Pear Blossom Parade (1967)
In I'm Spock Mr. Nimoy writes about the parade he attended in costume as Spock, something he learned never ever to do again. (more/close)
So while the fan mail kept mounting, I began to get calls from different organizations, all asking me to make public appearances."Great!" I thought, and accepted every offer I could. One call came from Medford, Oregon, inviting me to be grand marshal of the annual Pear Blossom Festival Parade in April 1967.
(...) And when I agreed to go to Medford, Oregon, I decided to go in costume as Mr. Spock,
as the parade organizers requested.
I never made that mistake again.
The parade went smoothly enough. I was very grateful to see the huge turnout—the largest in the festival's history—and although it was rather Strange to be in costume as Spock while smiling and waving as Leonard Nimoy in the back of a convertible, I enjoyed myself a great deal along the parade route.
The problem came after, when I was taken to a nearby park. A table was set up an the bandstand so that I could sign autographs. But instead of the hundreds I'd hoped to see, there were thousands of people there. They surged forward so quickly that I was terrified someone would be crushed to death; and then they started pressing against the bandstand so hard it began to sway beneath my feet! The people with me soon realized we were in trouble. Fortunately, the local police came to the rescue and pulled me through the throng!
The incident became a media event, and no one was more surprised than I. Later that afternoon, as I was contemplating what had happened in the relative safety of my hotel room, I got a phone call from the head of NBC's promotion department, who said,"From hereon out, we'll make sure you have security."
So, as I said, I made sure never to appear publicly again in Vulcan guise. But the crowds still kept coming.
Source: I'm Spock (p. 79-80, Century, 1995)
Leonard Nimoy was the costar of a popular science fiction program called Star Trek. Some of you older readers might remember it. Star Trek was in its inaugural season and the Pear Blossom Committee saw Nimoy as the logical choice for Grand Marshal. They were even able to convince him to participate in his alien persona of Spock, half human science officer from the planet Vulcan.
The parade was held on April 15, 1967. Nimoy/Spock sat in the back of a convertible and reveled in the crowds along the parade route, the largest crowd the parade had ever experienced. For Nimoy the cheering spectators was a sure sign that he had finally hit the big time, and he looked forward to the autograph session in the city park at the conclusion of the parade. The park, however, turned out to be a place where no man should boldly go.
The crowds grew and the crush began, people in the back pushing forward to see Mr. Spock and secure an autograph. Nimoy and his handlers began to worry that some in the throng might be injured. Still the crowd grew until even Nimoy became nervous for his own well being. The grandstand began to sway, the potential for tragedy increased. Fortunately the Medford police detail was able to drag the Grand Marshal to safety and return him to the tranquility of his hotel.
Never again, Nimoy vowed, would he make a public appearance as Spock, a promise he has kept to this day. That leaves Medford, Oregon, as host to the only public appearance of Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.
Mr. Spock: Pear Blossom Parade Marshal
Friday April 13, 2007
By Craig Stillwell
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Over the years, the Rogue Valley Pear Blossom Festival Parade has had many famous grand marshals. But forty years ago, the parade marshal was literally out of this world!
Leading the parade down Medford’s Main Street that Saturday, April 15, 1967 was Mr. Spock from the planet Vulcan. The alien spaceman was actually actor Leonard Nimoy, who was one of the main cast members on the television series Star Trek, a show about human space exploration set hundreds of years in the future. Mr. Spock was the ever-logical Science Officer aboard the starship Enterprise.
To the delight of fans, Nimoy appeared in the parade dressed in his powder blue uniform and sporting Mr. Spock’s distinctive pointed ears and slanted eyebrows.
Nimoy made local television appearances and was scheduled to visit the pediatric wards of both Medford hospitals.
Nimoy was also marshal of the longest parade in Festival history—around 200 entries of “floats, bands, beauty pageant contestants, walking groups, horses, antique cars, dogs, clowns, circus elephants” and more. The theme was “Pears in Circus Land,” and the largest street-side crowd in Medford history gathered to watch the parade march into Hawthorne Park.
There, Nimoy was reportedly mobbed by Earthlings eager to get his autograph.
Today’s episode of As It Was was written by Craig Stillwell, the program producer is Raymond Scully. I’m Shirley Patton. As It Was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas – dot- org
“Pear Blossom Parade Marshal To Be ‘In Costume’ Saturday,” Mail Tribune, Thursday, April 14, 1967; “Largest Crowd Sees Longest Parade in History,” Mail Tribune, Sunday, April 16, 1967, p.1.
Source: Jefferson Public Radio
Meeting of the National Space Club (1967)
Leonard Nimoy traveled to Washington to meet some real scientists.