Before They Were Stars: Leonard Nimoy in “Zombies of the Stratosphere”

A couple days ago, I did a “Before They Were Stars” feature on William Shatner and since it’s Leonard Nimoy’s birthday today, it’s only fair that he receives the same treatment. Early in his career, Nimoy had the honour of appearing in a project with one of the greatest titles of all time: Zombies of the Stratosphere! Released in 1952, this is an old-school Republic Pictures matinee serial, where short ten-to-twenty minute chapters of a story would be played in theatres before a feature film and always end in a cliffhanger, which was intended to draw people back to the theatre the following week to see what happened next. Zombies of the Stratosphere involved a hero that resembled The Rocketeer trying to save the world from a trio of Martian invaders, one of whom was placed by a young Mr. Nimoy. This is not a particularly well-regarded serial and, of course, one of its biggest problems is that this is a story about Martians and the title is blatant false advertising. They should have tacked a quick little disclaimer onto the end of this trailer that said: “May not contain any actual zombies of the stratosphere”.

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