Leonard Nimoy, Everybody’s Spock, Was Beamed Up for the Last Time, Doc

The world lost a man last week whose passing was marked with sad and loving words by space freaks and TV/movie geeks of several generations.

And today the Blog of Funny Names must bow its head to the legend of Leonard Nimoy, a man who through the wonderful mind of Gene Roddenberry and TV cameras of NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, brought the U.S. a pointy-eared Vulcan by the name of Spock.

Logic prevailed for 83 years.

Logic prevailed for 83 years.

This emotionless crew member stood at the side of Captain James Kirk on the Starship Enterprise through space frontier expeditions and escapades. You might be surprised to discover Star Trek ran for just three seasons. But it lived on in syndication, and spawned future generations of TV shows and crews, and then became a movie, with sequels and more evolution.

Trekkies were born, fans everywhere, wearing space costumes and celebrating this stuff.

Leonard Nimoy, a funny name, playing Spock, a funny name, became part of a serious phenomena.

Colorful on NBC. (From iMDb)

Colorful on NBC. (From iMDb)

He was the lone alien on that rainbow bridge of humanity — William Shatner as Captain Kirk, DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy, George Takei as helmsman Sulu, James Doohan as chief engineer Scotty, Nichelle Nichols as chief communications officer Uhura and Walter Koenig as navigator Chekov) — being beamed up from trouble by Scotty. He was Spock. He could not escape it.

In fact, he wrote two autobiographies about it.

From his Feb. 27 obituary by Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times:

“Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: I Am Not Spock, published in 1977, and I Am Spock, published in 1995. In the first, he wrote, ‘In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.’ ”

But his ears aren't pointy! (Getty Images)

But his ears aren’t pointy! (Getty Images)

Then this kid growing up in the Star Trek TV era had issues further complicated when siblings were born and I heard parents talking about methods suggested by Spock.

It took awhile to figure out that my two younger sisters were not being Vulcanized but rather they and even I may have been being made aware of principles set forth by one Dr. Benjamin Spock.

This funny name wrote, too, and Baby and Child Care is one of the biggest selling books of all time. Says WikiPedia: “Spock was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children’s needs and family dynamics. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals.”

How wonderful that Parade Magazine interviewed Spock and Spock in 1977. (Getty Images)

How wonderful that Parade Magazine interviewed Spock and Spock in 1977. (Getty Images)

It goes on to add how he was an advocate for ending the Vietnam War, and that he won an Olympic gold medal in rowing in 1924. Another good Spock in my book, this doctor-writer with the funny last name who died in 1998 at the age of 94.

Leonard Nimoy was 83 when he died from pulmonary disease, the actor a smoker, ironic considering his stoic Vulcan character that made him famous.

And yes, this funny-named fellow was plenty famous. You have to be to get an obituary in the New York Times with a paragraph like this: “His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).”

Dif-tor heh smusma. Funny way to say it, unless you’re a Trekkie.

Here’s the link to the New York Times obituary.

Here’s the link to the WikiPedia listing for Star Trek.

Here’s the link to the WikiPedia listing for Benjamin Spock.

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About markbialczak

Mark Bialczak is a veteran journalist. He started his blog, markbialczak.com, in February, 2013, to write about music, entertainment, sports and life.
This entry was posted in fictional funny names, funny names in movies, funny names in tv and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Leonard Nimoy, Everybody’s Spock, Was Beamed Up for the Last Time, Doc

  1. Pingback: Leonard Nimoy and Dr. Benjamin as Spock, over at BoFN | Mark Bialczak

  2. ksbeth says:

    i loved everything about him. he will be missed by so many.

  3. kerbey says:

    In the scheme of things, he did live long and prosper. Rest in peace, Vulcan.

  4. Liz says:

    lovely, Mark. You have indeed written a sweet post and that’s perfect because it’s good to mix things up here at BoFN.

    Have never watched Star Trek as I thought it was silly (gasp–and a bit ironic coming from a Dr. Who fan), but can appreciate the contributions Nimoy made to popular culture. That’s hilarious that he would be confused by you as a young lad for Dr. Spock. Both cultural icons in their own way. Yes, double RIP. They both lived long and prospered, as my good friend Kerbey so eloquently pointed out.

    also, nice touch on linking the obits

    • markbialczak says:

      I was a confused little kid sometimes, Liz. Spock this, Spock that. What the heck did I know?

      Thanks for the kind words on my touch on this one. Now let’s see if King Dave buys the sweet approach on his BoFN. 😮

      • Dave says:

        I enjoyed it! We’ve done sweet, deep and/or serious posts in the past and they’ve often gone quite well.

        That said, I don’t need to “buy” anything. Post what you like, and that’s part of what keeps the BoFN spirit alive!

        Haha, and I don’t think of it as “my” BoFN… Arto was as instrumental as anyone in making this thing happen.. he actually had the idea to turn the Funny Names List into a blog, and he started the blog and wrote the first few posts. He’s just a lot less loud and obnoxious than I am 🙂

        Maybe we should come up with a title for Arto. What’s a good title for a quiet, polite, clever-as-heck, and always-present person?

        • markbialczak says:

          Wizard Arto? (Oz, pay no attention to the man behind the green curtain?) I kind of like that one, King Dave.

          By the way, I’m glad you like this post. I still bow to you, no matter your humility and democratic style. 🙂

          • Dave says:

            Ooh ooh ooh!!! How about Artowizard! I like the sound of that. (Sent from a different building than my previous post 🙂 I’m running all over the place thinking about BOFN today!)

          • markbialczak says:

            Your little twist/tweak has greatly enhanced the BoFN nickname, King Dave.

  5. As a fan and trekker myself, it was a sad day when he died. He quit smoking 30 years ahead of his death yet still ended up dying from smoking.

    I did love listening to his broadcasts when he was on Theater of the Mind. He will be missed.

  6. Nimoy was certainly well regarded in popular culture and his contributions will be missed by many.

  7. Kate Loveton says:

    I’m a Trekkie. Always have been, always will be. When I heard of his passing from my friend and my sister, my first thought was that the world is a much sadder, less logical place.

    Damn… 😦

  8. Arto says:

    I like that all the comments are in a dreamlike italic font. Makes anything sound poetic.

    Spock was cool. I’ve never heard of the other Spock but I’m sure that’s compensated for by how many times he had to hear about the more famous one.

    Dif-tor heh smusma all.

  9. A good man but he was troubled by Tribbles.

  10. Pingback: Canadians are “Spocking” $5 Bills, drawing Leonard Nimoy’s Face over Wilfrid Laurier’s | The Blog of Funny Names

  11. Pingback: Maru, The Cat | The Blog of Funny Names

  12. Pingback: Star Trek’s Stoics: The Vulcans | stoically speaking

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