The late, ultra-great Leonard Nimoy (a distant relative of mine) began his acting career in 1951, fifteen years before he achieved well-deserved fame as Mr. Spock, the Vulcan science officer in the original series of Star Trek. Among his early (and mostly uncredited) roles was that of a Martian invader named Narab in the 1952 low-budget serial (and I mean LOW), Zombies of the Stratosphere (I’m not making this up), his first crack at the genre for which he would become famous.
Two years later he made a brief appearance in one of my all-time favorite films, Them! (their exclamation point), one of the classic sci-fi/horror films of the 1950s. (See my post, “Santa Claus Versus The Mutant Ants.”) The uncredited role as “Army Sergeant in Information Center” gave him a little over half a minute of screen time, and a couple of lines. I’m sure it looked good on his résumé.
Funny story about that last role. There is a scene later in Them! where a gaggle of reporters have gathered to learn that Los Angeles has been put under martial law due to giant ants taking root in the storm drains under the city. I’d always thought that Leonard Nimoy was one of those reporters, and I would hastily scan the group to spot him, always without success. Then, I decided to put my trust in Ms. Google (as my bride calls it), and voilá! I not only learned what they called his role, I also found a short clip of the scene on YouTube! Hard to recognize him, but check it out and see what you think.
A final thought: Leonard Nimoy was an awesome human being. He is sorely missed.
For a staggeringly beautiful tribute to him, see the two-minute short ‘765874 Regeneration’ posted to YouTube by OTOY four days ago. Overwhelming in its beauty and heartbreaking in reminding us of all we have lost.
Thanks Mark, I will.