By Bobbie Wygant for NBC 5 KXAS-TV in Fort Worth/Dallas
The clip begins with takings from before the actual interview.
(Thanks for sharing this clip, Karin!)
Leonard Nimoy: What a beautiful bracelett!
Bobby Wygant: Well, thank you, its a watch.
Leonard Nimoy: A watch! How! Its unique.
Direction: Okay, Bobby, action, please.
Bobby Wygant: Well, Leonard, its so nice to see you again and of course you have
Direction: ... (intervenes)
... LN: You're all right now?
Direction: Yeah. Okay, action, please.
Bobby Wygant: Well, Leonard, its so nice to see you again and of course you have so many, many fans in the Dallas Fort Worth area.
Leonard Nimoy: I know, I know. Its wonderful. Bobby Wygant: And people are anticipating this movie 'Star Trek II' and eager to see it. Of course we've been reading all the reports and all the contraversy about Spock: Is he dead or is he isn't he dead. And I think its kind of a shame in a way that all that broke out because of ..., well it kind of triggers the ending. But to discuss the contraversy of it, Leonard, do you believe it was just all studio hype or -- in actual fact -- did you kind of want to set that as a prelude to getting out of all the 'Star Trek' business.
Leonard Nimoy: I really didn't know where it would lead. I had no idea. I think probably it has lead to more and better future 'Star Trek' films because the film has been so well received. And I think that -- what happens in the film was so well done by all the various people involved -- that I think its gonna be tremendous entertainment-film that a lot of people want to see and a lot of people want to see a number of times. So I don't think any of us could have predicted what the impact would be but we did take a chance. And I think that's important. When we did the 'Star Trek' series back in the sixties nobody could predict what the future of Star Trek would be. None of us had any idea that 16 years from then we would still be doing and talking about 'Star Trek'. So ...
Bobby Wygant: As far as Spock dying, when it was shot Spock was definitely dead.
Leonard Nimoy: Vanishing. Yes.
Bobby Wygant: Then, after the public was in such an uproar about it, then you gave a statement saying 'No', that you have looked at it and then he wasn't really dead.
Leonard Nimoy: No, I didn't really say that. (Smiling)
Bobby Wygant: What did you say?
Leonard Nimoy: I may have been misquoted. All I said was -- I hadn't seen the film until last night and I really didn't know how the picture ended -- I said 'There maybe possibilities in the end of the picture'. I didn't say he was not dead. There has been a lot of interest in the subject and a lot of was written about and talked about. Its possible that somebody had me saying something or somebody else said soemthig which was attributed to me. My feeling has always been that we do the scene honestly, do it sincerely, without any attempt to fool anybody. And the audience I feel was deeply moved by it, and then begin to discover that there are possibilities.
And those possibilities sent me out of the field very high and excited. about having had the terrific experience with this picture, that is fun, entertaining, funny at times, very moving, and then we suddenly said: 'Wait a moment - where are we going from here? It seem as if we are going somewhere.' And although it could have been the end, and I was ready for that if that was the case, we seem to be moving into something else again.
It seems we're moving on to the next possibility.
Bobby Wygant: Well, I am sure I speak for all your fans: 'We do not want this to be the end of Spock.'
Leonard Nimoy (laughing): Okay, we will see what we can do.
Bobby Wygant: We've got to find you in the next one.
Leonard Nimoy: I tell you something: I am delighted to hear that I'm really flattred, I feel pretty much the same way. And there is a man who is responsible for putting this picture together who would really love to hear that. His name is Harve Bennett.
He is the man who really brought this all together. None of it could have happened without him, none of it. And he developed some exciting and imaginative ideas and I think he has put together a wonderful film with a lot of talented people: Nicolas Meyer, the director, Jack Sowards, the writer. He should hear from people, people should be writing to him, now, after they have seen the picture. Let him know what you think of the picture, let him know what you feel about the future. He'll listen, he's a man with an open mind.
Bobby Wygant: Leonard, when the TV series was running and then on the network, and then, subsequently, when it was put into syndication, is Spock the one who gets the most fan mail?
Leonard Nimoy: There was a lot of mail. I never really kept count of my own or anybody else's, but I was getting a lot of mail when the show was getting on the air. And I don't know how many thousands of pieces its been.
There is actually a charming story of that: The first week after the show had been on the air for the first time, one day somebody in the studio brought me some mail, maybe ten or fifteen pieces of mail, and I sat down during the lunch hour and I autographed and sent pictures and sent notes to all these people. Once a week I can do that, you know? Doesn't take that much time.
Three or four days later they brought a stack about that big about seventy or eighty or a hundred letters, I had to spend the weekend doing it.
The next week it came in a sack about that high and it kept growing from there and I had to give it up, you know? We had no way of knowing what was going to happen, I really thought: 'How nice if fifteen or twenty peope are writing to me.' But it got to be a gigantic thing, the mail.
Bobby Wygant: Leonard, when you were in China on the Marco Polo project which was wonderful, let me say.
Leonard Nimoy: Thank you.
Bobby Wygant: Did you run into Trekkies in China?
Leonard Nimoy: No. No, China is very short on television and extremely short on American television. They only have two or three hours of TV a night. One or two chanels I think. Most of it is educational and government oriented, government sponsored shows about the country. Kind of propaganda, about things that are happening in China. And informational shows for the people. We saw -- I was there for five weeks or so -- we saw once or twice an American television show. Not from a series, would have been a special or something like that. But they didn't know me at all, they've never seen 'Star Trek'.
Bobby Wygant: Leonard, wasn't that a strange feeling? Because you can't go any place else on planet earth and not be recognized. So, wasn't that strange for you in China?
Leonard Nimoy: Well, strange in a way, it was an interesting experience because for the first time in a long time I can walk into the streets and crowds and crowds of people and not be taken for anything special, you see? So that I could really communicate with people as a human being rather than as a personaliy or a well known actor. I could sit in small restaurants with families having their meals and sit right down at the same family table or whereever. There was a language barrier but they had no idea who I was. It was quite interesting to be annonymous in a society like that.
Bobby Wygant: Leonard, how do you explain the phenomina of the Trekkies?
Leonard Nimoy: Well, it is so difficult to answer that question in a short time. But there are a lot of elements. Maybe the most import are the group of people that are on the show are accepted as a family who really work well together and care about each other. People like that. They like the interaction of the characters which I think this picture, this new Star Trek captures it very successfully. And its a show which taps the imagination, doesn't it? Its about the future and the way things might be two or three hundred years form now. It is based on good scientific credibility, its not a fantasy series or film, its good, solid foundation of the ideas which are presented. Its a hopeful show about the future, we sure need some of taht, don't we?
Bobby Wygant: One last question. There is so much controversy about Ed Asner and as an actor and a member about the screen actors do you sie more with Ed Asner or with Charlton Heston?
Leonard Nimoy: Specifically in what sense? In terms of whether he should be speaking out on political issues or whether the guilde should be politicised or what are you asking about? Well, Ed Asner has tried very hard to do some decent and sensere things. I'm not sure, he's gone about it in exactly theright way.
I think maybe he could develop some more skills in his public handling on those questions. Theer's right on both sides. I don't think there's a right or wrong. There's a way to do these things and when he speaks I think he realizes now that he's got to make it very clear whether he is speaking as president of the screen actors guilde or whether he is speaking as a private citizen. Its a touchy situation. He had been able to speak freely before he became president of the guilde as a private citizen. Now, suddenly, he realized that, when he talked on political issues or labor issues, that he was representing thousands and thousands of peopel and notreally all of them agreed with him and wanted him to be doing that. He had to learn his lesson.
Bobby Wygant: Do you think it would have been better if the president of the screen actors guilde just stayed out of political issues entirely?
Leonard Nimoy: I'm not sure that labor union do or should stay out of political issues. We have labor unions that adore presidential candidates for example. Or senatorial candidates. People who back the labor point of view and I don't know if anybody, any citizen should be asked to give up their politcal involvement or their political point of view because they are members of a particular organization.
I mean its one of our most important freedoms. I just think it has to be handled properly.
Bobby Wygant: Well, Leonard, thank you for this visit and this time. And I just know that 'Star Trek II' will go through the ceiling and that will be wonderful for all of you.
Leonard Nimoy: Right.
Bobby Wygant: And come 'Star Trek III' I'll be looking for you. Thank you, Leonard!
Leonard Nimoy: My pleasure.
Bobby Wygant: Very nice to see you.
Camera-shots are taking from Bobby Wygant asking the questions.