On television Mister Spock was the USS Enterprise’s first officer, a half human, half Vulcan character prone to saying things like, “It seems logical, Captain,” and applying the “Vulcan nerve pinch” sleeper hold.
The character, first brought to life by Leonard Nimoy in the original Star Trek series from 1966–1969, was named one of 50 greatest TV characters and has since appeared in everything from cartoons to video games and SNL parodies to comic books, fan fiction and movies.
This weekend Zachary Quinto dons the pointy ears to play the Starfleet officer in Star Trek Into Darkness, the twelfth film to boldly go where no man has gone before.
In advance of the film’s release, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about Spock but were afraid to ask.
➢ In the pitch for Star Trek series creator Gene Roddenberry described the character as “probably half Martian; he has a slightly reddish complexion and semi-pointed ears.” The name of Spock’s planet, Vulcan, was created because Roddenberry thought it was possible that man might land on Mars during the run of the show.
➢ The part of Spock was originally offered to DeForest Kelley, who turned down the role in favor of playing Dr. Bones. Twenty years later, he played Bones and Spock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The role was also offered to Adam West before Nimoy signed on.
➢ Spock’s arched eyebrows and pointed ears almost didn’t make it past the NBC censor. Concerned that his appearance was too Satanic they asked for changes. Roddenberry countered that he deliberately gave the half-Vulcan character a “slight look of the devil” because he “thought that might be particularly provocative to women.”
➢ The character is usually referred to as Mister or Commander Spock, but his full name is S’chn T’gai Spock. How do you say it? In the episode This Side of Paradise he says, “you could never pronounce it.”
➢ Writer and editor Bob Budiansky says the Transformers character Shockwave was inspired by Spock.
➢ Multi-Grammy Award winner George Duke paid tribute to Spock with two tracks on his 1976 Solo Keyboard Album, Spock Gets Funky and Vulcan Mind Probe. The Swedish synthpop band S.P.O.C.K. released several Star Trek inspired albums, including Five Year Mission and Nimoy gave his vocal chords a workout on songs like Highly Illogical and A Visit to a Sad Plan.
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