“Beam me up, Uniondale!” will be the phrase William Shatner utters when he makes his first Long Island convention appearance Saturday and Sunday at Eternal Con inside NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum.
“I’m looking forward to coming,” says the 87-year-old actor. “I can’t wait.”
Best known for playing Capt. James Kirk on the iconic 1966-69 TV series, “Star Trek,” which blossomed into a film franchise in 1979, Shatner will come face-to-face with his fans, taking photos, signing autographs and answering questions in a Saturday panel. But, what does he get out of it?
“Adoration!” says Shatner with his signature wit. “Honestly, it’s really humbling for someone to come up to you and say, ‘I’ve always wanted to meet you.’ It’s extraordinary. I want to meet them and make sure they are happy.”
When approaching him, fans tend to share all kinds of tidbits.
“Sometimes they’ll say, ‘I chose my profession because of watching the show,’ ” says Shatner. “It’s very meaningful. There’s a great deal of humanity involved here. I go out there to entertain and come back filled with emotion.”
The fictional character of Capt. Kirk is one that’s often admired by many, even Shatner himself.
“His ability to love, command and have equanimity in battle are all enviable traits,” says Shatner, who notes his favorite episode is “The Trouble with Tribbles.” “Wouldn’t you like to behave like a hero in the middle of a bad situation?”
Although “Star Trek” aired more than 50 years ago, surprisingly the fanbase continues to grow with each passing year.
“I think it’s generational,” notes Shatner. “Parents start teaching their kids to watch the show with them. I’ve had innumerable people say, ‘I watched ‘Star Trek’ with my father or mother and now I watch it with my child.’ It happens so many times.”
Shatner is busier than ever. This summer he will drop a country music album, “Why Not Me?” with Jeff Cook of Alabama followed by a Christmas album due this holiday season called, “Shatner Claus.” Not to mention a new book, “Live Long and…” coming in the fall. Sometimes he’ll even tour with one of his old films like “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” then come out and speak to the crowd after the screening.
“That film was made 36 years ago,” says Shatner. “I have some fun with the audience pointing out that I’m a little different than the image that was on the screen.”
In the reboot world of Hollywood, “Star Trek” films were remade by director/producer J.J. Abrams who cast actor Chris Pine as the new Capt. Kirk. Regarding his replacement, Shatner states, “Chris is a terrific talent. He’s wonderful, young, handsome…and nothing hurts on him.”