William Shatner boldly goes into Trekker culture
William Shatner at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday.
July 18th, 2012
03:46 PM ET

William Shatner boldly goes into Trekker culture

In 1969, William Shatner thought his iconic show's run was over.

“I finished ‘Star Trek’ late one night and everybody said goodbye and off I went, saying, ‘That’s the end of that show.' It was just a good show and that was the end of it."

Little did he know that the fans had other ideas; they wouldn't let the show  fade into obscurity. "Star Trek" conventions began in earnest.

As the years went by, Shatner wondered what motivated these fans to go to conventions year after year, so he embarked  on a sociological, anthropological study of "Star Trek" fandom that became a book and then a film called "Get a Life!" The works are based on a famous "Saturday Night Live" sketch in which Shatner went off on a tirade against "Star Trek" fans. The documentary is set to premiere on Epix on July 28.

“People come to these things and they dress up and it seems comical and superficial: a nice day out on the town," he told CNN Geek Out. "But then we discover that it’s more than that, and to many of the people it has a deeper meaning."

Shatner was struck by several of the fans he encountered: "For a kid who is pathologically shy, dressing a cat up in a uniform – [suddenly] he could speak. ‘Captain Dave,’ who is dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease, lives through ‘Star Trek.’ There He had his tube in a wheelchair, striving to live, and then he would go home and rest for months. For ‘Captain Dave,’ that’s life – to hold on and desperately experience life."

Shatner learned a lot from the experience, he said.

“No matter how prosaic something is that you’ve done and been a part of again and again, there is so much more there that you haven’t seen," he said. "A tree you pass by every day is just a tree. If you are to closely examine what a tree has and the life a tree has, even the smallest thing can withstand a curiosity, and you can examine whole worlds."

The attitude exemplified in that famous 1980s SNL sketch still exists today, Shatner said.

“These people who come to Comic-Con and dress up - all across the country, the rest of the population who doesn’t understand are scoffing at them," he said. "When you come to San Diego and see the joy and the pleasure that all these people are getting – as you see in the documentary, and they’re participating in something far deeper – they don’t even know that. It’s illuminating. You have to take the people who come to Comic-Con and the Trekkers or Trekkies seriously. There’s something serious going on that my documentary discovers."

The people Shatner interviewed for his book and documentary were surprised that he was just as interested to see them as they were to see him. Originally, he wanted to do his research anonymously – since he cannot walk the floor of any convention unheralded – but that didn't last.

"I would wear a rubber mask, and use a funny voice, and usually they would say, ‘Is that you, Shatner?’ "

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  4. Eugenio

    It is so good to know that Bill has embraced Trekkies culture. To put it simply, I'd say Star Trek is about HOPE: the future most people would like mankind to have and which involves us all. It should also be noted that there are so many emotions and values involved in Captain Kirk's character: courage, justice, loyalty, responsability,forgiveness, to name a few and Bill played them all so well. There are no words to thank you Mr. Shatner for inspiring present and future generations worldwide. Live long and prosper!

    August 4, 2012 at 5:29 am |
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    July 28, 2012 at 5:20 am |
  6. shannon ray blake

    science-fiction has a audience everywhere people use their minds in an abstract way."spock! ahead to full impulse power.."this certain television series explored dreams most people wonder about."it's five year mission ,to explore new world's,to boldly go where nobody has gone before."dreams are very simuliar in aspects."i'm just a doctor,you half blooded hobgoblin.(bones)".imagine life with the need to wonder what's out there in space."beam us up scotty..."with mysterious characters unknown to the audience,captivating the imagination of many about perplexing situations was easy for this television series."fasinating, the warp drive has dilithium crystals with outer band harmonics which are out of range of are sensor's(spock)".hat's off to you william shattener!mister shannon ray blake..........

    July 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  7. T

    Anyone remember Shatner and Nimoy were both on an episode of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." two years before Star Trek – "The Project: Strigas Affair" ? With Robert "Napoleon Solo" Vaughn and David "Illya Kuryakin" MacCallum plus Werner "Hogan's Heroes" Klemperer.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  8. CH

    Hey, don't forget Shatner's turn 3rd Rock from the Sun! Now that's a range!

    July 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  9. harbharb

    I used to watch Star Trek reruns with my Dad. I think of my dad whenever I see or read about Shatner. Both chubby faced with kind smiles.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  10. Phil

    Shatner as the paranoid dude in the airplane in Twighlite Zones from the 1960s and the guy freaking out about the Devil fortune seller, a national treasure!

    July 25, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  11. xfiler93

    gotta love the SHAT!!

    July 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
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      September 15, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  12. dingleberrydewdrop

    Ever hear him sing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds??? Thats a golder throat there my friends!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  13. Heston2012

    Did any of you see the American pickers ep with Bill and his wife?

    July 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  14. rad666

    Galaxy Quest

    July 24, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  15. Les

    Lets not forget the late Gene Roddenberry. I can't magine a better captain than Shatner, But Gene made it happen.
    I'll be a Trek fan for life.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  16. Dragun

    I was raised a Trekkie, yes I said Trekkie not "trekker" or whatever term they want to use now. My mom watched the original, and when The Next Generation came out it was like SWEET, something we all watched together every week. My daughter recently started watching TNG and is now on to Deep Space Nine, and i wasn't the one who got her started, my mother did. So that makes three generations of Trekkies now, and she already told me she wants to go to the next big comicon on the east coast. Could be worse, she could be a screaming Beiber fan!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  17. solex

    I always like the fact the he was able to have other careers after Star Trek. He has that cop show in the 80s, and then he was really good as the pagent host in "Miss Congeniality". Then he did the lawyer bit on Boston Legal.

    Yes, Shatner had a real career – just one without any statues on his mantle...

    July 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Robyn

      Actually, solex, William Shatner DOES have statues on his mantle(well, not sure where he keeps them lol). He won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role as Denny Crane on Boston Legal, as well as an Emmy for The Practice as Denny Crane. He showed such range before and after Star Trek. Much greater actor than he gets credit for.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  18. DaviD

    I think he is doing it because he can... the guy is 81 years old, has more money than he can spend, and if you could go somewhere... where everyone loved you and wanted to talk to you... It would be like being at a party and the center of attention all the time,,, sort-a make you feel like you accomplished something in live and thet you made people happy... Ya... pretty good way to go I would say...

    July 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  19. geaugaman

    When we let our minds imagine the future, there is a strong possibility that our bodies may eventually catch up. Salutes to the Star Trek franchise.

    July 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    First interracial kiss on television, and examination of other "taboos" of society at the time. Brilliant technological foresight. I was into western themes at the time, my cousin was the treckie. Creator Gene was a genius. He's not "milking" his fame for anything. Good for Shatner, it's a wonderful sociological phenomenon worth examining.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  21. Diane

    Great to see he is still going strong.
    Really liked that giant spider movie from years ago and his Shatner's World show this year.

    PS: Hello Neil.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  22. Zeta Reticulan

    '..he embarked on a sociological, anthropological study of "Star Trek" fandom.."
    OR .. he's simply milking it for all he can.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Nodack

      Why not? Star Trek defined his career more than anything else and effected millions of people world wide. If I was him and if you were him you wouldn't be doing anything different.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • denim

      Why shouldn't he milk it? It has followed him around all over the place, and he's no longer involved with it, so he might as well get something from it. I consider Koenig and Takei more interesting, though. Koenig seems more versatile, and Takei has that amazing, leather-upholstered, voice for instance. Shatner's Kirk was fun, but he's dead, and with the reboot the character is now owned by Chris Pine. Let's see what happens.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:21 am |
      • Tina

        Congrats on the book sales. It must be cool to know that so many people are reaidng your work! I can tell you that taking part in blog hops like Menage a Blog are well worth it, since that is where I first saw you and your books. And because of the great free book giveaway, I have the chance to read one of your books and will buy more...Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate how hard you writer folks have to work to get your name out to the public. I don;t know if people realize hw much time it takes to take part in a bloghops or interviews. I've been considering becoming a reviewer on a larger scale (I started my post-college life as a journalist specializing in media analysis and criticism – or more plainly – a reviewer of any and all media, as well as food/restaurants), but I can't figure out how I will have the time, what with the dayjob and all. So, we'll see.Keep up the hard work, though, because it is definitely paying off!Mara

        September 15, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • anon

      Geez, only a hollywood celebrity would feel the need to do an intensive study on why folks are so caught up with Star Trek. It's obvious to anyone with an I.Q above room temperature: Life is, for the most part, is rather mundane and boring. By the time Star Trek came along, folks had already been immersed from childhood with the movie culture that told them over and over that life beyond THEIR life was actually a constant, non stop whirl of excitement. That coupled with the driving thirst put in the average American youth for space exploration, caused this culture. When the U.S. landed on the moon, star trek took a temporary dive in popularity because many felt that we didn't HAVE to play pretend anymore; we were doing it FOR REAL. Kids, especially young boys from the fifties and sixties, were absolutely convinced that they were going to go up!!
      However, interest in space exploration, for whatever reason, took a huge decline after the moon walk, and by the mid 70's, when it finally dawned on the dissillusioned youth that NO we were staying right down here, THEN popularity for the fantasy star trek rose back up.

      Anyone with any sense at all desperately, and I mean DESPERATELY longs to travel through space.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  23. Terrance Kozak

    I would guess many of you might find this hard to believe, but I've never seen an actual episode of Star Trek. Then again, I didn't see Star Wars until ten years ago. Nope, never saw E.T., or many other mainstream movies. But I've decided that this Canadian will actually sit down and watch an episode on Netflix tonight. I'm curious as to what the heck keeps these Star Trek fans going and going. T all you fans, kudos on your passion.

    July 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • anon

      After you've seen one or two episodes and get the gist of the program, go to google or youtube and look up, "Jim Carrey spoofs star trek". Any of them Carrey does is good, but the one with the muslim brotherhood is a must see. It is so funny, it will change your life.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Steven Gaynor

      It would be good to watch them in some sort of order, but I would recommend 'The City on the Edge Of Forever'; 'Arena'; 'The Cage' (which was the original pilot); 'The Trouble With Tribbles'; 'Balance Of Terror'; or 'The Corbomite Manover'. Oh, geez as I think about it so many more would be good ones to see....

      July 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  24. Sharkfisher

    The original Star Trek was one of the T.V. shows I never worried about my small children watching. As a matter of fact I enjoyed watching with them.We need some shows of that caliber now.

    July 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • James Asher

      We had a show of Star Trek caliber, but they cancelled House.

      July 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Nodack

      What about all the alien girls Captain Kirk picked up on. Not that wholesome, not that it bothered me. I was a total Treky.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  25. Simon Says

    First television interacial kiss.
    Kirk and Uruhu.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • anon

      The weird and rather insulting thing is is that other movie characters for years in sci fi shows were kissing alien chicks right and left. No one said a thing in protest over THAT.

      I've seen the episode Plato's Stepchildren, and I don't think Shatner kissed her at all. The story is that he did, but if you look, it appears he maneuvers their faces away from the camera to where he is actually not kissing her without the audience being able to quite make it out that he isn't kissing her. It looks more like he got really close and just held it there for a bit. You never actually see their lips lock.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • MarileeBob

      It was Lucy and Ricky on I Love Lucy, actually.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  26. Rick Springfield

    I hated to see, "My dad said.." go off the air. I recorded many of the episodes and put them on when I get down. His comic timing is Vaudeville meats Star Wars. We need Shatner on Earth for many years to come. I'm glad he embraced his fandom. I think his SNL skit was one of the best ever for the entire show's history. His, "You people need to get a life" skit is golden, absolutely pure gold.

    July 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  27. iowaboy

    Although not a trekkie I grew up watching the show. Always enjoyed it if for no other reason than one of the main characters if not the main character was a boy from Iowa who saved the universe in every episode. Go Hawks! Go Kirk! Go Shatner!

    July 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  28. jj

    I recently met Denise Crosby at a convention and told her that for many years I dressed up as Tasha Yar for Halloween. She was truly delighted and flattered.

    July 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  29. qwedie

    I just love this man, funny and smart, on top of that Captain of the Enterprise.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • James Asher

      He's an excellent actor, I was really impressed with his work on Boston Legal.

      July 22, 2012 at 5:03 am |
  30. Khan

    Buried Alive ..... buried alivee

    July 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Kirk


      July 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
      • Kirk


        July 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  31. James Irons

    I remember going to the Federation Trading Post (on East 53rd Street in New York) with my friends to pick up Star Trek stuff. The store sold posters, models, t-shirts, uniforms, even stuffed tribbles that looked exactly like the ones on the show. This was a very early example of a store selling goods based on a single franchise, much like today's Disney stores. William Shatner and the rest of the original cast brought to life what became a multi-billion dollar global phenomenon that continues to expand and mature.

    July 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  32. JGN

    You and Leonard and all the original cast, treasures without price. And I'm not even a trekkie!! 😉

    July 20, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  33. the dude

    The saddest part is that we may never see a Star Trek future at the rate we are going now.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • RZ70

      I don't know. Didn't the people of earth come pretty close to destroying themselves just before discovering warp drive technology? Seems like we're right on track. Good news?

      July 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • LL

        Yes... see "First Contact" for more info. The Borg tried to change that history but Picard and Data stopped them 🙂

        July 22, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • anon

      I got bad news for some: The star trek future, according to all the shows, included a still, persistent belief in God or a deity of some kind. Episodes metamorphisis, and Tholian web in the original includes the phrase, "creator of all things" and moment of prayer at kirks memorial.

      The new episodes with their socialist utopias included worf truly believing in the return of his messiah, and Janeways right hand mind in voyager attempted to contact the spirit of his father on the anniversary of his death.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:27 am |
      • Mike in NJ

        You seem to confuse belief in a deity with a crippling dependence on said deity for purpose, and the abandonment of reason to serve that deity. Even Picard acknowledged believing in a deity, but he didn't allow it to close his mind or muddle his reasoning.

        July 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  34. Victor

    Live long and prosper Bill.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • anon

      He HAS.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  35. Micaela Mena Baker

    When my husband and I were dating, we watched Star Trek every Friday night. It was a wonderful show with an integrated cast, and story-lines which hit at the problems of our age (remember the story about the black/white man who was prejudiced against the white/black man?). We've now been married 43 years, I guess Star Trek will outlast our marriage!

    July 20, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • anon

      "Let this be your last battlefield" was the name of that one. It was somewhat humorous how they hated each other. I use to joke around with friends asking, "Is that guy black with a white stripe or white with a black stripe"? "Mom was a zebra and dad was a fence."

      In reality, we mostly hate other CULTURES for what we perceive as ignorance and stupidity on their part, and not so much purely on skin color. I guess you could say racism has EVOLVED.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  36. Scott M

    The thing I like most about Shatner is that he can just have fun with who he is, playing the "Big Giant Head" on 3rd Rock From the Sun was hillarius.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  37. Yobee Ziskey

    Obviously there's far too many posts here to have any hope of this one being read, but I just have to 😉 Star Trek premiered when I was 10 years old and became the only show that my dad would willingly watch with me. What looks hokey to today's sophisticated viewer was pretty magical at the time. Even the much-maligned third season had many episodes I still enjoy watching today on Netflix. I've never been to a convention, but I love the idea that they still happen. If I ever encounter Bill Shatner I know what I'd say to him; "Thanks for all the dreams"...

    July 20, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • Alexandra

      Growing Pains all the way! I got the first season a few years ago and thugoht they just weren't going to release any further seasons. I am so psyched!!! Thanks for letting us in on this

      September 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  38. xfiler93

    He is by far the Best Trek Captain. always will be.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  39. IAmNotSpock

    There was some turmoil in my home growing up and I was the youngest and couldn't make sense of all of it. Star Trek gave me not only an escape but a reason to think that the future would be better. At first I was just fascinated by the lights and color and technology aspects, but some of the stories really hooked me. I watched so much much Star Trek in the 70's that my brother joked I was starting to grow pointy ears. At 15, my father tried to connect with me and took me to a Star Trek convention in NYC. He was not into Trek and it kind of scared him, but I was thrilled to see that there were so many people of all ages and walks of life who loved Star Trek as much as I did. It was way overbooked and we actually wound up sneaking in even though we had tickets. Because Dad worked in the area he knew how to get in. I think the cast was shocked at how many people had come and took to calming their nerves with alcohol. I remember Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) introducing Shatner and Nimoy who really didn't seem to know what to make of it all. After Dad had "had enough" and I had gotten my life-size poster of Spock on a transporter pad, we went to the top of one of the World Trade Center towers and I snapped a picture of him up their with the city he had worked in all his life behind him. Both he and the towers are gone, but the day is a great memory for me.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  40. Chris

    If you haven't heard Shatner's poetic renditions over music, you will love me for enlightening you. He is just sooo good. I hope he lives forever.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • localhost

      I *loved* him reading a Sarah Palin speech set to beatnik jazz on Conan.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  41. steve

    As a matter of interesting trivia, Lucille Ball was very instrumental in getting the original StarTrek on TV.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • ArdDruid

      Hey Star Trek was a DesiLu production after all. The original theme by Jerry Goldsmith was a variation on the I Love Lucy theme music

      July 20, 2012 at 2:07 am |
      • JeffinIL

        Alexander Courage.

        July 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • Mike in NJ

        Wow, thanks for mentioning that (that it's based on the I Love Lucy theme) – I hear it now!!

        July 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  42. majav

    He looks better than he has in a long time- less puffy. I hope he lives forever. As Captain Kirk he kind of got under my skin like McCoy certainly did. I was in Spock's corner every time. It was the perfect chemistry and trippy sets and stories that hooked me in repeat after repeat. And, Danny Crane was his career masterpiece. Great guy. Live long and prosper, dude! Any chance of a new project with Betty White? Whatever shows those two do individually or together, end up being in the top ten of all time as far as I am concerned. James Spader?

    July 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Yoshifumi

      JESmith on October 6, 2008 Geez, this has to be my least favorite Kate so far. Hopefully when the tour ends Kelli Sawyer will rijeon the Broadway cast she may not be as good as Stephanine or Juile but she's better than the one here. Its nice to see that Carla Renata(Gary) has joined the Broadway cast though. She's the best Gary in my opinion.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  43. BBoy705

    Gene Roddenberry was a genius no question about it! His vision of the future could be the only hope for mankind... that is once or if we survive climate change! I've been a Star Trek fan since the very beginning in the '60s and have watched every movie and episode dozens of times and never get tired of the central theme. It's too bad so many people brush the ideals of Gene as simply "entertainment". I think they are more than that, they are a vision for the future!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  44. Scott M

    That's not Captain Kirk, thats DENNY CRANE!!!!

    I live in Lexington KY where his horse farm is, and he is considered by almost everyone as one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He sometimes hangs out at a coffee shop inside a bookstore and chats with anyone that approaches him.

    Kirk, Crane, whatever, the guy is just cool. Also, NEVER forget those classic Twilight Zones he did, Nimoy did one or two also. Shatner in the gremlin and the creepy diner jutebox episodes are among the best of Twilight Zone.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  45. Christa

    One comment on one episode by Picard has helped my in so many situations - "the only way out is through"! So true, so very true.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • DRS

      Robert Frost...

      July 21, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Vinay

      newmoonkid on October 3, 2008 i just saw this cast but with kate monsters usnredtudy who is the one hlping hold nicky upi was dissapointed when i heard but she waas actually amazingthis is a great cast

      September 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Chayank

      Oh! I would love to have either of these great shows on DVD! In west Philadelpia, born and raiesd or home in the Bel Aire it would be a great trip down nostalgia lane and there would be no growing pains especially while watching Will or Mike. Dreamy!!

      September 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  46. ohbehave

    He's 81 ???? Wow. I can't think of a single person (famous or otherwise) that looks that vibrant at 81.
    He seems like a very interesting person, but his acting (and probably his personality) is too much for me. I like him, though.
    It isn't his talent, but that he was a key figure in American pop culture.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Scott M

      He has had some health issues that have lead to weight gain, and he STILL looks great.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  47. ag

    I'm old enough to remember the original series when it was new, and my favorite character was always Spock. Maybe it's because I always watched the show with my father – a reserved, quiet Scandinavian who had lots of love under the surface. I always think of Spock whenever I'm having a tough time – "pain is irrelevant!"

    July 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Chris

      Oh, Ag, what you wrote about Spock and your father struck home. Except for me as a young teen, I was head over heels about Spock. Much later I married a terse Swedish-Finn and feel I've landed my Spock at last 🙂

      July 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  48. 123elle

    The genius of Star Trek is its ability to be futuristic and plausible at the same time. It lets intelligent people abandon themselves to the excitement of the voyages of the Starship Enterprise without having to pick apart the science. It's total escape, while at the same time it's amusing, witty, engaging, always surprising and emotionally valid. Wit and ingenuity applied to space exploration.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  49. Liz

    Even at 50 years old, the Star Trek theme and the words "Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise..." give me goosebumps.

    While watching the new movie in a packed theater, at the end when the original music and that phrase showed up, I spontaneously broke out in a double-handed fist-pump, said (fairly loudly) "YES!" and my eyes welled up.

    I'm a geek and proud of it. 🙂

    July 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • ag

      I BAWLED in the theater when Spock died. My dad looked embarrassed.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  50. Nighthhaaawk

    Going to a Trek Con or a Comic Con is wirh fulfillment for the folks that seek other, better worlds.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • jj


      July 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  51. JeramieH

    Yes, we know dressing up is silly, but it's just simple, goofy fun. And who doesn't need that every now and then.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  52. ana

    As a young girl, I fell in love with a show that predicted a future where we transcended our present limits and did so with purpose, strength, courage, the love of adventure, the pursuit of knowledge, cool technology, fair play and a sense of humor. I have watched every incarnation of the Star Trek franchise and have found something to love in each of them.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • SnafuBob

      Well said, I couldn't agree more.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Nighthhaaawk

      Trek, during the '60's was hope that we survived the WW3 that was always predicted...and that mankind had a future beyond the Cold War.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  53. OHMSS 1969

    I have been a Star Trek fan and collector since 1979. Saw the first six Trek films opening day and first showing. I have never regretted being a TREKKIE (Trekker sound like improper english in my opinion).

    July 19, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  54. alfuso

    one of my better moments at a Convention was being in a closed Dealer's room (so the guests could go through without hassle) and watching Doohan and Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who #3) hurl accents at each other..

    July 19, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  55. bronson

    "That Kirk, he tasks me !"

    July 19, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • AJD13

      I have to wonder in the "reboot" of Star Trek if the "future" Spock will pull the younger Spock aside and say "Hey...you know...someday you might run across this sleeper ship with some people on it from Earth....whatever you do...DON'T even go on board...just arm photon torpedoes and blast the damn thing! Trust me on this one." LOL

      July 19, 2012 at 3:46 am |
      • Mark

        Considering in the reboot the timeline has been changed (starting with the attack on the USS Kelvin) its unlikely that the USS Enterprise will be the ship to meet the SS Botany Bay..its more likely that some other ship will encounter them and set Khan off...or perhaps not at all. For all we know Botany Bay will be discovered by the Klingons and they'll just blow them away without bothering to wake any one up. Lots of possibilities now with the timeline changed and the reboot universe completely different. Which I'm sure was the whole point.

        July 19, 2012 at 8:34 am |
      • Tim

        That sleeper ship just might be the Jupiter 2, instead of the Botany Bay. Both left Earth in the 1990's.

        July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
      • Wrenn_NYC

        The Reboot is going to play holy hell with a whole lot of 'established' history. "Enterprise" 's last 2 years are totally based in a temporal cold war. That no representatives from the future came back to deal with Nero, who so obviously damaged the timeline (which the temporal accords were set in place to protect) is a major problem. you are left with the idea that somehow, in possession of time ships and policing, and all those times they saved Captain Archer, you'd think they'd be able to stop a single Romulan mining ship captain from rewrite the history of the federation?

        Oh well. It's easier to just consider the Abramverse one of many multiverses in the Star Trek stories. It's not like we don't have others – Mirror universe, and the Myriad universes speculated upon in the licensed fiction.

        Sorry about the nerd-ism. 🙂 I could go on, as I hang out with a number of the Star Trek tie in fiction writers, and we do speculate about this and other things... usually accompanied by a lot of alcohol.

        July 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  56. decredico

    Live long and prosper, Mr Shatner.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  57. AJD13

    I began watching the original Star Trek in syndication when I was a twelve year old girl in the late 80's. It wasn't "cool" of course and I got bullied and teased tremendously for it...but I already was for being unconventional so it wasn't anything I wasn't used to. I've never been able to attend a large convention, only a small event in Riverside, IA which is the "future birthplace of Captain Kirk." I fell in love with Star Trek because of the characters and the story lines....the characters just worked so well together and had great chemistry. They all had their strengths and weaknesses that balanced each other out and complimented each other.....especially between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. The stories always had a "message" or "moral" but without being too "in your face" or preachy about it. I loved the future that it envisioned of people of all kinds of backgrounds being able to work together and work through their differences to accomplish a mission or to get through peril. I loved how it exemplified in many instances putting yourself in another's shoes and seeing things from their perspective which is something I try very hard to instill in my children (and which I think this world including our society in the U.S. right now could use more of). Of course I loved the drama and the adventure and the action, too. Looking at the world and our society today, sadly I often find myself less hopeful of the kind of future that Star Trek envisioned but I try very hard to keep that flame of hope alive that we will eventually get there. If I were able to have a fictional character become reality and be able to sit down and talk with them, Captain Kirk would be at the top or at least near the top of my list...but I would definitely be happy to talk to the man who gave "life" to that fictional character onscreen as well. Thank you, Mr. Shatner, for all the hours of happiness and hope you've given to me and many others over the years by your portrayal of such a wonderful character telling such wonderful stories.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Dunerchief

      I also caught the Original Series at age 12 in the late 80's. There was something magical about the concept, and more importantly the casting. As to your disappointment that we arn't headed toward that future, I'd point out that in the world of Star Trek we still have World War 3 to look forward to, only after which we begin the progression. Happy Friday!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:21 am |
      • AJD13

        Yep....I remember Spock mentioning a "Eugenics War" and also World War 3....always wondered if these were the same war or if he was referring to two separate conflicts. Not that I think Star Trek "history" is "our" history lol....of course we've already missed out on Khan's attempt at world domination which was supposed to have taken place in the 90's lol.

        July 19, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • Tim

      Back in the 60's, I watched Lost In Space, not Star Trek.

      LIS was far better. None of that FTL crap. The robot was really cool. And it had a boy my own age in it.

      When I became an adult, I gave up my childish ways, and enjoyed Star Trek. It re-ran on Ch 11, WPIX, just after dinner and we all watched it together, in college.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • bluemax

      I used to watch the original series when ever they showed it on BBC Scotland way back in the 70's. I fell in love with it. Then to my great surprise, as a mature student (I was 25 when I went to Uni) I saw that they were going to air a new series, The Next Generation. I scoffed, a bald captain who is just fit enough to shuffle down to pick up his pension cheque!!

      But I felt that before I completely write off the show, I should actually watch it. So I walked over to the TV room n the halls of residence, where they had BSkyB, which was airing the show. There were a few people there sitting chatting but no-one watching the TV. So I kind-of sidled up to it, changed the channel to BSkyB and took a seat front and center.

      Someone, a kid about 18-19 (I was 25-26) plonked themselves down beside me, he just asked quietly "so anything special on",
      "no, just a new program I wanted to check out" I answered. He said nothing. Two minutes later I was front and center and surrounded by about 10 -15 students, and just as the show, episode 1 of The Next Generation, started, all I heard was "quiet, it's starting!".

      When I turned around, during the break, the entire room, was full of people, all of whom started to talk about the first few minutes of the show. That's when I realised that I was not alone and that, as much as I was enjoying university, I was going to enjoy it even more now.

      A couple of weeks later, I was approached by a couple of the guys (and girls!!) who I had seen in the TV room during ST:NG, and they asked if I wanted to join the Star Trek society. There was a Sci-Fi society but this was exclusively Star Trek.
      With them, I eventually became the president of the society, we organised trips to Europe to visit the Conventions there, and in my final year, we made it to San Diego.

      Here's a heads up for all those who look down on us trekkies/tekkers and make fun of us when we dress up or attend the conventions. Of all the Star Trek society members we had in my time at university and when I was a member, not a single one of those people failed an exam or dropped out. We still meet up every couple of years, and it is amazing that the majority of them are still fans today.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  58. Brad

    In the late 90's maybe even pre 2002.. I went to a trekkie convention at Trump Taj Majal in Atlantic city.. Micheal Dorn, James Doohan, and Mirina Sirtis were there... there were thousands it seemed.. they were talking about a scene where troi/worf were in the mud bath together and she laughed and said,"he was always playing footsies with me".. I yellled out infront of everyone "Hey Micheal, tell'er, you're a Klingon, that was NOT your foot!!!".. she pointed at me and said "you can be beamed out of here..." GREAT time.. my brother who was the bigger fan, turned red thought he was going to hit me.. for that..

    July 19, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  59. alfuso

    loved the show from first episode aired. Wrote Nimoy a few weeks later. Have his hand-written letter still, green ink on Desilu stationery and a signed photo. My favorite were Scotty and Bones, but I loved the gestalt of the 4 of them.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  60. Andacar

    As I was growing up my heroes were James West (from The Wild Wild West of course), Captain Kirk, Superman and Batman. I was one of those nerds that went to those conventions, and pride myself at asking James Doohan the only question he seemed excited to answer (about his live steam model railroading). William Shatner was one of the people who made growing up special, and even after all these years, here's to you Bill.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  61. htos1

    Thank you,sir!I can proudly say I finally got my first ST uniform shirt this year,a blue science uniform,assigned to the USS Faragut.Compared to real life,I'll take this one,much more hopeful and beautiful.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  62. NorCalMojo

    The ultimate trekkie experience:

    "I would wear a rubber mask, and use a funny voice, and usually they would say, ‘Is that you, Shatner?’

    I'm not even a trekkie and I would treasure that. Total Kirk moment. I wish there was video.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  63. Tom from Virginia

    Captain Kirk is the hero many young men wanted to be. As we have grown we are still fascinated and admire Shatner. He is the man.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Logic

      We all just wanted to score like he did....

      July 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  64. vegan

    It's amazing that he's 81, he looks 61 in that picture.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  65. PantyRaid

    I wonder if he's ever "shat" himself?

    July 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  66. bobbylie

    Does everyone forget that the dear Captain was promoted to Admiral?

    July 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • D

      and then demoted back to Captain again ...

      July 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
      • Tim

        And advised Picard to never give up that captain's chair. Because as long as you sit there, you can still make a difference.

        July 19, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  67. marcparella

    It could have all been different Bill... Irwin Allen could have called instead.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  68. Patriot

    Bill Shatner is just one of a hoard of Canadians that have had, and continue to have, a huge impact on the US film, television, and music industries... Just remember that when you read an idiot posting by one of the trolls who stalk CNN comments.and slander Canada. Just to name a few, Canadians that is not trolls: Pamela Anderson, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Seth Rogen, Ellen Page, Michael Cera, James Cameron, David Cronenberg, Eugene Levy, Will Arnett, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Neve Campbell, Hayden Christensen, Lorne Michaels, Tommy Chong, Catherine O'Hara, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Elisha Cuthbert, Michael J. Fox, Brendan Fraser, Rachel McAdams, Leslie Nielsen, Christopher Plummer, Anna Paquin, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Fay Wray, Paul Haggis, Jason Reitman, Evan Goldberg, Cobie Smulders, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Vincenzo Natali, Matthew Perry, Nathan Fillion, Keanu Charles Reeves, Avril Ramona Lavigne, Peter Jennings, Keith Morrison, the list goes on, and on, and on…

    July 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Biggs

      Zzzzzz typical boring Canadian....

      July 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
      • adrifter

        You know Canada is considered by some to be boring because it's always compared to the USA. The land of gun-totiing Bible-thumpers who think it's Christian to let people die or go broke without health care and who think it's democratic to let billionaires buy your government. I agree that's more interesting, but I'd rather be boring. Cheers.

        July 19, 2012 at 2:11 am |
      • ADiff

        I dunno....Toronto has been more interesting lately it seems. Is 'boring' a bad thing?

        I'd argue not.

        July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • DC

      Wow. Amazing list of talent. Canada must really suck for all of them to leave.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 am |
      • Andy Daniel

        TV and film have always drawn the best actors from Canada to the US, and it's no surprise. It comes down to the fact that it costs about the same to produce a TV show for a Canadian audience as for an American audience, but the American audience is 10 times larger, so they can afford to pay alot more for talent. It shouldn't be a surprise that so many actors come from Canada since after all Canada is about 10% of the size of the US, so about 10% of North American actors should be born there.

        July 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • fritz

      Absolutely! It's because you Canadian folks being just north of us, receive the radiant glow of our greatness and it just rubs off on you canucks.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • Tim

      You forgot the MOST important one.... Alex Trebek.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  69. dudley

    It's cool. It'll always be cool.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  70. Subnx

    I'm writing this on an iPad, a Star Trek device.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  71. dan

    It may be weird, it may be crazy, but I'm a 43 yr old guy who as a small boy would watch my father's favorite TV show which, during the 70s was common to find on saturday night after doing a full days work around and inside the house. It was special times. I watch shatner well into college until I got hooked on TNG. Picard took a few episodes to wear on me, but, once it took I was hooked. I don't personally get into the conventions nor do I do the dress up and character thing, but, just short of that level I'm totally trekkie. Live long and prosper.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  72. Connie Moen

    I love this man on earth no matter where he has been with Star Trek. He is wise here on earth. Thank you Bill. Love you since the series started and for so many reasons since.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  73. steviej

    I watched those original ST episodes so many times I had the dialogue memorized. Shatner was just a bad actor in a well written show. Gene Roddenberry was the genius. I missed the show for a long time, but then STNG came along and Patrick Stewart and cast were just phenomenal. After Gene the show went downhill fast. STDSN was ok. STV was just plain awful. I thought I could watch scifi just for the reason that it was scifi and not some idiots with a laugh track. Kate Mulgrew was just downright painful to watch; 10 times worse than Shatner. I tried to give Jonathan Archer the benefit of the doubt, but I never got past the first three STE shows. Ultimately, I haven't turned the TV on in over five years.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • jobruce2

      William Shatner is a great actor

      July 19, 2012 at 12:09 am |
      • jobruce2

        So is Leonard Nimoy.

        July 19, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • ag

      Wow, why do so many out there trash Voyager? I thought it was great. DS9 got a little dull, though.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  74. LeighVA

    Always enjoyed 'Star Trek'. Captain Kirk was my favorite character on the show when I was a little girl. Liked Spock, too, but Captain Kirk always kept it together and always got them out of some really untenable situations. I and my dad would watch the show together and I and couldn't wait for it to come on! I would call it 'Star Track', and my dad would correct me. 'No, honey', he'd say, 'it's Star T-r-e-k ~ Trek.' Such memories!

    July 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Tafadzwa

      Awesome script, mulpitle camera angles and shots, perfect comedic timing and expert editing. You must've brought a few clones with you on tour.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  75. david

    Play it for all you can Captain!

    July 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  76. Archangel

    Star Trek – the original series – gave us a possible future that seemed within our grasp, and extension of the best humanity had to offer. This continues throughout the other Star Trek series and movies. Many scientists, engineers, and astronauts credit Star Trek for their inspiration. Captain Kirk was the fearless, compassionate leader that we would all be willing to follow. That he was hot and irresistible to women (human and alien) was an extra. Shatner gave form and voice to the character of Kirk, and for that I'll always love him. I also hope I'll look as good and be as sharp as he is when I'm 81. Best Wishes always, Mr. Shatner, and thank you for the impact you've had on so many of us.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tina J.

      And it's more than the technology that has drawn people in, although that is a huge draw, it's the ideology. The belief that we can and should try to live with each other in some peaceful existence does draw people to Star Trek.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:23 am |
      • Boater39

        I've always said that if we didn't spend all of this money on wars and everyone learned to get along with each-other instead, we'd probably have the Starship Enterprise by now, less a couple of the more advanced features like warp drive....

        July 19, 2012 at 3:25 am |
  77. Dale

    Live Long and prosper Capt. James T Kirk, I have been and always will be your fan.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • clevercandi

      Excellent post, Dale.

      Live long and prosper 🙂

      July 19, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  78. jaimie

    Beam me up scotty. Honestly when I was a kid I like Star Trek. Still do. Oldie but goodie.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  79. J.C. Towler

    Nice to see Shatner has finally come to embrace those people who did so much for him, his career, and his bank account. I'm always curious why some actors–I'm looking at you Harrison Ford–dismiss characters they've played that are clearly important to millions of fans.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  80. PAUL



    July 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  81. sshcc2k5

    So is this genuine atonement for his SNL sketch or yet another way-too-easy cash grab now that the Priceline money is gone?

    July 18, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Dude

      He is still under contract with Priceline and still getting paid. Also, he owns a fair chunk of the company. They could not afford to pay him when he started, so he became the spokesperson in exchange for a chunk of the company.

      He will be back as sure as Captain Kirk.

      July 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Scott M

      Atonement? No way! He does not regret one word, and all it did was help the franchise anyway, that was right before TNG started and right in the middle of all the Star Trek films.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  82. The_Mick

    For those of us who remember when the only thing that ever orbited the Earth was the Moon and when video of events around the world took days to reach the USA before they could be shown on U.S. today, Star Trek (Original Seris) was our first serious look at what was going to happen after the first steps in space that humans were making at that time (no one had landed on the Moon yet). For those like me, who ground his own telescope mirrors and knew where all the Messier objects were in the sky (distant galaxys, star clusters, dust clouds, etc.), Star Trek was so exciting an idea we couldn't understand why it was ever taken off the air – or why everyone didn't want to watch it. I never got caught up in the conventions. Maybe because I was soon spending my time in college doing research with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance machines, aligning atom-smashers, and synthesizing new compounds, but I understand why people would take the time to translate the Bible into Klingon. I can remember arguing with my sister over whether to watch Star Trek or Little House on the Prairie. She won and Laura and her new husband were fixing up an old house. I said, "C'mon, you already know how this sick show will end. They'll spend all their money fixing it and when they're done a meteorite will come out of the sky and destroy it." She wouldn't listen – she liked/likes tearjerkers and, though I was wrong, the house was destroyed by a fire after they finished fixing it. But I've seen all the S.T.O.S. episodes in reruns and you can see them ALL on hulu.com now for free.

    July 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  83. Don

    I guess his Star Trek legacy follows him everywhere. I understand Shatner once had a colonoscopy done by a Doctor who was a hugh Star Trek fan. Right before he started the procedure he announced, "My mission is to go where no man had dared to go before."

    July 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • t-bird

      As an aside, when I read through the top line of your post, I at first thought he had a colonoscopy done by Dr. Who (lol)! I guess reading all these comments has made my eyes wonky! Liked Picard better as a captain, but I appreciate the fact that this show is the one that really started the whole sci-fi TV genre. Stargate SG-1 is my current favorite, but the ideology that was presented in the original Star Trek lives on, even in these new(er) series.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  84. c s

    Most of us live our life is lived too fast and we fail to understand much of what is happening. In this case, William Shatner offers some insight into the lives of his fellow humans that most cannot understand. I always wondered about why people would go to those Star Trek conventions. After reading this article, I understand why people do it.

    July 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm |