Spock finally beams into Vulcan

VULCAN, Alberta (Reuters) - This Canadian small town has been obsessed about all things “Star Trek” for as long as anyone here can remember, but denizens always felt something -- or someone -- was missing. Until Friday.

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Leonard Nimoy, who will forever be Mr. Spock from the 1960s TV series, finally fulfilled the dreams of the farming community that shares the name of the character’s home planet by paying a visit.

His remarks to Vulcanites, many decked out in their homemade “Star Trek” uniforms, were, well, logical.

“I have been a Vulcan for 44 years -- I figured it was time I came home,” the 79-year-old actor said to wild cheers at a ceremony at the centre of the town.

Vulcan, a community of 2,000 people about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Calgary, has for years identified with the legendary sci-fi TV show. It has become a tourist draw, especially for hard-core Trekkies.

There is a model of the USS Enterprise space ship at the turnoff from the highway. Pictures of Spock as well as space scenes adorn buildings downtown. Town officials look for any opportunity to put on their uniforms and pointy ears.

The annual summer fair is known as Spock Days.

The town council had tried for years to attract Nimoy, who played the half-Vulcan, half-human first officer known for his logical solutions to crises facing Capt. James Kirk, played by William Shatner, and his crew.

Nimoy didn’t stay long, but for Vulcan, the visit topped all. Locals called it “the Holy Grail moment.”

“It’s an opportunity to welcome Spock home, to welcome Leonard Nimoy back to Vulcan -- his home community, his home planet,” Mayor Tom Grant, Vulcan ears affixed, told Reuters as he strolled down the main drag behind an Enterprise-theme parade float.

Nimoy, who made the trip as part of an appearance in Alberta for a comic convention, left his handprint -- fashioned in a Vulcan salute -- for the town to cherish and he unveiled a bronze bust of himself in Spock character.

He listed numerous honours bestowed on him over the years for his work in the famous role, most recently being inducted into the U.S. Space Foundation Hall of Fame. But he said the tribute paid to him by Vulcan was the most touching of all.

“Wait until Bill Shatner hears about this,” he said.

Editing by Jill Serjeant