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Doing This Job, Part II: Chasing Leonard Nimoy

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 18, 2006

Now, on to Leonard Nimoy. While I've already mentioned a couple of times that I saw Nimoy last week, I haven't explained the part of the day that made me feel as if I was trapped on some endless, digressing journey like the Blues Brothers' Mission From God. If only Bill Shatner had shown up to say, ''We're getting the band back together,'' then it would have been perfect.

Anyway, Nimoy was at the University of Akron to talk about ''Star Trek.'' He did a news conference in the late afternoon and then gave a speech at the University of Akron that night. ''Star Trek'' recently marked its 40th anniversary, and I doubt that Nimoy has any new stories left to tell. In fact, he told some twice on Thursday -- at the news conference and then in the speech. (He told them better in the speech, feeding off the energy of the larger crowd.)

I was looking for something fresh to write about, and one of the fresher things was the recent computer-enhanced version of the original ''Star Trek.'' I asked Nimoy what he thought of the changes at the news conference. He at first seemed to have no problem with them, saying they just amounted to improving the color and picture. I disagreed, noting that CGIs were being substituted for old images and other things were being changed. (Another reporter nodded vigorously in agreement when I said that.) Hearing that, Nimoy said, ''Shame on them.''

But here's where my second-guessing side got me in trouble. I was thinking that, since Nimoy gave different answers based on different information, it might be better to get him the official word -- and an unambiguous response. So, when the press conference was over, I told a UA rep that I had a copy of the ''Star Trek'' press release at my office and I could bring it to Nimoy. Since the question might also come up at his speech that night, I thought it was only fair. The UA rep said she would get it to him, and we agreed to meet before the speech.

I went back to my office, dug up the press release and a transcript of a press conference about the changes. I took it back before the speech, but couldn't find the UA rep in the lobby. I poked my head in the room where we had had the press conference. There was Nimoy.

I introduced myself and showed him the papers. ''I'm amazed,'' he said as he looked at them. I asked if I could get out my recorder and get his full reaction. He declined, saying he had to get ready for the speech. I asked if I could talk to him after the speech. He seemed agreeable.

Speech goes, ends, and I waited outside the meeting room, along with some fans. After some time, another UA rep came out and said Nimoy had left. I introduced myself, explained my presence -- and was taken inside. Nobody was around. But the papers I had brought to Nimoy were still sitting where I had left him and them.

I ended up writing a story where I quoted Nimoy's two answers and his ''I'm amazed.'' I would have preferred a stronger and clearer comment. But that's what I had, and that's how it sometimes goes.

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