The Hippo


Apr 25, 2019








Photo by Manfred Baumann.

William Shatner Live
Featuring a screening of The Wrath of Khan and a Q&A session
When: Friday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $59 - $150 at
City gets in on the Star Trek fun
To help celebrate William Shatner’s special appearance at the Capitol Center, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley has declared May 18, 2018 to be KHAN!-cord Day. 
Working with city’s Chamber of Commerce, the CCA is inviting local businesses to participate in an entirely grassroots effort aimed at tying in special offers wth the event. There’s also a “KHAN!ned Goods Drive” to benefit the Friendly Kitchen.
Mayor Bouley’s statement begins “Whereas, Long ago, in the depths of the Cold War, Gene Roddenberry provided the world with a vision of the future that was so filled with hope and so compelling that it has indelibly marked the imaginations of mankind ever since and whereas the Star Trek franchise boldly went where none had gone before and spoke of a utopian future where race, gender, and national origin no longer divided people or impeded achievement.”
It concludes with a local observation that’s quite likely true: “‘KHAN!!!!’ is one of  Mr. Shatner’s iconic lines in the movie. Were he asked to pronounce  ‘Concord,’ he’d undoubtedly nail the local dialect better than most.”
Participants include Double Midnight Comics, Area 23 Concord, Gibson’s Bookstore, ConcordTV, McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, The Duprey Companies, Ballard’s Ice Cream, Vibes Gourmet Burgers, Red River Theatres and Concord Public Library.
For additional details on KHAN!Cord Day, contact Capitol Center for the Arts Marketing Manager Lynne Sabean at or 225-1111 x116.

Shatner and Khaaaaan!
William Shatner heads to Concord to take your questions


 By Michael Witthaus
Is William Shatner the most interesting man in the world? Well, his resume certainly reflects it. Born in Canada, one of his earliest roles was on a weekly religious show that included a young George Lucas on camera. He starred in one of the most popular Twilight Zone episodes, delivered a welcome home greeting to the crew of the final Space Shuttle, wrote multiple books of fiction and nonfiction, and made records backed by everyone from heavy metal guitarist Zakk Wylde to reggae star Toots Hibbert.
Oh, and he also starred in a show about a spaceship boldly going where no one had gone before. That’s the reason he’ll be in Concord soon. On Friday, May 18, Shatner will appear following a screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a film he stars in, to tell stories and take audience questions about his long career in movies, television and stage.
In advance of the event, Shatner spoke to me by telephone on March 12.
New England is being graced with your presence for a nine-city tour, including a stop at Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, where fans will be treated to a screening of Wrath of Khan and a talk by yourself afterward. 
Yes, a talk. I don’t know how to characterize what I’m going to do. I am going to get on stage and be as informative and as amusing as possible. 
Will you be taking questions from the audience?  
Oh, absolutely, that’s what I will be doing. Questions about anything. The film was made many years ago and so the specifics about who went to the bathroom and who didn’t I’m not sure I’ll remember, but certainly some of the major events about the film and everything else.
Let’s start with Star Trek: Wrath of Khan. What is special about that film in particular that you would show and be talking about? 
Well, it seems to be the most popular one, it seems to be the one that everybody considers to be one of the best of a series of Star Trek films. And so there was an appetite for it — and I had done it once before. It had played in theaters and did very well; I did a filmed interview with somebody and they played it, either before or after, and it was very successful, and so it occurred to a group of people to — why not try it and go to individual cities and see if there was a market for it, and apparently there is. 
Absolutely — I can’t imagine a Trekkie that would not want to see it. Your memories of the film? I read that the set nearly burned down one day?  
Yeah. I walked in — I don’t know how much to tell you in that if I tell you everything, what will I talk about when I walk out on stage? I’ll tell you in stark terms and then the details might be more interesting.  Yes, the set started to burn down and I was obligated to finish the film and do a series that I was shooting at the time, and I realized if the set burned, everything would be delayed and I would be in terrible legal trouble — so I ran in with a garden hose — and that’s all I’ll tell ya about it but that took place.  
Heroism has its priorities, apparently. 
Life or death in a contract.  
I also read at the end of a Star Trek series the set would be stricken and burned and there was a sense that after the first movie, when Khan came around, there was a sense that it would be the last Star Trek movie, but it wasn’t.  
What you are doing right now are the questions that people will be asking exactly. So this gives me a chance to think out what the answers to these questions might be. Good for you, Michael!
Robert Wise directed the first film and he was a famous director and a very creative one who had been in the business for a long time and was convinced by his wife to direct the Star Trek film. And it lacked something; it probably lacked a better script. But it was done so hastily for $100 million, and it probably would have been a better film if Bob had had more time with it, to edit it more carefully. But he didn’t have the time so the film wasn’t all that good and was not successful and Paramount was going to close the whole shebang down, that was it. We made a film of Star Trek and that was the end of it. But the head of the studio — Paramount — his wife was a fan and said, ‘You’ve got to make one more.’ So, very cleverly, they turned it over to the television arm of Paramount and the television people thought they could make a good film for one third the money, and they did. It became this film. 
And it’s exceptional because the longevity of the Star Trek franchise from the multiple films that you were in and then multiple incarnations of Star Trek. What is the secret of that for you?  What is the reason it has such staying power?
You’re asking why do I think Star Trek has continued to be this extraordinary phenomenon for 50 years? 
Well, that question of course is asked all the time, and I’m not sure I know the answer. But this much I know: In my association with science fiction, there is a mystery to space that supersedes any kind of mystery that we have anywhere else. That in writing science fiction all by itself, imagining what is out there, you can imagine anything because nobody can prove you right or wrong. But the great scientists, the great cosmologists, who also imagine what’s out there and trying to do it in truth, work as much in fiction as the writers of fiction do. The scientists imagine what they think is out there, and it approaches fiction as much as the fiction writers do. So there is such speculation about space and about what constitutes the universe that anything is possible, whether it’s little green men or some of the more quantum discoveries of things appearing when you examine them and then disappearing when you stop examining them. The truth is the scientific principles that we are discovering that operate in the universe are so out there that they beggar anything that fiction writers write.  
Let’s talk about William Shatner, actor and performer. I think that you must have the longest IMDB resume in the world. You’re still acting and in all kinds of different projects. I just watched The Indian Detective, which you had a really critical role in, and really enjoyed that. And I wondered what is ahead for you as an actor and what gives you that urge to keep on working at it.
I guess the urge is breathing. Just this little tickle; keep breathing and get out of bed and keep walking. I am working on a lot of things that are advanced as well as traditional pieces. Let’s see; I’m doing documentary films — writing, directing, acting — various kinds of documentary films. I’ve obligated myself to do a potential series out of Canada. I’ve connected myself with three advanced companies: Solar Alliance in solar power, Pedigo with electric bikes and Ziva in virtual reality. I’m making two  albums this year, a country music album with Jeff Cook of Alabama and an offbeat Christmas album involving me and a variety of other ... artists, which is nearly completed.
Your recording projects are so much fun.  
And I am having so much fun with it. I commissioned a poem by a serviceman who came out of the Marines, a wonderful poet. It’s about Christmas during war — ‘how’s it going, because over here there’s no Christmas.’ I put music to it. It’s stunning, I think. Put music to ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas as well as many of the traditional Christmas songs in an offbeat way, like a mariachi band with a Christmas song, and some great songs that have already been written that I am ready to record in early April with Jeff — some great Western music songs.  
Is Brad Paisley going to be involved with that?   
No, but I am hopeful that Brad will be involved in the Christmas album. 
It’s that kind of thing that I am doing. I’m leaving out a lot of stuff. But I’m busy creating and I’m at the top of my powers.  
I read your book, Shatner Rules, and I love the fact that your whole career has really been fueled by the word yes, and no fear of saying yes to a project as crazy as it might be. It began with The Transformed Man and after came all of these records we’re talking about. That was that moment that you said yes.   
Good observation.
Thanks. I had one question about saying yes. If you could take one of those back, is there one that you would take back? 
Any one of those projects? I think there are many of them that didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I can’t think of them, now. All I’m thinking is that when I come to Concord, people like yourself will be in the audience and ask equally intelligent questions.  

Thank you. ... One of the most interesting elements in your biography was that after the Star Trek television series in the early ’70s, you had kind of a lot of struggle in life, divorce, financial and difficulty finding work and you lived in your truck for a while. I wondered how much that experience informs what came after. 
Gee, that is really good! Who do you work for, Michael?  
I write for the Hippo Press.
That’s a really good question and something that I have thought about over the years. Yes, an actor’s life can be a life of desperation. You finish a job and then you’re out of work and you’re waiting for someone to call; and you’re helplessly waiting for the phone to ring and there is a sense of not being able to guide your own fate. So that pursues you your lifetime and it never really had happened to me. Coming out of Canada, I had worked in Canada, all my time had been — although I didn’t get paid very much, I was occupied. Then occupied again when I came to the States. But traditionally, coming off a series an actor usually goes through a period of time where you’ve been identified with something, and people casting a role say ‘no, he’s too much like’ whatever it was he was known for. That happened to me. And I had never been out of work for that length of time. And it was only months, but to me, with three children gnawing away on the furniture, it was desperation. As you know, I put that all together when I was trying to make a living. And that fear that works all the time became very real. So I don’t think I made a conscious decision like avoiding that which you fear the most; you don’t climb a mountain if you fear heights, or go in the water if you’re afraid of sharks. So I must have subconsciously thought, ‘I cannot be out of work like this again.’ 

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