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Spock's Ears: The Origin Story

EW explores the history of those iconic points — which were almost nixed early in the series

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Spock's Ears: The Origin Story

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There's some confusion as to who first designed Spock's ears. Hollywood makeup legend John Chambers — the guy John Goodman plays in Argo — is often given credit, but Leonard Nimoy himself has said that they were created by the series' makeup artist Fred Phillips. Still, there's no doubt that they remain the most recognizable cranial feature in sci-fi history. In the beginning, Nimoy was reluctant to wear them. ''Leonard was tired of the early-morning makeup calls, always worrying they would fall off, the freaky nature of them,'' Star Trek series production executive Herbert F. Solow says. ''So I told him, 'If, after episode 10 or 12, you're still unhappy, we'll have Bones do an ear-job operation.''' When the Spock fan mail began to pour in, Nimoy embraced the power of his character's odd appendages. Today silicon has replaced foam rubber and latex as the material of choice, but even with advances in prosthetic makeup, there's one thing that hasn't changed: A pair of Spock ears can still be worn only once. ''Each day I'd open the box and there was a fresh set. It was like a little Christmas gift,'' says Star Trek Into Darkness makeup department head David Anderson, who gave star Zachary Quinto a pair as a souvenir when filming wrapped. After all, Quinto spent 40 minutes in the chair as they were applied each day. Those eyebrows? They took twice as long.

Originally posted Feb 08, 2013 Published in issue #1246 Feb 15, 2013 Order article reprints