Here's how William Shatner prepared himself for Star Trek's cancelation

By: H&I Staff     Posted: May 3, 2023, 3:09PM    Tags: William Shatner, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek

"There's no such thing as the unknown — only things temporarily unhidden, temporarily not understood." - Capt. Kirk. 

Those words were spoken in a Star Trek: The Original Series episode by William Shatner, as his character Captain Kirk, but the meaning holds a lot of weight in real life. Despite massive public efforts to save the sci-fi series, NBC decided it was time to bring the ship down to earth and cancel the show.

How did Shatner prepare himself for the "temporarily unhidden and not understood?" In simple terms, he moved on. Dwelling on what is now the past doesn't help anything, so the actor chose to move forward.

"What would be amusing to me," Shatner began in an interview with the Daily News in 1969. "is if the reruns of the series, which are being slotted in Jerry Lewis' Tuesday night 7:30 time period on the network, would wind up pulling down big ratings. Imagine how the NBC executives would feel once they canceled the show and dismantled the sets."

At the time of this interview, Shatner was a decade into his career and comprehended how the industry worked. "When I see the sets being dismantled, I know the show's over. It is time to pack up and move on," he added. The actor even had a few things lined up, appearing in a CBS Playhouse drama Shadow Game and several films in 1970.

He could've ridden the Star Trek success wave for a few years and probably would've thrived off of it, but that's not how Shatner operated. The actor was even willing to be a part of a new show format that puts a series faith into the hands of critics.

"But judging on past experience, I'd be willing to risk it. I've seen actors ride five years on one success. So if getting knocked in advance of a performance can kill you, getting praised can boost you," he added.

Shatner made his rounds on game shows after the cancelation and appeared on Maurice Woodruff Predicts. "Guess what? He predicted I'd never do another television special."

It seems like Woodruff's prediction was wrong. Does the show T.J. Hooker ring a bell?