By now, Star Trek fan mail is the stuff of legend. Allegedly, millions of envelopes poured into NBC offices during a letter-writing campaign to save Star Trek: The Original Series from being relegated to a one-season anomaly. The passionate letters twisted the Peacock's tail, and Star Trek stayed on the air for 79 episodes.
While that legend remains widely reported, what some might not know is how important fan mail was to Leonard Nimoy's place aboard the Enterprise. According to the actor himself, letters sent to the network helped place Spock front and center in many of Star Trek's galactic adventures.
In a 1968 interview with The Honolulu Advertiser, Nimoy credited Star Trek fans with making sure Spock stayed in the mix.
"In most of the shows we were facing some kind of adversary for three acts. In the fourth act, Captain Kirk would say 'I'm going to beam down to the planet surface.' Mr. Spock would say 'Captain, I request permission to go with you,' and Kirk would answer, 'No Spock, I need you on the ship.' Then the rest of the fourth act would be go, Shatner, go!
"When the mail started coming in they began to include me on the trips to the planet. But at first they didn't have time to rewrite the scripts. So I would just stand there and say, 'Look out, captain, watch it!'"
Spockmania was very real, and it even influenced the direction of the show.
While "fan service" is a term used more and more recently to describe media that has bent to the will of its audience, the concept isn't new at all!
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