George Takei, known to TOS fans everywhere as Hikaru Sulu, celebrated his 78th birthday on April 20th. Mr. Sulu's professionalism, likeability, and many hobbies, such as botany, fencing, guns and more made him an interesting character. And George's outgoing personality and rapid-fire laugh made him a convention favorite of many fans! Below is an autographed photo I got from him by proxy while he was at a convention in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the mid-70's. One guess as to why I missed the con!
Happy Birthday to Grace Lee Whitney! As Janice Rand, she got a raw deal, unceremoniously booted to make room for other women in Kirk's life, but she will always be there in the earlier episodes for us to enjoy. Below, some nice photos showing the progression of her look; first, from before the series started, one of a large number of promotional photos, this time in a costume left over from "The Cage" and featuring her with her long blonde hair let down. View some of the earlier posts featuring Grace here, as there are more good photos.
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And below, Grace as Rand as we saw her in the series, basket weave intact. Saucy!
Below, a headshot from "The Motion Picture."
Bonus #2: Below, from Starlog, a hilarious cartoon that looks at one of the most out-of-character moments for Spock in the entire series. At the end of the great episode "The Enemy Within," Spock, while signing off on a report for Janice Rand, says the line below with an uncharacteristically creepy leer. I know the episode was an early effort, when not all the characters were nailed down yet, but the line is something that would have been unsavory coming from anyone, much less Spock. Even coming from Kirk himself it would have been weird, if not completely unexpected. But Spock? It's like he was mentioning the unpleasantness in such a slimy way in order to see if he could get in on some of that action himself. Not cool.
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This is the saddest Birthday commemoration I've ever had to post on this blog, coming only weeks after the passing of Leonard Nimoy. He would have been 84. Celebrating his birth so soon after his passing makes it that much more poignant. Below are some images from a publicity photo session made just before the series started filming, when the costumes were not quite what we would come to know. The shots are interesting in that they pose Nimoy with some stock chemical equipment, as if it was short-hand for saying "he's a scientist, because here he is doing science stuff with test tubes and such." Anyone out there know what that spiral tube is he is holding and what it does?
This particular set of images is special to me since the first ever photo I cut out and saved from the show was a close-up from this session.
I would like to close out this post with a simple poem written by Leonard. It could be to a loved one, it could be a prayer to God. I would like to turn it around back toward Leonard, and use it to thank him for sharing his life with us. Thank you For a world Of kindness Thank you For your Endless patience Thank you For your Sensitive understanding Thank you For Your
As Spock once told McCoy, "Remember." We will, Leonard. We will. And like McCoy, we will carry a part of you within us, always.
Happy (belated, it was on March 22nd) 84th Birthday to William Shatner, a man that makes the Energizer Bunny tired just watching him! Shatner brought a lightness to a role that could have been deadly serious, giving us a quick-shooting, hard-kissing, karate-chopping, outrageously-bluffing and awe-inspiring Captain that always led, never sent his officers into action.
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"Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal."
In honor of Bill, go back and view all of the Shatner-centric posts on this blog. The Power of Shat compels you!
I've never really known how to address birthdays of the deceased. You can't really say "Happy Birthday!" as it is a wish for someone that is no longer here to do so. So I am simply saying "let's celebrate this person's life on the anniversary of their birth." James Doohan was born on March 3, 1920, and if he were still with us, he would be 95, and we would be wishing him "Happy Birthday, Jimmy!" We wish you were still with us. We celebrate your memory and contribution to Trek by a toast of a glass of something green.
On February 27th, we lost a friend. And, although I had been preparing myself for it over the last few years, it hurt worse than I thought it would.
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I was on the road going to a dental cleaning appointment when my wife texted
me: "Spock just died." Those three words hit me hard, and I immediately pulled over and
checked online to confirm the news; hoping that it was a false rumor she had heard. It only took a moment to find out, as word
spread rapidly, that Leonard had indeed passed over to the Undiscovered Country after being admitted to
the hospital several days earlier for chest pains. A few moments later
an old friend and fellow Trekker called and when I picked it up I said
"I just heard." We spent a few moments sharing how we felt and the
impact that Mr. Nimoy had on our lives.
I'm sure the same
thing happened around the country as friends called other fellow fans and commiserated over the news. The bond between Trek fans has
always been strong, as over the years we shared our love for the show
with others like us, and when we found another of like mind, we connected to them in some fashion; at least I did. We were linked by that shared
love of a bright universe where people of all races and creeds lived in
harmony and acceptance, and by our love for the characters that
inhabited one corner of that universe known as the Enterprise. The extended family we found there was more than just a bunch of crew members; we loved them all. Zooming in on the core of the family, we focused on the Big Three of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Then, when the final image came into view, it was of one person; Spock. He was the one that people remember most when recalling their first exposure to the show. The first thing I ever clipped about the show from a magazine was a photo of Leonard as Spock, which I still have in my first scrapbook. This is most encapsulated by the first time Spock appeared on film in the Trek universe; we saw the ship, then came closer, and as the saucer dipped, we moved through the dome onto the bridge. And moving down beside Captain Pike, there was the one your eyes were instantly drawn to... Spock.
What Spock meant to each one of us individually is something we can only weigh within our own hearts; but to me the main attraction to the character --beyond all the great things about the Vulcan that were exciting and different-- was that in his isolation and loneliness, he reached out and made a friend; Kirk. The friendship between the two was the heart of the show, and further, the friendship and affection that the rest of the bridge crew felt for Spock demonstrated the depth of feeling that could be inspired by one that claimed to have none. All of that is summed up in one affecting image, happening at the very end of "The Search For Spock." I freely admit that when watching the movie I bawled at that moment (and still do, every time), even more than at his funeral scene in the previous film. Whereas that was about the loss, this moment was about the joy of their love for him. And that's something we all felt. I hope that beyond the sadness we feel at Leonard's passing, we can remember and rekindle the joy of that love we felt both for him and for the character that he helped create and bring to life. Click on that image below to enlarge it and see if it doesn't just make you feel good.
Over the weekend as news of Leonard's passing spread, a post that featured an article entitled "Spock: Teenage Outcast" that I had posted in the past went viral for the second time, and we had over 12,000 visitors to this blog. I like to think that the letter he wrote to a young fan struggling with a dual heritage would make a fitting memorial to the man, speaking of his insight, compassion and thoughtfulness. You can read that article below, or visit the original post that also contains many visitor comments about it:
Another older article that highlights the professionalism that Leonard brought to the role, and the price he almost paid to be true to the character, can be found here.
If you have some time and want to reflect on Leonard's media exposure over the years that I have collected, here is a link that collects all the blog posts I have made with the "Nimoy" tag.
Of course, in one way, my wife was wrong when she said "Spock just died." The character of Spock is still as alive as ever, and for as long as we can see him on the episodes and movies, and read about him in our books, he is alive. Leonard Nimoy, the caring and compassionate soul behind the stoic visage, is with us no more. But he will not be forgotten.
As a regular reader of this blog you may have noticed that a number of recent posts have been from the Enterprise Incidents magazine (as opposed to the earlier versions when I refer to it as a fanzine); well, I had recently taken out a stack from one of my collection cabinets and realized how much Trek material there was left to feature. So, I will continue to post articles from various issues until I feel that it has been properly represented here and not overwhelmed in number by Starlog posts (which are now all available online in a collection anyway).
This time we open issue #18, published in June of 1984 (the year that "Splash" came out; seems like a long time ago now), and we are featuring a nice lengthy interview with "Sarek" himself, Mark Lenard. Thanks again to editor and writer James Van Hise for publishing this. Enjoy!
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Bonus #1: Since the article was released before the movie and there were no images of Sarek in his movie costume and makeup, below is a nice publicity photo.
Bonus #2: Below, another one of the1967 Leaf bubblegum cards that continues the trend of nonsensical captions.
Bonus #3: A rare autographed photo of DeForest Kelley that was found along with some others in a record jacket bought at a thrift store. Talk about stumbling onto hidden gold! Go here to view all the others, they are quite amazing!
Since around 1971, when I was first bitten by the Star Trek bug, I have been collecting all sorts of items for my scrapbooks; photos, articles, ads, and more. I hope you join me often on this fun and nostalgic look back, as I share them with you, one at a time. It's a "phaser blast from the past!"
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Born in the late 50's, a kid in the 60's, a teen in the 70's, I'm "forever-fourteen." Monsters, spooky stuff, sci-fi and Star Trek captured my imagination as a youth and the memories made will never fade. The profile photo symbolizes the efforts of my stepdad to rid me of my "childish" interests, as he called them; at which, not being a man of strong imagination, he failed.