Real-Life Encounters of the Shatner Kind
---Here's my least-worst other essay on Shatner. I wrote it on November 8, 1996, but it summarizes the events of a convention that took place in October '96.
I rolled at 9:30 am..."SHIT!". Paul wanted me to be over at his house an hour ago! Quickly, I jumped out of bed and rushed to the phone to call Paul. He didn't mind my oversleeping, but told me to get over ASAP. After a hasty bath, I drove as fast as I could to his house. Of course, as fast as I could meant going 20 MPH, because the people of Oak Park and Elmwood Park have no idea how to drive. But anyway, I eventually made it to Paul's house.
After a few minutes of pleasant conversation, me and Paul hopped into Paul's car. We were off to see him, the One True Shatner. And he was signing autographs, a holy event that only happened once every 5-year mission (multiplied by 10). I wandered into the Clarion O'Hare hotel, greeted by dorks dressed as Klingons. After getting my tickets, I moseyed on into the dealer's room. Tons of cool stuff assaulted me, including a French poster for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". Wisely, I'd only bought a small amount of money along, but I'm telling you, that limited edition Jimbo vs. The Gorn statue from the Franklin Mint looked mighty tempting to me.
As I continued my romp through the dealer's room, I found affordable stuff that I really wanted, nay, needed. The first thing I picked up was the sword-through-the-Earth "Mirror Mirror" pin. "Mirror Mirror", as you may or may not recall, is the classic Trek episode where half the Enterprise crew gets beamed into an evil alternate universe, where everyone wears metal bikinis, have scars and goatees, and carry small torture devices along with them. It also features a very cool Shatner line-as Evil Kirk, he looks good Spock in the eye and in his best "temptress" voice he says "What is it you want? Gold? I can get that for you! Command of a Starship?! Power...Spock?". Right after I got the pin, I kept on asking Paul for his Agonizer, then threatened to put him in the booth for a full duration. Next up were some really rare new Star Wars figures. With their acquisition, not only did I complete my collection of the new figures, but I spent nearly all of my money. I had to dig deep into my pockets, but I did find a few dealers who were selling awesome stuff for very little money, such as "Babylon 5-Our Last, Best Hope for Televised Science Fiction" bumper stickers and a way-cool "Wanted: Dead or Alive" poster of Kirk(One True Shatner), which had Starfleet offering a big reward for turning him in after he blew up the Enterprise and went to Genesis.
After my spending spree, nothing was really going on. So I grabbed a yummy Hot Dog and delicious Sprite to enjoy. Still nothing going on after that. I proceeded to wander the dealer's room once again. By about my 5th complete inspection of the dealer's room, I was bored stiff. I decided to see what was going on in the main panel room. It was a really lame and cheesy trivia contest. I found it insanely stupid, but after nearly an hour window-shopping, it turned out to be a refreshing change of scenery.
When the trivia finished, the guys who were running the convention started a "movie gossip" panel. Being something of a movie junkie, I thought "Ah! Finally, something interesting!". Unfortunately, the convention runners didn't bring their projection equipment, so they couldn't show any previews from upcoming movies. Coupled with that boneheaded error was the fact that the organizers seemed to know nothing about upcoming movies. They acted like the fact that they knew "Star Trek: First Contact" and "Star Wars Special Edition" existed was something amazingly special, but didn't have any information about either film. I, on the other hand, have had pictures and extensive information on both films for months now. Someone in the crowd asked about the upcoming "Batman & Robin" film, and, true to form, the guys on-stage were befuddled. I felt like rushing up to the stage and rattling off a cast list, synopsis, and important plot points, then saying "Next?". I swear to you, most 6 year old kids are more up on movies than these guys were.
Following that fiasco, Jennifer Lien from Voyager took the stage. Initially, she appeared to be befuddled and shy, but quickly warmed to the crowd, tossing out some jokes and anecdotes about the Voyager crew and growing up in the Chicago area. She also knew a lot more about the new Trek movie than her predecessors did. 'Though I hate Voyager with every fiber of my being, Jennifer was a relatively interesting and charming speaker, and she certainly made time pass much quicker than another trip to the dealer's room would've.
My final trial before I saw the One True Shatner was a costume/impersonation contest. Now, while Paul is a good person deep down, he is also, to be kind, an incurable Trekkie nerd, and I ended up avoiding him throughout much of the con because of that fact. Of course, being a nerd, Paul simply couldn't resist getting decked out in full Starfleet gear and entering the impersonation contest, fumbling his lines while doing a terribly awful Malcolm McDowell-as-Doctor Soran-from "Star Trek Generations" vs. Mr. Sulu vs. Captain Picard. Oh well. At least the rest of the crowd booed him along with me.
Then, the moment was at hand. He strolled out dressed casually in a green jacket and blue jeans. The crowd stood and roared its applause. A blinding cascade of flashbulbs erupted. Mr. William (One True Shatner)Shatner had arrived! Basking in the thunderous applause for only a moment, Mr. Shatner started to tell a story about the time that he spent in New Orleans. A woman had stolen his clothing, and he was locked out of his room.
To get the clothing back, he had to sign an autograph for each article of clothing he wanted back. The woman asked William to sign her bottom, and he looked at her, gestured to his underwear, and said "Lady, if you want me to sign your bottom, you need those more than I do!". After the laughter died down, Shatner continued his legendary New Orleans odyssey. Apparently, there are women up on balconies who toss their tops off to passerby in New Orleans. Shatner bought a mask and went wandering looking for these women, thinking that he was perfectly disguised. He found a woman, started shouting, and the woman just stared at him and said "Oh Shatner, you naughty boy!". Hearing Shatner say those words was one of the funniest moments of my life. This lead to Shatner becoming melancholy over not being in the next Star Trek movie, going on to describe the lovely novel "The Return", which resurrected Kirk and went on to become a bestseller. A small Asian child, who we would all later come to know and fear by the name "Peter", piped up and said that "The Return" was a great book, and that he'd read each and every book somebody else had ghost-written for Shatner. An animated conversation broke out between Peter and Shatner, and before we knew it, young Peter was up on stage with Shatner. They made for an engaging double act. When Shatner was forgetting nearly every other line of his speech, Peter broke in to finish the sentence. After this lovely segment of Shatner's lecture, Shatner hugged Peter and sent him off-stage. Some anecdotes about "Generations" followed-such as the time that Patrick Stewart was late for a meeting with Shatner at a hotel that was across the street from Shatner's because he was stuck in a taxi-but most of them were from the book "Star Trek Movie Memories". Considering I'd devoured that tome of Shatnerology many times already, I sort of tuned out for a little. My interest was suddenly yanked back to Shatner's speech by the words "Kevin Pollack". Pollack is a great comedian, who does probably the best Shatner impersonation ever. Shatner saw him once on TV saying something like "Is...that...an alien...or are you just having...a bad hair day?!", then turned to his family and said "Do...I...talk like...THAT?!". I guess his family was too polite or too afraid to say yes, so naturally, a unanimous "no" roared through the Shatner household. Years later, Pollack was being interviewed by Shatner for a project that Shatner's production company was making for HBO. Pollack introduced himself, and did a few impersonations to break the ice. Shatner knew the seemed familiar, but not from where. Thinking hard, William looked him straight in the eye and asked "Do you do me?" Pollack, resisting the all-seeing gaze of the One True Shatner, answered "No.". Then Shatner eyed him even closer, and said "Is that an alien...or are you just having...a bad hair day?!". Pollack said "Who's that supposed to be?" Shatner replied "Me!". Pollack's response? "That can't be you-That's me doing you!".
The floor was finally opened up for questions. The first one was about Star Trek V, Shatner's lone directorial effort in the Star Trek opus, and generally regarded as the worst of the films. As he started his story about STV, a bunch of Klingon fanboys got up and left. Shatner was totally befuddled, and shouted "I say Star Trek V...AND THE KLINGONS LEAVE!". Once it was explained to him that the self-styled alien warriors were leaving to set up security arrangements for his autograph session, a look of mock terror crossed his face and he momentarily re-crated the legendary James T. Kirk character live and in person-"The Klingons are doing security... for me?!". Finally, after some more questions, Shatner finally turned to me and said "You. What's your question?". Nervously making eye contact with a living deity, I squeaked "What is your finest moment as an actor?".
Shatner paused and rubbed his chin "My...finest moment...hmmm, I haven't really thought about that. I try to make every one my finest moment." He struggled for a second, then decided that his death scene in "Generations" was his finest moment as an actor. I tried not to break out laughing, partially because he was still looking right at me and partially because his death scene in "Generations" was one of the worst-acted scenes I've seen in my life. Shatner, looking very fat and bloated, whispers something inaudibly, says "It was...fun...", then dies. I almost felt like standing up again and shouting "You're forgetting 'The Utopia'!", a speech from the Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren" where Shatner says "Is...this...your...UTOPIA?! Your...grand vision of the FUTURE?! You...don't...EVEN...". Most Shatnerologists consider that his finest moment, not the horrible death scene. I held my tongue though, as Shatner went through a progressively loopier story about how when he was filming that scene, he thought he saw the Enterprise orbiting in the sky.
And then, before I knew it, it was all over. The autograph line had started. Surprisingly, the line was very well-organized and moved along rather quickly. As I got closer, my knees got weaker. My copy of "The Wrath of Khan" was to be signed by his Holiness! I gave it to him, stammered out "Thank you.", and not even raising his head to look at me, the One True Shatner said "Thank you." back. HE THANKED ME! For giving him a beat-up video to sign! I didn't do a thing to help him out financially or emotionally, and he couldn't even be bothered to look up from the video, but he thanked me nonetheless! What a God!
Mr. William Shatner proved himself to be a very lovely, if slightly highstrung, man. His kindness towards Peter showed the love he feels for all the children of the world. He showed a true affinity for stand-up comedy when he was on stage. He came up with some amazing lines (The "Klingons leave" is now part of my standard Shatner impersonation repertoire) and some classic gestures. Best of all, he thanked me. Mr. Shatner, if you're reading this, all I want to say is thank you for a wonderful Saturday afternoon.
Totally unauthorized reproduction sent in by:
High UberPopeness of the First Church of Shatnerology
Come to the Temple of the Glorious Toupee
© 1997-2000 Mistersauga Shatner