I saw William Shatner March 22nd in Dallas. A day that also happened to be his 81st birthday. I was there at The Majestic Theater to see a childhood idol.
Shatner in my town - Dallas
As I was growing up the influences on me were great. I was part of that generation that re-discovered and kept alive in some ways, The Monkees, Batman and Star Trek in it’s syndication run.
My influences from that time were many. As well as the above mentioned shows featuring Adam West, Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike, my other influences were Robert Conrad from “Wild Wild West”. Robert Wagner from “It Takes a Thief”. Bob Crane from “Hogan’s Heroes”. (Lotta Bob’s there, eh?) There are others to include on this list but in particular the biggest influence was the great William Shatner. I loved the way he chose to tackle a situation. I loved the way he took charge and faced an opponent or dilema. I loved the way he approached….life!
I know he has his detractors and I don’t care. I kept up with and watched the man all through his career whenever I found him on the TV. After Star Trek I discovered he was human. Sure. I discovered he had his foibles. I watched him with whatever wife he was on as he sat in ‘The Banana Section’ on the Game Show “Tattle Tales” with Bert Convey. I saw him do guest spots on “Colombo”, “The Six Million Dollar Man”,and as Captain and anchor of the tug of war on “Battle of the Network Stars”. I watched him all through the years but I knew that the man who brought those qualities to life in Captain Kirk was special to me too. He affected a lot of people my age, my generation; from Ben Stiller to Jason Alexander. So, again, I care not what others say. To quote the line from the movie “My Favorite Year”, “He was special and real to me!!” Still is.
As a musician I’ve sat in the pit many times playing a show but never to see a show. Pretty cool. I was literally on the front row right underneath him all night.
As to the show itself. It went over some highs and lows of Shatner’s life. How he got into acting. A nice story about his father. Some very funny moments also and all done in the manic Shatner way. I actually think his book “Up Till Now” is the best accounting, and maybe of all his books, the most intimate telling of his life one can hear. I highly recommend the book on tape as read by the author himself. Some good stuff in there and a lot of it used in the stage show. But that’s not what going to the show was about. It’s a celebration of Shatner and I was there to see it.
My view from the pit front row
Some other observations….that stupid xylophone ring tone that famously brought a New York Philharmonic performance to a halt a few months ago needs to be banned. Or wait,…maybe people need to turn their phones off. Right in the middle of a touching story of a beloved horse he owned – – that dumb tremolo of a D and an E going off. Embarrassing. Sorry Shatner. I apologize for Dallas that night.
Also,…last time I was at the Majestic in Dallas I saw Frank Gorshin do his one man show of “Say Goodnight Gracie”. I talked to Frank backstage afterward and I told him the sound system didn’t do him any favors. He said “That sound system sucks!” He was right. That was nearly ten years ago and it still sucks! C’mon Majestic. Hire an acoustician and fix that thing. It’s a great old historic theater. Get the sound up to date. (Maybe get Dr. Sevrin to help.) Or is it just the problem of nobody knows how to mix a soundboard anymore? Cranking the bass up to 11 doesn’t work for everything, every show, every time. We’ve lost all sight of what a good mix is, I believe.
Other thoughts: many tried to yell Happy Birthday to Shatner at the start of the show. After many people doing it he gently told the crowd, “Thank you. And let’s let that be the last interjection of that during the show.” They complied, and we sang Happy Birthday to him at the end of the night. Complete with a cake.
Believe it or not that's Shatner in that pic
One final note, I saw David Lee Roth perform in a little club with a Van Halen cover band backing him up almost 15 years ago. At the time I thought he worked harder than I’ve ever seen anyone work. No break,… like a man possessed. One song after the other.
I saw Bernadette Peters in Gypsy working like a warrior on stage with that little body. Incredible energy output. And I’d put Shatner up there as hard working performers on stage too. Kind of made me nervous at times. Was afraid he might fall or hurt himself. Man! He’s got energy for a man his age.
It was good to see him and he sure still looks good for 81. Heck for 60 he looks good. I’m glad I saw him in my area. What do they call that? ‘I’m supporting local’. I include myself in that statement.
Shatner has left the building