My wife found an unused pilot. It was going to be an Owl for one of the Friday nights when she was otherwise occupied, but today’s been depressing for a lot of people and they need cheering up.
Who cheers everyone up? William Shatner.
Okay, that’s not remotely true. But the Canadian actor has become an iconic figure throughout the world because of his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. And, as much as he has been ridiculed by stand-up comics for his delivery style, the fact remains that he has demonstrated some serious acting chops, as shown in his early movie The Intruder and his Twilight Zone appearances.
His early success didn’t mean he could always fill a role. Even though he would eventually become known as a figure of supreme confidence with a core of toughness, he was far too much of a forgettable everyman to properly fill the role of Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe’s unflappable two-fisted aide. Long before Timothy Hutton turned in a perfect performance as Archie, Shatner took his shot at it. The pilot was never picked up for a series.
His time as Captain Kirk brought him not only fame but overconfidence. He decided he could provide good covers of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Rocket Man”… and was demonstrably wrong on both counts.
This was eventually seen as a challenge by Ben Folds, who produced Shatner’s 2004 album Has Been. Utilizing the talents of Folds, Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins, Brad Paisley, Lemon Jelly and Adrien Belew, Shatner was the lead on an album which was surprisingly good, if not quite enough to make people forget his late sixties attempts at music.
What people forget… intentionally… is that it inspired Shatner to try again, this time without Ben Folds. How bad could it be? Well, let’s take a look at his attempt to cover Thomas Dolby’s biggest hit…. (Warning, it’s very bad.)
I’m sorry if you clicked on that.
Obviously Shatner’s had his up moments and his down moments. Let’s just leave you with some Kirk and Chekov… or, rather, Shatner in his odd cable talk show and his old co-star Walter Koenig.
Whether it’s bad Shatner or good Shatner… he’s usually interesting.
Question of the night: Which Shatner effort was the most entertaining for you?