William Shatner Myths & Conspiracy Theories
From American Psycho II
Excelling in television, movies, commercials, theater, and music William Shatner has penetrated every corner of the entertainment industry — it's no wonder that the man who could conceivably dominate the world has surfaced in several rumors and conspiracy theories.
Myth: He Believes In UFOs
He once claimed a UFO saved his life after his motorcycle broke down in the Mojave Desert. Stranded and without water in the 130-degree heat, he said a mysterious object suddenly appeared in the sky and guided him to a gas station and safety. But Shatner later recanted the story in his autobiography and told The New York Times: "I told the truth that I lied."
Conspiracy Theory: Segregationists Tried To Whack Shat
One of Shatner's first film roles was in the controversial anti-segregation thriller The Intruder, produced by none other than B-movie king Roger Corman. The film is the only one of Corman's several hundred features to not make back its production costs, possibly because of an unspoken boycott of the film due to its pro-integration subject matter. Shatner and Corman report narrowly escaping filming locations with their lives and neither has done anything half as controversial since.
Conspiracy Theory: He's A Satanist
In the hiatus between Star Trek the TV show and the Star Trek movies, Shatner's career wasn't so hot. He made some B-movies and lived in a pickup truck. Then, in 1975, he did a movie called The Devil's Rain. Shatner's character in the film is converted into a Satanic puppet by Anton LaVey, the real-life High Priest of the Church of Satan. Did down-on-his-luck Shatner make a Faustian bargain? In any case, his next movie was a box office phenomenon, and a surprise success to boot: Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Conspiracy Theory: He's A Satanist (Continued)
So good we had to include a second photo from this crazy freakin' movie...
Conspiracy Theory: He's Dead
A rumor has popped up online that Shatner was actually killed for real during the filming of a Priceline advertisement in which his bus is seen falling over a cliff. As far as we know, the rumor is totally untrue… and hilarious, for some reason.
Myth: He Could Be a Reptilian
We're not saying that he is a reptilian alien who has come to Earth to enslave us all. We're just saying that he is remarkably well-preserved for someone who just celebrated his 81st birthday. Also, it would explain the whole UFO thing…
Myth: He's Actually A Cyborg
And if he's not a reptilian, Shatner's incredible physical condition could be attributed to the fact that he's a cyborg. Maybe. First of all, there's his distinctive, halting, speech, pattern. And. singing. style. Then there's the fact that he wears a "small electronic device that generate[s] a low-level, broadband sound." According to The Seattle Times, Mr. Shatner wears this because he suffers from tinnitus, the condition of having a constant ringing in your ears. Or it's his communicator with which he connects to Skynet.
Conspiracy Theory: He Rules Show Business
Is William Shatner secretly the most powerful man in show business? For fourteen years, The Shatman has been the face of Priceline.com, an online ticketing company. A rumor printed by the Toronto Sun says that Mr. Shatner has been paid in stock options and notes his net compensation for his work tops $600 million — more than the combined yearly earnings of Tiger Woods, Madonna, and Oprah.
Conspiracy Theory: The Moon Landing
As Captain Kirk, Shatner boldly went "where no man has gone before." And during the Apollo space program, Shatner was actually invited to sit in the lunar capsule. The engineers at NASA projected an image of space on the capsule screen and then flew across it a model of the Starship Enterprise. Many conspiracy theorists use this incident to demonstrate that NASA could have been experimenting with projection technology as a test run to fake the moon landing.
Myth: Kirk's Death
For some Trekkies, choosing between Kirk and Picard at a convention is like choosing between the North and the South during the Civil War. Fans of Kirk were up in arms when their beloved captain died at the end of Star Trek: Generations. Purportedly, the film was set up to transfer the film franchise from the cast of The Original Series to that of The Next Generation. Wired offered up a more compelling theory about the reason for the death of Kirk: "In 1992 Patrick Stewart and William Shatner had a bare-knuckles boxing match in the basement of a sound stage in Hollywood, the result of which Shatner had to die at the end of Star Trek: Generations."
Myth: Interracial Kiss Was The First On TV
It's a myth that the famed kiss seen above was the first interracial romantic moment in TV history; however, it was probably the first-ever interracial kiss — or touch — in an American scripted TV series. And when television execs heard about the "Star Trek" plot point, they ordered the crew to shoot a second version of the scene, which Shatner agreed to do. Except he deliberately blew every take, forcing the network to air the version that broke open the doors for all the storylines Hollywood still relegates to the arthouse.
Conspiracy Theory: Canadian Invasion
In 1985, William Shatner starred in The Canadian Conspiracy, a mockumentary about Canada's purported plot to dominate American culture. Shatner is one of the many famous actors whose "secret" Canadian origins are exposed as intrepid American reporters foil the dastardly Canadian scheme to take over the American entertainment industry. Although billed as fiction, the mockumentary style has presumably fooled numerous viewers into believing Shater is plotting to conquer the U.S. on behalf of his Canuck countrymen.
Conspiracy Theory: The Tobacco Industry
Another hilarious myth that popped up in the early 2000s was about his supposed secret ties to the tobacco industry. While Big Tobacco is no stranger to behind-the-scenes shenanigans, it seemed a little preposterous to hear that Shatner was secretly being paid to promote cigar smoking, a rumor which arose from the fact that each Boston Legal episode ended with the star enjoying a stogie. Shatner has not addressed the ongoing controversy, probably because we just made it up.