Happy Birthday, William Shatner | Weekend Watchlist

220px-William_Shatner_at_Comic-Con_2012_croppedYesterday, the man, the myth, the legend, The Captain, William Shatner celebrated his 82nd birthday. World famous novelist and singer; humanitarian and cowboy; star of stage and screen, both large and small. What is there that I could say about Bill Shatner that you don’t already know? Thus, without further ado, Weekend Watchlist salutes William Shatner.

But where to start? I think we can all agree that the answer is obvious.

Whew! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s turn our attention to a much less publicized portion of Mr. Shatner’s body of work.

You may not be aware, but back in 1966 William Shatner played the staring role in a failed NBC drama about a crew of space explorers called Star Trek. Despite its early cancelation, the show has gone on to accrue something of a cult following in geek circles. A few spinoff productions followed, such as Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1973 and Enterprise in 2001. Big screen adaptations have even been attempted, such as 1989 film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier which saw Shatner take both the staring role and director’s chair.

Sadly, GUO is unable to share this lost classic with you due to the fact that CBS would nuke us from orbit and eradicate any trace of our existence, but we CAN share this reconstruction created from footage salvaged from the cutting room floor including an scrapped version of the classic TV introduction and outro. Enjoy! But… er…  Don’t mention it to CBS. Just in case. Okay?

In spite of the failure of Star Trek, the career of William Shatner would continue on for decades thanks to his legendary singing talent, memorable television roles like T.J. Hooker, and his novel series, the cyberpunk magnum opus, TekWar. These legendary accomplishments kept Shatner a pop culture icon and even led to a brief gig pitching the #1 MMORPG of all time, World of Warcraft.

Perhaps one reason that Star Trek fell from the zeitgeist so quickly was the launch of George Lucas’ multi-generational sci-fi epic Star Wars. That and, of course, the operatic Space 1999 that would go on to dominate television. But no hard feelings, right?

All class these Hollywood nerds, eh? Anyway, enough about the failings of Star Trek. Here is a recent interview with the legend himself regarding his hit new 3D CG animated film currently burning up the sales charts, Escape from Planet Earth. Almost as importantly, Shatner comments on his singing career, the next album, and the possible return of his beloved TV police protagonist.

So, is there anything William Shatner can’t do? No. Enter exhibit A: Shatner discussing his love of breeding championship horses.

Star ships and space stations are not nearly as far fetched as they were back when Mr. Shatner pretended to travel the stars in 1966. In a festival of geeky delights, the true captain of the United Star Ship Enterprise teleconferenced with Commander Chris Hadfield of the International Space Station.

Finally, we close out our love fest for Bill with one more salute to his amazing musical career. Ladies and gentlemen, 82 years awesome, Mr. Iron Man William Shatner.

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