Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Inexplicable Legend of Frank Force

Over on TrekBBS, someone was wondering why fans latched onto the USS Kelvin's Captain Robau as a "badass" many months before they had any idea what he'd be like in JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" movie.

The now-defunct "Star Trek" Club of NSW, Astrex, once had a bizarre in-joke running about an enigmatic actor called "Frank Force". I was in the US, at a Creation convention in January 1984, and I won some very rare "ST III: The Search for Spock" call sheets in their auction. The call sheets declared that one of the very last new main actors introduced in the script was Frank Force, playing "Nacluv".

This seemed rather bizarre, till a friend of the production team mentioned it was an anagram - "Vulcan" spelled backwards. Yes, it was Leonard Nimoy under a secret, assumed name, to hide his participation as a regenerated adult Spock till the last minute. After all, Spock was the most "frank force" in the universe.

Australia waited many months after the US to see ST III, giving Australian fans a lot of idle time to generate wacky Frank Force jokes. One penpal of mine, from Perth, arrived at Sydney airport for the film's gala premiere night, only to be collected by three complete strangers wearing large "Frank Force Fan Club" badges.

You'll notice that Director Nimoy also voices the USS Excelsior Elevator in ST III as "Frank Force", which got a huge cheer from us on opening night when the credits rolled.