I’ll close with my own memories as well.
When I was little, I always knew Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. That fact was–as he eventually came to acknowledge–an inescapable part of his life. But what I didn’t realize as a kid was that he was everywhere in what I watched. The Simpsons. The Pagemaster. In Search Of…reruns. Nimoy’s famous voice was a part of my childhood. His voice acting also made Halloween a very special time of year for me.
Leonard Nimoy lent his voice to the role of the mysterious Mr. Moundshround in the TV special The Halloween Tree, an annual VHS rental in my household. I loved it so much that I was probably responsible for damage and tracking errors. Hard to say, though—Stop N Go Video isn’t around anymore.
Nimoy wasn’t the narrator—that role went to the author Ray Bradbury. So he was effective and menacing in his role as a weird, spooky old man trying to steal the ghost of a boy as his four friends try to save it. He also taught the kids the history behind their Halloween costumes. It sounds like edutainment, but it was so much better than that, because Nimoy taught a lesson while trying to capture a kid’s ghost.
In 1998, after an awesome Haunted Hayride, it just so happened that Sci-Fi (now Syfy, whatever) had a special called Alien Voices: A Halloween Trilogy playing that night. Alien Voices, I later found out, was a joint project between Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie, Star Trek’s Q.
In an interview with TrekWeb, Nimoy talked about how Alien Voices started: “I love radio. I grew up on radio, listening to radio when I was a kid, listening to radio dramas. I have a great respect for the original classic science-fiction stories which were the basis for science-fiction literature. John de Lancie, who played Q in THE NEXT GENERATION show, that is a very talented man, came to me with this idea that we could record radio productions of these great classics. I was excited by the idea, we took the idea to the Simon & Schuster audio division, and they agreed to sponsor it. And we did a total of, I think, six productions. And is that still going on? No, we have done what we’re set out to do.”
This special was amazing. The lights were off. We had popcorn. It was going to be so scary. The actors they enlisted were incredible; people like Kurtwood Smith, Jean Simmons, and Francis Bay. They made radio dramas out of three classic short stories: “The Mark of the Beast,” “The Canterville Ghost,” and “The Cask of Amontillado.” The first one was the scariest to me because of the gore and eating. Nimoy played the doctor in that story, out Hoopering Matt Hooper with his delivery of, “No nose, no lips, but a full set of sharp teeth… Gentlemen, this is no leper-bite, this, this is no leper-bite, this is…the Mark of the Beast.”
Mr. Nimoy helped to foster my love of sci-fi and horror, just as he did with many other fans. Thanks for making my Halloweens so special.