It’s time again for our annual Obsolete show-pony, the William Shatner tribute throw-down known as ShatShow. In our years of assembling this event, we have always tried to observe the Prime Directive of obsolete Shatner curation — no Star Strek! But rules were made to be broken (just like Kirk did in every episode), and this year we couldn’t resist this ecologically-minded double-whammy of a good time: A Whale of a Tale (1976) & Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
First up is the bicentennial sun-flared curio A Whale of a Tale, featuring Shatner as Dr. Jack Fredericks, marine biologist, the resident whale expert of Marineland amusement park. He takes a directionless boy Joey Fields (“Ever been in a Turkish prison?”) under his wing and shows him the wonders of rescuing endangered sea-life to imprison them for our amusement. For comic relief we have fisherman Marty Allen (RIP) and grizzled captain Andy Devine. You’ll laugh — you’ll blubber — you’ll think.
Then it’s time to lend some serious Starfleet muscle to the cause with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, as the aging motley Enterprise crew lands in the SF Bay area (c. 1986). See, in the 23rd Century, the future of humanity depends on answering a mysterious alien probe, one that only the the humpback whales from the 20th century understand. So, time travel. Directed by Leonard Nimoy, the film spotlights the location humor of Kirk and the fish out of water crew in “present-day” San Francisco, including the now-famous boombox bearing punk on a MUNI bus, and Chekov’s unwitting search for a “nuclear wessel.” Come if only to watch a whale travel through time.
So there you have it. ShatShow violates the Prime Directive! Be there for Freddy’s delicious Happy Hour specials, brain-scratching trivia, and a Whale of a Good Time. Warp speed, Mr. Sulu!