Cool Guys Dept.
Today is William Shatner's 75th birthday. He was born 22 March 1931.
I have been a fan of Mr. Shatner's for many years, and I actually met him, briefly and abruptly, in 1982, as I walked out of the Boys Market in Marina Del Rey, CA.
I emerged from the only door that wasn't taped off with yellow police tape, warning people a tv show was being shot outside, in the store parking lot.
They were filming an episode of Mr. Shatner's tv cop show, "T.J. Hooker." It was a chase scene, and Mr. Shatner was doing the chasing - running full-tilt across the parking lot, as fast as he could go.
I didn't see him, and he didn't see me. He ran right into me. Wow! I was considerably more massive then he, and he rebounded backward, and sat down rather quickly. His character hairpiece continued on, by itself.
I could see I was intruding into the shooting, and thought it a poor time to ask for an autograph, so I didn't. Mr. Shatner seemed to be all right, and others were tending to him, so I left. He didn't say anything, but just stared at me. I felt bad about it.
Some months later, at the Academy Awards, I was a properly-ticketed attendee. I had worked on two pictures nominated for Best Visual Effects, and attended to root for them. Meeting William Shatner (literally) was forgotten, at least by me.
Mr. Shatner was an Oscar presenter that year. In the lounge of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, I went up and asked Mr. Shatner for his autograph.
He signed, then looked up at me. He just stared, and changed colors a few times. I thought his reaction strange, until I started thinking about it, and I eventually remembered our earlier collision. Perhaps I had collision-induced selective amnesia.
In 1992, my cast and I did a radio show called "SIMUL TREK," where we dubbed new dialogue into the mouths of the cast of "everybody's favorite science-fiction show."
I dubbed for Captain Jim, not because I did the best Shatner imitation, but because his character was easier for me to dub, while directing our radio show.
The Captain had the fewest lines to say, usually just a few words, and then a speech at the end. It was fun!
I told you all that, so I can tell you this: I'm still a fan.
Whether playing the timeless Captain Kirk, or the original unhappy flyer in the classic "Twilight Zone" episode, or on "Kung Fu" or "Mission Impossible," performing "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," or goofing through his "Priceline" ads, or his recent Emmy and Golden-Globe-winning turn as a lawyer in "The Practice" and "Boston Legal," or the History Channel's "How William Shatner Changed the World," (from his book, of course), or his latest music album, "Has Been," (a misnomer), only Bill Shatner is Bill Shatner. I think he's the greatest. Every part he's taken, he's run away with, and made truly his own.
Here is an article about him.
Here are some interesting quotes from Mr. Shatner:
“I am not a Starfleet commander, or T.J. Hooker. I don't live on Starship NCC-1701, or own a phaser. And I don't know anybody named Bones, Sulu, or Spock. And no, I've never had green alien sex, though I'm sure it would be quite an evening. I speak English and French, not Klingon! I drink Labatt's, not Romulan ale! And when someone says to me 'Live long and prosper', I seriously mean it when I say, 'Get a life'. My doctor's name is not McCoy, it's Ginsberg. And tribbles were puppets, not real animals. PUPPETS! And when I speak, I never, ever talk like every. Word. Is. Its. Own. Sentence. I live in California, but I was raised in Montreal. And yes, I've gone where no man has gone before, but I was in Mexico and her father gave me permission! My name is William Shatner, and I am Canadian!”
“Babies have big heads and big eyes, and tiny little bodies with tiny little arms and legs. So did the aliens at Roswell! I rest my case.”
“How do I stay so healthy and boyishly handsome? It's simple. I drink the blood of young runaways.”
“Remember - you can't beam through a force field. So, don't try it.”
“We were basically one and the same, although Jim was just about perfect, and, of course, I am perfect.”
“In my proudest moments, I think I had a real hand in the creative force of making "Star Trek." But most of the time, I don't think about it.”
-- William Shatner
Happy Birthday, William Shatner! You are great.