Spring Break: Second Star To The Right…
At the end of Star Trek VI, when Chekov asks Kirk where they should take the Enterprise on its last trip…Shatner just looks at the big screen and quotes “Peter Pan.” Its a great metaphor there, for growing old, feeling young, and transitions…and Shatner’s wistful delivery really puts a good end to the Classic Film Series.
Yesterday, March 22, was William Shatner’s birthday. It is a giant hassle to do any kind of likeness, so it took some serious time to do this composition. I felt like I should also include Mr. Spock as well as Captain Kirk…because I still have a hard time believing that Leonard Nimoy is gone. With this piece, I was looking for the compositional feel of the covers of Star Trek Novels written and published in the 1980’s, and through the 90’s, often with art by the legendary Boris Vallejo.
I think that the friendship between Shatner and Nimoy…bumpy as it reportedly was at times, shows through in the roles of Kirk and Spock. Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner first met on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Their next roles, on Star Trek changed their lives, sort of locking them into those roles forever. In only seventy-nine television episodes and then six films, they were more or less stuck together, cast in the roles of best friends. Their on screen depiction of how to be a good friend, of sticking up for each other and so forth, helped to define for me what it means to be a friend in the first place.
William Shatner is 85 years old now. In the early 1980’s the “Wrath of Khan” came out, and in that, a major thematic plot point was that Captain Kirk (Admiral Kirk at the time) and the Enterprise crew were getting older. It was a crisis for Kirk. Now, decades later, Shatner the actor is still vital, doing new projects. It’s kind of inspiring in its way. So much so that the character of William Shatner, his latter day public face is hugely successful. His sense of humor about being a pop icon has led to the point where the New York Daily News has said, “It’s now William Shatner’s universe — we’re just living in it.”
Shatner once said that he never thought he’d get old, then he got old, and he still didn’t think he was old, although now he admits, “I’m a couple of steps slow.” He added to that quote, “I dream about running lightly, sailing through the air.” If he just keeps moving, on the run, death won’t catch him. He’s apparently embarrassed by his age….which fits his influence on the role of Jim Kirk. It angers him that people think he’s old, he recently told a reporter. To Bill…he still feels young, at 85.
Anyway…I’m on Spring Break, so I can do whatever content that I feel like. I felt like doing a piece here that is basically a “thank you” and a “happy birthday,” to a gentleman who has brought countless hours of excellence into my life, and many others. I wanted to draw the ship, the way it looked when I was young, and the crew, the way they were when I looked up at them on a tiny black and white television, in reruns every single night.
Thanks for all that, Mr. Shatner.