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Happy 80th Birthday, William Shatner! 226

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the say-the-other-guys-thing dept.
gregg writes "Today another geek legend celebrates a birthday. Best known for portraying Captain James T. Kirk, William Shatner has cemented himself into geek science fiction lore forever. Today he begins his ninth decade on this planet — yes, Captain Kirk is now 80 years old."
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Happy 80th Birthday, William Shatner!

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:26PM (#35577676)

    Seems like a nice enough guy, but man is that show painful to watch. I don't toss around the word "himbo" outside of a tanning salon very often, but it's pretty bad when Valerie Bertinelli has to talk down to you.

    I guess at least his infamous ego seems to have ebbed a bit in his advanced years. But he still can't appreciate why Walter Koenig and others hated him in the Star Trek days. In his appearance on the show, Koenig looked like it was all he could do to keep from grabbing him and yelling "YOU STOLE ALL OUR LINES, MOTHERFUCKER!" It probably didn't help that Shatner kept saying stuff like "I'm sorry that you *perceived* me as being selfish or hostile to you back then."

    Still, got to give the guy props for a great performance in Star Trek 2. I always wondered how Nicholas Meyer got it out of him. On the DVD commentary track I finally learned how he did it. He would do so about 10 throwaway takes. After about 10 takes, Shanter would get tired and stop trying to be Shatner (i.e. the pompous hero) and he would start to play around with the lines and actually act. Shatner didn't realize what a favor Meyer was doing to him at the time.
     

    • Happy Birthday William. For your 80th birthday we have heavily Photoshopped this picture of you.
    • by Aighearach (97333)

      For his birthday party, we're going to play his rendition of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds on repeat.

      • Lucy in the sky... with DIAMONDS!

        How about some Rocket Man while we are at it? What, you can't get behind that, can you?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by AliasMarlowe (1042386)

        For his birthday party, we're going to play his rendition of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds on repeat.

        No, no, no; he'd enjoy hearing his own voice too much (however pathetic the actual words and lack of melody). Make him repeatedly watch and listen to Leonard Nimoy singing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" [youtube.com]. Of course, Shatner might not reach 81 this way...

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:55PM (#35578196) Homepage

      Still, got to give the guy props for a great performance in Star Trek 2.

      As Futurama put it:

      Leonard Nimoy: Melllvar, you have to respect your actors. When I directed Star Trek IV, I got a magnificent performance out of Bill because I respected him so much.
      William Shatner: And when I directed Star Trek V, I got a magnificent performance out of me, because I respected me so much!

    • Actually, I just caught Raw Nerve for the first time a few days ago, and really enjoyed it. That goofy chair has got to go, though.

    • by spun (1352)

      We will forever be indebted to Shatner for raising the theatrical craft known as "chewing the scenery" to new heights. To celebrate, we should all eat ham tonight.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Even Cybil Sheppard never quite matched his uncanny skill at pushing other actors out of the way to remain in the foreground.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I guess at least his infamous ego seems to have ebbed a bit in his advanced years. But he still can't appreciate why Walter Koenig and others hated him in the Star Trek days. In his appearance on the show, Koenig looked like it was all he could do to keep from grabbing him and yelling "YOU STOLE ALL OUR LINES, MOTHERFUCKER!" It probably didn't help that Shatner kept saying stuff like "I'm sorry that you *perceived* me as being selfish or hostile to you back then."

      I've heard this said a lot, and I want to agree with it, but honestly, who is the bigger douche: the person who (badly) rationalizes his behavior decades ago, or the person who is still offended over it ~30 years later? It's just so vain either way you spin it.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        In Koenig's defense, he was actually remarkably relaxed about it. He didn't choke or punch Shatner even once.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Actually, in the film industry that's a really big deal. It's tough enough to make the jump from supporting actor to lead or bigger parts without somebody stealing lines. Depending upon ones luck, that can very easily kill a career.

      • He has to say that every now and then that we know we are in the presence of greatness.
    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:02PM (#35578286) Homepage

      "I'm sorry that you *perceived* me as being selfish or hostile to you back then."

      I read that as "I'm... SORRY... that... you... PERCEIVED... me? as... BEING... selfish... or... hostile? to... YOU... back then."

    • Nicholas Meyer

      Sorry if this is a little off-topic, but since you mentioned him, I have to ask: does anyone remember that show with him and Tom Davis, called "Trailer Park"? Davis would show trailers from various science fiction movies and talk about them, afterwards. At the end of the show, Meyer would always do a deep, philosophical commentary about one of the films.

      The show didn't last long, but I still miss it.

    • Raw Nerve is hard to watch. But we watched it because of Shatner!

      He is an institution to himself and can play that up until the day he dies for all I care. And so he can be forgiven for his many foibles - nay I say they are the bulk of why we love him. Can you say TJ Hooker and not smile? CAN YOU???

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        Better yet, the movie Showtime, where Shatner made fun of his TJ Hooker persona, which was already fairly self-satirizing.
    • Great analysis, Dr., of someone you've never met. Do you give discount rates for patients you actually see in person?
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Are you suggesting he's spent the last 50 years just pretending to be an egostical himbo, as some sort of elaborate bit of performance art? Wow, that puts even Andy Kaufman to shame. Good on him.

    • by OakDragon (885217)

      I always wondered how Nicholas Meyer got it out of him. On the DVD commentary track I finally learned how he did it. He would do so about 10 throwaway takes. After about 10 takes, Shanter would get tired and stop trying to be Shatner (i.e. the pompous hero) and he would start to play around with the lines and actually act. Shatner didn't realize what a favor Meyer was doing to him at the time.

      That commentary track is really cool. If I remember, only the director is talking for the entire track. He also brings up Khan's one remaining glove... I have to say I had never thought about it until then. It's recommended listening if you have not done so already.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      Still, got to give the guy props for a great performance in Star Trek 2. I always wondered how Nicholas Meyer got it out of him. On the DVD commentary track I finally learned how he did it. He would do so about 10 throwaway takes. After about 10 takes, Shanter would get tired and stop trying to be Shatner (i.e. the pompous hero) and he would start to play around with the lines and actually act.

      It's strange that the somewhat fan-maligned Star Trek: The Motion Picture (i.e. the original film) doesn't get more credit for the scenes where Bones (or whoever it was) basically attacks pompous-hero-Kirk (and by proxy Shatner?) for somewhat similar behaviour and personality traits when he's taking over command from Decker. Personally, I thought that was quite an interesting choice on the part of the film-makers.

    • After about 10 takes, Shanter would get tired and stop trying to be Shatner (i.e. the pompous hero) and he would start to play around with the lines and actually act.

      This is a somewhat infamous clip [escapedgoat.com] of Shatner really taking the piss out of a producer trying to tell him how to act. I think it was from something in the mid-90s.

      • This is a somewhat infamous clip of Shatner really taking the piss out of a producer trying to tell him how to act. I think it was from something in the mid-90s.

        Oops, something took the spaces out of the URL.
        Try this instead [escapedgoat.com]

  • by grapeape (137008) <[moc.rr.ck] [ta] [7epopm]> on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:28PM (#35577734) Homepage

    Looks like he's doing well on both the living long and the prospering parts...hope there are many years to go. Anyone else think that Raw Nerve is the best thing Shatner has ever done? I love Captain Kirk and Denny Crane but raw nerve is a damn entertaining format, rarely do you see an interview type show where by the end of it you feel like you actually got to know the person a little bit...Raw Nerve does that just about every time, its more like listening in on a conversation at another table more than watching an interview and I really appreciate that.

  • by novar21 (1694492) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:31PM (#35577766)
    a nice blue lady to dance with tonight. And smile into the morning hours.
  • I can get behind that.

  • by Weirsbaski (585954) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:33PM (#35577814)
    If it's only William Shatner's birthday, then why do I suddenly feel so old?
  • Doesn't he live to like 143 or something?

  • ...to share a birthday with Mr Shatner.

    Happy Birthday, Bill.

    -m

  • Happy Birthday.... to... you.
    Happy Birthday.... to... you.
    Happy Birthday... William.... Shatnerhappy.... Birthday... to you.

    OK, so I can't imitate his speaking style.

  • by dvh.tosomja (1235032) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:49PM (#35578106)

    May the force be with you!

  • by ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:52PM (#35578162)

    Why is it every time there's an article posted in connection with some soap opera in space, so many /. denizens are all over it with 100's of posts. Yet whenever there's an article on the real thing (space probes, man in space, deep space observation, etc.), either there are only a few tens of posts (many frivolous), and/or there's actual opposition (waste of money, rich bastards in space, etc.).

    Fun and entertaining as he is (and indeed, happy birthday to the man), Shatner is an actor. Neil Armstrong, Wernher von Braun, Burt Rutan, Carl Sagan are/were the real deal - scientists, engineers, astronauts.

    Of course, I might be jumping the gun. Perhaps this article will garner few posts.

    Why is my karma going up in smoke? :-)

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Not sure what alternate universe /. you're reading. But on the one I'm reading, I would say the ratio of real science and tech articles to pop culture articles is at least 5 to 1.

      • I was comparing the attention space opera related articles receive with that garnered by real space related articles. The latter typically receive far fewer comments.
        • by Skater (41976)
          Looking down at the Orion article, it has almost as many comments than this article. At the moment it's 129 vs. 115.
    • ST fans vs SW fans. To the death.

    • by Nikker (749551)
      Completely agree. I see articles about probes and real experiments that deal with real science with approximately 50 or so comments and this although still news worth will likely surpass 500. Kinda telling ain't it?
      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        Sorry, but real life just can't compete with Kirk, who fucked literally hundreds of aliens... blue skin, green skin, orange skin -- he's done 'em all! I hear he even fucked Snooki once!
    • by trytoguess (875793) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @05:15PM (#35579240)

      On a personal note, it's cause I can rarely say anything meaningful on articles involving actual science, and it doesn't feel right to post humorous comments on them either. On the other hand, I feel perfectly fine throwing in a meaningless comment about Kirk, Vader, Adama, Dr. Who, etc cause they're fictional characters. It doesn't matter if I don't respect them, or something.

    • by zamboni1138 (308944) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @05:18PM (#35579272)

      Because you can't make fun of Neil Armstrong, von Braun or Rutan. Except, of course, for their hair cuts. They are engineers after all.

      Look at all of these 100's of posts you're talking about. The ones rated at +2 are all jokes, or jokes of old jokes. Or requests to end his TV show. The man can literally be made fun of thousands of different ways, time and time again, and people will eat it up.

      What are you going to say about Neil Armstrong that is funny, or honestly hasn't been said before?

      And yes, you appear to be in a worse mood than myself, which is saying a lot.

    • or another member of that famous story? Star Trek inspired many of us in ways and continues to do so for those new to the story. For some of us it takes us back to the magical days of our childhood where such worlds could be possible, Yes Shatner is an actor, he is a good one at that, the best adapt and become more than merely the person.

      While I do not disagree there are stories about him that don't hold to everyone's standards the simple fact is, he was Kirk and Kirk is what many think of when they think o

  • "Kif, I have made it with a woman. Inform the men."

    At least I think that was Kirk, it all kind of blurs together...

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:57PM (#35578226)

    William Shatner can't be 80 - that would mean I'm no longer young.

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      William Shatner can't be 80 - that would mean I'm no longer young.

      You're not alone. Ane you're no longer young.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:03PM (#35578306)
    Also, his toupee turns 50 next Friday.
  • Has Been [amazon.com] is history
    Has been was
    Has been might again


    Live long and prosper Bill!
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      That's nothing, we're all doing a great job of forgetting TJ Hooker.

    • Ahh, that's just the mad cow talking....

      I really enjoyed that show - Shatner was playing a serious character, and also playing a caricature of Shatner, and was doing just fine at both.

  • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:44PM (#35578910)
    khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan gratulations.
  • "Hi, I'm actor William Shatner. You may remember me from such shows as ...."

    But many happy returns - I couldn't stand T J Hooker, that dreadful show about life in SF after the earthquake ... but some fun was had watching ST.

  • That Twilight Zone episode where he saw an alien on the wing of the airplane. In fact, I think he's been playing the same character ever since...
  • I just learned of this, though they have been out a while I guess. They reworked the old Star Trek episodes with CGI special effects. This enables them to show Ships, landscapes, explosions, that are much better than the original. I am enjoying them a lot. Both because the sound and presentation are so much better than when they were on TV, but also because the updates are really nicely done.
    FYI

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