A Matter of Shatner's Perspective

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Khan 2.0, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    William Shatner was the star of the show with Leonard Nimoy as his co-star! DeForest Kelley was only upgraded to co-star status for the second season and he was absent from a few episodes in the first season!!! The rest of the regulars were paid by the day I've read and therefore not essential to the story of the week Shatner would probably think! It was well known back in those days that the star had to look out for himself because he was the face of the show and had to promote his character as much as he could and save the story if it was floundering! Martin Landau is guilty of that as well in a few Space 1999 episodes so the idea is not unique here on Star Trek! The only difference here being that the Shat didn't consider any of the supporting cast as friends (Nichelle Nichols not withstanding) and they felt that too!
    JB
     
  2. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not friends with everyone in my office either. And I don't even remember 90% of the people I worked with 30 years ago. Particularly the part-timers. I wasn't mean to them, at least not to my recollection (of which I have little) but I'm sure more than one of them thought I was distant, insensitive or preoccupied with my own standing in the workplace at the time. I think one of them called me "arrogant" but I disagreed.

    Everyone has different experiences with everyone else. Even Hitler had a girlfriend.
     
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  3. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    People need to stop filtering TOS through the lens of modern television. Until the mid 80s there was no such thing as an ensemble cast on network tv. In the 60s there was one star, rarely two. Two or three supporting actors, and a number of bit players. Sometimes a popular supporting actor could be moved up to co-star, or a bit player could advance to supporting. It was extremely rare for a bit player to be moved all the way up to co-star. The only time I can recall that happening was with Fonzie in Happy Days.

    The Gang of Four, whether they wanted to admit it or not, were bit players. When the show was being made they knew this and accepted it. They, like most actors, were just happy to have a paying gig week to week. But then, in the 70s, the Cons happened. And they were told over and over by star struck fans what big stars they were and how wonderful the performances were, and after a while they started to believe it. I feel kind of sorry for them.
     
  4. Jadeb

    Jadeb Commodore Commodore

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    Agree the supporting players were supporting players, but there were plenty of "ensemble" shows before the '80s -- Bonanza, Big Valley, Dark Shadows, Mission: Impossible, Beverly Hillbillies, etc. Even Lost in Space started out as one, before it became the Dr. Smith show.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  5. Mister Spock

    Mister Spock Commander Red Shirt

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    Nimoy mentioned in one of his books that he and Shatner had a sibling rivalary of practical jokes and set ups. He took the bike hiding in good humour and focussed on plotting his own revenge.
     
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  6. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Yep. And Soap and Barney Miller and Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, etc. Dark Shadows was a soap opera, which are almost always ensembles.
     
  7. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, and the fact series of that kind existed before and during TOS should have been a clear message that on Star Trek, they were never meant to have a larger role on the same standing as the series leads. Think of this example on the 1966-68 Batman TV series, Stafford Repp (Chief O'Hara) and Madge Blake (Aunt Harriet) were actually listed as main players by contract, reflected in the main credits, yet at no time did they--being main players--ever complain about their status, or believe they were entitled to be treated (as actor or their characters) as Adam West and Burt Ward, the true stars of the series.

    Repp and Blake seemed to have a mature, professional understanding of the hierarchy of a series, and which actors were its focus, unlike Takei, Nichols, Doohan and Koenig, whether they were deceiving themselves during TOS' production, or allowed the attention received as the Star Trek phenomenon became a cultural Mount Everest starting in the early 1970s.

    The bottom line of it all, if Shatner had not won the role of Kirk, I doubt anyone else would have put his kind of magnetism/interpretation into the character, played off of Nimoy in such a perfect way, or played a major role with that performance selling the series in the first place. In other words, with anyone else, TOS might have been a mid-season cancellation, or one in a long line of single season shows that year (e.g., The Time Tunnel, The Tammy Grimes Show, Love on a Rooftop, etc.). The whiners should have been grateful, but such mature behavior was not to be found in their er...skillset.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  8. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not all that sure Koenig thought he was anything more than a minor player. He's always downplayed his role in the series while still acknowledging that the leads could have been nicer. He's gone on record saying Shatner the actor and Shatner the man were two different people.
     
  9. Serveaux

    Serveaux Mediocre Old White Man Premium Member

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    I saw Jon Fiedler lance into Shatner (in a somewhat arch fashion) at a Baltimore con back in the late 80s. I don't really remember what he said, just the relish with which he replied to a question about working with him on Trek.
     
  10. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    F--- him. F--- all the lesser-career actors who trashed Shatner as a shameless play for attention.

    Marianna Hill (Helen Noel) said nice things. Ian Wolfe (Mr. Atoz) said nice things. Even Elinor Donahue (Commissioner Hedford) said nice things, and director Ralph Senensky recalls Shatner giving her a hard time for mispronouncing "Cochrane" at the table reading. These were classy professionals who understood that it was a job, a high-stakes, time-pressured workplace, and what mattered was getting the finished product right because millions of people would see it.

    I've been a fan all my life in part BECAUSE Shatner was so focused on getting it right— on his own show.
     
  11. Serveaux

    Serveaux Mediocre Old White Man Premium Member

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    Decaf, dude.

    It's no one's fault but Shatner's that so many people who worked with him disliked him. Get on with living.

    I'm deeply moved. :rolleyes: Thanks for sharing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  12. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were not the only guest stars who had positive things to say about Shatner, but that was and continues to be ignored by those either supporting the whining supporting players, failed to understand the hierarchy of a series of that nature, or bought into that "we're all one big Star Trek family" propaganda regularly sold at conventions from the start.

    Its rather strange that the supporting cast either believed they "deserved" more, or focused their hatred on the man who was a part of the reason why Star Trek became a regular series (AKA their paycheck) in the first place. They also danced around Nimoy being very aggressive about his role / status on the show, various demands made behind the scenes, etc. He--like any lead actor--was thinking as much about himself as the welfare of the series, but again, that is skipped over. Shatner, Shatner, Shatner...and that obsession did not help their roles or status on any post-TOS Star Trek project. They should have taken a breath and wondered why that happened.

    The very reason that after nine Trek TV series over a half-century, Shatner (and Nimoy) is still the face and brand of the franchise unlike any of the innumerable actors who followed him. That speaks to his talent and dedication in creating a character millions were and still enjoy.
     
  13. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Meanwhile, Shatner is probably like "Christ, can't we talk about horses? Or TJ Hooker? Or Boston Legal? Or my next album?! Hello? Crap, back to Ticonderoga."
     
  14. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

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    At new year Shatner tweeted he was going to stop responding/interacting with people on twitter (presumably due to all the arguments he was getting into about various stuff) and just post singular announcement tweets like others celebs do ..I wonder if he'll slip back into it when he gets bored.. or at least tweet some more insider Trek stuff :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2021
  15. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    Shatner should simply interact with people who are not flaming, and who have questions that are not loaded for an argument.
     
  16. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, but I don't see him holding forth much on Star Trek. What don't we know at this point that he could possibly remember?
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Nimoy reportedly stood up for Nichols and Takei to get roles on the animated show. He was not reported to be difficult on set. Behind the scenes negotiations isn't the same as being difficult on set.

    I'm sure any resentments Doohan, Nichols and Takei had got amplified in the 70s with all the fan love and attention they were getting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
  18. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Yes!
    Own it Shatner!

    And there were other guests who said negative things about Shatner's behaviour. I've been to conventions and heard them and I've also heard guests who say Shatner was OK.

    We all know Shatner didn't go around being rude to ever single person he met. I don't think anyone's saying he was a psychopath or strangled kittens or stole candy from babies.

    I think he was pretty smooth with the attractive ladies and important people but doesn't have time for underlings, whining supporting players, unattractive guests or people who don't suck up to him or us fans.
     
  19. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Shatner is a human being. People like him. People don't like him. That's the nature of things. I'm sure many very fine folks on this BBS have lot of devoted friends as well as a collection of people who don't think of them as highly. The difference is, not many of us were the leads on a 55 year old TV series that people just won't stop bringing up. Had Star Trek just faded away after cancellation, then Shatner would hardly be a topic any more than what Justin Tarr thought of Christopher George or how Chris Robinson felt about Paul Burke. In fact I'd rather hear from those guys because I haven't heard their stories - embellished over the years - a thousand times.

    Guys like Takei make me tired of talking about Star Trek sometimes.
     
  20. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wasn't there something said about Nimoy once and that when he exploded he was worse than Shatner ever was?
    Plus the two stars of the series were Bill & Leonard. The proof is that they were in every episode of the series! Even DeForest missed three episodes in the first season (four if you count Where No Man) James Doohan was absent from a few too even into the second season. Although mentioned he was not in either of the Vulcan episodes or The Omega Glory where his absence was duly noted! He was in every episode of the third season but like George Takei, who missed out half the shows in the second season due to his filming duties on the Green Berets and Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig's few missing shows as well! From what I've seen of Shatner on the memories and mistakes shots he liked to be the main focus of everyone's attention and the camera but what would the secondary cast have been saying if Jack Lord had of been cast as Kirk? :crazy:
    JB
     
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