Putting the Shatner "ego issue" from TOS to rest

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Gary7, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Keep in mind that bitter actors use this Shatner myth to pad an otherwise blink-and-you-missed it career. The most notorious of this lot was Doohan, Takei and Yvonne Craig; take away the Shatner BS, and what do you have?

    "uh, Scotty had more lines in that episode! I shoulda, coulda, woulda..."

    Whatever. Shatner was not Roddenberry, Desilu, NBC or the series' sponsors--the only agents (individually or collectively) who had the influnece to change an actor's position (fate). 1960s TV had a pecking star order, and Doohan was #4 at best. If someone with an inarguably more important role--such as Batman's Burt "Robin" Ward--was occasionally shortchanged in the line department (and during the era, Robin was crucial to the Batman image / franchise), what made Doohan assume he needed to be elevated beyond his level?

    Shatner did not create Scotty, nor was he responsible for how the star/series system worked.

    Takei: "oooohhhhhh Shatner was very democratic, but not fair where lines were...blah blah..."

    Bonk, bonk, bad kid. See the Doohan analysis.

    Yvonne Craig: no career worth mentioning, other than that she played a signficant role in the death of the Batman TV series...so i'm guessing she's not going to go into too much detail about that. On the other hand, she feels the need to talk crap about a man she did not know on a show she spent all of what--a couple days on at best? Yes, that's all one requires to make character assessments repreated over the span of decades as "fact."

    Some cannot accept their limited position in the annals of entertainment, and if there was ONE--just one lesson they should have learned back in acting school, it was the fact everyone is not going to be a star, some will be more successful than you, so there is no "level playing field" in a business about perception and ability.

    Shatner had ability not lost to anyone watching him, starting in his early years in Canada, and certainly when cast as Kirk. If Doohan--through the force of his performances--scored some major hit with audiences on a Shatner level, producers would not waste any time trying to milk him--its to their benefit to do so--but that did not happen, as he (like Takei) was not "that guy."

    Bitter pill, but eventually, the taste goes away, and the medicine is accepted.
     
  2. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  3. NewHorizon

    NewHorizon Captain Captain

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    I would guess that Shatner's behavior comes down more to insecurity than ego. My friend worked at a convention he was speaking at back in the late 80's, around the time of Trek 5. She was quite surprised to hear she would be working as one of the assistants while he was there. She was really put off by his treatment of the help, very dismissive and rude, as if they were of lesser value because they were 'only' assistants. There were several shouts of "don't you know who I am, I'm William Shatner" thrown in for good measure.

    To be fair, the Trek 5 period seemed to be the height of his pomposity.
     
  4. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Shatner has openly admitted that he was sometimes dismissive of his co-stars and inconsiderate of their feelings. He has lessened his ego over the years, and has even made some attempts to reconcile. He and James Doohan buried the hatchet before Doohan's death, for example.

    However, I think things have also been inflated over the years. As has been pointed out here, TOS was not an ensemble show. Ensemble shows, as we know them today, were virtually non-existent on TV back then. The formula was that you had one or two main stars, a guest star of the week, and then some supporting players. That's the formula TOS followed.

    The supporting characters were important inasmuch as someone needed to pilot the ship or open the hailing frequencies, but their character development was not important. Can you think of any episode of TOS where you could not have removed Sulu or Chekov or Uhura and substituted a nameless ensign? In fact, TOS did this frequently when a particular actor was not available. Now, imagine trying to swap out Kirk or Spock or McCoy for a different character. Wouldn't work.

    Once TOS became a cult sensation in the 1970's, fans began to elevate the supporting actors to something of legendary status, and those actors began to see themselves as of significant importance to the success of TOS. But, at the time, they were just supporting players. That's not being cruel. That's just the way television was at the time.
     
  5. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    My one and only "meeting Shatner" story is via a friend. My friend was an usher at a local playhouse in the 70s, while Shat was doing one of his little local shows. After the show, in the parking lot, my friend couldn't get his car started. Shatner, driving by in his camper, stopped and offered to help. So, hey, that was nice of him.
     
  6. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not every lead actor is David Janssen or Roger More or Scott Bakula. Some are Jack Lord, David Boreanaz, or William Petersen. The bottom line is how you like their work. William Shatner's Kirk will never be surpassed for me. I don't give a flinging turd if he was a dick to the cast or not.

    However, the lower level cast's constant harping on it for extended spotlight grabbing is annoying as hell. So are the "Walter Koenig ripped Shatner a new on on Raw Nerve" declarations. BS. I saw Raw Nerve and the two of them were very cordial and only slightly heated at times (it's also well known that Koenig dislikes confrontation and is generally reasonable in person). The most interesting part of the conversation was about Takei: George and Walter are NOT good friends, yet George made him his best man. Hmmm.

    Note to lower tier Trek actors: get over it. Shatner doesn't start this crap, you do. He'd be more than happy to let you all fade into memory and ride his horses.
     
  7. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But that IS thre thing: they were actors who could not get lucritive ACTING jobs. So they worked elsewhere (politics can be considered a form of acting, I suppose). Nobody said they were bums or unemployed, but that their acting careers went pretty much nowhere.

    William Shatner has never worked as anything but an actor his entire life. According to his biography, anyway.
     
  8. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, but he did have to live in A VAN by THE RIVER.
     
  9. Haggis and tatties

    Haggis and tatties Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That he has a ego is nothing new for actors, that some actors have carried this grudge on for almost 47 years is the most shocking part....they really needed to have moved on from this a long ago.....although it did not help that the whole Shatner thing gave them stories to tell the many Trek cons they apppeared at.

    Bottom line, people can be assholes at times, welcome to earth.
     
  10. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Totally disgree with the notion that if you're a fan of the character, that you're also a fan of the actor who portrays the character.

    I'm a huge fan of Kirk, but not a fan of Shatner.

    Mr Awe
     
  11. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep and in theater parking lots and actors driveways and other places with his little camper. It was a lean time after Star Trek for him, but he kept working, getting roles and finally got momentum back. He succeeded. And nobody can tell me he was LESS identified with his role than Doohan or Takei. For the same number of people who thought Doohan was Scott, Shatner was Kirk. Yet Shatner was able to get past the dark time and revitalize his career.

    So, to me, this is "supporting cast sour grapes" and another way to stay in the spotlight.
     
  12. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Another element that hasn't been brought up in this discussion, Shatner owned a small percentage (5%?) of TOS, so much of his on-set behavior may have been from the pressure of having a personal stake in making the show a success, critically and financially.
     
  13. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I often wonder if the truth isn't just that a whole lot of Trek fans love--and are willing to pay to hear--stories about how awful Shatner is. And everyone from James Doohan to Yvonne Craig knew/knows it. ;)
     
  14. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ I'd rather hear that they all got along great! So, nope, that's not it. Much more fun to picture them all have a great time together.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  15. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is the very first I have ever heard of this. Are you sure?

    It's simple. The gang of four spear-carriers started believing all the hot air the fans blew up their skirts. Truth is, Shatner was THE star. Period.

    Shatner wasn't an ass, he was just a working actor hustling as best he could to support himself and his family. The man never turned down a paying gig in his life.

    That said, he only learned late in life that he had to pander to the Trekies to make them like him, so he did a George Forman and started making fun of himself. He went from a serious actor who took his craft seriously - yes, perhaps too seriously - to a clown.

    Personally, I think we may have missed out on getting some great performances out of him.
     
  16. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have a little problem with this narrative. Shatner's not a clown. Any self-effacement we see is genuine enough to make it touching (IMHO of course). His cover of "Common People", and that whole damn album, is utterly brilliant.

    I think at some point after doing fare like "The People", "Horror at 37,000 Feet" (Not the TZ ep), and "The Devil's Rain"...he became unable to convince himself that the guy who did some marvelously subtle work in the first season of TOS, and his first TZ appearance could do that again.

    The fact that he could reinvent himself as someone who still has something interesting to say on the human condition is nothing short of amazing to me.
     
  17. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, it's mentioned in the Justman/Solow book. It was really more of a profit participation for the series only. But Star Trek lost money first run, so he got nothing. His percentage was lost in his divorce settlement, I think, so his ex would have gotten it anyway, I believe.
     
  18. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're seriously contending that stories about Shatner's alleged vileness are not popular in both convention presentations and "tell-all" books?
     
  19. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ They may be, but for my money, I'd much rather see a group of people like the TNG cast who get together on stage, have a lot of fun, and obviously love each other. That's far more entertaining in my book than hearing embittered actors air their dirty laundry.
     
  20. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Publicity. No one Takei uses any chance to milk the legacy of ST anywhere he can, including turning his personal business into a would-be pop culture footnote. If memory serves, he also invited Shatner and Nimoy, but both found other things to do.

    Well said. There's no other TV series in history where minor supporting characters complained so much (and often) about something they did not earn--or deserve considering the level their characters occupied.

    I always find it funny that during the production of TOS, Nimoy also line counted, made demands, and took advantage of his swelling popularity--it was about himself, not the supporting players (he did not become their official champion until the casting issues surrounding the animated series), yet they do not attack him, when his own demands certainly (in the big picutre) limited the supporters' weekly parts.