A MORNING WITH LEONARD NIMOY
A few times a year, WBTV (the CBS affiliate in Charlotte) in cooperation with the schools of this county, sponsors appearances by noteworthy people who give speeches, attended by interested high school students. Such luminaries as Arthur C. Clarke and Werner Von Braun have appeared in the past, and on March 29 of this year, Leonard Nimoy spoke at Ovens Auditorium.
At approximately 10,30 a.m., Mr. Nimoy came out onto the stage, and was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation. Perhaps the most enthusiastic members of the audience were a group of young men wearing hardhats with models of the Enterprise and the Klingon battle cruiser glued on top. After the uproar had faded, the first officer of the Enterprise (incorrectly identified as the second officer by the introducer casually remarked, "I suggest you earth people learn to control your emotions" which naturally touched off another spontaneous outburst from the audience.
Finally, Nimoy started his speech off by discussing how the writers for Star Trek got their ideas--by reading news magazines. He cited an example from an article about how a scientist developed a pill to control aggressive tendencies, and Nimoy suggested that a writer could use this idea to construct a story. His story idea was perhaps all world leaders in the Federation could be taking this pill to maintain peace, but that the Klingons might substitute a sugar pill or something for the pills of a world. leader. He might then become irritable, start a war, and the Enterprise would be called in to straighten things out.
During the first few minutes of the speech, a team from a local tv station was filming Nimoy and the audience, using a bright light to illuminate what they wanted to film. Finally, they turned it off, which brought applause from the audience. Nimoy, unaware of what had happened, asked what was going on, and when told replied, "Oh, I thought there was a streaker in the house" which--you guessed it--caused the audience to cheer lustily.
Nimoy talked about a number of other things--the concept of a universal consciousness, talking to plants, esp, and Carlos Castenada's Conversations with Don Juan. He commented on the subject of whether mankind's morals would keep pace with its scientific achievements. Speaking about the development of the Spock character, he told how the Vulcan "nerve pinch" originated on "The Enemy Within" when Nimoy balked at slugging the bogus Kirk with his phaser, and how the Vulcan salute was first used on "Amok Time" although its roots went back to an old Jewish ceremony.
After he concluded his speech, there was a question-and-answer session involving six students. The final question was "What are the chances of reviving Star Trek?" Nimoy replied that at one time last year, he thought that the show might be going back into production, but that Paramount was making a bundle off the reruns, and wasn't interested. in the idea. He expressed the hope, however, that there was still a chance and he urged everyone to write to Paramount if they wanted to see the show again. He went on to comment on the animated version of the show, saying that he thought it was good considering its limitations, and that compared to the rest of the Saturday morning fare, it was like "a Rolls-Royce among garbage." After he finished, a bunch of people climbed up on stage to get his autograph, yours truly among them. It didn't bother me that I couldn't get through the mob surrounding him, but I felt sorry for a little old lady who was clutching a copy of the Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans fanzine, and who desperately but unsuccessfully tried to get to him.
All in all, the speech was very enjoyable. On occasion, Nimoy tended to run his words together, but generally, he presented his thoughts and ideas well, and I heard nothing but praise for him afterwards from people in the audience. -GP