Shatner

Folded Space: “Has Been” – Shatner At His Best

Sometimes, has-beens are really cool.

Such is the case with William Shatner’s epic 2004 album, “Has Been”. It’s far enough in the past, and more recent releases by Shatner have made it plain and clear that this is the man’s musical magnum opus.
Shatner

Of course, it helps to have talented friends. “Has Been” was arranged, produced, and featured quite a bit of musical material written by Ben Folds, who had enlisted Shatner for vocal duties on his eclectic oddball side project “Fear Of Pop” in 1998.

Prior to 2004, everyone’s musical memory of Shatner probably started and ended here.

In fact, “Has Been” was Shatner’s first solo album since 1968’s “The Transformed Man”, and that’s probably no accident – his attempts to branch out creatively had been mocked enough that any normal individual with a healthy self-respect would see no need to venture back into a recording studio.

But we’re talking Shatner here.

With help from Folds, and collaborators and guests such as Brad Paisley, Aimee Mann, and Joe Jackson, “Has Been” is actually quite an artistic statement. Shatner, in his own words, muses over the pitfalls of fame (whether it’s zooming toward him like an oncoming train, or visible only in the rear-view mirror), unrealized ambitions, and, in one deeply disturbing case, the then-recent suicide of his wife.

Age is also an elephant in the metaphorical room, whether it’s the realization that there’s only so much time left, or more humorously, what may be the all-time-best old guy’s rant, “I Can’t Get Behind That”, a duet with none other than Henry Rollins. Yes, that Henry Rollins.

If Shatner was truly a has-been, would he be able to command such a group of A-list musical collaborators? It seems doubtful. For one amazing, shining musical moment, he was relevant, both topically and musically, and it was a beautiful thing…and a fleeting one. The follow-up, 2011’s “Seeking Major Tom”, returned to the crowd-pleasing cover song schtick of “The Transformed Man”, this time with a star-studded lineup of musical collaborators…but they were other people’s songs, not the deliciously honest originals of “Has Been”.

And that’s the really sad thing, because the cover-band seems more like something a real has-been would do. On his 2004 album, Shatner was very much in the present, and we were getting the real Shatner, not the self-caricature that he seems to relish in performing for everyone. Even on Twitter, Shatner is constantly trying to rally fans to various charitable causes; real has-beens on Twitter tend to heap unwarranted abuse on random passers-by.

Despite the title of his best album, William Shatner is no has-been – he’s still the captain.
Shatner

Canada Beams Up More Interstellar Star Trek Postage!

A quick update, just in case you were in cryogenic suspension: last year (2016) was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. You might just have missed the massive conventions featuring top-line guests who had never done the Star Trek convention circuit before. You might just have missed the glut of cool merchandise, mammoth Blu-Ray releases, and the latest movie in the franchise.
Trek Postage

You might also have missed some stamps. The U.S. Postal Service graced the anniversary with a set of stamps that seemed to be trying to pay homage to the colorful ‘60s origins of Star Trek rather than to its beloved characters. They were…abstract…to say the least. Now Canada’s stamps? Canada had the best Star Trek postage stamps – basically, they had the stamps I wished we had gotten in the States.

If you’re wondering about the unusual spread of characters covered on the sheet of five Canadian Star Trek postage stamps from 2016, bear in mind that three of the five actors – William Shatner, James Doohan, and John Colicos – were born in Canada! Non-Canadian-born Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley were included because, well, there would’ve been riots in the streets if Spock and Bones had been left off of the 50th anniversary stamp set.

Canada Post apparently knows when it’s got a very happy customer base, because it has just announced “Star Trek: Year 2” stamp sets, this time concentrating on the five TV captains that the franchise has put on our screens so far: Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer. (Sorry, no Chris Pine, modern Trek movie fans.)
Trek Postage

The new set of stamps is being offered in every form from a lavish booklet, to first-day covers, to framed sheets.
Trek Postage - Sheets

The best part of all? Canada Post does ship to the United States, quite happily.

As we’re all waiting for a new Star Trek series (to be filmed, incidentally, in Canada) that seems like it might fade into vaporware in an alien atmosphere, Canada Post is keeping fans happy by not limiting the celebration to 2016. (And the 2016 stamp sets are still available.)

Transporter

Transporter Goes Wrong In This UK National Power Ad!

Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise have faced many grave dangers. Quite a few of them avoided thanks to the transporter. As well as the talents of Lieutenant commander Montgomery Scott. As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion on The Retroist – Mr. Scott was always one of my favorites.

Equally at ease on an away mission as keeping the engine room running at peak performance.
Transporter - Mr. Scott

Or even taking command of the USS Enterprise when need be.

On the other hand Scotty could take care of himself when action was called for as well. In particular with uppity Klingons mouthing off about the Enterprise.

Mr. Scott was honest and hardworking as well as loyal. These traits sum up what James Doohan brought to the character. Throughout the original series and perhaps even more so in the films – we had a chance to see the more humorous side of Scotty. Although perhaps none more so than with this 1990 TV commercial for the UK’s now defunct National Power. Check it out for yourself and see what shenanigans occur when Kirk presses Scotty for more power.

[Via] Captain Simpson

That is seriously one of the more humorous commercials I’ve had the pleasure of watching. In particular I enjoyed the reactions of the two away team members that are stranded. I would also add that it appears that both William Shatner and James Doohan had fun while shooting the ad.

Don’t you think that Kirk might behave himself better though if this transporter body mix-up were to take place…yeah…probably not.

Now that you’ve enjoyed the comedy of a transporter mishap. This is the part where I remind you…it wouldn’t be that funny in real life.

[Via] Cole

Wow. That was something of a downer, huh? So to lift our spirits – here is Mr. Scott with a special message.

A Very Happy 50th Anniversary To Star Trek!

Today across all manner of media you will be able to take part in the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek! It was fifty years ago today that NBC began airing Star Trek – a series that would run until June 3, 1969 for a total of 79 episode but thanks to syndication found itself earning renewed interest with new generations.
Star Trek - Original Cast
Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a “Wagon Train to the Stars” may not have ever become a Nielsen rating’s darling but it did manage to leave I think a very lasting and worthy legacy.

One that has helped influence our now everyday technology but continues to inspire countless people and helped to forge a franchise that has spawned six television series and thirteen feature films!
roddenberry star trike

The Original Players


One of the reasons the original series has endured this long is of course thanks to the casting of its three main leads. While not the chosen Captain for the 1964 pilot The Cage, that honor going to Jeffrey Hunter (The Searchers) as Capt. Christopher Pike – I believe it’s safe to say that William Shatner certainly made the role of Capt. James Tiberius Kirk his own.
star-trek-william-shatner

Leonard Nimoy as Spock along with Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) were the only two cast member who found themselves carried over from the pilot to the first sixteen episodes that NBC ordered for the 1966 and 1967 season. While much like Shatner – Nimoy crafted an iconic character with Mr. Spock and became probably the fan favorite member of the starship Enterprise.
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For what little it might be worth I was in fact not a big fan of Spock in my youth, no, I have always been an emotional person so one of my favorite Star Trek characters early on was the sometimes overlooked Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy played to perfection by DeForest Kelley.

David Hazard
The coolly logical intellect and matter-of-fact demeanor of Mr. Spock would often hilariously rub Dr. McCoy the wrong way and cause the space faring country Doctor to rant about how inhuman his fellow crew member behaved. But the genius of the writing in the original Star Trek is the showrunners made sure to show how much these three people cared for one another and the rest of their crew.

Of course it wasn’t just Nimoy, Kelley, and Shatner that kept the Enterprise flying and the series popular – not by a long shot as we were lucky enough to have the likes of James Doohan as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott…who was and still is hands down my favorite character.

Paul Hupperdine

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Walter Koenig as Ensign Pavel Chekov who was also seen in that clip was brought in during the second season to help connect with younger Star Trek fans…and the fact he bore a more than passing resemblance to The Monkees’ teen heartthrob Davy Jones.

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Then there was the beautiful Nichelle Nichols as communications officer, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, an amazing and historic non-stereotypical role for the actress – a character that she almost stopped portraying until a chance encounter with Martin Luther King Jr. changed her mind.

It was during the 70s and 80s while acting as a recruiter for new candidates for the NASA astronaut program that Nichols learned just how very much of an inspiration her role in Star Trek truly was.

SS52

Rounding out the original cast of regulars is the incredible George Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, the skilled helmsman that managed to get the Enterprise out of almost as many jams as Mr. Scott has worked miracles in engineering.
star-trek-george-takei
Another non-sterotypical role which is just part of why I believe Roddenberry’s vision of a future where mankind can put aside it’s differences to make themselves better and reach the stars is still so very important today.

The Legacy and Importance of Star Trek


Hey, I absolutely love Star Wars and I will reluctantly admit there was a time when I thought I could only really be a loyal fan of one franchise…thankfully I wisened up. But how about we get the importance of Star Trek and it’s legacy straight from DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, and even Harlan Ellison on this 1976 episode of Tomorrow with Tom Synder?

[Via] William Forsche

So happy 50th anniversary to Star Trek and here is to the next 50 years!

[Via] Star Trek

Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast Episode 021 (Star Trek)

Welcome friends to the 21st Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast. On this episode I talk about the SEGA arcade hit Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator from 1982. I also made sure to bring a few vintage audio treats for your listening pleasure.

If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page or you can check in on the Official Diary of An Arcade Employee Facebook Page for your daily fix.

Our special ending theme for this episode was provided by Earl Green of the The Log Book.Com by way of the Kasatochi chip tune cover band!

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