By Veronica Dudo
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) – Captain James T. Kirk, the beloved science fiction character from the iconic 1960’s TV show, Star Trek has endured the test of time and still captivates fans today around the world. In taking on the role, William Shatner continues “to boldly go where no man has gone before” in the Star Trek brand. After the TV show ended, Shatner reprised the role in the animated series and on the big screen.
During his 60 year career, Shatner has appeared on Broadway; starred in the hit TV series T.J. Hooker; hosted Rescue 911; won two Emmy Award’s and a Golden Globe for playing ‘Denny Crane’ on The Practice and Boston Legal; has penned several books; directed films, recorded albums and is an accomplished equestrian.
Now, the 81 year-old is taking his one-man show on tour across the country with a stop at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City on Saturday November 10. With his career still going strong, Shatner says he is excited to bring his one-man show to the resort and is honored to have the opportunity to raise money for children and veterans with the Hollywood Charity Horse Show.
Your one-man show, “Shatner’s World; We Just Live In It” is coming to Atlantic City; what can fans expect?
I opened on Broadway with terrific notices and then toured 15 cities last year. Now, being asked to go out on another 20 city-tour including Harrah’s Casino is extraordinary for me and a novel experience. The one-man show has a lot of visual aids and film and pictures and things like that. Based on previous experience, the audience is really going to enjoy themselves and have a good time laughing and crying and understanding some points I make as this life that I lived has some meaning that I gleam from myself that may resonate with the audience.
The documentary William Shatner’s Get a Life! has been released. It’s a film based on your book which takes a deeper look at the fans of the Star Trek brand. Why did you pursue this project?
Well, Get A Life! is a documentary I made examining who it is that comes to these Sci-Fi conventions and the comic cons that have become so popular. Who comes to these conventions? The common knowledge of people who don’t go to the conventions think of them as being a little weird whereas in fact there are other forces at work that I only discovered as a result of making the documentary. I come to an astonishing conclusion—at least as far as I’m concerned.
What is your astonishing conclusion?
You see, what I discovered is very fan-favorite—they aren’t wired! They are participating in a ritual that is very important to them and actually has been important to mankind for ages.
After attending the Sci-Fi conventions for decades, that is your feeling towards the fans?
There are fans; people who are interested in Star Trek, people who are interested in science fiction and interested in me for the longest time and so the demographics of the people who come either to watch what I’m doing or to listen to what I’m doing span many ages and I’m very grateful for that. So, there is a form of love and appreciation for the audience that have been so loyal.
Charities are very important to you including the Hollywood Charity Horse Show; do you have any special guests lined up for the show in April?
The Hollywood Charity Horse Show goes on the last Saturday of every April. We have it going this April of-course as we have had for 30 years. I’ve been able to get name performers to come–this year Vince Gill is going to be on stage with us. It’s a small venue, we raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and every penny that comes in to the Hollywood Charity Horse Show goes to children’s charities. Last year, we enlarged the children’s charities mandate to incorporate veterans. Most of our charities are riding therapeutic programs which help children of all ills: emotional, social, physical and those same ills seem to have affected our veterans so riding therapeutic programs work for veterans as well and that’s what our charity does.
Do you have any special memories from Atlantic City or Philadelphia?
I do! I have a memory of a poker tournament in Atlantic City that I was asked to be in and as briefly as I can I was given lessons by professionals and then given a stake and they said, ‘Listen, just follow these rules.’ It was a three-day tournament and they wanted my name for the publicity. The last two days they said to follow the rules and bet conservatively. Now, I’m in the tournament and there’s this loud-mouth guy whose following none of the rules and finally I have a great hand and I’m all in–I put all my chips in because I thought it was a great hand and this loud-mouth on the last card that turns up has the winning hand and I’m out in about an hour and this loud-mouth was the world champion! He followed none of the rules and I followed all of the rules–I’m out and he’s in.