For Leonard Nimoy, the ears that he was required to wear for the role of Spock were the source of both annoyance and amusement.
The annoyance came in finding the right pair. “We had to try a lot of different types of ears on Leonard to get the right ones, one that looked real,” said Gene Roddenberry in 1968’s The Making of Star Trek book. “This Spock part was beginning to look to him like he’d be playing a freak with ears. He wound up by saying, ‘I’ve decided I don’t want the part.’
“Well, after all that we had gone through, and with only a few days left before shooting, and I’m certain Spock can be a meaningful and challenging role, now comes the problem of talking Leonard out of this. We must have argued for at least half an hour. I was desperately trying to convince Leonard that there is dignity in Spock and for the actor portraying him. But there had been too many comments and remarks about the pointed ears. Nimoy was unconvinced.
“Finally the only thing I could think of to say to him was, ‘Leonard, look, believe me. I make this pledge to you. If by the thirteenth show you still don’t like the ears, I will personally write a script in which you will get an ear job and go back to normal.’ He looked at me for a minute and then practically fell down on the floor laughing. Suddenly the ears had been put back in proper perspective. And that was the end of that problem.”
Once that was settled, Nimoy had to get used to having the ears put on and taken back off, the latter part being painful for the actor. Associate Producer Bob Justman explained in the Star Trek Sketchbook how this made for an ideal situation to play a joke on Nimoy. “Before we started the second season, I put Leonard on, telling him I could solve the ear problem for the whole second season. I said, ‘Leonard, I think I’ve come up with the answer to the ear problem. You’re going to be able to save all that time in makeup. No more being uncomfortable, no more pain, no more problems. You can just get regular makeup and everything will be perfect.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, what is it Bob?’ And I said, ‘We’re going to send you to a plastic surgeon and we’re going to point your ears. When the series is finished, we’ll pay to have them put back to normal!’ I almost had Leonard convinced that it would be much easier, much less painful. The more I talked, the more he began to listen and sort of nod his head. You could almost hear the thought going through his mind, ‘You know…it would possibly be much better…’ At that point I couldn’t keep a straight face any longer and broke up. That’s when Leonard realized that I was putting him on and he cracked up, too.”