German Valley, Illinois — One of the most iconic characters to ever grace the television screen in our lifetimes is undeniably that of Star Trek’s legendary captain, Captain James T. Kirk, famously played by William Shatner. Whether he inspired you to boldly go into your future or because of him, you explored where no man had ever gone before, the passionate cult following behind the famous TV show made the now 87 year old Shatner a pop culture icon.
Of course, we’d only be guessing here, but we would have to say that your average German Valley, Illinois resident (population 463) probably isn’t crossing paths with the likes of too many pop culture icons in their day to day travels. Unless of course your name happens to be Beth Randall, that is.
Beth has been a huge Star Trek fan her entire life and admits, “I have a lifelong crush on William Shatner”, she told us. The chance to actually meet the ships captain would be a dream come true for this German Valley resident who by day, cares for dying animals in a business she owns called Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary.
Beth’s family knew however that Beth had a birthday coming up. So, they decided to get VIP tickets for Beth and her daughter to meet William Shatner in person. This past Friday, September 21 Beth met her iconic crush at a special screening of the classic film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”.
Shatner at His Finest!
Beth first sat 3rd row as Shatner took to the stage at The Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wisconsin to share fascinating and humorous behind the scenes stories from portraying the original “Captain James T. Kirk” in the Star Trek television series and movies. Shatner also shared his career highlights spanning over 50 years as an award winning actor, producer, director and writer.
“It felt like he was in my living room”, she said of the moment.
He (Shatner)… “is a real animal lover which is awesome and his charity work helps people with therapeutic horseback riding”, Beth told us. She said her son, who has Autism, was very impressed. “I promised him I’d thank Mr. Shatner for that”, she said.
Shatner, who actually trained as a classical Shakespearean actor, made his Broadway debut in 1956. In 1954, he was cast as Ranger Bob on The Canadian Howdy Doody Show. His film debut was in the Canadian film Butler’s Night Off (1951).
Shatner has a musical career as well which began in 1968 with the release of his first album, The Transformed Man. Shatner used the album to compare contemporary pop songs of the period to the works of William Shakespeare by providing dramatic readings of Shakespeare interspersed with dramatic readings of the lyrics of songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Mr. Tambourine Man”.
William Shatner 1951 The Butler’s Night Off
Shatner contracted to play Kirk for the Star Trek series and held the role from 1966 to 1969.
After the cancellation of Star Trek in early 1969, Shatner reportedly experienced difficulty in finding work in the early 1970s, having become somewhat typecast from his role as Kirk. With very little money and few acting prospects, Shatner is said to have lost his home and lived in a truck bed camper in the San Fernando Valley until small roles turned into higher-paying jobs.
William Shatner – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Today, after 70 years of acting, Shatner is said to be worth around 100 million dollars.
During the VIP meet and greet, Beth says she was able to tell Shatner that she runs rescue called Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. She says she was able to show him the brochure as well as the book they published, which she left behind for him to look at.
Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary has grown to care for over 300 animals of 30 different species, utilizing about 20 regular and hundreds of one-time volunteers. Critter Camp is a USDA licensed registered 501c3 non-profit organization with a worldwide network of experts to help give the animals the very best of care.
Often, these animals get too big, expensive, or aggressive to keep, or their owners pass away or become ill, leaving them homeless. Rather than let the animals get euthanized, this sanctuary provides them with everything they need.
As for the moment of actually meeting William Shatner, Beth says of that face to face encounter, “I just put my hand on his and we looked into each others eyes and I said, thank you for being you”. Then Beth says as soon as she left the room she broke down into tears of joy.
“My Awesome Birthday present from my family!”, Beth said. “I love you all.” “I met, talked with, and touched William Shatner! I’ve been in love with him for 50 years!!” “Thank you everyone who made this once in a lifetime dream come true for me!”
As for the famous actor, he’s keeping pretty busy. Shatner just gave fans their first taste of Shatner Claus.
William Cleopatra Records has released online the opening track from Shatner’s upcoming Christmas album. This rendition of “Jingle Bells” has Shatner singing the lyrics and Henry Rollins providing the chorus.
The Black Flag frontman isn’t the only musical talent appearing on Shatner’s latest album. The album also features Iggy Pop, Billy Gibbons, Judy Collins, Brad Paisley, Rick Wakeman, Todd Rundgren, Joe Louis Walker and more.
Shatner also appeared at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards to accept the Governors Award on behalf of the Star Trek franchise, saying that Star Trek “represents an idea that is greater than all its parts” and “I accept this award for all of the artists who have worked to make this show a success.”
William Shatner – Mr Tambourine Man