Region 2 "Best Electronic Newsletter" Award 2009
Volume I, Number 34  •  January 2011

•  Saturday, April 9: Spring Sci-Fi Charity Putt-Putt Challenge
•  Saturday, April 16: Away Mission to Super
•  Saturday, April 23: Spring Dinner & Business Meeting
•  Saturday, May 7: Away Mission to Thor
•  Friday-Sunday, May 13-15: Outlantacon/Gaylaxicon
•  Friday-Sunday, May 27-29: TimeGate
•  Saturday, June 4: Away Mission to X-Men: First Class
•  Friday-Sunday, June 10-12: Sci-Fi Summer Con

•  Saturday, June 18: Away Mission to Green Lantern
•  Saturday, July 23: Away Mission to Captain America

•  ENS1 Sue Lin Lange Named 2010 Member of the Year
•  Captain Eric L. Watts Reelected Commanding Officer
•  Lt. JG Dave Churvis Appointed Executive Officer
•  Personnel Records
•  Recent Chapter Event Photos

•  January Birthdays
•  Member Reenlistments
•  January Membership Renewals
•  About the Republic
•  For More Information
•  USS Republic Online
•  Related Sites
•  Our Member Benefits Program Partners
•  Crew Roster
•  News from
    — Orbiting 80, Nimoy Looks Back... and Ahead (Parts I and II)

Spring Sci-Fi Charity Putt-Putt Challenge
Sponsored by KAG Atlanta and Sci-Fi Summer Con
A charity event benefitting Bread of Life Food Ministry

12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday, April 9
, 2011
Malibu Grand Prix Theme Park
5400 Brook Hollow Parkway, Norcross GA 30071
(770) 416-7630
Members and friends of the USS Republic, KAG Atlanta, Stargate Atlanta and the IKAV Nemesis at the 2008 Fall Sci-Fi Charity Putt-Putt Challenge in Norcross.
Let's join our Klingon friends from KAG Atlanta at the Malibu Grand Prix Theme Park in Norcross for this fun-filled fundraiser benefitting Bread of Life Food Ministry, a community food bank in Lawrenceville.
We had a lot of fun at this event the last four years and have been challenged by KAG Atlanta to do it again!

Malibu Grand Prix is on Brook Hollow Parkway in Norcross, just west of I-85 at Indian Trail-Lilburn Road
Bring at least two canned food donations per person for a free 18-hole round of putt-putt per person (a $6.99 value)!
All other attractions at group rate prices!
Prizes to the winner and person donating the most canned goods!
Republic shirts or Star Trek costumes encouraged but not required!
All local fan clubs and fan groups are challenged and welcomed to attend and participate!
This is a "family-friendly" event!
There may be some fun semi-fabulous prizes for the winner!

For more information about the Putt-Putt challenge, please contact
Sci-Fi Summer Con chairman and KAG Atlanta Quadrant Commander Chris Jones.  On behalf of the command and crew of the USS Republic NCC-1371, we hope to see you there!  Q'pla!

Away Mission to Super

Saturday, April 16, 2011
Time and Location To Be Announced
When sad-sack loser Frank (Rainn Wilson) sees his ex-addict wife (Liv Tyler) willingly snatched by a seductive drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), he finds himself bereft and wholly unable to cope.  But soon he decides to fight back under the guise of a DIY superhero called Crimson Bolt.  With a hand-made suit, a wrench and a crazed sidekick named Boltie (Ellen Page), the Crimson Bolt beats his way through the mean streets of crime in hopes of saving his wife.  The rules were written a long time ago: You are not supposed to molest children, cut lines or key cars; if you do, prepare to face the wrath of the Crimson Bolt!

Make plans now to join the USS Republic on its "away mission" to see this action/adventure comedy.  Theaters and showtimes have not yet been announced, but save the date and plan on an early evening showing.

Spring Dinner & Business Meeting

7:00 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2011
China One International Buffet
5975 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs GA  30328
(404) 303-6118
All members and friends of the USS Republic are invited to join us for our annual Spring Dinner & Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.  This will be an especially important meeting with at least three important business items on the agenda for discussion:

The current and ongoing situation regarding the Republic's status and relationship with STARFLEET International, as previously discussed at the Mid-Summer Business Meeting last August and in CO Capt Eric L. Watts' "State of the Chapter" address to the membership at the Christmas Party in December;
A report on the Republic's very first full-scale Star Trek convention, TrekTrax Atlanta, held in February, as well as plans for 2012; and
Chapter events and activities being planned for the next three months and beyond, including fan tables and/or room parties at Outlantacon, TimeGate and Sci-Fi Summer Con.

This is an especially important meeting for anyone who is interested in the future and general welfare of the USS Republic.

Please join us at the China One International Buffet restaurant in Sandy Springs, on Roswell Road just a quarter mile north of I-285, next to Lowe's.  Their 100-item buffet, featuring Chinese, Japanese and American cuisine, includes seafood, meat, vegetables, dim sum, sushi, hot bar and cold salad bar, ice cream, cookies, cakes, fresh seasonal fruits and more for only $9.99 per person.  Soft drinks are free!

Of course, it's not all business... you'll also be able to enjoy the company of your fellow shipmates and have a lot of fun as we celebrate our recent successes and chart our course for the future.  Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend!

Away Mission to Thor

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Time and Location To Be Announced
This epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe from present-day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard.  At the center of the story is the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war.  As a result, Thor is banished to Earth, where he is forced to live among humans.  When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.

Make plans now to join the USS Republic on its "away mission" to see this highly anticipated movie—the latest in Marvel Studios' series of films featuring members of the classic Avengers.  Theaters and showtimes have not yet been announced, but save the date and plan on an early evening showing.


Friday-Sunday, May 13-15, 2011
Holiday Inn Atlanta Perimeter
4386 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Atlanta GA  30341
(770) 457-6363
Outlantacon is an Atlanta-based event for the "Queer Geek" audience.  In 2011, Outlantacon will be playing host to Gaylaxicon, the national GLBT convention for the queer audience.

Gaylaxicon, the annual GLBT convention event, makes its return to Atlanta in 2011, following a very successful first visit in 2007.  They'll be featuring all the usual Outlantacon goodies, just on a bigger scale.  Look for their own special versions of Family Feud, Project Cosplay (a big hit at Outlantacon 2010), live entertainment, etc; plus all the usual Gaylaxicon events like the Chocolate Symposium, Gaylactic Jeopardy!, and of course, the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards.

Commanding Officer Capt Eric L. Watts diligently works the USS Republic's recruitment table at last year's Outlantacon.  This year, he's an official guest!
Among Outlantacon's more than twenty guests are roleplaying and computer game designer Andrew Greenberg, who worked on the Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine RPGs and the Star Trek: Starfleet Academy computer game; longtime Friend of the Republic Melissa Carter, a cohost on Q100's morning radio program The Bert Show and a self-proclaimed "out and proud" Star Trek fan; and our very own Captain Eric L. Watts, who will be seated as a panelist on all of Outlantacon's Star Trek programming events.

The USS Republic will once again have an official presence at Outlantacon which may include a fan table and/or a room party.  Be sure to attend the Republic's Spring Dinner & Business Meeting on April 23 (details above) if you are interested in helping with either one, or contact the Captain if you're unable to attend.

Outlantacon memberships are $50 until April 30.  Children's and at-the-door rates are not listed on their web site.  For more information about Outlantacon's guests, programming events, hotel and memberships, please visit their web site.


Friday-Sunday, May 27-29, 2011
Holiday Inn Atlanta Perimeter
4386 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Atlanta GA  30341
(770) 457-6363
TimeGate is an annual science fiction/fantasy convention that focuses on Doctor Who and Stargate but also includes programming on a wide range of other sci-fi/fantasy interests.  So if you're into Stargate SG-1, Doctor Who, Stargate Atlantis, Torchwood or The Sarah Jane Adventures—or if you're excited about the new show Stargate Universe—this is the convention for you!  But if not, we'll also have Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Heroes, literary, horror and comics programming, too, along with many other topics.

Members of the USS Republic enjoy a group dinner at last year's TimeGate.  Clockwise from left: ENS2 Julianne Trew, Capt Michael Cowart, ENS2 Eric Lange, ENS1 Sue Lin Lange, "Wolfy," CO Capt Eric L. Watts, ENS2 Joanne Trew.
TimeGate's nearly two dozen guests include Melissa Scott, author of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Proud Helios and the Star Trek: Voyager novel The Garden, and Heidi Arnold, a sequential artist and illustrator who drew "Inalienable Rights" in Uchu, the third volume of Star Trek: The Manga, published by Tokyopop.

The USS Republic will once again have an official presence at TimeGate which may include a fan table and/or a room party.  Be sure to attend the Republic's Spring Dinner & Business Meeting on April 23 (details above) if you are interested in helping with either one, or contact the Captain if you're unable to attend.

TimeGate memberships for persons age 13 and up are $40 until May 6 and are $50 at the door.  For more information about TimeGate's guests, programming events, hotel and memberships, please visit their web site.

Away Mission to X-Men: First Class

Saturday, June 4, 2011
Time and Location To Be Announced
X-Men: First Class, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga.  Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time.  Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other mutants (some familiar, some new) to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.  In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

Make plans now to join the USS Republic on its "away mission" to see this highly anticipated prequel to the first three now-class X-Men films.  Theaters and showtimes have not yet been announced, but save the date and plan on an early evening showing.

Sci-Fi Summer Con

Friday-Sunday, June 10-12, 2011
Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter NW
6345 Powers Ferry Road NW, Atlanta GA 30339
(770) 955-1700
Now in its eleventh year, Sci-Fi Summer Con is for fans, friends and anyone interested in science fiction, fantasy, horror and comics.  The Republic has had an official presence at this convention for the last several years, including our 20th anniversary celebration three years ago and our very own Captain Eric L. Watts being named last year's Fan Guest of Honor.  Sci-Fi Summer Con is Atlanta's only annual convention devoted exclusively to all forms of science fiction and fantasy.

Crmn Jessica Curtiss, Cmdr Dave "Grizzly" Slaughter, CO Capt Eric L. Watts and Ens Eddie Hines at the Republic's recruitment table at last year's Sci-Fi Summer Con.
Sci-Fi Summer Con has not yet announced any Star Trek-related guests for this year's convention, but we'll be sure to announce them in a future issue of The Republiqué if and when they do.

The USS Republic will once again have an official presence at Sci-Fi Summer Con which may include a fan table and/or a room party.  Be sure to attend the Republic's Spring Dinner & Business Meeting on April 23 (details above) if you are interested in helping with either one, or contact the Captain if you're unable to attend.

Sci-Fi Summer Con memberships for persons age 13 and up are $20 until May 20 and are $35 at the door.  For more information about TimeGate's guests, programming events, hotel and memberships, please visit their web site.

Away Mission to Green Lantern

Saturday, June 18, 2011
Time and Location To Be Announced
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries.  Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps.  A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers.  But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds).

Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before.  But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity.  With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax… he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.

Make plans now to join the USS Republic on its "away mission" to see this summer's only movie from DC Comics.  Theaters and showtimes have not yet been announced, but save the date and plan on an early evening showing.

Away Mission to Captain America: The First Avenger

Saturday, July 23, 2011
Time and Location To Be Announced
Born during the Great Depression, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) grew up a frail youth in a poor family.  Horrified by the newsreel footage of the Nazis in Europe, Rogers was inspired to enlist in the army.  However, because of his frailty and sickness, he was rejected.  Overhearing the boy’s earnest plea, Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) offered Rogers the opportunity to take part in a special experiment… Operation: Rebirth.  After weeks of tests, Rogers was at last administered the "Super-Soldier Serum" and bombarded by "vita-rays."  Steve Rogers emerged from the treatment with a body as perfect as a body can be and still be human.  Rogers was then put through an intensive physical and tactical training program.  Three months later, he was given his first assignment as Captain America.  Armed with his indestructible shield and battle savvy, Captain America has continued his war against evil both as a sentinel of liberty and leader of the Avengers.

Make plans now to join the USS Republic on its "away mission" to see this highly anticipated movie—the fourth and latest in Marvel Studios' series of films featuring members of the classic Avengers.  Theaters and showtimes have not yet been announced, but save the date and plan on an early evening showing.


ENS1 Sue Lin Lange Named USS Republic 2010 Member of the Year
This past December, CO Capt Eric L. Watts recognized the outstanding service and contributions of several loyal and dedicated members during the USS Republic's Christmas Party & Awards Ceremony.

Ens Barry Bynum and Ens Ken Cribbs were presented, in absentia, framed certificates of appreciation for their service to the Republic as TrekTrax Atlanta's Director of Convention Operations and Director of Social Media & Press Relations, respectively.  Lt. JG Dave Churvis was also presented a framed certificate of appreciation for his service to the Republic as TrekTrax Atlanta's Director of Registration.  In addition to their individual responsibilities, these gentlemen also (along with Captain Watts) comprise the TrekTrax Atlanta executive committee.  Lt. Churvis was also recognized for his additional service to the Republic with regard to the laborious task of compiling and converting nearly two years' worth of Republiqué newsletters into text documents that could be submitted to STARFLEET as long-overdue Monthly Status Reports.

CO Capt Eric L. Watts presents ENS1 Sue Lin Lange with the USS Republic's prestigious Member of the Year Award for 2010 at TrekTrax Atlanta in February.  The solid wood plaque features the Republic's logo in full color and Ensign Sue's name engraved on a satin-finish silver plate.
The extraordinary contributions of two Republic members during 2010 very nearly resulted in a tie for this year's prestigious Member of the Year Award.  Captain Watts informed the membership in attendance that two members had attended most of the Republic's events and activities during the year, that two members had consistently brought several members of their families with them to those events and activities, that one of these two members had gone above and beyond the call of duty by single-handedly organizing and hosting the Republic's Summer Pool Party in August and the other had also gone above and beyond the call of duty by single-handedly organizing and coordinating the Republic's presence in the Dragon*Con Parade in September, that one of these members was the very first person to purchase a Guardian of Forever membership to TrekTrax Atlanta and that the other purchased Guardian of Forever memberships for her entire family.  Although the results were clearly very close, the USS Republic's 2010 Member of the Year Award was presented to ENS1 Sue Lin Lange, who was unable to attend the Christmas Party in person but who heard the announcement and presentation over the phone in real time.  Captain Watts also acknowledged the runner-up, ENS2 Joanne Trew, who was present.

Previous winners of the Republic's Member of the Year Award include ENS1 Zannetta Law (2007), ENS1 Hal Doby (2008) and ENS2 Joanne Trew (2009).
Captain Eric L. Watts Reelected Commanding Officer
To no one's surprise, Capt Eric L. Watts announced at the USS Republic's Christmas Party & Awards Ceremony in December that he had been reelected as Commanding Officer of the Republic for a third consecutive term.  Captain Watts once again ran unopposed for the office but nevertheless received one mail-in ballot.

Capt Eric L. Watts, the USS Republic's 13th and longest-serving Commanding Officer, will not run for reelection upon the completion of his current term.
Captain Watts was first elected Commanding Officer of the Republic in May 2006 following the resignation of the Republic's previous CO, Capt Matthew D. Ebeling.  Then-Commander Watts completed the remainder of Captain Ebeling's two-year term and was previously reelected for two-year terms in January 2007 (for 2007-2008) and December 2008 (for 2009 and 2010).  Commander Watts was promoted to Captain by STARFLEET in December 2006 and received the STARFLEET International Commanding Officer of the Year Award in 2007.

Captain Watts is the 13th Commanding Officer in the Republic's nearly 23-year history and as of January 2011, is now her longest-serving captain, having surpassed the four-year, seven-month term of Admiral Kelly S. Hilliard from March 1992 to October 1996.

Captain Watts also informed the membership in attendance that he would most likely not be a candidate for the office again following the completion of this new term, which is due to expire on December 31, 2012.  He cited several reasons for this decision, which included his belief that after six and a half years, it will be time for someone else to lead the chapter and the membership, as well as his aspiration that in two years' time, TrekTrax Atlanta will have grown to become an annual event large enough to preclude his ability to simultaneously lead the chapter effectively.  He encouraged each member to evaluate their own hopes and desires for the Republic's long-term future and to consider a position of future leadership.
Lt. JG Dave Churvis Appointed Executive Officer
At the USS Republic's Christmas Party & Awards Ceremony in December, Capt Eric L. Watts announced that effective January 1, 2011, Lt. JG Dave Churvis would assume the office, as well as the newly assigned duties and responsibilities, of Executive Officer of the USS Republic.

Captain Watts wanted to make it clear to the membership in attendance that this appointment was in no way whatsoever a reflection on the service of Cmdr Brian Holloway, who had held that position since late 2006.  Captain Watts thanked Commander Holloway for his many years of service to the chapter, but said that a change was necessary in order to help the Republic move forward.  Captain Watts had discussed the matter earlier in the month with Commander Holloway, who agreed with the Captain's reasons and decision to make the change.

Lt. JG Dave Churvis
Cmdr Brian Holloway
At the same time that Captain Watts was first elected Commanding Officer in May 2006, Adm Mike Henigan was elected Executive Officer (XO), a position which he held for only a few months before he and six other members of the Republic transferred their memberships to the USS DaVinci in Columbus and prepared to launch their own new chapter, the USS Atlanta.  Following those transfers, the only member remaining on board who held the necessary credentials to hold the office of XO was the previous Commanding Officer, Capt Matthew D. Ebeling.  Captain Ebeling, who had recently resigned from the office of CO, was understandably unable to assume the position of XO.  The continued absence of an XO would have placed the chapter's status with STARFLEET in jeopardy, so Captain Watts asked his longtime friend, fellow Dragon*Con programming director, Star Trek: Phase II colleague and Charlotte resident Brian Holloway, who held the rank of Commander with STARFLEET and was a former member of Charlotte's USS Hornet, to join the Republic and assume the position of XO.

Commander Holloway has served the Republic admirably for the last four years, representing the chapter at numerous conventions, Region 2 events and on the set of Star Trek: Phase II in upstate New York.  However, the XO position has heretofore been mostly ceremonial, with no real responsibilities indigenous to the position.  Recent developments in the Republic's relationship with STARFLEET have made it necessary for the XO to assume actual administrative responsibility—a duty that Commander Holloway, due to his residency in North Carolina, distance from Atlanta and other real-world obligations, is simply unable to take on.

In his new position as the Republic's Executive Officer, Lt. Churvis will be responsible for the timely submission of the chapter's Monthly Status Reports (MSRs) to STARFLEET via the STARFLEET online database.  MSRs have been a long-running point of contention between Captain Watts and STARFLEET and is the issue that caused the current dispute between the two.  As part of its dispute resolution process, Republic has agreed to once again submit MSRs to STARFLEET.  However, because only the chapter's Commanding Officer and Executive Officer have high enough security clearance to access this part of the online database, it was necessary to promote Lt. Churvis to the position of chapter XO in order to grant him this access.

Captain Watts wishes to thank Cmdr Brian Holloway for his loyal, dedicated and continuing service to the Republic, and also thanks Lt. JG Dave Churvis for taking on the responsibility of submitting the Republic's future MSRs to STARFLEET.
Personnel Records
Please join ENS1 Mark A. Ozanick for "Bravo!  A Night at the Opera" with the Atlanta Freedom Concert Band at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, at the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta at 1328 Peachtree St NE in Atlanta.  Musicians from several regional cities will join the AFCB for this concert, which will include works by great opera masters including Mozart, Puccini, Verdi and Wagner.  Ensign Mark plays both bassoon and clarinet with the AFCB.  Admission is only $10.  For more information about the band or this concert, please visit their web site.
Recent Chapter Event Photos
Christmas Party & Awards Ceremony  ||  December 19, 2010
Front row: Adm Kelly S. Hilliard and Adm Mike Henigan of the USS
Atlanta; Ens Richard Tucker, ENS3 Renardo Hunter, CO Capt Eric L. Watts.  Back row: ENS1 Tony Cade, Capt Michael Cowart, ENS1 Zannetta Law, Ens Tracey Harwell, Cmdr Dave Slaughter, ENS2 Joanne Trew, ENS2 Jeff Trew, ENS1 Mark A. Ozanick, Chris Jones, Lt. JG Dave Churvis.
Above left: CO Capt Eric L. Watts presents Certificates of Appreciation to Ensigns Barry Bynum and Ken Cribbs in absentia.
Above right: Capt Watts presents Lt. JG Dave Churvis with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Above left: Capt Watts presents the 2010 Member of the Year Award to ENS1 Sue Lin Lange, who listened to the presentation from Florida on the phone, held by Cmdr Dave Slaughter.
Above right: ENS2 Joanne Trew, ENS1 Tony Cade.
Above left: Ens Richard Tucker, Capt Michael Cowart, ENS3 Renardo Hunter (seated); ENS2 Jeff Trew, Ens Tracey Harwell.
Above right: ENS1 Mark A. Ozanick (right) graciously hosted the 2010 Christmas Party in his beautiful home in Decatur.


Sunday, January 9
Ens Thomas Dempsey DVM

Tuesday, January 18
Ens Matthew T. Duncan

Wednesday, January 19
Ens Tasheka Gipson

These members renewed their SFI and chapter dues in December

Ens Lee Cox

These members' SFI and chapter dues expired in January

ENS3 Russell J. Broomfield

The USS Republic NCC-1371 was commissioned as a chapter of STARFLEET International on May 14, 1988, at the Dixie-Trek convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The Republic was decommissioned by STARFLEET in November 2010 and is currently operating as an independent organization with 46 members (as of March 27) who are also active members of STARFLEET.

The Republic plans and coordinates an active schedule of events for its members, frequently partnering with other local science fiction groups in the Atlanta area for joint activities, but does not hold meetings on a consistently fixed date each month.

Membership in the Republic continues to include membership in STARFLEET International.  Annual dues are $25 per person for both groups (family discounts are available with certain conditions and restrictions). Membership in the Republic includes access to our YahooGroups message board, voting privileges in chapter elections and a personalized laminated membership card which entitles the member to discounts and rebates on products and services offered by our Member Benefits Program partners.  Additional information on Republic membership and how to join is on our award-winning web site.





Capt Matt Ebeling

NEWS from
Orbiting 80, Nimoy Looks Back... and Ahead (Parts I and II)
By Staff
March 23-24, 2011
Leonard Nimoy, to quote an old friend of his, has lived long and prospered.  He’s enjoyed success as an actor, producer, director, photographer, show host, voiceover artist and more.  He’s a husband, father and grandfather.  But there’s no denying that, for better or worse, he is Spock, the half-human / half-Vulcan he portrayed on the original Star Trek, on Star Trek: The Next Generation, in a half-dozen TOS features and, of course, in Star Trek (2009).  He’s beloved by countless millions of people around the world for his performances as the green-blooded one, and it’s a legacy with which he is quite comfortable.  Nimoy will turn 80 on March 26, and in advance of his big day, he granted the better part of an hour of his time to an exclusive, career-encompassing interview with

Let’s start in the present, go back to the past, and then look to the future.  You still attend the occasional convention.  Why?  Is it kind of a thank-you to the fans at this point?

Nimoy: That’s exactly what it is, a thank you.  I still feel an obligation to be out there for them, to tell them the Star Trek stories and to bring them up to date on what I’m doing.  There’s still a lot of interest.  I don’t know when I will stop doing this.  I think there is an end in sight.  I will not go on doing it indefinitely, but I am scheduled for three or four events for this year.

Star Trek aside, what other roles / performances / projects in your career are you particularly proud of and / or fond of?  We’d suggest such works / projects as Alien Voices, A Woman Called Golda, Three Men and a Baby, your "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" song…

Nimoy (laughs at the mention of "Bilbo Baggins"): Apparently, the best known of all those is the "Bilbo Baggins" recording.  I enjoyed doing that.  It was a lot of fun.  It’s a song aimed at kids.  It was about 30 years before its time.  We were way ahead of the cycle on the Hobbit stories.  It was much, much later that the Rings trilogy was produced as films.  I know that “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” has had a very active life on the Internet.  I get a kick out of that.  I think it’s wonderful.  You’re right.  I’d say A Woman Called Golda is something I’m extraordinarily proud of.  I’d say Never Forget, which was a television movie that I produced and starred in for TNT.  It was a true story about a Holocaust survivor who fought an organization that was intent on denying the Holocaust ever existed.  I thought it was a very important project and we did get a Cable Ace nomination for it.  I have some wonderful experiences along the way.  I was on Broadway for 16 weeks in Equus.  That was a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play.  I toured the United States in my one-man show called Vincent, which was about Vincent Van Gogh, and I thought it was a valuable piece of work.  So I have been given opportunities to do some very interesting projects and I’m very happy about it.

OK, let’s talk
Trek.  When we saw you in your LLAP (Live Long and Prosper) t-shirt at the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas last August, we had to smile and chuckle.  You’re really, truly, deeply at peace with Spock’s place in your life, aren’t you?

Nimoy: Oh yeah, I’m very comfortable with it, sure.

Take some of our newer fans back to the 1960s.  What was the reaction to Spock at the time the show debuted?  Did people get the character or was he just a total anomaly to the viewing audience at the time?

Nimoy: Well, I think it caught a lot of people by surprise.  I must say that I was somewhat surprised by response, but I understood it.  I understood that it was about the character that people were responding to.  The mail told me a lot about what people were responding to.  Certainly, the network was totally caught off-guard.  The people at NBC, the network that was running the show, had actually asked Gene Roddenberry to eliminate the character or to keep him in the background, because they were concerned that the character was not a positive character.  In fact, in some of the earliest promotional materials that they put out to potential advertisers, they had retouched the photographs of me as Spock to take off the pointed ears.  They actually took off the pointed ears in the photographs.  And it was explained to me that they were concerned that the character looked devilish and that a “devilish” character might have a negative connotation, particularly in the Southern states, where people might be uncomfortable having a devil on their TV set.

What happened was quite the opposite of what the network expected.  The Spock character became the breakout character on the show and the mail for the Spock character and myself was enormous.  The network then asked for a lot more of Spock, rather than less of Spock, and we had to go through a major adjustment in the production to get the Spock character built up to the level of demand.

There are early episodes where we see you show emotion, even smile.  How long did it take you to “find” the character?

Nimoy: Well, there was a smile in the first pilot.  I was directed to smile.  Being the good guy that I was, I did what the director told me to do.  I was working with Jeffrey Hunter, who was the captain of the Enterprise at the time, in the first pilot, and we were on this strange planet where a certain kind of strange plant was growing.  I was to reach out and touch one of the leaves of this plant, which gave off a certain kind of eerie sound.  The director said, “Why don’t you smile when you hear that sound, as though it’s a pleasing sound.”  I thought, “OK, I’ll do that.”  It was a long time after that before I ever smiled again on Star Trek (laughs).  It happened only under very special circumstances.  But it took a while to find the character.  It wasn’t until we made the second pilot, really, that I got a total grasp and was able to make my own decisions, frankly, about how the character should function in certain circumstances.  I did what I was asked to do on that first pilot and that’s why you saw a smile.

The Motion Picture tanked, how much, if any, of what subsequently transpired do you think might have happened anyway?

Nimoy: No, I think not.  I think you’re right.  The feeling was, after that first movie, there was something to be done with Star Trek, that the first movie hadn’t done what was available to be done, that there was still an audience, still an interest, but that it didn’t satisfy the audience in terms of content.  And it cost too much.  So, when they approached Harve Bennett with the idea of doing a second Star Trek film and asked him if he could do a Star Trek film for less, he said something like, “I can do two movies for the price you paid for that first one.”  That was intriguing, and I think he actually did Star Trek II for even less than that.  I think he did it for maybe a third of what the first film cost.  I wasn’t privy to those conversations, but my understanding, my sense was that they felt that it was worth making a second film at a much, much lower cost to see if there was anything left in Star Trek.  And frankly, when I heard about it, when they came to me with the idea of doing that second film, I thought they were just trying to squeeze one more movie out of the franchise.  I thought that it would be the end of Star Trek and that’s why I accepted the idea of Spock dying at the end of Star Trek II.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture actually rose from the ashes of Star Trek: Phase II, the series that Paramount aborted when it became clear from Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind that sci-fi movies could be huge moneymakers.  Phase II has been in the news again recently with stories about how involved you might or might not have been…

Nimoy: It's being reported that Mr. Roddenberry offered me a contract to appear as Spock in two out of every 11 episodes of Star Trek in the '70s when there was a new series contemplated.  This is true and (it’s) also true that I turned down the offer.  I didn't feel comfortable being hired on as a part-time player.

That's interesting.  Was that Roddenberry's choice or was that Paramount trying either to keep costs down or hoping they'd entice you with a less exhausting schedule?

Nimoy: Since Mr. Roddenberry is gone, we'll never know.  He was also hired to develop a series for me at Universal in 1971.  It was called Questor (The Questor Tapes).  When it was time to cast it, he chose Robert Foxworth instead.

Moving on to
Star Trek II, what do you remember most about the reaction—fan, critical, cast, yours—to Spock dying?

Nimoy: It was very touching, very touching.  I vividly remember the day we filmed the death scene.  It was a very somber, emotional experience.  I was very sad, concerned.  When we came up with the idea of doing a mind meld on Dr. McCoy, on DeForest Kelley, I was asked if I could say something in that mind meld that would give us a hook for the future, in case there was a possibility of continuing.  And I came up with the word “Remember,” which I thought was broad enough and interesting enough that we might be able to use it as our hook in the future.  And it worked.  But at that particular moment in time, there was a real sadness.  There’s an understanding that, “Look, who knows, something positive might come out of all this,” but we really were playing a very serious death scene and everybody was quite moved by that.

Star Trek III was your first feature as a director.  How at home were you behind the camera?  Did you feel like you had training wheels on?  And how satisfied were you with the finished film?

Nimoy: I was very comfortable shooting the movie.  I did feel that I was being quite controlled, I guess is the word.  I was made to justify everything that I did and explain everything that I was doing, which took a lot of energy.  And I resented it.  It bothered me that I was being so carefully monitored because I really felt that I knew what I was doing.  I thought the script was workable and did what it had to do, which was to find Spock and get him back on his feet.  I thought it was an interesting idea, the whole idea of the Genesis planet evolving and Spock’s remains evolving with the planet.  It may not have been as much fun a film as some would like, but I thought it did the job.  It did it what it set out to do.  Maybe, in retrospect, we might have found a better story or construct, to get that job done.  But we got the job done and the film was OK.  At the box office, it did what was becoming the pattern for Star Trek films.  It was about the same as was expected, so it was OK.  It was not a gigantic runaway hit, but it was not considered a failure.  And it was strong enough that they decided to go ahead and make another one after that.

Star Trek IV was the most successful of the TOS features on several levels.  Did you just have a sense that the film could tap the zeitgeist?

Nimoy: Yeah, I was very, very confident with that film.  I made a big commitment to the development of that story.  I stayed on the lot for the entire time.  When Star Trek III was finished, even before it opened, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was the head of production at the studio, called me and said, “We’d like you to make another one.”  I said, “I need to have some more freedom.  I felt too tightly controlled on this last film.  I need to have some freedom to explore some ideas and do my own movie.”  And he said, “The training wheels are off.  Make your own film.  Give us your own image of what the film should be.”  I spent a lot of time on it.  I did a lot of research.  I did a lot of reading.  I did a lot of traveling.  I went to the East Coast to meet with various scientists and to talk about what they were interested in as possible ideas to explore in the future.  It was all very helpful and it all found its way into that movie in one way or another.

But I did not let myself get distracted by going off and doing a lot of other kinds of work during that development period.  I was on the lot most of the time and at the desk working or talking or exploring or reading or trying to develop the story.  The whole whale thing presented itself excitingly, but it presented certain challenges, too, because there was not a lot of good humpback whale footage available to us.  So it became a matter of whether or not we could create that footage successfully with miniatures and digital images and (real) footage and so forth.  So there was a lot of work to be done, but once the ideas fell into place it became very exciting.  When the script was done, between myself and Harve Bennett on the story, and Harve and Nick Meyer doing the screenplay, I was very, very excited.  I thought, “We’ve got a very strong film here.”

Also, Ned Tanen was now the head of production at Paramount.  Jeff Katzenberg and Michael Eisner had gone to Disney.  So Ned Tanen was the person who read the script and gave us the green light.  He called me and said, “Let’s have lunch.”  And during that lunch he said, “I would make this film even if it wasn’t a Star Trek movie,” because he felt so strongly that the script was a tight, successful and exciting story.  I really had a great time making that movie.

Star Trek V was, for all intents and purposes, William Shatner’s movie, so let’s move on to Star Trek VI.  Was it time to say goodbye?  And were you satisfied with the justice the story did to the franchise and cast?

Nimoy: I had some other wishes for Star Trek VI.  I had some other hopes that weren’t realized.  I thought the film served its purpose, again.  It didn’t create any problems for us, but it didn’t quite accomplish what I’d hoped.

Which was?

Nimoy: I had a very interesting conversation with Gene Roddenberry in which we’d been discussing the idea of this movie being about going into the Klingon territory, into the Klingon Empire.  I came up with the idea that since Nixon, who was a known conservative, was the person who could go to China to make a deal, who were obviously not conservative—they were a very deeply red Communist country—that Captain Kirk would be the ideal choice to go to the Klingon Empire to deal with them to create a détente between the Kingon Empire and our side, the Federation.  That idea intrigued Nick Meyer and he wrote a very workable screenplay, but what I was hoping for was that once inside the Klingon Empire, we would find out something about the Klingons that would surprise us all.  Why are they so angry?  Why are they so hostile?  Why are they so warring?  Why are they so bent on conflict and paranoia and suspicion?  What’s going on in their minds?  What’s inside that Empire that we don’t know that would surprise us?  We never quite got to that.  We never quite did.  We did do an interesting story about the political faction within the Klingon’s structure, but we didn’t quite get to that amazing revelation about what the Klingons were really all about.

To be continued in Part III, next issue.
© 2011 CBS Studios Inc
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The Republiqué Volume I, Number 34, January 2011.
Published monthly by and Copyright © 2011 USS Republic NCC-1371.
Captain Eric L. Watts, Editor.

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