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Old September 5 2012, 04:04 AM   #1
CoveTom
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Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

I have finally, waaaaay behind the curve, gotten around to reading Shatner's original Star Trek Memoriesbook. I've read Star Trek Movie Memories and some of his other stuff, but for some reason, never got around to this one.

I've only started, but like the other Shatner books, this one seems like a fun and interesting read. But for those of you more in the know about his books than I, I'm curious: how much of what he relates in these books is at least mostly connected to reality, and how much is crap? I know some of his co-stars, such as Nichelle Nichols, have taken exception to things in his books. But is that just sour grapes, or based in fact? And, lastly, how much of these works are actually Shatner's and how much is Chris Kreski's?

Just wondering...
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Old September 5 2012, 04:21 AM   #2
nightwind1
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

Shat's books are mostly Shat's ego on display.
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Old September 5 2012, 12:47 PM   #3
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

Well, I suspected that much... But, to be fair, I have read Leonard Nimoy's I Am Spock and Nichelle Nichols' Beyond Uhura. There's a healthy bit of ego on display in both. And, really, does anyone write a memoir about themselves and their life and not be driven somewhat by ego? But that doesn't mean that there isn't truth to the stories being told.
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Old September 5 2012, 01:26 PM   #4
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

Well between watching Kirk take on God in Star Trek V and reading The Return, I think I've exposed myself to a sufficiency of Shatner's ego.

There's nothing wrong with a health amount of pride and ego in one's accomplishments. It's when there is excessive embellishment it starts to become a self-parody.
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Old September 5 2012, 01:44 PM   #5
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

That's true. However, for the reputation Shatner has for a monumental ego, I really found it to be more on display in Nichelle Nichols' book than Shatner's. Whether that is due to the fact that she truly does have a more inflated ego than Shatner, or simply that he is better at writing in a way which camoflagues his ego, I'm not sure.

Regardless, I came away from Nichols' book feeling as though she thinks she played a part in every significant thing that ever happened on Star Trek, and Shatner at least pays lip service to the contributions of his fellow cast members. He speaks kindly of Nichols, for example, while she does not return the favor.
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Old September 5 2012, 01:46 PM   #6
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

What is it about the writing that you read as ego display? I haven't read them, I'm quite curious.
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Old September 5 2012, 02:33 PM   #7
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

nightwind1 wrote: View Post
Shat's books are mostly Shat's ego on display.
I don't think that's fair. There's a healthy amount of self-deprecation in them, as far as I remember.
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Old September 5 2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

teacake wrote: View Post
What is it about the writing that you read as ego display? I haven't read them, I'm quite curious.
In Shatner's works or Nichols'?
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Old September 5 2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

CoveTom wrote: View Post
I have finally, waaaaay behind the curve, gotten around to reading Shatner's original Star Trek Memoriesbook. I've read Star Trek Movie Memories and some of his other stuff, but for some reason, never got around to this one.

I've only started, but like the other Shatner books, this one seems like a fun and interesting read. But for those of you more in the know about his books than I, I'm curious: how much of what he relates in these books is at least mostly connected to reality, and how much is crap? I know some of his co-stars, such as Nichelle Nichols, have taken exception to things in his books. But is that just sour grapes, or based in fact? And, lastly, how much of these works are actually Shatner's and how much is Chris Kreski's?

Just wondering...
Shocking as some may find this, Shatner's Memories books are largely accurate. Compared to Justman and Solow's Inside Star Trek (which is probably the gold standard of the "behind the scenes" books for thoroughness and accuracy), Shatner's version of events in Star Trek Memories has some occasional bumps (his account of "City" doesn't quite align with Justman and Solow's version), but overall I'd say it's a pretty accessible account of what happened. Movie Memories may be the best book on the subject of the Star Trek movie era; it's not flawless, but there's no book that's as thorough at covering the six films. (Nick Meyer's book on his films comes close, but it's also riddled with errors.)

It's worth noting that James Doohan didn't participate in Shatner's interviews for Movie Memories, but after seeing that Shatner's book was even-handed, fair, and gave his costars room to vent about him in Memories he participated in Movie Memories.

As for how much of the book is Chris Kreski, I'd say that Kreski does a much better job capturing Shatner's voice than some of his other co-authors. Okay, more seriously, the Memories books are research-driven and I would be willing to bet that there's a lot in the books that isn't Shatner. However, there are many things in the books that are authentically Shatner, and Kreski does a good job at hiding the joins.
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Old September 7 2012, 02:53 AM   #10
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

I thought the best of Shat's books was Up Til Now which is Shatner's autobiography. Terrific book with great insights about the life of a struggling actor and about his hopes and his fears. The chapters about his late wife Nerine were heartbreaking and really resonated with me. Let's just say I've got my Nerine. I was surprised by how afraid Shatner is of being out of work. I shouldn't be because he has so many credits... but he has so many credits because he's so pathologically frightened of being a starving actor. To this day he's afraid! I think it's darling that a wealthl, world famous actor like Shat still carried around that kind of fear. It makes him seem less like an icon and more like a real life human being. My only bitch about Up Til Now is that it had to end.
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Old September 7 2012, 03:53 AM   #11
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

It's been awhile since I read any of them, but I remember them having quite a bit of self deprecating humor in them.
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Old September 8 2012, 10:29 PM   #12
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

I've made it quite a ways into the Star Trek Memories book, and I've noticed something that stands out as different from Movie Memories. In both books, Shatner quotes extensive passages from interviews with other actors, production people, etc. And in both books, he says he conducted the interviews himself. And other actors, such as Nichelle Nichols, have referred to being interviewed by Shatner for the book.

However, in Movie Memories, the quotes always use phrasing that makes it sound as though the people being interviewed are speaking directly to Shatner. When talking about Shatner, they'll say things like "so then you and I went to see Roddenberry" and so forth. But in Star Trek Memories, they always speak of Shatner in the third person. You know, like "Bill and I then rehearsed the scene". Just today, I noticed that in excerpts from several people including Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols.

Anyone know the reason for the difference? Was this some sort of editorial decision to word things that way? Or did someone other than Shatner actually conduct the interviews?
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Old September 8 2012, 10:53 PM   #13
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

I imagine that'd be an editorial decision for clarity
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Old September 9 2012, 12:14 AM   #14
Jonas Grumby
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

teacake wrote: View Post
What is it about the writing that you read as ego display? I haven't read them, I'm quite curious.
Well, it's like the whole book is him talking about himself and his perceptions and the way he remembers things.

Oh, wait...that's exactly what a memoir is supposed to be, isn't it.
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Old September 9 2012, 02:30 AM   #15
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Re: Shatner Memoirs: Fact or Crap?

For me, personally, the thing I identified as ego in Nichelle Nichols' book is the thing that is usually present in any interview she ever gives: namely, she wants to greatly inflate the contribution her character made to Star Trek in general and television history overall.

Yes, Uhura was an interesting character and, yes, Star Trek did make some strides at portraying a more diverse cast in which all were equals. But Uhura was never a major part of the series. She was always a supporting player. There is not so much as one episode that is actually about Uhura. And, as has been discussed numerous times here, Star Trek was not nearly as groundbreaking as it is often portrayed. The "first ever interracial kiss on television" was nothing of the sort. And even her famed story about Martin Luther King, Jr. is of questionable credibility.

That's what bothered me about her book. Whether "ego" is the correct term or not, I'm not sure.
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