Thursday, October 10, 2019

In the Presence of Shatner

Hey cool! This is my 100th post referencing Star Trek!

It seems appropriate for it to document the first time I've ever been in the same room with a Starship Captain.

(George Takei spoke at my college before Sulu was formally promoted, so while awesome, that doesn't count.)

Its hard to write anything about this show that doesn't come off as-


But I'll do my best.

Getting to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on the big screen first was a cool bonus. As should be completely obvious, my main form of social interaction with friends, family and strangers is via movies.  Getting to share this one with a theater full of fans enthusiastically cheering for appearances, famous lines, names in the credits, and the occasional raised eyebrow brought back memories of opening night at the movies for Trek films in my teens.  This was doubly true since I was there with my Mom.  It was her birthday present, we take this multigenerational Trek fandom seriously.  

And then the man himself came out, and at eighty-eight years old was a non stop ball of amazing entertainment for at least and hour and fifteen minutes.  

There was a host, two chairs set up, and a list of questions from the audience- none of which were needed. The host asked a question or provided an occasional reference, but it wasn't the usual sit down interview in these kind of situations.  Based on one of his many riveting stories, I'm guessing the chair was only there to rest his back from years of equestrian stress.  As soon as he'd get rolling, he would be on his feet again, and front and center stage (as always) throwing himself into each tale with gusto.

The point he makes in his book Live Long and...What I Learned Along the Way about approaching everything in life with passion was truly on display.

He talked about his one man shows, his dobermans and horses, Star Trek, T.J. Hooker, Boston Legal, The Twilight Zone, and various random encounters with people, fans and otherwise.

He clearly owned the room, enforcing "I talk you listen" when overenthusiastic fans kept yelling, to the cheers of the rest of us.

It's easy to see why he's gone from one successful series to another over the years, as the man still oozes charisma and had the crowd in the palm of his hand. I've heard or read many of the stories in interviews or books over the years, and it didn't reduce fun he infused them with in the live appearance.

I am amazed I never heard that his daughters always asked him to do "the look" from "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" to surprise the stewardess when they flew anywhere as a family.

And I certainly cannot do justice to the story he ended with about getting pulled over doing 100mph on the way to Vasquez Rocks (a.k.a. "Gorn Rocks") in full costume, which was not only a wonder on its own, but augmented by him interrupting himself to tell three other slightly related stories to back up parts of the main one.

It was a truly fun and inspirational night, and well worth being the centennial Trek post.

I'm so excited, I think I'll talk about Star Trek again next week!

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Mom OXZ said...

It was Awesome. Watching William Shatner was wonderful and touching. It was so comfortable. Like being with an Old Friend, which is kind of what it was. Had to leave a comment just to say another THANK YOU for taking me. A great Birthday Gift from a Great and Caring and Special SON.

Jeff McGinley said...

You're very welcome. Considering we've watched him together in some form or another my whole life, being with an Old Friend is a perfect description. Thanx for sharing it with me.