“Endless expanses, the year is 2200 – these are the adventures of the spaceship Enterprise, which with its 400-strong crew …”
Do we know? These words are not only known to die-hard “Spaceship Enterprise” lovers or “Star Trek” fans (more precisely: so-called Trekkies).
A hit series on television, in the then not so well-known science fiction genre, premiered in the USA in the late 1960s.
A series that was very underestimated in the beginning, a series that really made history, a TV series that almost everyone on this planet knows, and I’m not exaggerating. A series called “Raumschiff Enterprise” or “Star Trek” in the American original.
And you also know him – as well as almost everyone (according to a survey that was once published in an American magazine) in this world:
Captain James T. Kirk, alias William Shatner.
William Shatner – the man, William Shatner – the “Austrian”
William Shatner grew up as the son of Joseph Shatner and Anna Garmaise in Montreal. His grandfather Wolfgang Shatner (originally they were called Schattner) was a Jewish emigrant of German descent from the Ukraine.
His maternal grandparents were also Jewish emigrants Austria and from Vilkaviškis in Lithuania.
Shatner has been fascinated by acting since he was 6 years old when he took part in a theater performance at a summer camp. Two years later he appeared at the Montreal Children’s Theater as Tom Sawyer. At the age of ten he already achieved a certain level of awareness as a radio play speaker on the Canadian radio station CBC.
After high school, he graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a degree in economics in 1952.
In 1953 Shatner starred in several Shakespeare performances at the Stratford Festival of Canada.
The “Star Trek era” began
There were some (small) film roles after that, as well as the TV producer until the mid-1960s Gene Roddenberry became aware of Shatner. Like many other Star Trek stars, especially the late Leonard Nimoy (the Vulcan “Mr.Spock”) – he was cast by Roddenberry.
A new science fiction series was being planned. Such series were not particularly popular back then. At the time, TV viewers preferred a western, think “Bonanza” with Lorne Green in one of the leading roles.
But Roddenberry stuck to his project, a first episode entitled “The Cage” (still without Shatner) was shot, was designed in a sophisticated way, but did not keep what the studio bosses expected from such a series.
But Roddenberry persisted.
The next episode was a success, the first time with Shatner in the role of Captain James Tiberius Kirk, as commander of the USS Enterprise, a large “Constitution Class” spaceship with a crew of 400, one of 12 spaceships of the neutral and peaceful – also invented by Roddenberry – Starfleet or “Federation” (the organization behind it).
The series was shot from 1966-1969. Everyone knows it, in the meantime it has been digitally remastered and can still keep up with current science fiction series, which was mainly due to the good scripts, the good music, the timeless stories and of course the actors themselves or the “classic” status that this series has just achieved.
The author of these lines knows many people who are not necessarily oriented towards the science fiction genre, but everyone – almost everyone – likes to watch the “old” Enterprise episodes again and again (see pictures).
In the 1970s, things got quieter around Shatner. There were marital crises, alcohol problems and relatively few orders for the successful “Captain Kirk”, the father of 2 daughters who were born in 1961 and 1964.
But in 1977 it was prophesied to end again, because the first Star Trek film (“Star Trek – The Film”) was produced with a great deal of technical effort by Hollywood star director Robert Wise, but unfortunately it fell through with the fans.
But very successful other Star Trek films followed, still with the “old” original crew, who started with “Star Trek VI” (the film was a homage to the old cold war between the former Soviet Union and the USA) in the year Ended in 1991.
Patrick Stewart as the new captain of the Enterprise
Then came the “Next Generation”, with the British Shakespeare actor and top actor Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean Luc Piccard. These 7 seasons of the so-called “The Next Generation” were extremely successful and were shot as a series from 1987-1994.
From 1994 this new crew was allowed to fly through space in some equally successful films and with their new Enterprise 1701-D (the “old” one was still called 1701 or 1701-A) to save worlds, to do research and many more To experience adventure in space. The last film with Captain Picard and his crew was shot in 2002.
New films with new stars followed from 2009 – a “neverending” story.
Because Star Trek also had many noteworthy and successful series offshoots, above all “Deep Space Nine”, “Star Trek Voyager” and, since 2017, “Star Trek Discovery”.
Jeff Bezos and his Star Trek Alures: “I want” Captain Kirk “to fly into real space”
But back to real space flight – because yesterday it happened.
The now 90-year-old Bill Shatner, who was married 4 times and divorced 3 times, was allowed to jet into space with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos company Blue Origin.
Shatner, who is passionate about producing music, even very ambitious (he released 20 studio albums) otherwise spends a lot of time breeding horses.
With the lawyer series “Boston Legal” he also had respectable success in the TV genre from 2004 to 2008.
There were also appearances at shows, in films and other public events.
Shatner was also not too good for various TV commercials (sometimes with his friend Leonard Nimoy). “A really busy fellow – always on the ball,” as someone once called him.
Of the Space flight was hosted by the aforementioned Blue Origin, the company that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has as a kind of hobby.
And of course it’s also about, in an almost infantile competition with the Tesla founder Elon Musk to keep up, who builds rockets in addition to cars.
Just had the adventurer and Virgin Airlines CEO Richard Branson both beaten into space in the race of the super-rich. With the coup, Captain Kirk on board one of his spaceships, the Amazon boss is now again in charge – well, the super-rich and their “problems” – you sometimes want to have these.
Speaking of rich, Jeff Bezo’s net worth is estimated at around $ 200 billion (you read that correctly, the number is three digits and ends with billions).
According to the list, he is – currently – the richest person in the world. Directly followed by Tesla founder Elon Musk and the French entrepreneur Bernard Arnault.
The flight into space and the crew
The crew consisted of actors William Shatner as Audrey Powers, Vice President, Missions and Operations at Blue Origin, Glen de Vries, Co-founder of the medical research platform Medidata, and Chris Boshuizen, a tech entrepreneur – you were aboard the New Shepard NS-18.
The flight was mainly automated – like the first flight, where Jeff Bezos himself was on board.
The rocket took off at 4:49 p.m. CET (Central European Time) and landed again at 5:01 p.m. in the western Texas desert.
The rocket reached a height of about 100 km, from about 100 km one officially speaks of free space, the line corresponds to the so-called Karman-Linie.
After the highest point was reached, the space capsule went downhill again relatively quickly (the launcher was detached beforehand – as usual – after the start).
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos insisted on receiving the “astronauts” personally, as soon as it was possible, it was he who opened the capsule hatch and was able to receive the “Enterprise” commander.
So William Shatner was the one oldest person with its 90 years the ever im All war.
Here is a video which Blue-Origin also made for the YouTube Kanal des Autors has been released.
It describes impressions before the start and during the Crew training. Extremely exciting and unusual film material that I received as a Regionaut – including Bill Shatner and his “all-colleagues” as they are trained to be “space travelers”.
VIDEO (William Shatner and his team during training):
Astronaut Training mit William Shatner
or directly here:
Sources / Photos / Acknowledgments / Links:
+ own research, own data
+ Blue Origin, thanks to McKenna Parr for sending us the information from the USA (off. Blue Origin press material)
+ Google (Creative Common License)
+ Attention recording – the author’s media channel on Facebook
+ YouTube Kanal des Autors
+ Podcast Channel des Author