So why William Shatner, and why did I decide to review every one of his appearances (that I could possibly find)?
My initial reaction when trying to figure out how to explain this to someone was that William Shatner is totally awesome, and if you don’t agree with that premise than you might want to move on.
But I quickly realized that wasn’t true at all, really, and it might drive away some folks who don’t think Shatner is awesome but love obsessive little sites like this with (hopefully) entertaining reviews of movies and TV shows from 195o to the present day. So again, the question: why William Shatner and why review everything in chronological order?
The answer to the first question can be found at a holiday party many years ago, when I was a very young teenager or tween. My brother and his wife were talking about a record they had heard called Golden Throats, which was a compilation of various 1960’s TV and movie stars singing popular songs. Two of the songs on this compilation were taken from William Shatner’s first(!) album, The Transformed Man, which he recorded and released during Star Trek, at the height of his popularity to that date. I said that I had never heard of Captain Kirk singing, and shortly I was given a cassette tape copy of Golden Throats to listen to.
That fucking thing blew my young head right off. If you’ve never heard Shatner sing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or “Mr. Tambourine Man” then you haven’t fully lived. The fact that the record also contained “songs” by Leonard Nimoy, Andy Griffith, Jim Nabors, and JACK WEBB was just aural gravy.
How could someone, a respected actor, put out something so bizarre and miscalculated without suffering a complete and utter professional collapse? How were we, as a species, so lucky to have this thing even exist? How would my world ever be the same again? Answer: it would not.
So, basically it started as a joke. This was funny stuff. Then I started trying to find more odd things that Shatner had done. Over the years I and my friends would try to find the best and worst movies & TV shows with Shatner…Kingdom of the Spiders, Impulse, Alexander the Great, The Horror at 37,000 Feet, Big Bad Mama, The Devil’s Rain, etc. etc. etc. Then I started to just collect all appearances, whether they were hilariously bad or deliriously great (often these things are one and the same.)
Interestingly enough, at about the same time that I got started in really hunting for more and more obscure Shatner stuff, Robert Schnakenberg published The Encyclopedia Shatnerica, which was one of the first indications I had that there were a number of other people in the world with the same disease that I was afflicted with. I thought that book had really stolen my future thunder, but it is quite limited (a large number of appearances are not discussed at all, and some of the information is incorrect.) I still heartily recommend buying that book, as it is a good primer for some of the stuff I’m trying to do with this site.
Anyway, the hunt for Shatner appearances went from being a joke, to being completely serious and back again. It still vacillates to this day as I scour the internets for the most obscure things possible. Now, I’m fairly certain that I have one of the largest collections of William Shatner appearances known to man or god.
But what to do with all of this delicious Shatner but to share him (and my love/obsession of him) with the world at large? Almost everyone knows of Shatner from Star Trek, TJ Hooker, Boston Legal and/or Priceline. But what about the Shatner of Voice of the Planet or Perilous Voyage? What about the naked Shat in Big Bad Mama? What about the “singing” Shat performing “Rocket Man” at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards? What about the seemingly thousands of appearances he made during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on everything from The Naked City to Mission Impossible?
So here we go. I felt the best way to immerse myself and you, gentle readers, in the Shat’s essence would be to start at the beginning and run chronologically through his many appearances. That way, our understanding of him can build and grow with The Man himself. A lot can be learned through careful, methodical, chronological viewing; with the appropriate context, much can be made clear to Shatnerian student.