No. of Recommendations: 67
This caught my attention:

the worst actor in film (that would be Wm. Shatner)

Earlier this year I picked up the first few DVDs of the original Star Trek series. (Geek.) Of course it's fashionable now to knock Shatner for being a horrible ham, totally over-the-top. There's some merit to that perception, or course. But what struck me while watching those first 10 episodes or so, is how much was asked of Shatner. They asked him to do just impossible stuff, in some cases stuff that had never been done by an actor before while in other cases stuff that was merely very challenging. And to do it every week!

Writers: "Ok William, in this episode you get split into 2 sides, passively nice and aggressively evil versions of your character."
Shatner: "Ok, Jeckyl & Hyde, got it."
Writers: "Ok William, in this episode your body is posessed by a spiteful woman out for revenge. We need to see a woman in your body language, in this pre-feminist era, while still believing that she is capable of pulling off all the technical details of the impersonation, like giving appropriate orders to take the ship out of orbit. And looking secretly proud that she is managing it."
Shatner: "Uh, ok."
Writers: "In this episode, you have enough natural authority about you that this rebellious teen boy will naturally see you as a father figure. Even though you're terrified of his mysterious power."
Shatner: "..."
Writers: "In this episode, your mind is wiped utterly clean by an experimental device that alters brain waves. You are completely responsive to the most over-the-top suggestions."
Shatner: "WTF?"
Producer: "The guest star is really hot, and you get to kiss her."
Shatner: "Well, ok then."
Director: "Ok, a torpedo is hitting the ship but we have no budget. Everyone throw yourselves to the floor."
William: "Ow!"
Writers: "William, in this episode, you are shot with spores which make you as fecklessly irresponsible and granola as all these so-called 'flower children' running around nowadays. But you can't quite bring yourself to abandon your ship because of overwhelmingly intense ties of love and devotion to your ship and your life. Then you have to provoke your superhumanly-strong best friend into hand-to-hand combat thru the use of racial slurs."
Shatner: "Right."
Writers: "In addition to this 'acting' stuff, you also have to be an action hero. You know some judo, right? So we'll write some unarmed combat sequences into the scripts. Hey, some judo sparring with a fellow crewman! That'll inject some day-to-day naturalness into our little fictional world."
Shatner: "Wait, I have to take my shirt off?"
Director: "In this scene, the doctor is examining you when the red-alert alarm goes off. You need to really break a sweat on this stupid upside down running thing, then snap right into command mode when you notice the alert."
Shatner: "Of course."
Writers: "In this episode, telekinetic people have taken control of your limbs."
Shatner: "So wait, am I in my body or are they?"
Writers: "No, you're still in your body. This isn't that Sargon thing. They're just moving your limbs like a puppet, against your will. You're still there, angered by the whole thing and talking the whole while."
Shatner: "Got it."
Director: "Ok, now you guys are finally getting to see the aliens face-to-face on the view screens. That blank square over there. We will fill it in later with something not quite convinvine, using our lame 1960s low-budget special effects. Pretend what you see is better than whatever we'll eventually manage to put there. We need some fear, some startelment, and an overwhelming sense of intrigue with the new and unfamiliar."
Shatner: "I'm boldly going where no man has gone before."
Writers: "In this episode, you are a strong and decisive captain faced with overwhelming odds in a ship to ship encounter. You don't just have to save the ship, you have to keep your crew together in this frightening situation."
Shatner: "How is this different from 'Balance of Terror'?"
Writers: "In that one, your ship was better than the other ship. You were winning. In this one, your ship is totaly outgunned. The tensions gets ratchedted up, you have to get into a sharp argument with your doctor and you have to to reprimand a crewman and relieve him of duties."
Shatner: "Can I kiss someone?"
Producer: "You can hug Yeoman Rand. Writers, find an excuse to get her onto the Bridge - she can bring him coffee or something."
Shatner: "Cool."

And he really delivered. I mean, they asked him to communicate the most over-the-top scenarios they could come up with for an actor, and he really delivered. Thirty years later we look at him as an over-acting ham (and a lousy singer). Alright. But he think he deserves some props for taking on some really difficult assignments as an actor, tackling them head-on and showing no fear or hesitation. He busted his butt. That deserves some respect.

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