Eugene-area Trekkies rejoice! William Shatner – who played Captain Kirk in the original series of Star Trek – is coming to the Hult Center this month. KLCC’s Brian Bull asked Shatner about his visit.
Bull: So William Shatner, a.k.a Captain Kirk, please tell me what you’ll be doing here in Eugene, Oregon on May 19th?
Shatner: Well, I’m coming to present “The Wrath the Khan”, this wonderful film that has this a historical significance in that if it hadn’t been made, and then successful, it’d be very likely that the whole Star Trek franchise would’ve stopped right there after the making of what was called “Star Trek: The Movie” which didn’t so well.
And we’ll play that film in all its glory, on the big screen with the big sound and everything like that.
[BATTLE CLIP OF KHAN MOVIE – PHASERS, EXPLOSIONS]
Shatner: And then you and I come on stage, and for an hour or more, we’ll hold the theater audience enthrall as we cleverly talk about any of the questions that the audience has. They will have submitted questions, you’ll be the master of ceremonies, and between you and me on stage, we will entertain the audience for another hour or so. So the audience coming, they will have a theatrical experience that’s quite unique.
And it’s great fun, I’ve done it in several places and the audience reaction is remarkable. So I’m urging your listening audience to come that evening, and have a great time in the theater.
[KHAN MOVIE CLIP: “KKKHAAANNN!!!”]
Bull: And you said in your tweet, I remember, that anytime you need to, as far as the questions go, you can always just turn to me and say, “Bull!”
Shatner: Bull. Well you must’ve wrestled with that name a lot, and I wasn’t even going to go there. I mean…imagine what they’ve done with ‘Shatner’ over the years, so it’s nothing new. And using your name like that would not have been different, and would have incurred your wrath, and we have enough with ‘The Wrath of Khan’.”
Bull: Yeah, the ‘Wrath of Bull” never materialized as its own film. By the way, Bill, or do you prefer ‘Mr. Shatner’…how do you like…
Shatner: You call me Bill, I’ll call you Bull.
Bull: Excellent. So Bill…out of all the films -- (Shatner: Yes, Bull?) --of the entire franchise, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” remains perhaps the top favorite among fans and critics. Why do you think that is?
Shatner: Well, I thought “Star Trek V” was the top among fans and critics. But maybe “II” has got a toe-hold there. Why do I think that is? Because the film goes back to what the original series did best, a human story filled with a conflict of characters, and emotions, and the classic Greek rules of dramaturgy: conflict and character progression. So that’s what happens in the “Wrath of Khan.” Characters meet, conflict and evolve, and the plot goes on. And it’s a lovely, entertaining story that’s well filmed.
[ANOTHER KHAN CLIP W/SPOCK: I have been, and always shall be…your friend…live long and prosper…”]
Bull: Have you been to Eugene before, Bill?
Shatner: I have, I know it to be a lovely, colorful town. And a college area.
Bull: And are you familiar at all with the Eugene-Springfield connection to Star Trek: The Original Series?
Shatner: No I am not. Tell me, what is the connection?
Bull: A writer, by the name of Theodore Sturgeon, wrote two episodes…
Shatner: I knew Theodore Sturgeon!
Bull: He wrote “Amok Time” and “Shore Leave” and though he started out on the East Coast…he spent his final years living here, he retired in Springfield.
Shatner: No, I didn’t know that! Wow! (Bull: Isn’t that cool?) I read Theodore Sturgeon prior to Star Trek. He’s one of the authors, his name’s now lost, but these science fiction writers did a lot of pulp magazines when he was starting out, as did so many.
Even (Isaac) Asimov wrote for pulp magazines that predated all these science fiction novels which then became science fiction movies, and when I was going to the movies as a kid, it was all these Biblical things by Cecil B. DeMille, with 10,000 extras. Now it’s all science-fiction, and the 10,000 extras are all drawn on a computer.
I’m delighted to talk to you and I’m hoping that we will sell the theater out and have a grand time. You and me, and the “Wrath of Khan”, I’m looking forward to it.
Bull: I’m looking forward to it too. Thank you for your time, Bill! Great talking to you.
Shatner: Take care.
[MUSIC TAIL: STAR TREK II THEME]
NOTE: William Shatner's event will be May 19th at the Hult Center, starting at 7:30pm. A screening of the re-mastered 1982 sci-fi classic, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" will be first, followed by a question and answer session between Shatner, moderator Brian Bull, and the audience. Tickets available at the Hult Center box office or at hultcenter.org.
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