"Star Trek," the original TV series, went on the air 50 years ago tomorrow - Sept. 8, 1966. To celebrate, Off-Ramp host John Rabe talks with Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard Nimoy and the director of the new documentary about his father and his father's most famous character, "For the Love of Spock." Here are some excerpts, but we've also included - along with the broadcast version of the interview - a lightly edited 18-minute version for real Trekkies.
On their often very difficult relationship:
Official Trailer: "For the Love of Spock"
“There were a lot of ups and downs in our lives together. There was a period of estrangement that I talk about in the film from him. It was very difficult as a young boy growing up to get my dad's attention. I could not even be in public with dad without him being mobbed. The fact of the matter is, through recovery work - both of us individually - 12-step work - we were able to reconnect with one another and let go of some of the wreckage of the past."
On Leonard Nimoy v Spock:
“There was a period where he was trying to prove he could do more, that he wasn’t only just Spock, but I think he always embraced the character. I think Spock is somebody - particularly later in his life - that he was very comfortable and very proud to have been connected with.”
On Leonard Nimoy's influence on the Star Trek reboot:
“We interviewed most – if not all -- of the new cast members and they were very reverential and very loving about my dad. They were very grateful to have his involvement in these new incarnations of Star Trek. They felt that even though he was gone his spirit was very much alive. It was overwhelming to get that feedback and very heartwarming.”
On a letter Leonard Nimoy wrote his son in 1973, re-discovered only after his death in 2015:
“It’s an incredible letter, and the strange thing is I didn’t know it existed till last December just before we were about to shoot some interviews. I found the letter a couple days before and I discussed it with my partners and other producers. And we decided we were going to film me reading that letter. I hadn’t opened it since 1973 when he gave it to me. He was acknowledging that we had these issues, and some of the responsibility for it. It was heartening to me, but it was important to the film because I talk about the problems we had, but I don’t have him to comment on them. And then this letter appeared where he is commenting on them. It gives a whole other perspective on what was going on between the two of us.”
On the public, worldwide mourning for Leonard Nimoy:
“It was surprising and shocking for my family. We knew there was Spock fans out there but the magnitude of the reaction was overwhelming – I mean the President released a press release about his love of Spock. It’s amazing what he accomplished with that role, and what Spock means to people. [Spock] was a reflection of who we are as humans, even though he was only half human. And a reflection of what we aspire to be as human beings.”
Adam Nimoy will be appearing in person at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday, Sept. 10, for a screening of "For the Love of Spock," as part of the American Cinematheque's 50th anniversary celebration of Star Trek, which went on the air in the fall of 1966.