?You can say that William Shatner has devolved into self-parody, but we think he’s just gotten awesome. It’s actually difficult for Shatner to not do something interesting. Let me put this in perspective: William Shatner’s career has been one incident of weird shit followed by another, then another, then T.J. Hooker, and then even more weird shit. The man makes Salvador Dali look like a boring mailman. While researching this article I found books worth of bizarre behavior including:
? Turning the Broadway Show The World of Suzie Wong from a drama about an Asian prostitute into a comedy about the same
? Starring as a featured voice in the movie ‘Lil Pimp
? Killing a piranha with his teeth in Loaded Weapon One
? Canoeing from Canada to the USA
? Narrating the Biblical book of Exodus to music
? Having his eyes gouged out by Ernest Borgnine in The Devil’s Rain
Now, these aren’t things mentioned in this list; these are just a few of the other insane things Shatner’s done besides Trek. I’ve picked 10 of my favorites, but this is only the tip of the Shat-berg, so to speak.
10) Got to Third Base with Koko the Gorilla
The first chapter of Shatner’s excellent memoir, Up Til Now, describes how Bill met the infamous “talking gorilla” Koko. I remembered Koko from my childhood as the lovable gorilla who learned sign language and got a kitten. Later, I learned that as Koko grew up, she became an intolerable asshole. So the story goes that Bill got to communicate with Koko in her home (as much as I’d like to say it was a “palatial Hollywood estate,” it was really just a zoo), and basically just repeated “I love you, Koko” to her. Then she grabbed his balls. Really hard.
9) Acted with a Giant Penguin
Even now, William Shatner will sell anything if the price is right. He’s been the spokesman for Promise margarine, Commodore computers, Wendy’s, Priceline, Blockbuster Video, Western Airlines, and… Loblaws grocery stores. I was going to include the hilarious Commodore computer ad, but this Loblaw’s ad where a trustworthy Shatner holds up Loblaw’s as the golden god of frozen food is even better. The Shat is followed by a creepy man in a penguin costume, possibly not for the first time in his life.
8) Shilled World of Warcraft
Maybe you remember a game called World of Warcraft. Maybe you remember the advertising campaign where famous people described their characters. You might even remember how Bill Shatner admitted he is a shaman, a “conduit for the ancient forces of nature” while dressed in a druid’s robe. However, he chose not to reveal if he pays Koreans to farm gold for him.
7) Land of No Return
Here’s the premise: Mel Torme is an animal trainer who crashes his plane full of circus animals in the woods and has to survive, while William Shatner is the guy back home who searches for him. Shatner’s scenes are, like those of many “guest stars” of movies in the ’70s, phoned in and filmed completely separate from the main action. Just check out the trailer, how much screen time is wasted with Bill’s line reading. Most of the trailer is just scenes of animals swatting at each other, intercut with a flat Shatner-ian line read. And it was based on a book!
6) Dealt in Frozen Semen
No, I’m not posting a video. Don’t EVER look up “William Shatner horse semen” on YouTube. But it was a real news story and 100% bizarre. See, William and his ex-wife both bred horses. They still do, the man breeds thoroughbreds as a hobby. When they divorced, his wife Marcy got part of the thoroughbreds in the settlement — specifically the part that comes out of the male parts of horses. But the settlement stipulated it had to be freshly cooled semen. No bullshit horse semen for this picky lady. When the Shatman delivered frozen sperm instead of the agreed-upon “lightly chilled” jizz, Marcy went off the deep end and took him to court. They settled, but damn, that had to have been a fun court hearing.
5) Kirstie Alley
He did her. Allegedly. The semi-stable, formerly fat actress was linked to Shatner during the making of Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan, making her just one of the numerous affairs that Cap’n Kirk has had throughout the years. Remember Kirstie Alley? Former cocaine addict, now a level 7 Scientologist? Apparently the Captain had the habit of walking close to her on the set of the Enterprise and rubbing his junk up on her. Word is born.
4) His Singing Career
Let’s lump it all together. The albums, the commercials, the TV appearances, all of it, it’s all in one bag of crazy. Personally, I liked his album Has Been, with spoken word done fairly well. His cover songs, no matter how endearing they are, are absolute nonsense. Yeah, I fuckin’ said it, Trekkers. “Rocket Man” is hilarious, “Lucy in the Sky” is boring, and “Mr. Tambourine Man” is weird. Thankfully, he has a sense of humor about it, which is why he keeps on getting asked to do things like sing WWE theme songs.
3) Howdy Doody
From the great white north of Canada came a northern affiliate version of Howdy Doody, starring Star Trek‘s James Doohan and later Shatner as “Ranger Bob” (or “Ranger Bill,” depending on the source). I can’t find any footage from the show, or any photos, but the claim appears in numerous places online so I’m inclined to believe it. William Shatner, as a struggling young actor, began his television career playing the human companion of a marionette. Later, he would go on to write TekWar.
2) Invasion Iowa
This was Shatner’s bizarre “reality” show where he went to a small town in Iowa where Captain Kirk was supposedly born and then filmed a movie there. Except the movie was fake and it was just Shatner acting like an ass while naive Iowans thought that’s what people in Hollywood did. Prima donna antics, disturbing requests (like demanding the stained glass of the church be shattered so he could film a crane shot), and a cast of bad actors just added to the fun. At the end, he revealed it was all a gag and donated thousands of dollars to the town and its residents, but not after a full season of complete and utter lunacy. Yes, this is the show where William Shatner was covered in afterbirth.
For years this film was only a legend, the master print being destroyed in a fire, but a version turned up and now it’s available on DVD. It’s a horror movie, like many others, but recorded entirely in the made-up language Esperanto. The Shat agreed to do the film then learned all his lines phonetically. So not only do you get the legendary William Shatner over-acting and dramatic pauses, you get them in a foreign language that no one speaks today. This ties with hats for dogs as “worst idea ever.”