Monday, May 19, 2008
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.
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.