Monday, May 19, 2008

Shatner pants


My friend, Ling from Auckland, is a huge William Shatner fan. She loves "Boston Legal" and has been reminding me throughout the month that Mr. Shatner has a new autobiography, "Up Till Now" coming out in May and that he'd be signing copys at Book Soup here in LA. So, I braved the 100 degree heat to stand in line to get her a copy.

Now, I've always been a "Star Trek" fan, but have really come to appreciate William Shatner's humor over the years, especially in his role as Denny Crane on "Boston Legal". I think he's funny and was actually looking forward to meeting him while getting Ling her book. I even bought a copy for myself and my roommate Joel (since he wasn't feeling well and couldn't go with me).

Honestly, I only bought our two books because I thought it might appear rude to just get a book for someone else and, if he asked me where mine was...I would hate to say "Oh, I don't really want one...I'm only here for Ling."

The book signing started at 2:00 and I was in the first group to be let in. The store made us write, on a Post it, who the book was for and what we would like the message to be (he wouldn't just sign a book with his signature only...probably so people wouldn't just buy copies to sell on ebay). I really just wanted him to put "To Ling, my number one fan in New Zealand" in hers and really didn't care if he just signed the other two with his name.

I come around the corner with the rest of the group and see him sitting behind the counter in a faded Tshirt, with light makeup, staring down as he signs a book for a woman who is trying to chat with him about a recent appearance he did on "The View". He barely acknowledged her, signs her book and reaches for the next one.

When I'm next in line, the staff takes my three books and passes them on to him. I walk in front of him as he's signing...

Here was my meeting with the legendary William Shatner:

He starts signing the books, but doesn't look up at me.

"Hello, Mr. Shatner. Just wanted to say I'm a big fan of you work on "Boston Legal".

No response. Still staring down.

"Oh, that book is for my friend Ling in New Zealand. She is a huge fan of yours and she's been asking me for the past month to get her an autographed copy of your new book. It's the reason I came all the way down here today in this horrible heat. She just loves you."

He doesn't look up at me, but says...

"Well, I hope he enjoys the book."

I say "Would you mind if I took a picture?"

Still not looking up at me, he says...

"Yes, I would mind."

The three books are shoved off to the side and he reaches for the next book in line.

The end.

Now, I understand that celebrities would probably rather be doing any number of things other than spending two hours on a weekend signing books. I also understand that they, like all people, have days when they're feeling less than social or pleasant.

However, I think if you're trying to promote a new book about your life and you've had people waiting in a line in 100 degree heat just to have you sign one (after paying $25 for it), you could at least make eye contact at some point and, perhaps, even force a smile for their effort.

I opened Ling's book to see if he at least signed what I put in there and found that, in fact, he had ignored it....he just signed "To Ling, William Shatner".

If I could have returned the other two books and got my money back, I would have.

Unfortunately, I had Shatner stains all over the inside covers of those copies now.

That stinks.


gonoles84 said...

First of all, fabulous play on words, Mr. Ken....always one for a good "poo" reference. A couple of years ago, I bought the "Liza with a Z" DVD at the B&N at the Grove. Liza was doing a signing and my experience was the polar opposite of what yours was. The queue was at least 3 hours long, by the time I got up there, she was gracious, accepted by ebullient compliments of her (you know she loves the gays) and she took a very nice picture with me.

The way Shatner responded to all of his fans is a shame. Aside from all that you mentioned, you did *buy* 3 copies of his book and since I'm in the publishing business, I know he gets something for each copy sold. If I do read this book, I'll be picking up a copy from the library.

Honestly, I think his wig (the Shatner 3000) was probably on a bit tight that day.

Vampire Hours said...

OMG....the "Shatner 3000"!! Shatner with an S should definitely take a lesson from Liza with a Z. I can't even reprint what Cindy suggested I should have done with those other two books that day (although I loved it!). However, I will would likely have made the rest of his afternoon a little less comfortable in his lower equator.

The Shatner're killin' me (to quote YOU)!

hellominnie said...

That's so strange! I also went to the Book Soup signing to see William Shatner and my experience was COMPLETELY different. He was so nice and friendly to me. I even have a recording the whole encounter that my husband took. Sure, he wasn't too talkative and it was very brief. But he made eye contact, smiled when my husband said I was a big fan and said it was nice to meet me. I heard he was a little under the weather due to the whirlwind schedule he had the weeks before the book's release so maybe that's the reason why. Sorry you had a bad experience.

Brian James Walker said...

Better late than never. I had the exact same encounter with Shatner at this signing - and for better or for worse - it still sticks with me.

I have been a fan of Shatner's since the early 70's (primarily because of Star Trek) and over the years I would hear comments from castmates and fans about Shatner being essentially a dick to other people.

I, for years, would generally make excuses for him and this supposed behavior.

This signing at Book Soup in 2008 confirmed for me what everyone had been talking about over the years. I was amazed that he could not manage to put on a good face for a couple hour signing for fans. Again, just being somewhat polite with brief eye contact would have done it.

The woman (hellominnie - I believe is a woman) who made a previous comment about having a different experience with Shatner must have caught him on a good second or two of mood change but I was there for a little time waiting in line and I felt he was being a dick to everyone I saw and it would have been almost impossible to miss.

Maybe it is the fact that hellominnie is a pretty woman and he was reacting to that. I don't know. I am amazed at how his behavior here at this signing confirmed stories I had heard most of my life about him from cast and fans.

It actually saddens me because I have always been a big fan of Star Trek and Shatner since I was a kid in the late 60's and early 70's and here I am eight years after this signing still thinking about it.

Just lately - after reading Shatner's book LEONARD I became aware that even Leonard Nimoy (Shatner 's 'friend') had issues with him (re: their not speaking the last year's of his life and a couple of interviews where Nimoy took Shatner to task a little). I felt like I had to put my two cents in - and actually it's a big deal to me. Go figure.