UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Spock and Leonard Nimoy at UNCG

Image of news clippingIt wasn’t a Vulcan mind meld. But on stage at UNCG, Leonard Nimoy gave a 1976 Spartan audience the next best thing.

A “highly enthusiastic” crowd gathered in Aycock Auditorium to hear the 45-year-old actor speak about his famous role, Spock, in “Star Trek.” He titled his lecture “Spock and I.”

“‘Star Trek’ is unique because of its long afterlife,” he told the crowd on Oct. 12, 1976. “Today it is more popular than it has ever been.” The show’s three-season run had ended eight years earlier.

Carolinian reporter Mary Maxwell said, “The role of Spock has affected him psychologically as well as providing him with his first steady work since he began acting professionally. Nimoy feels that he is now more stable, feels more secure and has a sense of dignity and financial security.”

At that time, no movie had been made – but he spoke of a film scheduled to start production in spring 1977. The film, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” was released in 1979. Fast forward to 2013 and 12 Star Trek films have been produced, most recently this summer’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” – in which the 82-year-old actor appears.

The university’s concert and lecture series – now called the University Performing Arts Series – has featured figures ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Lily Tomlin – giving students new perspectives and memorable performances. Performers in Fall 1976 ranged from Count Basie & his orchestra to comedian Pat Paulsen.

That October, the Ford vs. Carter campaign was on the newscasts. Comedies like “Happy Days” and crime dramas ranging from the brand new “Charlie’s Angels” to the darker “Columbo” filled prime time.

On the Aycock stage, Nimoy read from his books, took questions, recited an original poem and afterward attended a reception at Ashby Residential College, the article stated.

And he put the show in historical perspective. “I don’t foresee that eight years after any of these (current) TV shows go off the air, that we’ll be having any ‘Kojak’ and ‘Columbo’ conventions with large numbers of followers.”

By Mike Harris
News clipping: The Carolinian, Oct. 15, 1976, “Nimoy lectures on Spock.” In collection of Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives.