “GI Joe” and “Avatar.” It made for some interesting discussions- and considering at the time I was working on my own home grown special effects feature, “The War of the Worlds,” a great opportunity to get some suggestions for my own project. I had just finished creating an effects filled third episode of my video (on YouTube, link on the bottom of this blog) and then abandoned the project for a more rewarding career as an author. Of course during that dinner the subject of “Star Trek” came up, and I told this story which is the basis of today’s blog.
The newest “Star Trek” feature- a prequel, has since come and gone with hardly a splash*. Not surprising because in my estimation nothing can stand up against the original…however it did have the one-and-only Spock, LEONARD NIMOY, who is the subject of this story.
Star Trek (2009)
During 1977 my activities in the film industry started winding down- my last assignment for the casting agency was some “extra” work on a re-make of the 1956 science fiction film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” This one starred DONALD SUTHERLAND, BROOKE ADAMS, and LEONARD NIMOY, and the setting was changed from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.
Poster from 1978 adaption of Jack Finney’s story.
My scene was a book signing party. The location was a children’s bookstore on California Street. All the “extras” were separated into groups, given drinks and were told to act as if we were mingling (but quietly) among ourselves as Leonard Nimoy’s character- a psychiatrist made his way through the crowd to the back of the room.
Leonard Nimoy as Dr. David Kibner in the 1978 film.
Now, keep in mind that the original “Star Trek- The Motion Picture” had not been filmed yet. In fact the press had been going on for months with stories regarding negotiations with the actors and whether all the original crew would sign on- and even speculating the odds that it would ever be made.
Nimoy, Sutherland, and Goldblum (1978).
Flashback to the bookstore. My little group was standing directly in Leonard Nimoy’s path- he had to weave through us to get to the back of the room where his scene played out. As we went through numerous rehearsals for the camera, I happened to glance down at a nearby bookshelf where I spied several copies of a children’s “Star Trek” book that featured a drawing of Mr.Spock prominently on the cover- pointy ears and all!
Well, I don’t know what got into me, but I instantly hatched a plan that my group would all be reading the books (held up close to our faces- so the cover could easily be seen) on the next rehearsal approach of Mr. Nimoy.
At first he didn’t see it, but was drawn to it by the laughter of the rest of the crew.
His response with a gleam in his eye, “Come on, guys, give me a break!”
As evidenced a year later (1979)- he had those pointy ears back on, and kept them on… up and until his most recent incarnation as the old Spock in 2009s Star Trek feature.
Nimoy (Spock) in 2009 Star Trek feature.
Just as an aside, I met WILLIAM SHATNER and got his autograph in the 1960s, during the height of the original “Star Trek mania,” and either met or worked with many other actors that were guests on that show, including RICARDO MONTALBAN and PETER MARK RICHMAN. I also sat in on a dramatic reading by another Star Trek captain, PATRICK STEWART, but more on that later.
The future obviously still uses paper plates!
Some additional trivia: Donald Sutherland also starred later in The Puppet Masters (1994), another science fiction story involving body stealing. It was adapted from a 1951 sf novel by Robert A. Heinlein.
Leonard Nimoy began his career as an alien early in films, starring as an invader in the 1952 Republic movie serial Zombies of the Stratosphere.
The novel, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was set in Mill Valley, California.
Actress Brooke Adams is married to actor Tony Shalhoub of Monk fame.
HERE IS A LINK TO SOME OF MY YOUTUBE VIDEOS…INCLUDING WAR OF THE WORLDS PART 3:
* Why I’m not a critic. Another new Star Trek movie was eventually released-“Star Trek into Darkness” in 2013- so, it made a bigger splash than I’d anticipated. I believe even a third is on its way. I’ll admit they are good, but still stand by my opinion that they’re nothing like the original.
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His second novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was released early 2012, and “A Murder Amongst Angels” in 2013. It became an instant bestseller. A third Tom Logan mystery is presently scheduled to be released in 2015. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden. His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it where fine books are sold, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.
Tony is also a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and SLO NightWriters.
My earlier bestselling novels, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” and “Anything Short of Murder” now joins “A Murder Amongst Angels” on Amazon’s Kindle at a new, low price of $2.99. Now you can have hours of adventure, thrills, mystery, and romance for the price of a cup of coffee- and just as stimulating! Look for it on Amazon. Print versions have also been reduced.
Also: The new Tom Logan mystery thriller, A Murder Amongst Angels .
Find them all on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. Also available for $2.99 on Kindle.
M.M. Gornell says
At the original Star Trek time ((I was a mere baby (ha,ha), adored Spock–both the character and Leonard Nimoy.)) What a lovely visit back in time. Thanks for sharing your memories.
Thank you, Madeline. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. These memories are special to me, and I’m so glad this medium came along in my lifetime, so I could share it with others.