BRWC is 2: An Encounter with William Shatner (A True Story)

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC BRWC is 2: An Encounter with William Shatner (A True Story)

In celebratory honor of Battle Royale With Cheese’s Two Year Anniversary Spectacular, I decided to do 4 great big postings! Starting with this deeply personal, and true tale, involving one of my few meetings with real celebrities… So, with that intro out of the way, lets hop right into the madness, and Happy Second Birfday BRWC! Mwah!

It has been well documented that I am a major nerd, and a Star Trek fan, so I wont hit too hard over the head with those chestnuts in this rant. I’ll just jump right into the fray with this silly, but true story from my youth…

I went to the 30th Anniversary Star Trek convention in Sacramento California, back in 1996. This was one of the last conventions Deforest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) was around for. I was 11, I went dressed as Spock (ears, bowl cut and all.) In fact at the time I was all about Spock, I loved him obsessively, almost HATED Captain Kirk.



Anyways, Shatner (Captain Kirk), Nimoy (Mr. Spock) and Kelley were going to be there to talk on stage for a bit and do autographs later on. The way it works is, EVERYONE gets to hear them recount old stories on stage, then say 300 people got the “Exclusive Tickets” where you’d get to meet the Trio and have them sign yer junk n’ stuff back stage.

So I’m sitting in the audience with my fellow “Exclusive Trekkies” waiting breathlessly for the main men, the big three…. And… only Shatner shows up for the “talk”” portion.

He’s visibly/audibly drunk, but in good spirits. He’s bursting out of his clothes and very boisterous. For thirty-forty minutes he goes on a rant about women breaking into his hotel room to sleep with him, during which his toup’ slips several times AND he splits his pants. (You couldnt see it, but you could hear it.) I was in awe, mouth agape the whole time. It was… just so surreal. (Coupled with the fact he was dressed in his Star Trek V “casual look”, ie Plaid Shirt, overly tight jeans, work boots.) Anywho, once he was done with his spiel, we all went backstage, where upon Nimoy and Kelley joined Shatner at a table (they said we were “late.” We all assumed they just didnt want to be on stage with Bill. Very Galaxy Quest.)

We all line up to have our posters and such signed. The whole time I was thinking what I was going to say to old Shat’s about his directorial disasterpiece The Final Frontier (as I’d always vowed to bring it up to him, should I meet him in person.) Should I quote a line? Mention the deleted “rock man” sequence? Ask him to SAY “Go climb a rock?” These thoughts plagued me, but, as I edged closer I realized I wouldnt get the chance to say anything.

Shatner was mowing through the autographs like his hands were on loan. There was a gorgeous, GORGEOUS italian woman (I’m talking 60’s Sophia Loren hot) in front of me. I mean, she flew all the way from Italy to see him in Cali. So, I figured I’d see how he treated her, to decide what I would say or do, if anything. She gets up to him and leans in and says as sexy as she can “Oh Meester Shatnoir I have come all the way from Italy just to see you. You are so amazing.” Shatner scribbles his name on her picture of him, half looks up and deadpans “That’s nice. Move along.” I was stunned. So, it was my turn. And I of course just manage to get out “I came all the way from North Carolina to see you…” and he cuts me off and goes “Oh really. Move along.” (Once again, VERY Galaxy Quest.)

Nimoy and Kelley went by much better. They were nice, kind, humorous and took their time. I was still sort of in shock throughout. In any case. After Shatner decimates all three hundred autographs in what seems like 5 minutes, he gets up from the table, two gorgeous blondes walk over to him and wrap a leather jacket on his shoulders. He puts his arms around them and begins to walk out. As he leaves, he looks back at Nimoy and Kelley and says with that famous half smirk and a nod at Nimoy “Leonard…” then turns to DeForest and says “Bones, I didn’t think you were gonna make it. Nice to see you. You look like death.” Nimoy and Kelley cut him a little nod, then Shatner laughs and leaves.

Naturally Deforest Kelley died a short time after that.

Now, after this incident, one would think I would dislike Shatner/Kirk more, right? This would be the response for a normal person, but being me and not normal, I had the opposite reaction.

I became kind of obsessed with Shatner/Kirk, more so than Spock. I just couldn’t believe the jaw dropping magnitude of that man and his own essence. He changed me that day. And, from meeting him and seeing him that way, it is easy to see just why Star Trek V The Final Frontier is the way it is. And why Shatner is the oddly revered national treasure he is.


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