I’m not sure how public this story has gotten, but mere hours after I posted images of William Shatner in 3D, the following events unfolded (cooincidence?). I thought I’d turn the mike over to my good friend Howard Cronson, who is at the center of the action…
It’s Thursday, August 6, and I’m sitting at home watching the Red Sox play the Yankees. As a devout Boston Red Sox fan living near Boston, during a game this is the only spot you’ll find me in. In fact, it would take an Act Of God to pull me away from a Sox game.
Well, an Act Of God or William Shatner, that is. So why does he mock me so?
The original plan for tonight was to ignore the game, grab my wife and drive to Providence, RI, where Shatner was to receive a humanitarian award from the Rhode Island Film Festival. This would have been followed up with a screening of William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet (based on the Has Been album he recorded a few years ago). Shatner was also going to speak and do a Q&A.
I was very excited about this. I have been a Star Trek fan since I was an impressionable 11-year-old, way back in 1975. The Original Series was the only Star Trek around at the time and, as far as I was concerned, Captain Kirk was The Man. He always saved the day, always got the girl and always beat up the bad guy. Who didn’t want to be Captain Kirk?
I had only seen Shatner in person once before, at a Creation con in Boston probably 20 years ago. I was anxious to see him again because, to be honest, Bill’s not getting any younger. He turned 78 in March and opportunities to see him in-the-flesh are not unlimited.
So I had arranged to leave work early, pick up my wife and drive down to Rhode Island for this exciting and rare opportunity. Well, it was exciting until I got an email from my friend ‘The Hey’ which had a simple subject line: Shatner Not Coming.
Tuesday, the Providence Journal Web site posted this article: http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/08/shatner-changes.html .
Basically, Shatner’s representative sent the head of the film festival a short email over the weekend citing a “contractual committment”. Not only is this a punch in the gut to Bill’s loyal fans, but the festival has to refund $5,000 worth of tickets that had already been sold.
The whole thing stinks to me. If Shatner truly did have a conflict, he would have known about it way in advance and not left the festival hanging mere days before his appearance. He also should have taken responsibility and called the promoters himself to apologize for the mix-up instead of having some faceless “personal handler” send an email. I used to be involved with organizing conventions, and when an actor did have to cancel, they always called personally to let us know and would also often go out of their way to help us find a suitable replacement.
This is not just a professional blunder but also a betrayal of his fans – fans like me support celebrities like Shatner, and the ones that are lucky enough to be part of a long running sci-fi franchise like Star Trek owe their professional and financial success to us; we watch their TV shows and movies, go to conventions to hear them speak, stand in line (and often pay) for their autographs and buy their books and DVDs. What do we ask in return? Just show up as promised!
I’m pretty disappointed in William Shatner right now. I still love Captain Kirk, but the guy who originally brought him to life fell down a few notches in my book.
Thanks to Howard for taking the time to tell us about this developing story. Care to share your thoughts on the matter? In addtion to commenting here, make your voice heard and send a note to where it really counts: FanMail@WilliamShatner.com