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Vinnie B Trask

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Many years ago I met Captain Kirk at a convention. He was awful… curt, rude, totally uninterested in the fans. Then his wife died. He remarried and now he is a sweetheart! Friendly, funny, personable. Must not have been a happy man with the previous wife. I heard she was a drinker 

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I don´t know much about Shatner, but everything I have seen tells me he´s a real man, doesn´t give a crud what anyone thinks of him, lives his life his own way. Something that is so lacking in our world today, something that was not lacking when I was growing up.

So I´ll tip my hat to Mr. Shatner.

James

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14 minutes ago, Vinnie B Trask said:

I met Shatner at Wagner College in Staten island ny. He was living on a tour bus and going to colleges for money, A low point Shatners career and life, I think it was 1974

Yes, I heard about this tour.  He had trouble getting work because of the Captain Kirk character.  So many people identified him with that role.

I understand that most awful first ST movie helped to get him back on his feet.

Nimoy had the same problem, even though he played the role of Paris on Mission Impossible.

I believe both men learned to embrace their Star Fleet characters later in life instead of trying to escape them.

Interesting aside... I believe that Martin Landau was originally considered for the role of Spock but took the Mission Impossible role instead.

Then he goes on to Space 1999 while Nimoy joins MI.

No matter how hard the MI movie series tries, it will never live up to the series.  The films shouldn't even be allowed to use the name MI.

Just my opinion.  Cruise is no Landau.

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23 hours ago, Vinnie B Trask said:

I met Shatner at Wagner College in Staten island ny. He was living on a tour bus and going to colleges for money, A low point Shatners career and life, I think it was 1974

I saw him on that same tour at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey! I remember he spoke about the possibility of a Star Trek movie.

Bernie

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On 10/30/2021 at 8:45 AM, Raspbernie said:

I saw him on that same tour at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey! I remember he spoke about the possibility of a Star Trek movie.

Yes!!!!  Bernie is the first person that can confirm that college tour did happen.  He did talk of the movie he did have reel to reels of Star Trek episodes and he did try to do acting exercises but the talk all went to Star Trek

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On 10/25/2021 at 6:07 PM, Doreen said:

Many years ago I met Captain Kirk at a convention. He was awful… curt, rude, totally uninterested in the fans. Then his wife died. He remarried and now he is a sweetheart! Friendly, funny, personable. Must not have been a happy man with the previous wife. I heard she was a drinker 

He has since divorced her

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My friends and I published a comic book fanzine back in the '70s called "The Fans of Central Jersey." We tape recorded Shatner's appearance and published this transcript—printed for the first time here since appearing in that 1976 fanzine!

Questions & Answers with William Shatner

The following is a transcription of a one-man show, William Shatner brilliantly performed at Middlesex College on November 15, 1976. In the outtakes below, William Shatner answers questions put to him from members of the audience.

William Shatner: I have some amusing and interesting stories that will come up about "Star Trek," and what you’ll find me doing, is rambling on, trying to expand and answer—sometimes I’ll forget what the question is, and you’ll have to remind me, but we’ll get to know each other.

IS THERE GOING TO BE A STAR TREK MOVIE?

Shatner: You betcha! Eight million dollars worth! It’s being written now, and I’ve signed the contract to play Captain Kirk. They’re going to try and insure their eight million dollar investment at Paramount studios by writing in star parts for major motion picture stars so it’ll give them the theatricality, is that neat? The people at Paramount don’t know that this is going on! I can’t believe that they don’t know the whole country is caught up in a fervor of "Star Trek!" I mean, in Ashland, Kentucky you can see "Star Trek" twelve times a week! This is about the thirty-fifth appearance I’ve made in colleges in the U.S., and I think it’s amazing that I don’t think that Paramount knows what’s going on! We keep trying to tell them! It’s really astonishing. Anyway, so there’s going to be this big movie, it’s going to be made this summer; released probably by the end of the year; it’s going to be something!

WHICH WAS YOUR FAVORITE STAR TREK EPISODE? "THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES?"

Shatner: Tribbles? No! In fact, I’ll tell you why I don’t like tribbles. I don’t like tribbles because—WELL, I’LL TELL YOU WHY I DON’T LIKE TRIBBLES! The whole answer starts at some college in Connecticuit. There I was, acting my little heart out. I’m in a scene, saying something or other, and then...THUNK!...a tribble! Let me hastily add, for those of you with tribble in hand, don’t get any ideas! There was a bright spotlight on me, and I just saw something white go by. And suddenly, my mind went back to one convention I had been at in NYC, where somebody threw something at me—a pie. But it was a week old pie! It could have been used as a tire! And the last instance, as it was coming towards me, I’d seen this thing coming at me, and ARRGH! “Wack” it hit me on the shoulder—and this guy raced out before me, as five thousand people jumped on him—They all wanted to protect their captain, y’know. Imagine, five thousand trekkies become an enraged mob! First of all, in that instant that thing came by, I didn’t know what it was. I gotta tell ‘ya, pie didn’t really enter my mind as it went sailing by! Then the guards jumped on this guy, so I say to the crowd, “Alright! Let’s find out why he did that! Stand away, stand back!” You know, the whole psychological bit!!! All I could think of throughout it, was, “My God, it’s happening again! “What that taught me, was, not to talk too much to college audiences! Back to "Star Trek," we made it at about 6 days per segment. So anything that’s complicated, is avoided. So, "Star Trek"—there I am faced time and again with challenges, I, as an actor, had never been faced with and one day, a script comes in, and it says “a woman comes into your body.” I point to that show to serve as an example of the challenges I faced in "Star Trek!"

WILL THE SERIES EVER RETURN?

Shatner: The producer of the movie, Jerry Isenberg says, “We can do anything! We can kill Kirk, or we can kill Spock! Then we can bring them back to life—I mean it is science fiction, isn’t it?” So I said “Kill Spock!” The movie is going to be open ended, like James Bond, so that if it’s successful—there’ll be another. I asked the producer what’d happen if it wasn’t successful, and he said, “If it’s not successful, I don’t want to talk about it!” Now, if it’s somewhere in between, if it is a middling success, the series would come back to TV, at an hour and a half—or two hour form. Would I do it? Yes, I would!

DID YOU STUDY ACTING?

Shatner: No, I really never did do the slightest formal study. But what I did was devote a lot of years to acting. I started when I was a kid, about six years old. I did a play at some camp in the Northern wilds of Quebec. I think they sent me up there to get rid of me. All I remember was people were trying to take me away from my dog. I always wanted a dog, and, my parents argument was, in the muddy streets of Montreal, the dog would run around outside, come in, and dirty the carpets and furniture. They’d say, “You can have a hobby horse—but you can’t have a dog!” So now that I’m an adult—I’ve really got dogs, I breed them—Dobermans—and so I remember my crying on stage as a kid, “Don’t take my dog away from me!!!” And the audience of parents, was crying—but whether it was my acting that made the audience cry, or something that they saw in the performance, didn’t matter, I felt that I had touched the crowd, at the age of six.

IN MOST OF THE STAR TREK EPISODES, YOU SEEM TO BE FIGHTING A LOT, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU EVER GOT HURT?

Shatner: Oh yeah! See, my finger’s all bent out of shape. I also broke my leg. But I’ll tell you about my finger. The finger was sort of after "Star Trek," but I blame it on it because I was Captain Kirk! Here’s the scene, I’m in a low buget movie. Yes, I was in a low budget movie! And yes, I did a commercial. Aright, now it’s out in the open! Promise, promise, promise, promise, promise. Do you know who Harold Sakata is? Harold Sakata, was Odd Job in "Goldfinger." He’s a professional wrestler. His (neck muscles) came out of his ears. He’s 250 lbs, and a beautiful Hawaiian man. He’s built, like your average alien. So I’m standing on the top of a roof, and I’m supposed to throw this lariat over—and land it over his head, then pull him up, tie it down, and run around the side of the building. This movie was so low budget, that the director gave me this line to say, “Hang in there!” So I said to the director, “I can jump off that roof, and slide down the rope!” And so he said, “You can do that?” “Hey, man, I’m Captain Kirk!” was my swift reply. But this movie was so low budget, that when I say lariat, I don’t mean hemp, I mean nylon! They went out and bought clothesline. So now, I throw the lariat over Harold’s head. He’s got tied to him a leather-like strap, which is attached to a cable. Behind me, on the roof, are three special effects men who pull him up on the cable (out of the view of the cameras). This way, his weight is supported on his shoulders instead of his neck! Also, I said, “When I slide down, how can I prevent myself from slipping?” So the special effects men said they’d tie knots in the rope so I could get a hand-hold on the rope when I slide down it. Everything was working out great! So, Harold Sakata’s standing below, I’m on the roof, and the director yells action. Harold Sakata is standing on boxes, the cable attached; I throw the lariat over his head; the prop men kick away the boxes; the prop men on the roof pull up the cable; and there he is dangling from it. And now, I slide down the rope! Suddenly I feel my finger go CRACK and I yell, "AAARGHHH!" so I jumped down fast, looked up, and there he was. Harold Sakata, fourteen feet off the ground! President Nixon, once said, "Let him hang there, and twist slowly in the wind." Had he said that, years ago, I would have known that a man hanging there, twists and turns in the wind! So, as I slid down the rope, Harold Sakata spun around with the rope! And when I got down, I looked up and saw him hanging there! He was choking! him, and they cut him down. So dear Harold figures he owes me his life—but he's got a size 14 neck now!

YOU'VE HAD MANY FEMALE CO-STARS ON STAR TREK, WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE?

Shatner: Well, I really do like girls. Captain Kirk likes girls. It was hard to choose between them, and I really can't remember them! No, not really, it was so long ago! It's a strange thing, but I can memorize lines very quickly, and easily forget them. In fact, I can see a Star Trek episode today, and wonder how it's going to turn out. What's going to happen next? That’s the truth. On certain segments, I have no idea on how it's gonna end, and I have a great time just watching them.

I HEARD THAT THOSE SPOCK EARS HURT WHILE YOU WERE FILMING STAR TREK. IS THAT TRUE?

Shatner: That's your question, huh? Actualy don't get violent now, but Leonard spent about an hour and a half in makeup every day for months and months each year. Finally in the third year, he ended up with scars on the backs of his ears. He might not have gone on to a fourth year, just because of that, had it gone on for a fourth year.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HAVING INTER-RACIAL VULCANS ABOARD THE ENTERPRISE?

Shatner: Inter-racial Vulcans? That's the blondest man I've ever seen, and he's asking me, about inter-racial Vulcans! I think that there should be inter-racial everything.

WHAT'S THE CAPITAL OF NORTH DAKOTA?

Shatner: What? How did you control yourself up till now? Or, let me put it this way, I thank you for controlling yourself up till now! What did you say?

WHAT'S THE CAPITAL OF NORTH DAKOTA?

Shatner: What's the capital of North Dakota? That is Fargo, isn't it? C'Mon now, what do you really want to know?

WHY WAS "STAR TREK" CANCELLED?

Shatner: Essentially why every show is taken off, the Nielson's indicated that only a certain number of people were watching. In that third year, we were on late Friday. That's a death slot. Nobody watches television then. They don't tune  just to see a show, unless you're stoned out of your head, where you can't even find the channel selector, so the Nielsons indicated we were in the middle 40s in popularity, kind of “never, neverland” since the networks figure, the more popular a show is, the more they can charge for commercials. So around the 40-50 area, they’re more likely to replace you—with the hope, they’ll get a winner, but if they don’t get a winner, they won’t do much worse than in the forties.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST "STAR TREK" BLOOPER?

Shatner: The blooper film was put together for a Christmas party. It was a whole twenty-minute film, spliced together for the cast. We laughed, and laughed at it! But as far as we were concerned, that Christmas party was the end of the bloopers—till one day, about five years ago, I was skiing, and I fell. Now, I tried to get up in six feet of powder, and I’m all alone— the wind is blowing. So I felt that I would freeze there. But suddenly, down the hill, I see somebody coming. He comes next to me and looks at me. Then he says, “Have you seen the blooper film?” I said, “What? The blooper film? Help me up for God’s sake!” So that’s the first time I knew the blooper film was going around the theaters. They were charging people  admission to see me looking like a fool! You know those doors on the bridge that opened when we walked through them? Well I don’t want to destroy your fantasies—but, there were two little guys behind, opening the doors when we walked through them. That’s right, promise. Now, the stage hands were notorious for getting drunk. So, the blooper film, has a number of scenes with me bumping into the doors. Then, the blooper film also has a euphemism for the word “shoot” all through it. I said a lot of shoots! Whenever anything went wrong, I’d say, “Shhoot!”, I mean there were many variations. Sometimes, “Shooooot!” or “SHHHEEEEOOOOOOT!” So they cut together about twenty-five & it sounded like, “Shoot! Shoooot! Shoot! Shoot! SHHHEEEEOOOOOT!”

I KNOW YOU’RE A FAN OF HISTORY. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE HISTORICAL CHARACTER?

Shatner: Alexander the Great.

HOW MANY ALIENS DID YOU KILL WITH PHASERS?

Shatner: First of all, my directive from the admiralty was not to kill anybody. So, what we did was to put our phasers on “Stun.” Invariably, what we did is stun the aliens. If we put it on heavy stun, they‘d stay out for a while, and then, we had a special device on that gun. We would open their minds, so that the bad aliens would become good aliens. So I really never killed anybody. But I stunned an awful lot. Captain Kirk wasn’t allowed to kill people.

IS IT TRUE BONES’ MEDICAL EQUIPMENT WERE SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS?

Shatner: Yes, I think they were.

WHY DID YOU HAVE SO MANY NATIONALITIES—SCOTTISH, RUSSIAN, ETC., ON THE BRIDGE? WAS THERE ANY REASON FOR IT?

Shatner: Yes, to entertain you.

DO YOU GET ANY RESIDUALS FROM THE  MERCHANDISING OF "STAR TREK?"

Shatner: No, we don’t get any money from that! I tell you how I feel about it, how both Leonard and I feel about it. Leonard was walking in London, England. He stopped, to look at a billboard. The billboard’s divided into three sections. The first section is Leonard’s face with the ears—Spock—the ears are drooping. The second section of the billboard has Leonard, with the drooping ears, holding, a tankard of ale. The third section had an empty tankard of ale, and Leonard, with pointed ears, straight up in the air. So Leonard and I have had this battle, with whoever licenses "Star Trek," for a long time. I mean, kids are walking around with my face on their shirts. Occasionally I see a postcard with my face on it. People are exploiting us. So, Leonard goes back to the studio and says, “There’s a demeaning billboard of me out there. Did you guys O.K. it?” So, he goes to his lawyer, and tries to sue. Now, let’s look into the background of this "Star Trek" phenomenon. We’re here celebrating a show that’s been canceled for seven years. That’s weird. You all are weird! And I’m even weirder for being here! So we’re all a little weird for being here!

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE MOVIE?

Shatner: Well, I was working on the series "Barbary Coast," which was done at Paramount, coincidentally. It was on one end of Paramount, and "Star Trek" had been filmed at the other end of Paramount. I had never, for the longest time, revisited the stage area where "Star Trek" was filmed. So one day, I decided to go there. I was looking at the stages, you know, for nostalgia and the good times we had there; and I walked down a road of offices, on that very cold and dismal day. They were the writer’s offices for "Star Trek." So as I’d been walking and remembering the times—I suddenly heard the sound of a typewriter! That was the strangest thing, ’cause these offices were deserted. So I followed the sound, till I came to the entrance of this building. And the sound was getting louder as I went into the building. I went down a hallway, where the offices for "Star Trek" were located, and the typewriter noise was getting louder, until—finally I came to the "Star Trek" offices, and the name was still there, it read “STAR THE—“ the “K” was faded! It was kind of symbolic, “STAR TRE-.” I slowly opened the door.

WERE YOU SCARED?

Shatner: Were you scared? Hey, I’m Captain Kirk!! So, I opened the door, and there was Gene Roddenberry! He was sitting in a corner, typing, “click, click, clack!” So I sort of looked at him. I hadn’t seen him in 5 years, I said, “Gene, the series has been canceled!” He said, “I know, I know the series has been canceled! I’m writing the movie!” So I said, “There’s gonna be a movie? What’s it gonna be about?” So he says, “First of all we got to explain how you guys got older. So, what we have to do is move everybody up a rank, You, become an admiral! And the rest of the cast become Star Trek commanders.” “One day, a force, comes toward Earth—might be God, might be the devil, breaking everything in its path, except the minds of the Starship commanders. So we gotta find all the original crewmen for the Starship Enterprise, but first—where is Spock? He’s back on Vulcan, doing R&R in Vulcan; five year mission—seven years of R&R. He swam back upstream. So we gotta go get him.” I call that show, “What Makes Salmon Run?” So we get Spock, do battle, and it was a great story! But the studio turned it down. But that’s the way man is; "Star Trek" hoped one day, man would explore strange new worlds; seek out new life and new civilizations; and boldly go, where no man has gone before. Goodnight.

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