William Shatner Live! – Captain Kirk Beams Down to Concord, New Hampshire.

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The photo op with Willam Shatner. That’s me on the left (yours truly, Michael Arruda), my son Jonny, William Shatner, and my son Lucas.

KHAAAAAHNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!

Yup, one of William Shatner’s iconic moments from the movie STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982), and we got to hear it twice, once in the movie and once live, roared by the man himself, William Shatner, in person, as part of William Shatner Live on Stage! an event which my two sons and I were fortunate to attend the other night at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, NH.

The event was comprised of two parts, the screening of STAR TREK II, and then Shatner’s appearance on stage.

It was fun to see STAR TREK II back on the big screen again.  The last time that happened for me was probably in 1985 or so, when waaay back when I was in college, it was part of a film series at my dorm at Boston University. It was probably a 16 mm print. And while back in the day we college students were certainly Star Trek fans, the audience at the Capitol Center was jam-packed with enthusiastic and very vocal Star Trek fans which made watching the film even more rewarding.

Cheers erupted at each star’s name in the opening credits and on their initial appearances, as well as during their most memorable lines. The aforementioned cry of “Khan!!!” had the theater rocking.

Still, this Star Trek enthusiasm at the movies was hardly a first for me. I’m old enough to have seen the first film, STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) on the big screen and remember the audience cheering out loud at the actors’ names during the opening credits and during their initial appearances, since this was the first time we had seen these characters since the original 1960s TV show. I also remember waiting in a long line for tickets in Boston to see STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986) which probably received the most hype, all of it deserved, of any Star Trek film other than the first one.

It was fun to watch STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN to be sure, but the reason the auditorium was filled was not for the movie, but for the man, William Shatner who came out on stage after the film to be interviewed and answer pre-selected questions from the audience.

If you’ve seen Shatner speak when he’s not in character, you know he’s full of energy and is a gifted storyteller.  Making this even more amazing is his age.  He’s 87. You wouldn’t know it by the vigor he displayed on stage.  He seemed considerably younger.

As I said, Shatner is a gifted storyteller, and he spoke for just under an hour after the movie, and it was a lively, humorous, and highly entertaining event.  For me, the best part were his recollections and anecdotes from his time as Captain Kirk, and even though I had heard some of the stories before, as I’ve read the books he’s written on his Star Trek memories, they were still laugh out loud funny, like when he told the story of how he used to prank De Forest Kelley.

He also spoke of his friendship with Leonard Nimoy, and shared interesting tidbits on Star Trek, like how after every movie the studio would destroy the sets because they believed it would be the last movie in the series, but the films kept making money.

Shatner also spoke on his love of horses, motorcycle riding, race car driving, and his work on other shows, including BOSTON LEGAL (2004-2008), T.J. HOOKER (1982-1986), and THE TWILIGHT ZONE (1959-1964).  He spoke of his friendship with James Spader, and used it as an example of how most showbiz friendships work, in that actors intend to stay in touch but usually don’t because they are so busy. As such, Shatner said as much as he enjoyed his friendship with Spader, he hasn’t seen him since the show ended.  Shatner said this would have happened between him and Leonard Nimoy, but the films kept bringing them back together, enabling the two to establish a much longer friendship.

Shatner also spoke of his famous TWILIGHT ZONE episode, with the humorous anecdote of how his children used to ask him to show them “the look,” which was his frightened expression from that TWILIGHT ZONE episode, an expression he delighted the audience with by springing it on us at just the right time.

And, as I said, he bellowed out to us, “Khaaaann!!!” in person, which once more produced thunderous applause.

My sons and I had purchased the special VIP ticket, which enabled us to go back stage afterwards for a special photo-op with Mr. Shatner (see photo above.) By the size of the line, I would say that at least half of the audience had also purchased these tickets.

It was a special moment to be sure. Yeah, it lasted only a couple of seconds, but to be able to stand next to William Shatner, say hello and thank him, and have him respond, that’s special.  I was so caught up in the moment I can’t honestly remember what he said in response, but it was gracious and warm, and it was a gratifying moment.

I was fortunate enough to have met James Doohan who played Scotty on STAR TREK back in 1986 when he visited Boston University, and so I’m happy to have met two members of the original Starship Enterprise.

I know, it’s just a TV show, and William Shatner is just an actor, a celebrity.

But STAR TREK is more than just a show, for so many reasons, and the biggest is its positive view of the future, and William Shatner with his iconic portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk had a lot to do with shaping that view.

For so many of us, STAR TREK is a major part of our lives, not only as a form of entertainment, but as way of thinking and seeing the future, an open-mindedness and acceptance that sadly does not always exist in the real world today.

But let’s not get too deep here.

The bottom line is seeing William Shatner live on stage was a good time, and honestly I’m amazed at how good Shatner looked and how much energy he had throughout the interview.

It was certainly a night I won’t forget any time soon.

Live long and prosper!

Thanks for reading!

—Michael

 

 

 

 

 

MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES: STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)

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The poignant final scene between Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in STAR TREK II:  THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)

The poignant final scene between Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)

MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES:  STAR TREK II:  THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)

By

Michael Arruda

 

With the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy, it’s the perfect time to look at STAR TREK II:  THE WRATH OF KHAN here on MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES, the column where we look at fun quotes from some really good movies.

The STAR TREK films are chock-full of memorable lines, and STAR TREK II:  THE WRATH OF KHAN is one of the most frequently quoted STAR TREK films.  Appropriately enough, some of these oft-quoted lines are from Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock.

Death is a central theme of STAR TREK II:  THE WRATH OF KHAN, and a recurring plot point in the film deals with the “no win” scenario and how one in command of a starship should handle that situation.  It’s a scenario which the crew of the Enterprise will ultimately face at the end of the movie, and it’s Spock’s decision on how to solve it that costs him his life.

The buzz that accompanied this movie when it was first released in 1982 was that the character of Mr. Spock would be killed off.  The filmmakers seemingly diffused the anxiety fans were feeling by having Spock “die” in a simulation in the opening sequence of the film, which put fans at ease, for a while anyway, until the end of the movie when Spock would die for real.

At the time, Leonard Nimoy was not interested in reprising the role of Mr. Spock in a series of STAR TREK movies, but as the story goes, he had so much fun making STAR TREK II, that Nimoy changed his mind, and even though they went ahead and killed off his character, the door was left open for him to be “reborn” from the Genesis project and return in the next movie, STAR TREK III:  THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1984).

Spock’s death at the end of STAR TREK II is probably the signature moment of the entire STAR TREK movie series.

Let’s look now at some classic quotes from STAR TREK II:  THE WRATH OF KHAN, screenplay by Jack B. Sowards.

In this scene, young Vulcan Saavik (Kirstie Alley) questions Kirk (William Shatner) about how he handled the “no win” situation:

SAAVIK:  Admiral, may I ask you a question?

KIRK: What’s on your mind, Lieutenant?

SAAVIK: The Kobayashi Maru, sir.

KIRK: Are you asking me if we’re playing out that scenario now?

SAAVIK:  On the test, sir… will you tell me what you did? I would really like to know.

MCCOY: Lieutenant, you are looking at the only Starfleet cadet who ever beat the no-win scenario.

SAAVIK: How?

KIRK: I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.

SAAVIK: What?

DAVID MARCUS: He cheated.

KIRK: I changed the conditions of the test; got a commendation for original thinking. I don’t like to lose.

SAAVIK: Then you never faced that situation… faced death.

KIRK: I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.

As always, Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) enjoys some of the best moments in the film, including some of the best lines.  The following scene occurs as Kirk, Saavik, and McCoy are searching for the scientists working on the Genesis project.  They’ve disappeared after Khan (Ricardo Montalban) had ransacked the lab looking for them.  Kirk suggests that they use the transporter beam to follow them wherever they went.  It’s an idea McCoy doesn’t like at all.

MCCOY: Where are we going?

KIRK: Where they went.

MCCOY: Suppose they went nowhere?

KIRK:  Then this will be your big chance to get away from it all.

And who can forget when McCoy says to Spock:

MCCOY: Are you out of your Vulcan mind?

Of course, a great deal of suspense and excitement in STAR TREK II comes from the battle of wits between Captain Kirk and Khan.  In this scene, Khan thinks he has killed Kirk, but as Kirk reminds him in one of the better lines from the film, Khan keeps killing everyone but Kirk!  This conversation occurs as the two adversaries speak through their communicators:

KIRK: Khan, you bloodsucker!  You’re going to have to do your own dirty work now! Do you hear me? Do you?

KHAN: Kirk? You’re still alive, my old friend?

KIRK: Still, old friend! You’ve managed to kill everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!

KHAN: Perhaps I no longer need to try, Admiral.

KIRK: Khan… Khan, you’ve got Genesis, but you don’t have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You’re going to have to come down here. You’re going to have to come down here!

KHAN: I’ve done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her; marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet… buried alive! Buried alive…!

KIRK: KHAN!  KHAAAN!

But the best lines from the film come from the movie’s most powerful moment, Spock’s death.

To save the ship, Spock has sacrificed his own life, exposing himself to a fatal dose of radiation in order to get the ship to safety.  But before he dies, he manages to have one last conversation with Kirk, as the two characters are separated by a pane of glass.

This emotional scene gets me every time.

MCCOY: (holding Kirk back):  No! You’ll flood the whole compartment!

KIRK: He’ll die!

SCOTTY: Sir! He’s dead already.

MCCOY: It’s too late.

(Kirk walks to the glass.)

KIRK: Spock!

(Spock walks weakly to the glass.)

SPOCK: The ship… out of danger?

KIRK: Yes.

SPOCK: Do not grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many, outweigh…

KIRK: The needs of the few.

SPOCK: Or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test until now. What do you think of my solution?

KIRK: Spock.

(Spock sits down.)

SPOCK: I have been, and always shall be, your friend.

[Spock places his hand against the glass and spreads his fingers in the Vulcan salute.)

SPOCK: Live long and prosper.

Pass me the tissues, please.  There aren’t many death scenes in STAR TREK or in any movie for that matter that are better than this one.

And we finish with another superb line, spoken by Kirk at Spock’s funeral, which provides yet another memorable moment from this movie:

KIRK: We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.

Nice stuff.

If you’d like to remember the work of Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, watch STAR TREK II:  THE WRATH OF KHAN.

Live long and prosper.

Thanks for reading!

—Michael