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Shatner: Where No Man

The Authorized Biography of William Shatner

Chapter 8

Kirk Meets Spock: The Spark


'Is Kirk essential to Spock? What is the essence of the Kirk - Spock relationship?'

Leonard Nimoy: "There was a line in 'Amok Time' which defined that relationship for me: When Kirk is apparently dead and T'Pau says, 'Live long and prosper, Spock.' And Spock says: 'I shall do neither, for I have killed my captain, and my friend.' You see that, I think, answers your question. I think Spock was speaking truth.

Leonard Nimoy: "How much of Kirk is in Shatner? I think - all of Kirk is in Shatner."

Leonard Nimoy: "There is that chemistry. I've seen it put in a very specific way, about Martin Scorcese and Robert DeNiro - that they spark each other and they excite each other - intellectually, artistically, whatever.

Bill is the only actor with whom I have that spark, that chemistry - to anything like the extent I have it with him...When we step into a scene, I always know - something's going to happen. Just amazing. Just amazing the tremendous spark of some kind that he would set off.

You remember, Bill, what used to happen in the makeup department in the morning. You'd come in. We'd have these screaming, yelling, laughing discussions. Walk out of there exhausted, exhausted-"

Bill (Laughing.) "The day's over. Right."

Leonard: "Exhausted, just totally depleted. You know - how can I do a day's work? I'm aching from laughing. Just amazing. Just amazing the kind of spark that he would set off. And I think, as I really think about it, the idea of working together again on STAR TREK - it's that thing that I would look forward to most. That happening again. I have no doubt in my mind that it would. Amazing spark that I get from him...."

The spark fairly crackles between them.

Nobody would have to name it. You could measure it with a voltmeter.

There is a quickness of anticipating each other, reading each other - as Nimoy is to say "finding each other" - which finds them finishing each other's phrases, compressing a page of dialogue into a line, a word, an eyebrow.

It's like a pattern of energy, still there after almost a decade, and now reweaving itself between them, almost visibly.

What is perhaps more remarkable is that they barely notice it. It seems normal to them.

This is the first time these two have come together to confront the legend which that spark and chemistry created, the first time they have been together for publication since STAR TREK.

We are at "The Captain's Table" - literally, a restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard, Hollywood, California, Earth, circa the last quarter of the Twentieth Century.

Bill has set up the luncheon appointment with Leonard Nimoy, and we suppose offhand that it is some touch of the Shatner humor which has chosen "The Captain's Table." Still, it doesn't seem quite like something Bill would do. The alternative, let us admit, does not occur to us.

Bill comes in - there's a moment to discuss our trip to California, plans for the book, his work.

Then there's the familiar resonant voice, sounding a little out of place and time in a prosaic Twentieth Century restaurant.

There's some discussion of where Leonard Nimoy will sit, He resolves it - reaching into the booth to put an arm half around Bill's shoulders, and bumping him over with a hip. "I want to sit here, by my Captain."

His captain looks a little startled - and quickly bumps over, making room. Not that he has much choice about it. They break up laughing.

There's some chit-chat, greetings.

We start to order - but Bill has us trained. We turn to him and ask, 'What's good here?'

"I don't know," Bill says; he turns to Leonard, "What's good here, Leonard?"

"I don't know," Leonard says, "I've never been here."

"Never been here? Then - why did you pick this place?" Bill protests.

There's the lift of an eyebrow, the look of insufferable Vulcan innocence: "It's 'The Captain's Table.' You're my Captain."

His Captain looks about ready to hit him - finally breaks up instead.

Vulcans, of course, have no sense of humor.

We admit that we had thought Bill had picked it. But his look is innocent even of having thought about the restaurant's name in that light. "I thought you knew the place," he says to the culprit. A captain's lot is not an easy one.

They settle in for a confab, not looking much like Captain and Vulcan. More like two truants. They fall into shop talk - what each has been doing - laced with an occasional anecdote.

It's a pity the tape recorder isn't on, but what is mainly going on, the tape recorder would not catch - the quick sparking back and forth, the exchange of ideas understood almost before they are stated, the humor, the seriousness, the hint of challenge, the chemistry between these two, the spark.

That spark speaks for itself, but also Leonard Nimoy speaks for it. He has come out for Bill's book - can't resist a little teasing along the lines of, "Oh, Captain, my Captain."

But also it becomes very clear that he has a great deal of respect for the actor who played that captain.

The two meet here now after a decade in which both have voyaged into legend. It is a unique legend, and one they uniquely share. The relationship which they created on screen between Kirk and Spock is without precedent. The response to it has been unequalled. The evidence shows that people who responded to STAR TREK overwhelmingly recognize the Kirk-Spock relationship as the essence of what they most love. In our study, 98% characterize it with some word like "essential," "vital," "the heart of STAR TREK."

These two have become increasingly aware of the response to those roles. Yet they have remained two real men, with their own real lives. They are, and are not, Kirk and Spock - meeting here now to confront their legend, together.

For more than a decade millions have speculated about the reality behind the legend. Who are these two real men? What are they like? What are they like with each other?

There's a kind of calm certainty about Leonard Nimoy in certain moments and certain moods - particularly when he talks about STAR TREK - a certainty which is very attractive, very striking - and very much like Spock. Perhaps it is a kind of gift from Spock, or to Spock. The man who could think for Spock learned a great deal in the process, taught Spock a great deal, and - we are to hear this afternoon - both the actor and the Vulcan learned a great deal from and about a certain Human - captain or actor.

We've come to interview - all four: the real men an the men who are almost more real than reality. Nimoy and Spock. Shatner and Kirk.

Nimoy knows Shatner as an actor with the intensity which could only come from the depth of involvement which they both had in the three years of STAR TREK. They depended on each other for their professional live almost as much as Kirk and Spock depended on each other for survival.

If either of them had failed to find himself in his own role, if they had failed to find each other, the electric - and electrifying - spark of the Kirk - Spock relationship would never have jumped the gap to create a legend.

Yet it would be easy not to know that. Only two first rate pros would know that in their bones.

We've heard it about Nimoy from Shatner and about Shatner from Nimoy.

It is not the same as seeing them together.

* * *

We explain to Leonard that the book is about Shatner, his life, his work, including STAR TREK, and about Kirk - the role, the character, its impact:

'For example we believe that STAR TREK has had a profound impact on many of the revolutions of the last decade. We think that the way Bill played Kirk, as a very masculine man who was able and willing to express his emotions, may have had an important effect on those revolutions - particularly set against the contrast of Spock, and with the relationship between the two characters - the star-spanning, legendary friendship.
Most people who love STAR TREK see that relationship as developing over the years like a real friendship, from the first season when Spock contended that he had no emotions and it was merely loyalty to a commander, to "Amok Time" when Kirk risked his career and his life for Spock, to third season when Spock risked the ship and interstellar war with the Tholians for Kirk. That friendship has had a profound effect. How do you think that developed? How were you both projecting that?'

Leonard repeats it to himself thoughtfully. "How did that develop..?"

'In all our research this is one of the elemental, essential elements of STAR TREK. The relationship between the two of you. Without it there would be no STAR TREK.'

"Yes," Leonard says.

"How did it develop?" Bill says. "You want him to -"

"Great question!" Leonard breaks in.

Bill continues. "-Want him to fictionalize? You want him to - rhapsodize -"

Leonard: "Harmonize?"

Bill "Or subsidize -"

Leonard: "Do you want me to fictionalize? Or no?"

'Do whatever you want - '

"Okay." Leonard says, "I'll tell you a story. When we did the pilot, 'Where No Man Has Gone Before,' there was a scene where for me the relationship came into focus.

"There was the scene where Bill as the captain was dealing with the fact that a friend of his was becoming a menace - the Gary Lockwood character. And I said to him something about - He's developing this power at an enormous rate of speed, and if something isn't done about it, he'll take over the ship, destroy the ship, whatever.

"And it was in that scene - Kirk's vulnerability, his dilemma, his ambivalence about what to do, about how to deal with this friend of his who was a menace, that I sensed the beginnings of an insight on what the relationship would be - the humanity that he represented in that scene.

"Does that answer your question?"

Bill cuts in, teasing, "Not as fully as you're capable of doing."

Leonard laughs. "In another hour?"


"No," Leonard says seriously. "I really mean it. I thought that that was the key scene in that script for our relationship. That was where it started to - where I sensed how it could go. That there was a human being stuck on the point of a pin, at a point of decision, needing to try to work it through. And all I could do was advise him and say, 'Hey, look, you do what you decide to do, but as I see it from a "non-emotional" - quote - you know, '"unemotional" point of view, I understand your problem, but this is a menace.'"

'It was a very crucial scene,' we add. 'You were pretty tough about it, too - as, if you were old friends of long standing and you could tell him, "You really have a problem here, and here's what you should do." Then you reacted to that, Bill, to decide what you could do.'

In fact, Leonard Nimoy has pinpointed the scene in the second pilot which does electrify fans and which set the tone for the whole relationship. He says about it the very things which people respond to most - Kirk's vulnerability and humanity, and how Spock deals with it. That speaks volumes for Nimoy's understanding of the roles, the characters, the relationship - what makes it all tick.

But it is no surprise. Nimoy had demonstrated that level of analysis before - in the nine hours of conversation and interviews for Star Trek Lives. This is a formidable mind and talent - with a great love and understanding of what he and others were doing.

We ask him now, 'How much of Kirk is in Shatner, would you say, Leonard?'

"How much of Kirk is in Shatner? 'How much of Kirk is in Shatner?"

He pauses to mull the question, obviously pleased that it makes him think. You can see all the logic circuits clicking, instantly. Then his face lights with a kind of delight - pleased to be able to give the answer:

"I would say: All of Kirk is in Shatner. I don't know any elements of Kirk that are not in Shatner. Could you give me an example of something that is in Kirk that you think is not in Shatner? I think it's all there: It 's all there."

How about the other way - 'How much of Shatner is in Kirk?'

It's the point at which he says - in much the tone of Spock - "That's interesting, interesting." - and that he was about to say that there was more humanity in Shatner than in Kirk.

"So maybe the answer is the same as the previous question. I think there's a degree of balance, a question of the emphasis on certain characteristics from time to time. But thinking back over the entire three year span - probably the things that I see in you, Bill, were actually tapped at one time or another and used in the character - but perhaps not in the degree in which they actually exist in Bill.

"You understand what I mean? I mean, Bill doesn't go around commanding La Cienega Boulevard. You know." He laughs, strikes an imitation. "'All right, the captain's here - ' "

Bill chimes in, also imitating the captain 'I have Fairfax under control -"

"Whereas the character called for him to be a command figure all of the time and everything that he had to deal with as the character was affected by that - all decisions, all attitudes, all - whatever - moment, had to be affected by the fact that he was in a command position.

"Bill Shatner is not that command figure in that he doesn't operate an Enterprise. So there's a question of degree. But I think probably pretty much all of his personality was used in the character."

Almost without pause Leonard turns to Bill. "Provocative questions."

"Yeah. Well, they're good. Hold on a second. Just let me make sure that I've got this." The Captain is suddenly very busy with the tape recorder. The actor's face is not to be read. But it is not every day that an actor, or a man, receives that kind of matter-of-fact tribute from the one man who would know best - and who has the generosity to say it.

Leonard visibly settles in to enjoy the interview. 'What do you think Spock likes particularly in Kirk?' There's not an instant's hesitation.

"The decency." Nimoy's voice is loaded with intensity. "Decency. Morality. The Sense of the struggle to do the right thing - to serve all of the masters he has to serve. And that struggle - from a Vulcan point of view that struggle is interesting, because a Vulcan might not necessarily see the problem from all the facets that the human Captain Kirk would. There are certain facets that the Vulcan would automatically eliminate. Spock would say -

"'That has no bearing on this case. It's not a logical factor in this sequence of events that lead to the decision.'"

The transformation is startling. For that moment it was Spock who spoke - to the last tone and gesture. Leonard does it, barely thinking about it, as if he summons a presence. Then, as suddenly, it is Leonard again.

"But I think, accepting the fact that Kirk is human, then Spock would tend to admire the fact that he struggles, that Spock sees that internal struggle - which plays back on that first thing I was talking about, that scene from 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' - to have respect for that human struggle to do the right thing. What is right.

"A Vulcan might be a little bit more calculating about it.

"But Spock understands the fact that the human has to go through all the various aspects of the case, and the fact that what he is really striving for is not a self-serving decision, but the right thing to do.

We say to Bill that there are very few people who have understood fully what Leonard is saying, and yet, whether they have the words for it or not, what he has just been analyzing is what is turning them on.

Leonard chuckles. "Well, let's try to teach 'em."

There is something of the teacher in Leonard, as in Spock.

'What do you think Kirk likes in Spock?' we ask him.

But that stops him. "Oh. I don't know. Ask Bill."

'No. We're asking - '

"I really don't know. That would be tough. It'd be speculation. I don't know. Ask Bill."

Bill laughs. "'His one-liners."

"One-liners?" Leonard chuckles.

'Come on - have a little. conversation, Kirk and Spock.'

"What does Kirk like in Spock?" Leonard begins. "I would say his intelligence, his mastery of his department, control of his department, his - ah - charm, wit, grace, style…"

We laugh. 'What we would really like is if you would have one of your Leonard talking to Spock or Spock talking to Leonard routines about how Spock thinks Kirk feels about him.'

"Well, if you ask Spock the question -"

"I'm asking Spock the question.'

"Well, I think the answer would simply be: (In Spock's voice) 'It is unnecessary to pursue that line of reasoning or inquiry.' "

'Oh, he wouldn't get away with that. No.'

Leonard says, with relish, "Of course he would. Why not? Who's gonna stop him?" He laughs. Bill joins in.

'We'll be here arguing for nine more hours. Do you want that? I ain't movin'.'

Bill says, "You don't have a prayer."

Spock: "I would say, 'That's a typically human need to explore the emotions of a given situation, which only becloud the real issue.' "

Bill: "Which is?"

Leonard: "I don't know. Don't confuse me with -" Bill and Leonard, almost in unison: "Don't confuse me with the real issue."

They break up.

'How would Spock explain his "quite logical concern" for his captain?'

Spock: "Oh, I've explained that many times. It's tough to find a good captain."

'But nobody wants to buy that.'

"It's the truth," Leonard says.

'What do you think Spock makes of Kirk's interesting' sexuality? Does he count on it, for example, to help get them out of all the situations when Kirk charmed the ladies out of everything? Do you think Spock is envious in the sense that he'd like to be that way? Do you think he thinks it might hurt the bond between the two of them?'

"I would say from Spock's point of view: (Spock:) 'That's a typical healthy male dealing with the fact that he finds women attractive and they find him attractive. He has to work that through. That's part of the Human male - that kind of human male who is attractive and attracted to. He has to deal with that. That's what he does. That's the way he deals with it. Nothing unusual about that. Nothing remarkable about it. For him. I mean, it doesn't happen to McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty. Not surprising. Interesting. Predictable.' " Spock sounds resigned. Leonard laughs.

'Captain got the girl again.'

"Yeah," Leonard says.

'And again, and again.'


'Do you think Spock feels any wish that he were more like that?'

"Oh, no."

'No? Does he envy Kirk in any way - or wish he had that ease with women, rather than the problems he's always having?

"Well - Wait a minute - What problems?"

'Well, for example, Leila in "This Side of Paradise -"

"'This Side of Paradise?' That's not a problem," Leonard protests.

'"I can love you," Spock says when he finally is under the effect of the spores. Before that he couldn't even talk to her.'

Leonard says flatly: "It's not a problem. Spock without the influence of the spores functions the way he wants to - functions the way he chooses to. The spores put him in an altered position, where he functions differently because of the spores. But before and after the effect of the spores, he functions the way he chooses to.

'But the essence of that particular story is that spores released him to express the emotions which he had within him.'

"Well, I dealt with that in the book, I Am Not Spock. The point is that what you're saying, the position you're taking is that Spock, if he had the choice would choose to function as he did under the influence of the spores.

'No - '

"Or that he was happiest then. And what I said in the book was that that's not necessarily true. He had some insight into another kind of experience, which was interesting. But that does not necessarily mean that that would be his choice. Given the opportunity, he makes the choice to go the other way. He could, at the end of the show say, I would prefer to be that way, to be in that condition. But he doesn't, does he?"

'Actually, he almost does. He says, "For the first time in my life, I was happy" '

"I wrote about that line, and what I said was that the human assumption would be that that would be a desirable state. Spock is not describing it in a qualitative sense. He's describing it in a descriptive sense. Like you might say, 'For the first time in my life I had a hamburger. For the first time in my life I was happy. For the first time in my life I walked down La Cienega Boulevard. For the first time in my life, I sat down and had lunch at The Captain's Table.' It's just a statement of fact of something that he experienced. Humans would automatically say, 'Aw, the poor guy, he can't be happy anymore. He was only happy for that moment.' Spock wasn't feeling sorry for himself when he said that. He isn't saying: (Spock:) 'That's a state of grace that I would like to achieve for the rest of my life.' He's just saying: 'That's interesting. Now I know what Humans mean when they say, "I'm happy." Well, for the first time in my life, I was happy. So, I know, now. It's part of my recorded matter in my head. If somebody says, "Do you know what happiness is?" - Yeah, I think I could say I know what that is. I had that once.'"

Of course, some Vulcan-minded soul may wonder whether being happy is, logically, in quite the same category as eating a hamburger.

But it is an interesting illustration of the distinction which Leonard makes between himself and the separate entity, Spock. It would not occur to Bill to say, "If you ask Kirk." Bill would just answer for Kirk.

We come back to this century and to the subject of Bill Shatner, asking Leonard what he would say if he had to describe his earliest impressions of Bill - and how he felt about Bill in preparing for the second pilot of STAR TREK.

"My earliest impressions of Bill? - Extremely professional, extremely talented, extremely energetic, extremely communicative. I can't give you dates, but shortly before we went into production on the second pilot, I was told he would be the captain. I was very pleased because he had a very fine reputation as an actor and I felt that was a healthy sign about the possibilities. We had worked together briefly once in 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and I was impressed with what I saw him do and the way he approached his work - creativity, energy, stuff - ideas - coming all the time. I was very pleased. I felt relaxed. Because you don't know what you're going to run into. They say, well, we're going to have a new captain. Well, that's just like the crew of the ship, in reality - the crew of any ship told they're going to have a new captain. There'd be some apprehension. What's he going to be like? Who's he gonna be? Does he know how to do it?'

We mention the contributions both of them have made to the characters - script ideas, bits of business, Leonard's invention of the Vulcan neck pinch, the paired fingers Vulcan greeting sign, etc. and ask what Leonard remembers of things they may have worked on together as a contribution to STAR TREK.

"I think to answer the question in terms of a specific, or to try to, would be to belittle the whole overall thing that happened, and should happen, between two actors who can sense each other. The most important thing was that we could sense each other - that I could see what he was trying to accomplish in a scene and find my place in the scene as a result of that. Because his concepts were clear, his attack on a scene was clear - you can see what he was trying to do; you can see what territory he's carved out for the scene in which the scene shall function; you can see the attack or the area of the scene that he feels he will function in, and then if that's clear, you can begin to relate to that, feed off of it, use it, feed back, if possible - pass it on - give him something else of yours that he can use in doing what he's doing.

"I think that has to happen between two actors. It's like an unspoken tennis match when there's a very good volley going on. But it's all mental. It may be totally unspoken. But the fact that we do, I think, have that kind of an awareness of what each other is trying to accomplish in a scene is extremely helpful. And it doesn't necessarily boil down to a specific incident. It's a constant, ongoing process, every moment, from the first time you say the words on a given scene and hear him say his words. The communication starts to work and the exchange starts to work - the pace, the style, and attitude of the scene. And that makes it much easier - particularly when Bill is playing the command character. He should be setting the pace, so to speak."

Leonard refers back to the first pilot of STAR TREK, with the captain played by another actor. "It would have been more difficult with Jeff Hunter to play Spock successfully, because he did not carve out and design a scene with his acting as clearly and definitively as Bill does. It's just a different style of acting - I'm not impugning his talent; I'm talking about style. Hunter's style was to be more internalized, to be more thoughtful, to be more vaccilating. And for me, dealing with that, it would have been more difficult to play Spock successfully.

"So - it's an ongoing chemical thing that makes it work.

"Two very talented musicians can sit down to play a piece that they both know but have never worked on together. And it may go very badly. It's just not working. They can't find each other. Two other similarly talented musicians knowing the same piece exactly as well can sit down and immediately find each other and find a way to put their puzzle together as the piece progresses - do it in a way, you'd think they'd been working together for years - 'cause their chemistry is right."

It was perhaps exactly that immediate chemistry between these two which people saw from the first moment of that second pilot - and which sold STAR TREK.

Spock was the only survivor from the first pilot where he had been fourth in command and without any visible special relationship to the captain. In the second pilot, there were only these two of what was to become the familiar cast. (Except for George Takei as Sulu, but with a very brief part in that episode.)

It was what sparked across the gap between these two aliens which became the essence of legend.

We ask, though, also for the opposite side - the bad moments.

Leonard's answer is immediate - and the same as Bill's: the first story Bill told us about Leonard Nimoy.

"The toughest moment was when Bill's father died. Tough. Brutal, brutal moment. It's impossible to describe it. It was impossible to deal with it. Just impossible to deal with. Overwhelming. How do you deal with that? - It's the kind of thing that can only happen in quite that way, I think, in a TV series - that's an ongoing, long-term, relationship. Maybe on a movie when you've been on it with the company for eight, ten, twelve weeks or something like that. But most of the time in our line of work you're involved in short-term relationships. 'Hello, good morning. I'm playing your brother today - or your husband or your lover, or whatever,' you know. Tomorrow we may never see each other. It's all over. But under those circumstances, as involved as we were in the relationship, to have that happen - overwhelming experience, overwhelming. And really felt caught between character response and human response. And - what does he need? What does he really want? What would be right for him? What would embarrass him? What would be helpful to him? How do you support him without depriving him of his own way of working it through? You know. Tough. Very tough. Very, very heavy day. Heavy day."

'Bill said it was as if you were supporting him with your very physical presence. You were standing close to him...'

"Well, I try to do that. Try to do that. It's interesting you should talk about physical relationships. We were joking before about physical relationships. To me, physical use of space is very important. Position, physical relationship. It's quite different if you're standing in front of the Person, as opposed to at his side. There's a kind of underlying primitive quality that can be expressed by physical presence. So - that is what I was trying to do."

'That's almost exactly what Bill said - and he said that it was an enormous help to him. Bill, you were saying something about the difficulty of that time, the difficulty of communicating, even with the best of intentions - a time when you thought you had hurt Leonard. Do you want to talk about that?'

Bill tells again for Leopard the story he has told us of returning from burying his father, and trying too hard to lighten the atmosphere.

"Leonard, off camera, was trying so hard to help me, acting, perhaps, with even more passion than before the cameras. And in an effort - I don't know - to relieve the tension - or whatever idiocy touched me at that point, I made a joke. And it was really the wrong thing to do. But it was - I never could recall, re-call, that moment again. I wanted to get the words and bring them back and choke on them. But it was just impossible. Do you recall, Leonard?"


'How, did you feel about that? Were you - hurt?'

Leonard hesitates a moment, then makes some decision and says it openly. "Um - yeah." And in a moment: "Yeah. It was painful." Then his tone changes. He looks at Bill. "But I think - It's so wonderful to be able to look back and get a total picture of the whole thing -"

"Yeah. Perspective," Bill interjects. "So that the one moment becomes an incident and -"

"Yeah," Leonard cuts in. "But my feeling is that in perspective, what it said to me was: Bill's okay." Leonard laughs, as if the sudden thought dispels whatever lingers of the hurt. After a minute Bill laughs with him.

"That's funny," he murmurs, but he sounds a little doubtful, as if it still weighs on him, still needs to be re-called.

"It was Gene Coon's script, 'Devil in the Dark', Leonard adds, and it was a scene with the Horta. All that screaming and pain. And we had shot some of that while Bill was away, using a double on his back, and then we were in the process of shooting the stuff where Bill had to be there - we had saved some of the stuff to shoot. He was trying to get back to normal - to go on."

On any other morning, it would probably have been normal - just one of the famous Shatner jokes.

'Everyone always emphasizes Bill's humor on the set. Do you remember any of that on the set - jokes, puns, the bloopers that he initiated - the ones that wound up on film, and the ones that didn't? What did you think of his sense of humor?'

"Great sense of humor."'

'- And, did it help - ?'

"Gene Roddenberry said, and he's probably right, that the two of us deal differently with imagined grievances or moments of trouble, or whatever. Bill may have his blowup and then release through whatever - either anger or humor, and I tend to burn a long time. And I admired that in Bill. I learned a lot from that. I learned that it was possible to grieve at your own expense or burn at your own expense for a long period of time in a masochistic sense, that it was destructive.

"Bill has a very constructive attitude - 'Let's get this over and let's get on with it. Let's do what has to be done.' Very healthy. Very healthy. I think if I had to say the one thing that I learned the most from Bill, it would be that .I found myself - we never talked about this - in the last five or six years, dealing with situations in a much more relaxed professional way, where I might have responded much more emotionally, because I learned that. That you don't accomplish anything. It doesn't really improve anything or change anything for the better in any way if you try to grind through and - sweat through and suffer through and struggle through every moment - and then retain them all as well. You know. Having done it - you know - if it calls for grief, fine, give it some grief, if it calls for anger or whatever, that's okay, but the point is, get it over with, get it done, get it out. Try to move on. Otherwise these things tend to burden you, burden you. I find myself dealing with things, particularly career questions, a lot more easily as a result of that - seeing that procedure, that technique or personality approach - in Bill."

That obviously comes as a surprise to Bill Shatner. It's a remarkable achievement for a man to have reached, but an even more remarkable statement for one man to make about another - and about what he has learned from the other. That Leonard Nimoy is able, and willing, to make it is a commentary on his own strength, as well as a tribute to William Shatner. And it is again almost a textbook statement on the value of emotional openness.

Bill looks startled. It has doubtless not occurred to him that Leonard would have learned that from him, or that it would have changed Leonard's life, affected his way of handling career decisions these many years later. They've never discussed it.

They are both wearing the look of learning things from the process of formulating answers, as if they had been waiting for the questions. It's a look of enjoyment, of swift, clear thought, of delight in looking into their own minds, into themselves. It is some part of the chemistry and spark between these two that that is their constant manner of facing questions which challenge them.

After a moment we go on, asking whether that Shatner sense of humor - creating blooper scenes and so forth - ever drove Leonard crazy.

"Yeah. Once in a while." He laughs. "Yeah. Yeah."

Bill laughs in the tone of quoting " 'Would somebody stop all that laughing on the set?' "

We ask Leonard, 'Did you ever say that?'

Leonard laughs. "Prob'ly did."

Bill quotes, " 'There's too much laughing going on around here!' "

Leonard, also quoting, "'Who's that laughing over there?' You know."

'Did you ever initiate any blooper scenarios yourself?'

Leonard intones dryly, "I have no sense of humor. You should know that by now."

'I remember the nine hours. What I had in mind - Bill initiated a blooper where, on the film, Spock shoots an arrow and the next scene Bill is being carried into a cave with an arrow in his groin. - You never saw that?'

"Spock shoots an arrow. . ?" Leonard asks.

'They cut it that way.'

"Spock shoots an arrow and what happens?"

'And the next scene in the blooper is Bill being carried by two or four men to a cave with an arrow sticking out of his groin -'

"That wouldn't have any bearing on what I did. I didn't initiate that. It was done by the editors who said, 'Well, we have this piece of footage of Leonard with a bow and arrow…'"

"What they're referring to," Bill says, "is one rehearsal that they were going to film, I said, 'Carry me in.' And I put the thing there. I made a joke - not knowing there was going to be any blooper film and I made a gag just for the set. But they were rolling and they used it. That's where people would get the impression that we would initiate a blooper situation. But that was the furthest thing from our minds. It was just a gag that happened to get recorded."

'Did you ever do anything like that - any gag like the one he's talking about?'

Leonard laughs. "Stick an arrow in my groin, do you mean? No."

Leonard asks Bill what else he remembers.

"Well, we were devilish." Bill's eyes remember mischief. "We would have moments. What really happened most of the time was that we would break each other up while saying the dialogue. I remember one incident where we both came unglued. I didn't know my lines, and I started muttering the lines. And the guy with the boom kept bringing the mike closer and closer. And we began to joke about the fact that it is actually being recorded and they actually can hear me muttering - 'cause I didn't know my lines. But we would break up -"

Leonard cuts in: "I remember one day when the two of us heard that Gene was coming down to the set, and somebody - probably you, I think - said, 'Let's get into a big discussion, argument - ' "

"Oh, yeah -" Bill says with relish.

"- about certain nomenclature in the ship, because Gene was complaining we spent too much time on the set - wasted time - discussing, rather than just doing."

"I remember that. That was a great gag."

"I think it was Bill's idea, as I recall. You said, 'Let's really get into this thing.' So we did. We played a scene for Gene. We had the assistant director let us know when he was coming in the door and we started and played an improvised scene of Bill and Leonard arguing about is this called a class one ship or a Class-M planet or whatever it was, you know -"

Bill breaks in. "And we got Gene involved in the discussion."

"But he was really - Gene got very tense -" (Leonard quotes Gene's tone.) " 'Well, uh, I uh - What's going on here - ?' " Leonard laughs. "Yeah. He walked in and we were doing exactly what he had been complaining that we did too often."

"Marvelous moment," Bill says.

They laugh together.

Gene tells us the same story on himself: "Finally they said, 'Well we'll leave it up to Gene - and my eyes glazed over. I never heard of these things either. I just assumed I should have." And Bill says to his face 'We got him so good.'"

After a moment when the waiter comes - (Leonard has coffee, Bill orders tea,) Leonard goes on.

"I remember a story - I don't know if we've ever discussed it. It was a hot summer afternoon - and we had a scene to do, you and I, with some stunt men. It was a fight scene - the two of us fighting off three or four guys, and then dialogue, and -"

Bill remembers. His face lights. "Great moment."

"You must understand," Leonard says to us, "when it gets really hot - there's no air-conditioning on a soundstage - and it's after lunch on a hot afternoon when you've been working since seven a.m. - you get a little sleepy. The electricians who run the big arcs - especially when they're left for twenty minutes or so with nothing to do - up high where it's hot - it's not unusual for them to fall asleep up there. In fact, I think there have been a couple of tragic cases when guys have fallen off.

"Every once in a while you would hear a snore during a scene where some guy up high has fallen asleep. Well, we had this scene, Bill and I had a fight with three or four guys and after they're unconscious on the floor, we have some dialogue.

"Well, we staged the fight and laid out all the choreography of who's going to hit who and how they're going to fall and then there's the dialogue. We went for a take. We have the fight and it's working, and there's the guys on the floor. We come together face to face and start this dialogue and in the middle of this I hear -" (He makes a muffled snore.) "I could see the look in Bill's eye that he heard it, too. It was at first indefinable. It wasn't really clear what it was. We continued with the dialogue at - a (snore.)"

Bill is laughing. Leonard continues.

"- and my first thought was, one of the guys up high has fallen asleep. Now I must tell you, you have to understand technically what's happening. If there's noise - an extraneous noise outside of a scene, it won't necessarily ruin the scene - provided the noise does not land on a line of dialogue. You can have a truck go by in a silence, there's no problem, they can cut it out or they can subdue it on the board. They cannot separate it from a line of spoken dialogue. So if something happens during a line of dialogue, that means you either have to stop the scene - everybody gets mad - or at least re-do that section of the scene to get that dialogue clean. Now I know him well enough to know - and I think he knows me well enough to know - we're going to try to time our dialogue -"

Bill chimes in. "'Cause we don't want to do that scene again. I mean - it was a tough fight scene."

"Right. We're trying to time the dialogue - so if this thing happens again it'll happen in a silence."

"So we get into his rhythm," Bill laughs.

"Finally finish the scene. We're both, like, on the edge of going - on the edge of going -"

"We exit - and become unglued behind the set," Bill finishes.

They're coming a little unglued now. Leonard picks it up between laughs.

"One of the guys - one of the stuntmen - had finished the fight, lands on the floor, and I know, in his mind -"

"He's a dead body." Bill continues.

"- he's through. He can relax. 'They've got some dialogue to play' - and he just went out. Fast asleep - and he's right at our feet, snoring on the floor."

"And we're talking about where to go next and who - where the monster is, you know," Bill says. "Now what do we have to do - ?"

'Was it okay?' we ask.

The two of them answer in unison - almost insulted. "Oh, yeah. Yeah."

"'They printed it," Leonard says, and Bill adds:

"It was such a feat - and there was such general laughter that - I think it was Joe Pevney, I have the impression the director on that one was Pevney, said, 'We've got to print it.'"

There's a slight break in the taping. Leonard goes to make a call. We realize later that he's cancelled his appointment to go on with the interview. It was supposed to be an hour over lunch - turns out to be about four hours.

By the time we turn the tape on we've gotten off on something about the Vietnamese war. Bill is saying, "Leonard was very vocal against it. I remember again being impressed by his sense of commitment and thoughtfulness and intellect. It was this fantastic display of courage and integrity. It was not easy during those years."

'Was he convincing to others? Did he change minds?'

"No, he didn't go out proselytizing. He just said, 'In my opinion, it's an immoral war.' I said, 'What do you mean an immoral war? How can America be in an immoral war? This is America.' He was using the words that became popular five years later. He was always going around doing things like that. He was very impressive."

'I remember when we first met years ago, how I was struck by your involvement in politics, ethics - what Bill is describing.'

Leonard nods, remembering. "Well, I started being active about it, I guess it was early '68 - you're right it was just about that time '67 - 68. It was after the New Hampshire Primary - probably January 1968. And Eugene McCarthy had done well, and the next day Bobby Kennedy announced his candidacy. I had a feeling that McCarthy had been there first and been vocal about that issue of the war. I felt he deserved some support, so I started campaigning for him - feeling that eventually whichever one carried that particular issue, I would support in the Presidential race. And what happened of course was that we were at the McCarthy party at the Beverly Hills Hotel the night of the California primary, and McCarthy gave his concession speech. Kennedy had won the primary that day. I remember going home and turning on the TV set - I was already conditioning myself with the thought that starting tomorrow I'm working for Bob Kennedy - and finding out that he was killed. Amazing years. Amazing years."

Leonard pauses reflectively, then goes on:

"We went through some very interesting times. I mean us in the show - so intensely involved. I've never - I don't know if I will ever have that kind of intense involvement in a piece of work ever again. I would like to, but I don't know if it will ever happen. We had that total, intense really seven-day-a-week commitment. You couldn't do it on a five day a week basis. There was such an overhang of the effect of a week's work and the preparation for the next week's work. You were really at it seven days a week. Plus the war, plus the assassinations - Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy - plus the landing on the moon for the first time and the Vietnamese war. Amazing. And - campus riots - Kent State Massacre. Here we are doing this phenomenally intense piece of work which I think has rightly been described as a piece of work that was dealing with a lot of the questions of the time, so it was magnified for us, on a day to day basis, that we were dealing with these things. Amazing period of time.

'We say STAR TREK helped with those problems. What do you think?'

"Well, I'd like to believe that's true. I don't know that everybody would agree with that. I like to believe it's true. That comes back to the question of why STAR TREK is popular. I very pompously tried to answer that question in the book, and I can't answer that. Except to say that we had imaginative production, talented directors, creative writers and superb actors."

Bill laughs.


"Really, seriously - you can't answer that," Leonard says.

'Look at something like you were just describing - the riots and the assassinations and so forth. Do you remember telling me how fantastic it felt that you could walk into any ghetto, including Watts in those years of riots - and feel perfectly safe, knowing that they would welcome you as Spock?'

"Well, that was true and still is true," Leonard says. "I still believe that's true. But then, maybe some of it comes from a foolish sense of immortality. I mean, it may be like the great gunfighter who believes that nobody can touch him. Then, when he gets it, the obligatory shot is the shot of the closeup reaction on him in a state of shock: 'How could this happen to me?' You know. 'Not me?' " Leonard laughs.

"'Honky Vulcan'," Bill calls out.

They both laugh. "Yeah," Leonard says. "'Hey, guys it's me.' So, you know, that would be the demise of that concept." He sobers. "But - I think there's a lot of truth in it. We were and are hero figures to a lot of people - crossing ethnic lines and crossing racial lines - that's one of the most pleasing things about the whole thing. I think perhaps the thing that irritates me the most is that every once in a while you get some pompous kid or writer or somebody who says of STAR TREK, 'Well it's great escapist fare for insecure people,' or,' It's terrific for kids,' or 'It's kooks,' or - you know in some way tries to limit or brush aside the intense interest or encapsulate it in some way so as to put an easy label on it - which I think is an easy way out of dealing with the fact that it does cross or transcend a lot of lines.

"And I think that's a proud thing."

Leonard Nimoy speaks of that pride in a level, clear tone, without apology, and it is clear that that tone and the thought behind it is part of the reason STAR TREK could not be encapsulated.

Both of these men have, in fact, accepted what they have done, and for both of them it is a quiet but proud thing.

What they could not expect was the impact it would have - particularly in the way the world saw the relationship between them - a friendship in which either would risk, or even give, his life for the other. We ask how that relationship developed between the two characters on screen - and whether the real men have ever had or wanted that kind of friendship.

It is Bill who answers first, candidly, that he doesn't have any friends like that, for whom he would lose a great deal. The only people he feels strongly about in that way - life-giving - are his wife and his children. But would like to have - No. He interrupts himself as if reaching deeper. No, perhaps he can't say that for certain, because that would mean another source of responsibility. But to have someone who cares for you that strongly - with no family relationship, no support relationship involved - but just the fact that the other person
cares for you -

He looks into some distance for a moment. "But I've never had that, and literally never had time for it to evolve, even some semblance of that kind of relationship."

As for how it developed in the series, they both speak of scripts, writers, the unspoken chemistry and spark.

'It looked as if you were doing it - you specifically. As Bill said to us once, the script is there. It can be played five thousand different ways.'

"Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I don't know. I'm not sure that I could give you an -" Leonard shakes his head.

'Even something like the episode you told about where his father died, "Devil in the Dark."


'I mean you, nice peaceful, calm respect-all-life Spock are about ready to shoot that thing to protect Kirk. It's he who has to stop you, keep you from shooting it.'

"Yeah. Yeah."

'Things like that - the intensity on your face and the swallowing whenever Kirk was in danger - that's not in the script.'

"Did I do that?" Leonard says.

'Oh, yes.'

"Swallowed when Bill was in danger?" He laughs.

"Salivated," Bill chips in.

"I should have done something useful."

"Get it out," Bill says, laughing. "He just let it burn inside."

'Fans catch this all the time - the Adam's apple going - '

Leonard turns serious, "You can't - I can't consciously deal with all of that on an intellectual level, a lot of that has to happen just as a result of the condition that you put yourself into, and you hope that a creative process is taking place. If it's a totally intellectual process, don't think that stuff works. And I've had people say to me, 'You did a little twitch thing with your head, which was so clever of you to do that twitch.' " Nimoy laughs. "I dunno I was doing a twitch - you know what I mean, that kind of stuff that comes back to you - People say, 'Oh, the way you hunched your right shoulder in that moment of terror -' Who's thinking about raising my right shoulder?"

"I was thinking of lowering my left," Bill says.

"Yeah. Right."

'That twitch is good. You did it in Catlow, too, and everybody yelled, "Spock!"

"Jesus," Bill says, rather fervently.

"Did I really? Yeah?' Really. Really. I wasn't aware of that."

It's true, of course, that much of any actor's art springs from unconscious, or not fully conscious sources. It is what Nimoy has defined to us as "open texture" - leaving room for the actor's own subconscious sensitivities to function, and for the audience to be able to weave its own perceptions into the open texture of the design. Even the opposite intention, to carve out and design every element of a scene which one can control consciously, which, we have learned, is more Shatner's style, still inevitably leaves room for the unanticipated to function. And both leave room for that alchemy by which elements of the actor and the man become part of the character, and for that chemistry by which two actors, or characters, find each other.

We ask Leonard about the point a great many fans have made in their writing, comparing the friendship between Kirk and Spock with the legendary historical friendship between Alexander the Great and Hephaestion, so close that they thought of each other as one.

Leonard turns to Bill "You played Alexander."

"Um - hmm."

"In a pilot. It just came back to me."

"That's right," Bill says.

We tell Leonard the Alexander - Hephaestion story in which the Queen Empress of Persia mistook Hephaestion for Alexander and bowed to Hephaestion. Alexander took no offense and comforted her, saying, "He is Alexander, too." Meaning - his friend and he were as one.

Leonard nods, "Yeah."

Gene has said that he's designed the relationship as two halves of a whole, as one unit. Does Leonard feel that way about it?

"Could be. Could be. Could be," Leonard says thoughtfully. "Although - I don't really see Kirk as needing - in a functional sense - as needing Spock. In other words, I don't think Kirk is incomplete without Spock.

'Do you think Spock is incomplete without Kirk?'

"Well, I think Spock needs an environment within which to function, to make himself useful. Kirk is an initiator of action. And therefore, if there's a need either way, I would say that Spock needs to have the initiator in order to be useful in the project that the initiator initiates. I think that Kirk needs a science officer, but not necessarily Spock. He needs a good science officer, to run the ship."

It's an interesting tribute to Kirk, particularly from this source, that Nimoy - or Spock - would see Kirk as complete even without Spock, and Kirk as more essential to Spock than Spock to Kirk.

But, truth to tell, the voice speaking has a Spock-like tone, and it is perhaps even Spock of the first or second season. It is that tone in which he tried to deny in 'Amok Time' that he had shown any emotion on finding Kirk alive when he had believed him dead - denying the radiant smile, Spock's first and last, and the heartfelt, "Jim!" ("Merely my quite logical loyalty to an initiator of action - who needs some good science officer.")

But there is another level to Spock - and to the man who played Spock. He's not going to get away with that.

'There are many times when Kirk is utterly dependent upon Spock's strength, control, logic, efficacy in getting them out of nine thousand and one different situations Do you ever feel this when you are playing Spock? That Kirk needs Spock? What is the essence of that relationship? Is Kirk essential to Spock?'

Leonard becomes very thoughtful. "You know there's a line in "Amok Time" which defined the essence of that relationship for me. That line rang a very strong bell - it rang a bell with me. It sounded like a very honest line. It's near the end of the show when Kirk is apparently dead, and T'Pau says to Spock, 'Live long and prosper, Spock,' and Spock says, 'I shall do neither, for I have killed my captain and my friend.' You see, that, I think answers your question. I think Spock was speaking truth."

It is a statement which we have since read in a preview of this book to audiences at STAR TREK conventions. It invariably draws an ovation. There is one line in all of STAR TREK which has stood for the essence of the Kirk-Spock relationship in the minds of those people who love it.

It is that line.

To hear it from Leonard Nimoy and know that it stands for the essence and the truth for him and for Spock, those people find deeply moving.

And while Nimoy may regard Kirk as more essential to Spock, Bill has spoken to us of the Kirk-Spock relationship, and the phrase he used was, "undying love."

"Undying love, loyalty, what they would give up for each other, their lives, careers - all of that. Sure." Shatner speaks of it as if it is a matter of course, much as Kirk does. ("He saved my life a dozen times over. Isn't that worth a career? He's my friend.")

The single historical friendship between Alexander and Hephaestion has been remembered for more than two thousand years. But in any generation it has been known only to a handful of people. This one is known to tens of millions.

How will it fare in a rebirth of the legend? We ask them:

'Given all this, given what you saw several years ago and what you've been getting from the fans in response to the friendship between the two, what will you do about it in the movie? Let's say you're given the bare bones. Will you play it up, the two of you?'

Leonard says, "That's a question that I don't think any actor can deal with intelligently until he reads the material. I think we'll go in with a certain history behind us, of course. And a certain concept of who we are. But it's the script that's going to offer us choices. The choices come from the material. And within that we may make some conscious decisions - or may unconsciously just proceed and say, 'Hey, we know exactly how to do this' just walk in and do it as if we'd never stepped off the stage, as though we'd been doing it all these years. The script may, on the other hand, present certain other problems that we can't anticipate, and we may say, 'Gee, I don't know if these are the same characters. Is this the way we used to relate to each other? You know. I mean, did you used to say things like that to me?'

"But what he's saying," Bill says, "is that we'll go in with the historical facts that have worked and that we wish to play, we'll go in with them - and then depending on the material -"

Bill stops. It will, in fact, have to depend in part on what they are given. But a key element also comes from these two actors.

In addition to the response on our questionnaire, another independent study of the general public conducted by sampling techniques and reaching more than one thousand people was reported by STAR TREK fans in an ad in the Hollywood trade papers appealing to Paramount:

80% of the general public said they would see a new STAR TREK movie if it had Shatner and Nimoy, but only 40% said they would see it if either Shatner or Nimoy were not in it. (And many added that at most they would see it once, while if both were in it most would expect to see it several times.)

Both studies are measures of the men and of the effect of the Kirk-Spock relationship.

Moreover, there is much for these two, especially, which could go even beyond the legend as established - genuinely into further realms of where-no-man.

We talk for a while longer - some of the questions which we also asked Gene. But one of them leads Bill to describe to Leonard the themes of our novel The Price of the Phoenix which Bill read in manuscript before it was published. Now he says, talking about the STAR TREK movie, bogged in script problems, that that novel should be the movie: "Would make a hell of a movie". It would be, he says, a chance for the two of them to play something no two actors have played before - a deeper level of the friendship which Leonard has just described as "I shall do neither".

We talk about that, about the movie, the script, the themes of STAR TREK, and as time begins to run out in the late afternoon, get back to some of the sexual themes of STAR TREK: the amazons, gladiators, Vulcan women, aliens, androids, etc., which have proved a mine of themes for fiction, fantasy, etc. 'Bill has said some, or maybe all of these are - interesting -'

"What I find interesting about this," Leonard says, "is that there must have been something that we did in the series that provokes all these questions - including the erotic questions and the pornographic questions. I understand that there's a whole underground literature of Kirk's and Spock's encounters with all kinds of females. In terms of your questions - what you saw was what we did. That's the best answer I can give you."

We mention a few of the specifics - different episodes, scenes, etc. 'In "Plato's Stepchildren", for example, the sexual themes became almost overpowering. Remarkable that that could be done on television in the sixties.'

"Yeah," Leonard says, "but I was very uncomfortable with that script. The idea was 'Let's put everyone up against his limits - turn Captain Kirk into a crawling individual, make Spock cry....' But I thought it was crudely done. I thought there was a script in first season. "The Naked Time" which did that much more effectively and more sensitively. 'Plato's Stepchildren' was third season. I often despaired of scripts in the third season."

'In the last script - the last episode ever filmed, Turnabout Intruder, Kirk was in the body of Janice Lester. A lot of stories have spun off of that. What would happen if a person really could be of the opposite sex? - and so forth. What do you think would have happened if Kirk couldn't get back to his own body? How would Spock feel about that?'

Leonard chuckles. "Well, I haven't fantasized about it." He sobers.

"What is easier for me to deal with on that particular script is the knowledge that the writer was making a script in which his goal was to prove, quote, 'That women, although they claim equality, cannot really do things as well as, under certain circumstances, as a man - like the command function, for example. And it was a rather chauvinistic, clumsy handling of an interesting question. What he set out to prove was that this lady, given command of the ship, would blow it. That's really what the script was about. Just that simple. You see."

"Yeah," Bill agrees. "The problems were solved without really -"

Leonard cuts in, nodding "That's, what I was dealing with when we were shooting that show - the knowledge that that was the concept. And I rebelled against the concept. I was uncomfortable doing the whole show because I didn't believe in the concept.

"It's a very interesting question. But I think that the script didn't really deal with the question. The script set out to prove a preconceived personal prejudice. Didn't deal with - pretended to deal with the question, but didn't, you see. That's what I was pre-concerned with, primarily concerned with in doing that particular script."

For Nimoy to have been aware of that aspect at that time is extremely unusual. It's the same script - a Roddenberry story - that we ask Gene about and which he now sees as reflecting his errors of the time. The episode is criticized especially now for exactly what Nimoy names: not only does it set out to prove a point, but it does so with loaded dice. The woman who makes the switch is not a woman of Kirk's stature, but a resentful, crazed mass-murderer who steals Kirk's body. What she does can't prove much about the female of the species - unless one takes a very dim view of the nature of the female. Nor is it a test of how a normal female would command. A more interesting story could have been written around that question, and some have been.

What is still more interesting, however, is that Nimoy, Shatner, Roddenberry had to try to grapple with those questions then. And still do.

Even the extended time is running out in the early evening…car keys are brought and Leonard is gathering himself up to go, but still lingering to talk. "What you're asking are very provocative and interesting questions."

He stays for a few minutes for pictures with Bill, still talking ninety to the minute, with the gestures which belong to him or to Spock. Then he takes his leave. Bill thanks him, puts a hand on his shoulder for a moment.

Then he's gone. It's very quiet for a moment - it almost seems darker. It takes a moment to place the sensation - as if the electric spark and flow of current which has crackled for hours around the table has been broken.

But that the spark was there, and can always crackle between these two, is undeniable.


Shatner, William and Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath. Shatner: Where No Man. New York:Tempo,1979.160-195.



'Do you think Spock is incomplete without Kirk?'

LN: "Well, I think Spock needs an environment within which to function, to make himself useful. Kirk is an initiator of action. And therefore, if there's a need either way, I would say that Spock needs to have the initiator in order to be useful in the project that the initiator initiates. I think that Kirk needs a science officer, but not necessarily Spock. He needs a good science officer, to run the ship." (Shatner: Where No Man, p 189)

At the beginning of ST VI their roles were effectively reversed, it seems. Spock had become the initiator of change/growth/action, much as Nimoy's career went from actor to director. But in the end Spock stands at Kirk's side as he has always done.

(click picture for the music video)