Our Need For William ShatnerAbout The Author
by: Kenneth McCormick
In the old days, well old days to you but not such old days to me, certain actors and actresses would become so popular that they would go on seemingly forever in films, until they were not able to do the job any longer or died. Some of these people were Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and others. This was said to be attributed to their great skill at acting. We would watch one of their movies and say things like, wow he still has it. That was a complement which meant he still was a great actor. These names were so powerful that when they would appear on a movie marquee, many people would rush to see the movie, just because a certain person was in it. I guess you would have to say that this was the golden age of movies. Then something very profound happened. Television started to become popular. With television however, it was much harder to attain this type of status, although in the beginning a few did like Milton Berle and Jack Benny, two comedians. Then it happened, one person came on to the scene in the sixties and his fame is still with us to day.
William Shatner was not an actor that you would put into the class of a Fonda, Taylor, or Bogart. He never claimed that he was. He began his acting career in 1950. He was born in 1931 and kept his real name which is very unusual. His full name is William Alan Shatner and as most people know, he was born in Canada. His grandfather was Wolf Schattner and anglicized the family name to Shatner. Shatner was raised in the conservative Jewish religion. When I said that Shatner was not in the class of Fonda and others, this was not to say that he was not a good actor. He was trained as a classical Shakespearean actor and appeared in the Stratford Festival of Canada in Stratford, Ontario. There is something about Shatner's personality that seems to make us like to watch him. I don't know the man since I have never met him, but he does come across like a very likeable person. I remember watching him recently on an interview show that he had on cable and he interviewed Leonard Nimoy. Icouldn't pull myself away from it. Does Shatner have some power over us that we are not aware of?
There are still a few of us around that remember the Howdy Doody Show. It was a very early tv show for children that featured a marionette as Howdy Doody. Shatner played Ranger Bob in the Canadian Version. Shatner did have some experience in the movies and was in the movie, The Brothers Karamazov. He played the younger brother. The film featured many big names of the time such as Yul Brynner, Lee J. Cobb, Richard Basehart, Albert Salmi, Maria Schell, Clare Bloom and others. Although Shatner made many movies other than Star Trek, I do not believe that is where his popularity arose from. It came initially from television. He made at least a couple of the original Twilight Zones, which are constantly being shown on television. He also did many voices, but when he became the fearless Captain Kirk of the star ship Enterprise, his career was really born. As strange as it seems, he probably didn't know it at the time, because the series was canceled after about 90 + episodes, but enjoyed and still enjoys constant re-runs.
Millions of people have grown up watching Shatner perform some hammy acting at times in the series, but there was that something that he had that made every episode enjoyable. The show began to have a life of its own. Star Trek conventions began to appear everywhere and suddenly everything Star Trek became collectable. Kirk (William Shatner) started to appear in small plastic statue form in all different Star Trek toys. People did not seem to be able to get enough of him. Then came the Star Trek movies. Shatner seemed to have perfected his acting ability to the point where it was even more enjoyable in the films than it had been on the tv screen. The first movie was Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Actually it wasn't very good. The next film however was considered one of the best and that was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The other films featuring the original cast were Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, StarTrek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The last Star Trek film that Shatner was to appear in was Star Trek: Generations.
We were all at a point now where we needed to see Shatner again. It had been some time since he had appeared on television. Before I get into that I have to tell you that Shatner received or was nominated for numerous awards for his acting. Here is a list of them:
2005 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television - Winner
1999 Emmy: Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series - Nominee
2004 Emmy: Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series - Winner
2005 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Winner
2006 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Nominee
2007 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Nominee
2008 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television - Nominee
2008 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Nominee
2009 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Nominee
Shatner was featured in several television series. They were the $10,000 Pyramid, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Battle of the Network Stars, Dr. Kildare, T.J. Hooker, The Defenders, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn and the Practice. He also has been the guest star on shows over 260 times and growing. He has appeared in over 52 movies as either an actor or voice. To this we have to add that he produced some shows and directed some episodes of shows.
At 79 years old, as of the writing of this article, Shatner is not finished yet and currently has a new show to fulfill our need to see him, it is called Shatner's Raw Nerve and appears on the Bio channel. It is basically an interview show where a guest comes on and is asked interesting questions by Shatner. It may not be the same as watching Shatner fight a lizard looking alien using only whatever is at hand, but he is getting a little long in the tooth for that. I guess we will just have to satisfy our Shatner needs without the action that used to accompany them. An old Shatner is better than no Shatner at all.
Ken is the webmaster of Http://aboutfacts.net an interesting, free Internet magazine that is suitable for the entire family.
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