Shatner wanted to get closer to his fans in 1977

I recently shared Doug Drexler’s story of photographing William Shatner in 1977 for the magazine All About Star Trek Fan Clubs, and then I realized that issue is probably among the more than 150 Star Trek magazines I own. And I did find it in one of my storage boxes.

Here are the highlights from that interview.

The cover of the magazine, showing really well done paintings of Captain Kirk and 1970s William Shatner.

Shatner opens by telling magazine associate editor Don Wigal that he has a newfound interest in connecting with Trek fans, but adds that his interest is essentially commercial: “I’m actively, now, looking for those people I’ve ignored all the years. I have now my own record called William Shatner Live. I’m mail ordering it myself. So I too have a vested interest in reaching the fans.” 

It’s good that he’s honest. I guess.

The interview itself is a prime example of the semi-professional nature of most genre magazines in the ’70s. The piece is disjointed and meandering, because it seems the writer used everything that was said, rather than editing for clarity and interest. For example, when Shatner promotes an upcoming play, the magazine includes this exchange:

The playbill for Tricks of the Trade, featuring photos of Shatner and Yvette Mimieux.
Image credit: Kevin G. Shinnick

WS: Then, there is a play which I’ll be doing—Sidney Michaels’ “Tricks of the Trade,” here in the summer. And— (to his agent) do we know where?

Agent: Westport, Conn.

A more experienced editor would have left out the aside. 

But the Shatner we know today does come through in the piece, especially when he talks about the many topics that interest him. He touches on “the conservation of whales and porpoises” and the “slaughter and genocide” humans inflict on them, Neanderthal anthropology, child welfare, and the meaning of life: “It’s such a mysterious thing. What people call God, or what the various religions attach a name to might just very well be the mysticism of what life is.”

Here is the interview in its entirety.

And here is the magazine’s spread of the Drexler photos mentioned above.

A collage of nine Shatner portraits, taken as he was interviewed.

The magazines of that era are a wonderful look into 1970s fandom, when both the publications and the celebrities were a little less polished and practiced.

The back cover of the magazine, with an alluring headshot of Shatner, plus his autograph in pink marker.

4 responses to “Shatner wanted to get closer to his fans in 1977”

  1. That’s Shatner for you – anything for the almighty buck. On a separate thought, I’ve recently begun collecting the magazines of “Trek – The Magazine for Star Trek Fans”. Somehow, I missed out on these back in the day. Maybe you could do an article on them if you feel inclined. I was interested to find out that issue #1 seems nowhere to be found – because basically it was out of print by the time #2 came out. So far, I’m not even able to find an image of it. Very nice magazines.


    • Hi again, Dan. I only own five of those, and the issues always confuse me a little. I own the First Issue Special, but it’s not the actual first issue, as it came out in Fall 1988. I also own Trek Special Number Two, from November 1978. So, are the Specials a different line of the magazines, and if so why would number one come out 10 years after number two?
      Or are the Specials just regular issues, and they left “Special” off some of the covers? That would be a great area for you to research.
      I do not own number one either, although for a long time I thought I did, as the darn thing was called First Issue Special.


      • Hi – as I understand it, there was a big demand for #1 to be reprinted because a lot of people missed it, but the negatives were destroyed. Hence, Special #1 was created – it is supposed to have some of the same articles, but is also expanded. I’m guessing Special #2 is similar, but I don’t have that one. I’m in need of #1 (next to impossible), #4, #5 and #6 of the early ones. I’ll have to see how far they went with the later ones. //Dan


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