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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General Motors Theatre – “Billy Budd” (04/26/1955)

The only extant television appearance for Shatner during his formative era at the CBC.

Shatner (from everything I know) made at least 19 appearances in CBC television programs from 1954-1956. Of these, only one is viewable. That one is an episode of General Motors Theatre, “Billy Budd.” This is a review of that episode.

That’s right, folks! It’s time for a gen-u-ine review, complete with pictures and videos! Break out the champagne (or the harder stuff) and settle in for this (unintentionally?) homoerotic production of “Billy Budd.” I promise to be gentle.

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