Around the sound: Remembering Spock

The community’s paper, The Columbia Basin Herald, followed the actor’s coming and goings throughout the time he was in town. Sure, we’d had stars such as “Soupy” Sales, Liz Torres, Joe Namath, Howard Keel, and Jan Pierce perform during previous seasons, but none was as exciting to the town than the season that Spock beamed down.

Rehearsals for that spring’s production had begun in early February, with performances set for late April. Nimoy arrived in Moses Lake shortly before the play. Working with him brought a taste of class to the desert city—a place where some witty folks used claimed there was more culture in a cup of yoghurt than within city limits. Hey, the annual County Fair was the biggest draw each August.

Oliver had full houses for all four productions—including a special school-kid only matinee. Because Nimoy appeared without his trademark pointy ears, though, some felt let down. Those of us in the cast, however, enjoyed our up-close interactions with him, and while most of us have special memories of that short spring week, the highlight was the after play cast party. Held at the Moses Lake Country Club on the west side of the lake, players and guests crammed into the clubhouse. Midway through the festivities, I bravely decided to “go where no one had gone before.” I wanted to dance with Mr. Spock, so I asked him.

Here was a diplomatic dilemma for the Enterprise’s Science Officer. He initially declined the invitation. Temporarily defeated I returned to my table on the other side of the room, picked up my drink and sulked. Then I had a flash of logic! I quickly returned to Spock’s table, where he huddled with the director, mayor, etc. and presented a brilliant solution! Dance with all of us, I suggested.

Spock/Nimoy agreed. The DJ queued the music, eager ladies formed rows of circles around him, with Nimoy in the center. It seemed like an un-filmed Star Trek episode. Spock had beamed down into the middle of a group of enthusiastic women—we had the best time. As the ladies rotated around this celestial being, he flashed his distinctive Vulcan salute. That memory fragment echoes down through the decades..

Live long and prosper.

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