William Shatner will always be Captain Kirk. It is the role that defined him to the world. But Shatner has worked as an actor consistently throughout his career. Just review his IMDB and you will see that post-Trek he worked a lot on TV. For fans, this means a veritable treasure trove of small gems. Today I would like to share one of those gems. William Shatner on Celebrity Bowling in 1974.
Celebrity Bowling was a popular syndicated bowling sports series. It was hosted by Jed Allan and ran from January 1971 to September 1978. The premise was simple. Two sets of celebrities are pitted against each other in a bowling match. They compete not just for glory, but also for prizes for a lucky home viewer.
A lot of people will make fun of shows like Celebrity Bowling and the people who make appearances on it. Often equating it to the bottom of a person’s career. This might be true in some cases. After all, it iss easier to book lower level celebrities for shows like this, people on their way down, looking for the spotlight again. This phenomenon continues today and it often works to jump-start a career.
While Shatner was not landing lead roles at the moment, he was hardly unemployed. So for him Celebrity Bowling was a great opportunity for him to reach audiences who might not be seeing him in the smaller roles he had been landing. It was also a good “get” for Celebrity Bowling, who could count on a few Star Trek fans to tune in and see how the Captain had been doing in the intervening years.
Watching this episodes is a blast. Shatner is a terrible bowler, but that makes it more fun. Also, as usual, he brings something to everything he appears in. So while this is not Shakespeare, it is an entertaining and humanizing experience for an actor who has become an icon. So please check it out.