Joe Bob Briggs here, and we're having a "Star Trek" convention tonight.
We'll start it off with the Ricardo Montalban classic, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Mr. Roarke"--I mean "The Wrath of Khan"--and finish up with a little change of pace for "MonsterVision": two classic "Outer Limits" episodes, one with William Shatner, and one with Leonard Nimoy.
But before we go where no man has gone before, I gotta cosmic question for you: Who keeps leaving his shoe in the middle of the highway? And why is it always ONE shoe? Where's the other one, still in the box at Thom McCann? Is there a one-legged man with an attitude, scattering his extras all over creation so we'll know he's handicapped? I was on the road last week, and I saw shoes on every major interstate between Dallas and Miami.
You can even tell what state you're in by what KIND of shoe it is--a boot in Texas, a sandal on the Gulf Coast, a designer flip-flop in Florida.
I haven't seen any high heels out there. Whoever's doing this is a GUY. Now here's my question.
Let's forget WHY somebody would strew shoes all over the highways of America.
I wanna know HOW they do it. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Shoot, they just throw one out the window, fling that Hush Puppie on the pavement." Wrong. Because the shoes are never on the SIDE of the road. They're always right smack dab in the MIDDLE of it. You would have to put triple-reverse upside-down English on the Weejun to get the sucker to land in the middle of the lane. Nope.
All the empirical evidence points to these road shoes being PLACED, not thrown. Somebody's doing this JUST TO AGGRAVATE ME. In fact, I think it might be some subtle advertising ploy. Because more than half of these shoes are BRAND NEW, like they just came off a semi headed for the Factory Outlet Mall.
One other question.
Why shoes? Why is it ONLY shoes? Why do you never see shorts, or jeans, or parkas? A ski cap?
Why don't you ever see SOCKS? Someday I'll figure this out, even if I have to toss a few Nikes of my own to experiment.
And speaking of unexplained phenomena, Mr. Roarke is peeved at Captain Kirk for making him stay on that dang island for all those years in our first movie tonight, "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan."
This was the second "Star Trek" flick--the first one, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," was one of the most expensive movies ever made at the time due to all kinds of production delays, and everyone hated it. So this time they pared the budget WAY down and recycled the sets and hired Ricardo Montalban to flex his pecs and make many threatening long-distance space calls to Captain Kirk-- and this was BEFORE the days of 10-10-321, so it was a pretty big deal. And this is also the one where Paramount Pictures made sure everybody knew that Spock dies at some point in the movie, as sort of a "Who shot J.R.?" kinda thing, got everybody talking about THAT. It was originally slotted as a TV movie, but then they decided to take a chance and book it in theaters, and it got great reviews and was a big hit. So what's say we do the drive-in totals and get it started. We have:
17 dead bodies.
One dead killer larva.
Two starship battles.
One mock starship battle.
Vulcan nerve pinch
Check it out, and I'll get beamed up at the breaks to chat with you.
[fading] I wonder if they have WOODEN shoes in the road in Holland? Those clodhoppers could be actual life-threatening road hazards. Do you ever think about bearing down on the shoe, runnin over it with your tire and makin it flip up in the air?
I love that. I've obviously been thinkin about this way too much.
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #1
Druids in long robes and pointy hats are scary even when they're NOT sneaking up on you on a lifeless planet. "Dammit, Jim, what the hell's wrong with you?! Other people have birthdays, why are we treating yours like a funeral?"
I love the throw-back dialogue in the early "Star Trek" movies. The ones before they got hip and decided to branch off a little from that stilted talk they did in the TV show. There've been nine "Star Trek" flicks so far, but they dropped the Roman numerals after number six-- people aren't real keen on seeing movies where the sequel number gets too hard to calculate, with all those V's and X's and I's. They also dropped the original crew after that. Actually, they had the new crew AND the old crew in part seven, but THEN Kirk and the gang started looking like a Depends ad, so they retired em for good. But we're gettin ahead of ourselves. We're only on number two tonight. Let's get back to it. Beam me up, Ernie.
[fading] You'll have to bear with me, cause I'm not really a Trekkie. Or Trekker, the fans like to be called now, right? They think "Trekker" sounds less dorky than "Trekkie."
I've been to one of those conventions, and guess what? Trekkie Trekkie Trekkie.
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #2
Great armadillo ear-leeches--I love that part. But whoa! Is that Ricardo Montalban's real chest? That guy's in pretty good shape for someone his age--he was 62 when this was made. But that's also his real hair!
By the way, the Trekkies found a plot hole in the scene where Khan captures Chekov and the black guy.
"The Wrath of Khan"--or TWOK, as they like to call it--was based on an episode of "Star Trek" called "Space Seed," starring Ricardo Montalban as a genetically- engineered superman, who Kirk maroons on a barren planet. And this is twenty years later, right? But here's what gets the Trekkies all in a tizzy: Walter Koenig -- that's Chekov -- WASN'T IN THAT EPISODE. So how do he and Khan recognize each other? Hm? Pretty astute of em, huh?
Actually, I know why he recognizes him, and that's because the script had Chekov viewing a library tape on Khan before he beams down and gets the old larva fu in the ear. Sounds a little high on the coinky-dink scale, and maybe the director thought so too, because they cut that scene out and rewrote the one we saw, and the Trekkie police weren't on- hand to stomp their feet and make em fix it.
So there you have it. Mystery solved. Sort of. And Kirk just got the blame for wanting to steal the Genesis thing, so let's go see what happens.
[fading] I think the Trekkies LIKE to find things that are wrong with these movies. Gives em something to do. Besides design websites and tape their glasses back together.
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #3
This was Kirstie Alley's big movie break--did you see the "Introducing Kirstie Alley" in the opening credits? And she was no spring chicken, was she?
You guys know what Kirstie Alley and John Travolta have in common? Besides "Look Who's Talking" and "Look Who's Talking II," which TNT programming subjects me to when they're mad at me. That's right, Scientology. Kirstie's a big Scientologist, says it helped her kicked her drug addictions. Travolta gives it credit for his comeback, making him one of the biggest stars around. It didn't help Kirstie save her marriage to Parker Stevenson, though. Remember Parker Stevenson? Big "Hardy Boys" heartthrob. Also starred in "Baywatch." They split up last year.
I know, isn't that sad?
Last I heard he was suing her for custody of the kids and $75,000 a month in child support. $75,000 a month. For a 5-year-old and a 7- year-old. Parker swears that the '63 Jag was for little Billy, not for him.
All right, back to "TWOK"--"The Wrath of Khan." Roll it. [fading] $75,000 a month in child support. They could go to McDonald's for every meal, couldn't they? Kirstie must be doing pretty well on "Veronica's Closet."
Maybe Parker Stevenson oughta try that Scientology stuff. Maybe EYE oughta try that Scientology stuff.
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #4
A moment of silence for Scotty's young nephew who has been maimed in the line of duty. Okay, that's enough. Hey, don't you love those high-tech special effects when the Enterprise is hit, and the set jerks back and forth, and everybody's flung out of their chairs? But instead of being flung, they look more like they're sort of JUMPING out of their chairs? And they can never quite get the timing right, so there's always, like, one guy jumping out of his chair two seconds after everybody else does. I love those moments. And speaking of the set, as I mentioned earlier, the director, Nicholas Meyer, re-used the sets from the first movie, but he wanted to make em look more real.
So he made a few little changes. Have you noticed those fire extinguishers hanging out there all by themselves on the walls? That's one of Nick's touches. Nice, isn't it? Okay, let's find out what's going on with Scotty's nephew, and why Scotty was the only one who had an oxygen mask. Go.
[fading] "Stand by to receive our transmission." [sotto voce] "Mr. Sulu, lock phasers on target." [noise; jerks chair] How was that? Was that convincing? [rubs butt] That's harder than it looks.
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #5
Was Paramount Pictures contractually bound to put DeForest Kelley in a certain number of scenes?
I know this series ain't winning any Oscars for anybody, but does he in particular stick out? Maybe it's just me.
I guess they're all just doin what they've always done-- makin "Star Trek" and writin autobiographies. Almost every one of these guys has an autobiography. Nichele Nichols has one called "Beyond Uhura," where she goes public with her affair with Gene Roddenberry. Course, this was after he was dead, so he couldn't deny it. George Takei-- that's Mr. Sulu, in case you've been asleep for the last thirty years--has one called "To the Stars," where he talks about his life in politics, which includes being appointed to the Board of Directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District. I think someone needs to tell those guys that when they were flying the Enterprise, it WASN'T REAL. William Shatner has at least one book, and Leonard Nimoy has a couple of em. I may even read you some of his poetry later. If we have time.
[fading] I know, that wasn't fair, was it? Holding Leonard Nimoy's poetry out there like a carrot. This is how I'm gonna get you guys to stick around for the second "Outer Limits" episode. No, really, these books are great. Especially the one on mass transit.
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #6
KHAAANNN! KHAAANNNN! The E-motional talents of the great William Shatner. You'll also catch him e-moting in the first "Outer Limits" episode we have for you later.
By the way, did you guys catch the nasty language in that last part? Where Kirk's illegitimate son calls him an SOB, but he doesn't say SOB? You won't hear that kinda language on TBS, no sir. That was specially approved for "MonsterVision." And that is, of course, Bibi Besch as the mother of Kirk's son, Dr. Carol Marcus. Bibi was a big soap star in the late 60s, early 70s. "The Secret Storm," "The Edge of Night," "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing." Remember that song?
"Love! . . . is a many splendored thing."
Bibi Besch is the mother of... Samantha Mathis. She passed those cuteness genes right on down, didn't she? Okay, this flick needs to be moved along, so let's keep it going. Roll it.
[fading] "Khaaannn!" "Da plane! Da plane!" "KHAAANNN!"
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #7
You know what doesn't make sense to me? How come every time anything goes wrong with the Enterprise, there's this big deal about getting the power back up? Half of Scotty's dialogue is stuff like, "We only have partial main power, Jim.
It's the best we could do in two hours."
I mean, what's Scotty doing back there? Shoveling coal into the engine? It's the 23rd century--can't they just flip a switch? "Hm, headlights, tail lights, beam-up switch . . . oh, HERE it is-- power reserve." Isn't that the way it works? And how bout that DRAMATIC scene between William Shatner and Bibi Besch, where Kirk feels old and worn out. Could we beat THAT horse any deader? Don't you think there are more important things to talk about with the old girlfriend, like the fact that he has A SON? You know? "Yeah, that's great we have a kid and everything, but let's get back to how OLD I feel." I'm gettin worn out just listening to him. Back to the flick.
[fading] And what's with that hair-do Ricardo Montalban has? He looks like he's wearing one of Linda Evans' old wigs from "Dynasty." Right after one of her bitch-slappin catfights with Joan Collins. You guys know what I'm talking about?
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Commercial Break #8
That was kind of a BORING space battle, don't you think? A lot of jockeying for position. And that WAS supposed to be Ricardo Montalban's son, wasn't it? Cause if it wasn't, I think there was something funny going on on the ole S.S. Botany Bay. His pattern indicates two- dimensional thinking, if you know what I mean and I think you do. I don't want to think about that--let's go back to the movie. Kahn is about to get all Captain Ahab on us.
[fading] He practices nebular penetration.
He explores strange new worlds, boldly going where no man has gone before.
"STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN" Outro
And that was the famous Mr. Spock death scene, where Leonard Nimoy, all torn apart by radiation, tells Kirk to live long and prosper, and collapses to his death. And William Shatner expresses it all with that very moving: [stoic] "No." That's not really it, is it? I think I gave it too much. But he does lose it a little bit at the funeral. Oh, another thing that really bugs the Trekkies.
The whole Enterprise crew keeps a stiff upper lip during the eulogy except . . . the half-Vulcan lieutenant, Kirstie Alley. They go nutty over that one. Of course, Kirstie Alley will cry at the drop of a hat. Okay, we're just about at the end here, so let's wrap up "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." Go.
[fading] I've mentioned this before on this show, but I still think there's something . . . masculine about Kirstie Alley.
I mean, she's workin that Wonderbra under her uniform, but I don't know. Did I mention that the kids she had with Parker Stevenson were adopted? Has anyone ever seen her nekkid? See?
I rest my case.
Joe Bob says check it out.