Retro Badass #2: Shatner

What made Captain Kirk everything a red blooded American boy wants to be? How did Shatner take a role that could have easily just been a one dimensional caricature, and make it his bitch?  A potentially cheesy "space captain" became a pop culture icon. What makes him such a badass?

First of all, he's the captain, so everybody kissed his ass. If there was a beautiful woman or alien within a 70 yard radius of him, you could guarantee he'd be making love to her within the hour. 

Kirk exuded confidence and bravado, but was at the same time extremely intelligent and resourceful..He played the role with such ham fisted seriousness, that you couldn't help but buy into what he was selling.  Sure, it's possible that he suffered from "histrionic personality disorder", but we lapped it up and begged for more!

Kirk was the ultimate explorer and frontiersman (as evidenced by this quote):

"You could feel the wind at your back, about you - the sounds of the sea beneath you," Kirk says about his seafaring forefathers in the original series episode The Ultimate Computer. "And even if you take away the wind and the water, it's still the same. The ship is yours, you can feel her, and the stars are still there."

I think the best explanation I've read comes from a website listing 100 reasons why Kirk is a better captain than Jean-Luc Picard:

"Kirk has punched out at least one member of over three thousand known alien races; When it's time for shore leave Kirk goes rock climbing and drinks whiskey. Picard wears nut smashing banana hammock speedos and reads by the pool; Picard drinks tea, Kirk drinks Saurian Brandy straight from the bottle; Kirk looks good in a ripped shirt, and he knows it; Kirk sword fights someone on a regular basis" and, most tellingly, "Style: Kirk did it first, he did it better and he did it wearing gold velour and Beatle-boots with a space girl on each arm."

No doubt, Shatner's own bravado is what made Kirk such a badass.  Indeed, the end of Star Trek did not spell the end of Shatner.  One of my favorite Shatner movies is Kingdom of the Spiders, and Shatner is the very definition of badass.  And let us not forget Big Bad Mama where he not only lays pipe with Angie Dickinson in the film, but also (as the story goes) off camera as well.  Shatner, you ol' devil! 

Of course, Angie Dickinson was far from his only high profile babe.  Shat also made sweet love to Joan Collins, Kristie Alley (when she was hot), and Celeste Yarnall (you may not recognize the name, but trust me when I say she was a stone cold fox).
Then there was his spoken word album The Transformed Man, which I commented on extensively in an earlier post, so I won't say much about it here.  Suffice it to say, it is an acquired taste, but I can't get enough of it.  Daddy like.

So, to sum up: Shatner is a first order badass, and anyone who denies it is just jealous. The younger generation perhaps only knows the slightly buffoonish Shatner from the Priceline commercials - a caricature of himself, really. They don't know the Shatner I knew.  The Shatner who commanded a space ship and had sex with hot aliens. Shatner in his prime.

 Well, before I go, I'd like to leave you with a picture of Kirk holding a penis shaped cave rock. Peace out.


  1. It's about time someone paid tribute to the Shat. There is no one cooler. Great post.

  2. Gilligan, you RULE--this was long overdue, LOVED IT!!

    Did you ever see 'Mind Meld', the 2001 'sit down' he did with Leonard Nimoy? We're so accustomed to seeing him play cariacatures of himself now, his 90 minute chat with Nimoy just felt very 'old school'.

    This was great, I never saw the pic of him reclining on that funky car--and that last image was perfect :)

  3. ever seen the Shat in a 70s film called Impulse? you have to! it's like his evil twin from The Enemy Within got to make a movie!

  4. Super post! Also glad you picked out the pics of Shat with future porn star Angelique Pettyjohn! Yes...the boy done well!

  5. I do not think the term "made love" is fitting for Kirk. You need something stronger...

  6. Ah yes, he is THE MAN. And no apologies for being A MAN. Therefore, I agree with Barbara. I loved him in Miss Congeniality also, but he was completely different there.

  7. O Captain my Captain! What strange worlds we have seen. What weird babes you have banged!
    We all know real captains have hair and labidos, even though your hair looked like a poodle on your head in the 80's, you still got it.
    Others may try to bring you down (I saw Yvonne Craig at a convetion and she hated Shatner) but among the stars you'll always remain.

    “We were basically one and the same, although Jim was just about perfect, and, of course, I am perfect.”
    W. Shatner

  8. Always more of a Spock fan, but yeah Kirk was great too. I saw Angelique Pettyjohn at a Star Trek convention in the 80's wearing that same outfit.

  9. Talk about histrionic: check him out in [the movie]The Brothers Karamazov.

  10. AnonymousJuly 23, 2013

    As a member of "the younger generation " (I think: born 1989, when Shatner was what, late fifties?) I'd like to say that Shat's badass sex-appeal is not lost on me! What with the internet, I can re-live all those awesome Shat moments from before I was born. Nice photos, btw!