Oedipus Rex (01/06/1957)

Shatner’s second motion picture is…underwhelming.

In 1950, when Shatner was most likely a junior at McGill University in Montreal, he appeared in his very first motion picture¬†The Butler’s Night Off. In that film, he played one of the “crooks,” a very small role with only a few lines. Seven years later he would appear in his second motion picture, this time a filmed version of the classic Sophocles play Oedipus Rex. Once again however, and actually even more so than The Butler’s Night Off, this was the very opposite of a starring or featured role.

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Goodyear Television Playhouse – “All Summer Long” (10/28/1956)

And Introducing…William Shatner!

“And Introducing William Shatner”

For many years, while the idea for and structure of this blog percolated in my head, I assumed that this would be the very first post that I would ever write and those words above would be the very first to appear. That was because “All Summer Long” was the oldest extant William Shatner appearance in my library for a long time. But two things came along to change that plan. The first is that I was able to find two other earlier Shatner appearances to review (The Butler’s Night Off and “Billy Budd.”) The other is that I decided to post not only on viewable appearances but on all other Shatner work that I could reasonably verify because I’m OCD and/or fucking obsessed. And so you loyal reader(s) have been subjected to over 3 dozen (!) posts up to now about the great Shatner’s many appearances in movies, TV shows and in the theater.

But “Introducing William Shatner” is still a very apt description of the importance and impact “All Summer Long” was to have on Bill and his career. Before this program Shatner was almost a complete unknown in the United States, having only moved to New York City a month or so prior and before that doing all of his work in Canada which then, as now, had a much smaller viewership than almost anything shown in the USA. As Basil Rathbone once told Shatner on the set of “Billy Budd,” “…in the United States there’s thirty to fifty million people watching a television program, but in Canada it’s only five to ten million.” With this one episode of Goodyear Television Playhouse, William Shatner was about to perform for an audience 3 to 6 times larger and potentially more influential than ever before…

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