And no, I'm not talking about Star Trek. I'm not a Star Trek fan. Never have been, never will be, couldn't possibly give a big fat shit about Borgs and/or Klingons. Sure I've seen a handful of episodes. I even saw the first two films, but the mythos itself never appealed to me. And quite frankly, the film Trekkies made me feel sad and a slight bit dirty, as though some pathetic little Nerd Fairy came along and sprinkled me with Cheeto dust and wank-sweat.
Along with Carl Sagan's Cosmos, this program was Mandatory Viewing in my household growing up. My mother, older sister and I never missed an episode. I was always partial to the more paranormal subjects: Bigfoot, The Lochness Monster, Ghosts, The Amityville Horror, Psychic Detectives, The Bermuda Triangle. There was no shortage of episodes on the possibility of extraterrestrial life either, from UFO cover-ups to the dark star worshipping African tribe of the Dogon, who knew a lot more about black holes and astronomy than an isolated tribe in Africa should have known.
In Search Of paved the way for many future investigative programs such as Unsolved Mysteries, Unexplained Mysteries, Psychic Detectives, even Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. In 2002, it was briefly revived for one season with X-Files star Mitch Pileggi taking over for Nimoy. It was, in fact, an episode of In Search Of about Jack The Ripper which partially inspired the film version of From Hell, starring Johnny Depp...much to the displeasure of graphic novelist Alan Moore.
So, thank you Mr. Nimoy, for the education, the inspiration, for being the catalyst for my own fascination with the macabre and the mysterious. You were my first and greatest teacher, you and Carl, and I am sincerely grateful for prying open my eyes and mind at just the right impressionable age. If not for you, my growth may have been stunted by reruns of CHiPs and Three's Company.