Boston Herald Radio: Leonard Nimoy pops in for hometown visit
Interviews

alt2014 May

 

Interviewer: We are joined by Leonard Nimoy, of course of 'Star Trek'. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. 

(Thanks to Grace for shairng this  Link )

Leonard Nimoy: A pleasure to talk to you , thank you!
Interviewer: I am so excited to have you on the line with us. So must be many locals who are huge fans of yours. I want to start up with what you are doing this weekend  -  with the Boston Pops. 
Leonard Nimoy: I'm working. Yes, I'm doing a narration fpr the Boston Pops, the program is called "Out of This World". In the plays there's music from various science fiction movies and music that has to do with space exploration and planets and I'm going to to a narration for them. I am very excited abot that. The last time I did this for the Boston Pops must have been 20 years ago. So it has been a long way and I'm happpy to be home. 
Interviewer: And I am so happy to have you here. I'm sure you here this a lot when you come to town and I always hear your introduction in the museum of science. 
(Leonard laughs. )
Interviewer: You talk about how you grew up just down the street, right? 
Leonard Nimoy: Yeah, that particular recording did really live long and prospered. 
(The interviewer laughs.) 
Leonard Nimoy: I keep hearing about it. I must have done it 30 years ago and they are still using it. It is very flattering. I'm very happy to hear that. And that's right: I grew up - when you are at the museum, you could look out the window and actually see the area where I grew up which is called the West End. 
Interviewer: That's amazing. And of course we are curious because we know the area now and there doesn't seem any place for a person to live, but I mean there are some developments I guess. 
Leonard Nimoy: It's all very, very diffeent. The streets are configured very differently. The are is called Charles River Park now. For many years when you drove by at Charles Street, there was a sign that said: "If you live here you'd be home now". 
Interviewer: Of course. 
Leonard Nimoy: OK, that sign was RIGHT on the spot where there was a building which was called the 'Elisabeth Peabody Playhouse' where I first started acting - right on that spot where the sign was. 
Interviewer: Wow!

Leonard Nimoy:  Yeah! I was eight years old when I started acting. 
Interviewer: Well, you said it was "Hansel and Gretel", right? 
Leonard Nimoy: That's right, that's right! (laughs)
Interviewer: Now talk to me about growing up there. Because one of the things I read about you developing the character of Spock was actually using about growing up at the West End of Boston and talk about what made you feel 'other' or made to feel 'alien' in the city. So I don't want to make it too much of on 'bad time' but if you have any examples of a Jewish kid growing up in the West End of Boston. Do you have any examples? 
Leonard Nimoy: My friends were of all combinations. I have very good Irish friends, Italien friends, and the fact the Jewish frineds were in the minority and I understood that there are people of other denominations. They had a larger majority than I had. So I understood what it felt like to be in that position. So when the Spock character came along it was easy for me to identify with that because Spock was born from a human mother and a Vulcan father from another planat so what was called a half-bread. He was not at home on Vulcan because he wasn't fully Vulcan, he wasn't fully at home on Earth because he wasn't fully human. So he chose to go to space work to get away from it all. I was very comfortable with the role because of that.

Interviewer: Was there any point - because if you look at that character he's almost cleric in a sense - and there was no character like that in the time - did Roddenberry or somebody take you aside and said: What the hell you were doing when you first did that? 
Leonard Nimoy: Well, that's a very good question because most aliens before that were protrayed in science fiction were somebody to be afraid of. Somebody who's going to hurt you or something. Somebody who tried to do you in. Spock was the first thoughtful intellectual alien who was useful to humans and part of the crew that was not only multi-racial, but multi-planetary. So it was a wonderful opportunity for me. So I am forever grateful. I thought the Spock character was most interesting but I had a dream - it is almost 50 years now - that he'll still be relevant. 

Interviewer: Actually you have done work with the Pops before, but do you have any memories with the Pops as a kid, what your history is like. 
Leonard Nimoy: We used to go to the Pop's concerst at the Esplenade at the Hatch Shell at the river. It was only about 12 minutes walk from where I lived. 
Interviewer: I know, that was very close! 
Leonard Nimoy: Yeah, very close! And teh concerst were free. It was a wonderful thing to be able to do. So I used to go when there were matineé concerts in the evening when they had teh wonderful concerst in the summer. And I always enjoyed the music. Boston was great for me because I was surrounded by not only academic but great arts opportunities. 
Interviewer: What was the West End house? In Facebook you were asked about the West End house it moved to Brighton house and there was a picture there. 
Leonard Nimoy: Yeah, the West End house was on Blossom street. The building is still there when I was in Boston four, five months ago doing a documentary about my teenage years in Boston with my son Adam. The building is still there, it's opposite the Mass. General Hospital. It was a training center where young people could go. There was a sports program, there was a ... contest program where I entered in, a very active and wonderful place. A great place for kids to get off the street. 
Interviewer: OK, here's another question from Facebook people who want to know about you locally.  I have somebody say: Ask him if you ever swam in the reservoir during his time in BC, there's an urban legend that he did. 
Leonard Nimoy: (laugh) No, I don't think so. What I remember about swimming was the Elisabeth Peabody House had a summer camp at lake Sharon. And I went there a couple of times and that's where I leanred swimming at lake Massapoag in Sharon. 
Interviewer: I know you've been asked about this a lot, but talk a little about being involved in JJ Abrams new interpretation of Star Trek, something you've been supportive of. Somethig about how he might be handling the Star Wars. 
Leonard Nimoy: You know he actually has always been a Star Wars fan. 
Interviewer: Yuh.
Leonard Nimoy: This is a great opportunity for him to use his imagination, his resources to make that film. I think he did a very good job with Star Trek opening it up for a very, very  wide audience. I think three times as many have been going to his film that to Star TRek films before. So he is enormously successful and I think he is one of the executive producers of the next Star Trek film, there is a new director. He just filming the Star Wars film in London. 

Interviewer: Did you have a good time working with him? 
Leonard Nimoy: Yeah, he's a wonderful, wonderful, very human, very easy to realte to kind of guy. Actually I've known his family for a long time. His father was a television producer whom I worked for many, many years ago. 
Interviewer: That's great. And you have a great story I've just been reading about all these different things you have done while waiting for your big break. You have a great story about driving U.S. senator John F. Kennedy when you were working as a cabbi in Bel Air. 
Leonard Nimoy: Right. I did. I did indeed. I was just out of the army, I'd been away for two years, I came out of the army, married, I had a child, I had to go to work, I had to make some money immediately before my acting carfeer could get started again. I got a job driving a taxi. So I picked him up at a hotel, he was going up to the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was about a ten minute drive - way. He was giving a speech. And I recognized him, I introduced myself,I said I was from Boston. 
Interviewer: Oh, that's great!
Leonard Nimoy: He was excited to find somebody in California who knew him. This was before he gained national recognition. 
Interviewer: Wow! 
Leonard Nimoy: And we talked about Boston, we talked about careers. And he said: There's a lot of competition in your business.
I said: There surely is! 
He said: Just like mine! (laughs) 
Interviewer: Oh, that's a great story. 
Leonard Nimoy: And then he said: Just keep this in mind: 'There's always room for one more good one.'
Interviewer: Oh, that's great. 
OK, now: Did he tipp you? 
Leonard Nimoy: As a matter of fact he didn't have any money. 
The interviewer laughs.
Leonard Nimoy: He didn't have any money. The legend about him that he didn't carry any money was absolutely true. He did not have any money. So he asked him to follow him into the hotel. There was somebody waiting for him. The fair was $ 1,20 , he said to the guy: "Give the this guy 3 bugs."  
Interviewer: Nice. That's amazing!
Leonard laughs. 
I got a big tipp and it was not from him. 
I got to go for rehearsal at the Symphnie Hall. He're going to perform tomorrow night and I hope a lot of people will come out and see it.  It will be a lot of fun. 
Interviewer: Just quickly. You worked so hard to get rid of your Bosotn accent. Could you still do one? 
Leonard did: "In my neighbourhood I am stuck in Star Trek" (speaking in Bosotn accent) 
Interviewer: Nice. Thank you so much for your time, we really appreciate it.
Leonard Nimoy: Great pleasure, bye-bye. 
Interviewer: Well, I think my life is now complete. 

 

 
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