On December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes attacked the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The following day, The United States declared war on Japan, ushering in America’s involvement in World War II. Many of our interviewees recalled exactly where they were when they learned of the bombing of Pearl Harbor:
Ed McMahon on finding out about the bombing of Pearl Harbor from radio:
In the days after December 7, 1941, the federal government ordered 120,000 Japanese-Americans to leave their homes on the West Coast and enter internment camps. George Takei details his experience as a four-year-old boy, forced to leave his Los Angeles home to travel to multiple camps:
And Pat Morita, at nine years old and in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis, was escorted by FBI agents from the hospital to a relocation camp in Arizona:
December 7, 1941: a date that indeed lives in infamy, not only for marking the beginning of the United States’ involvement in armed combat overseas, but also for initiating a period of grave mistreatment of fellow citizens within our own borders.
On October 2nd, Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing “Mr Spock” in Star Trek: The Original Series, attended what he said would be his last Star Trek convention. He bid fans farewell at Creation Entertainment’s Official 45th Anniversary Star Trek Convention in Rosemont, Illinois. (see the full article here). Now 80, Nimoy, a veteran over over 125 Star Trek convention appearances, stated that he’s not retiring from the limelight, and will continue his work in photography and writing. The Archive of American Television interviewed him about his life and entire career in 2000. Here are some excerpts from that interview:
On shooting the Star Trek pilot by Gene Roddenberry – which he didn’t think would go anywhere at first:
On developing Spock and making him different and “fascinating”:
Leonard Nimoy expresses how he felt at being Emmy-nominated: “I cried. I thought, whoa. Wow. What a thrill. Particularly because the nominations are done by your fellow actors, and I thought: they’re getting it, they can see what I’m doing…. it just really moved me deeply.” Leonard Nimoy received an Emmy nomination for each season of Star Trek, playing now-iconic “Mr. Spock,” and is also known for hosting the documentary series In Search Of… and as a director of series TV and films (including two Star Trek features). In his Archive interview, Nimoy reminisces about growing up in the inner city of Boston: the mix of nationalities in his neighborhood and his stage debut at the age of eight at a community theater. He discusses his acting ambitions and his move to Hollywood, making television appearances on such series as The Pinky Lee Show and Matinee Theater. He chronicles his life as a struggling actor, commenting on his regularity in playing ethnic roles and heavies while working on western series such as Wagon Train and Gunsmoke and on several series produced by syndication giant Ziv Television Programs, among them West Point, Sea Hunt, and Highway Patrol. He recounts auditioning for The Lieutenant, a series produced by Gene Roddenberry, which led to his casting on Star Trek. Backtracking to his ’50s experiences, he notes his time in the Army (assigned to mount Army-produced shows) and describes his role (and meager pay) for his first starring feature film Kid Monk Baroni, as well as his first work in a sci-fi role in the serial Zombies of the Startosphere. He also talks about his work as an acting teacher. For Star Trek, he speaks in great detail about his character “Mr. Spock” and gives the origin of such Vulcanisms as the Vulcan salute and nerve pinch (both of which he invented); describes a typical workweek on the series; eludes to the restrictive budget and strict adherence to schedule; describes Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the series; gives his impressions of his fellow cast mates; and looks back on several notable episodes. On creating the “Mr. Spock” character, Nimoy reveals: “[During a scene once] Spock had one word to say, and the word was ‘fascinating.’ And we’re looking at this thing on the screen, and I got caught up in that energy and I said, “facinating!” And the director gave me a brilliant note which said: be different. Be the scientist. Be detached. See it as something that’s a curiosity rather than a threat. I said, ‘ fascinating.’ Well, a big chunk of the character was born right there.” Nimoy then speaks frankly about his work as a series regular on Mission:Impossible, which he ultimately found unfulfilling. He discuses later career highlights including his work as narrator/host of In Search of...and star of such television movies as A Woman Called Golda and Never Forget. He notes his second career as a director, initially with an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery and his graduation to such popular feature films as Star Trek III and IVand Three Men and a Baby. Leonard Nimoy was interviewed in Beverly Hills, CA on November 2, 2000; Karen Herman conducted the four-hour interview.
“The camera can capture thought in a away that’s quite surprising and shocking. You can become very simple and minimal in your work and communicate a lot with just a finger or an eyebrow, or a look, or a glance.”
The Archive of American Television has interviewed many actors, visual effects artists, directors, stuntmen, writers, and others involved in the production of NBC’s Star Trek (1966-1969) as well as its spin-offs. Below are a few gems from the archive’s collection featuring stories you may not have heard before about the series and its cast. From Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to Lt. La Forge (LeVar Burton), check out the full interviews with each of these TV legends in the videos and links below.
For Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, the characters were all metaphors for a larger vision
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. convinced “Uhura” to stay on Star Trek!
Nichelle Nichols (“Uhura”) was about to quit the series, when a chance encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. opened her eyes to the important role that she had in representing African-Americans on television.
Leonard Nimoy created Mr. Spock’s “Vulcan salute”
Leonard Nimoy (“Mr. Spock”) explains where the famed “Vulcan salute” came from.
William Shatner almost missed out on being “Captain Kirk”
William Shatner was cast as “Alexander the Great” but thankfully, the project failed and he took the role of “Captain Kirk” by default.
Joan Collins’ daughter convinced her to appear on Star Trek
Actress Joan Collins appeared on one of Star Trek’s most beloved episodes and even attended a convention!
The Enterprise’s “whoosh” in Star Trek’s opening was voiced by the theme’s composer
Ricardo Montalban was worried audiences would identify him with Fantasy Island’s “Mr. Roarke” when he reprised the role of “Khan” on Star Trek, but he was able to find the character’s true voice by watching the original 1967 episode “Space Seed” where he first played “Khan.
Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Geordi could see all, but the actor playing him saw almost nothing!
LeVar Burton “Geordi La Forge” actually could not see behind his character’s visor.
The secret to the transporter effect was fireworks