Barry Fontaine had paid his dues and now he could practically taste victory. It was a buzzing sensation that reverberated throughout his six-foot frame. After ten years of bit parts in movies and TV, this was the role he’d be remembered for. It was time for the folks watching at home to know his chiseled face and steely blue eyes.
According to Barry’s agent Jack, the producers had boiled down the decision to two actors—him and another bit player named Leonard Nimoy. It had been an arduous process, the initial audition followed by numerous callbacks, wardrobe, and camera tests. This would be his fifth time in the Desilu casting office.
Barry had arrived fifteen minutes early, only to find Nimoy already waiting there as well. They gave each other a cursory nod but hadn’t spoken a word for five long minutes. When Barry pulled out his sides from his jacket pocket, Nimoy did the same.
Barry looked over his lines on the twice folded paper. He had memorized the scene backward and forwards. It was full of gibberish, something about Klingons breaking Federation treaties and such. It didn’t make a lick of sense to him, but now he’d have to sell it, make it real. He could do that.
He glanced across the room at Nimoy, who was deep in thought. Barry heard from Jack that Nimoy was stiff, strictly a TV actor, and nothing more. Barry had also done some TV but had a few bit parts in big movies as well. He had just come off a role in ”The Great Escape” with McQueen, for Christ’s sake. That must be worth something, he thought.
“It’s Barry Fontaine, right?” Nimoy had chosen to break the ice.
“Yes,” said Barry.
“I’m Leonard. Leonard Nimoy. Good to meet you.”
Barry straightened his corduroy jacket. “How are you? These callbacks are a bitch, am I right?”
Nimoy raised an eyebrow. “A necessary evil, I’m afraid.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” said Barry. “You do the makeup test, with the ears?”
“Quite an experience, wouldn’t you say?” said Nimoy.
Barry shifted in his seat. “Could be worse. We could be digging ditches.”
“Indeed,” said Nimoy. “I just wanted to wish you luck. May the best man win.”
This was unusual for Hollywood, thought Barry. Acting was a tough business. And here was Nimoy, playing the role of a perfect gentleman.
“Same to you,” said Barry. “What’s this show even about? You got a handle on it?”
Nimoy shrugged. “The producers described it to me as ‘Wagon Train’ in space. Is that what you heard?”
“Sounds about right,” said Barry.
A youngish blonde woman walked out of an office door, studying her clipboard.
“Mr. Fontaine? The producers will see you now.”
Barry stood up, smoothed over his slacks, and turned to Nimoy. “Nice chatting with you, see you on the other side.”