William Shatner in Berlin   (Captain Kirk, TOS), Part Two

 

click here for part one

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Photos & transcript: Erich Habich 1999
Jaguar drawing by Asali Nyuki 1999

A Rabbit Miracle

Oct 31. '99


Y
esterday we were talking about dogs and I told you a story about DeForest Kelley and his little dog and my big Dobermans.  I breed Dobermans, I love my Dobermans.  I have a big male Doberman named Sterling.  I have an older female Doberman called Martika.  Martika was then twelve years old.   That's old for a Doberman. (Martika died this year).

And I thought: "Golly. I'm gonna get a puppy."  An eight weeks old Doberman puppy.  And I bring the puppy in and Martika can love the puppy and teach the puppy all the things that I taught Martika.  And Martika will get young again because the puppy will make her young and she'll have a happy last few years of her life.  So I found a litter of puppies. 

Nerine and I went over to where this man had his litter and we picked out a puppy.  I was doing a charity horse show at the time.   Every year I do a charity horse show to raise money for handicapped children.   So we decided to call this puppy Charity.  We bought the puppy and we were driving back.  We had seen another puppy that we really liked. 

Nerine said "No. I really like the other puppy, too"
and I go: "So? What's the difference?  We'll have two puppies.  Two puppies will play with each other and Martika". 

So we went back and bought the other puppy too.  Now we had two puppies, Bella and Charity.  We brought Bella and Charity home and Martika looked at the puppies.  Her being a female I thought she'd mother them like she had mothered Sterling who was three or four years younger than she.   She kind of ignored them for the first week or so.  And then in the second week I heard her growl at one of the puppies.  I thought: "Gee, that's not too good."

I tried to soothe them.  I train dogs.   I'm pretty good at that.  I tried to acquaint them.  In the third week she attacked one of the puppies.  One puppy was yelping.  I think it was Charity she first attacked.  And then she attacked Bella on another occasion.  Then I decided to separate them to see what would happen, maybe we could work it out.   Charity and Bella were in one part of the house and Sterling and Martika were in another part and they became crazy.  Martika attacked Charity and Bella.

Finally one day, after they were about two months old, Martika attacked Charity and I had Charity in my arms.  Martika had Charity by the jaw and Nerine held Martika and I held Charity (we were pulling them apart).  Then Charity's jaw broke.  We had to go to the veterinary who set the jaw.  She had also torn her ear.  And whilst she was in a cast she was lying near the garage door.  The garage door closed on her leg and broke her leg.   This is Charity.  Poor puppy.  Broken leg, torn ears and a broken jaw.  

Now what have I got?  I've got four Dobermans.  I've got these two puppies that we've bonded to.  I've got an older female, Martika,  who's getting a little crazy.  And Sterling, this big seven year old Doberman stud dog who just watches what's up.  I had a choice: either give the puppies away or give Martika away.  I didn't know what to do.  But I breed horses as well.  So I found a wonderful home for Martika in Kentucky with horses.   I decided I would give Martika to this wonderful home and let her live out her last years and I would keep the two puppies.  That was the decision I had to make. It was like putting your parents into an older persons home.  It was that kind of decision.   I decided this was the right thing to do. 

Now I have three Dobermans.  I have two females, litter sisters, and Sterling.  The puppies start to grow up and they are playing with each other.  They play and fight and then they started to bite each other.  When they were about a year old they started to take little chunks out of each other.  And one day I came home and Charity had taken a chunk out of Bella.   So I talked to a couple of breeders and they said you got to separate those two dogs because by the time they are two years of age they are going to kill each other.   One will kill the other or they will both die as it happens when they both fight to the end.  Now I had to give one of those two puppies away.  What choice did I have?  So, I found another good home and I gave Bella. 

Now I'm back down to one female, Charity, and Sterling.  Sterling was kind of like wondering "What am I? What's happening with me?  Are they going to give me away too?"  I could see the look in his eyes.  So, I started to take him with me.  One day I went to a friend of mine's house.  They had a condominium in Los Angeles and I brought Sterling with me.   Sterling is a hundred pound Doberman.  A big, big Doberman.  But he is well trained.  We were sitting in this little garden.  And I said to Sterling "Sterling over here and lie down".  Sterling went over there and lied down.    And I talked to my friend.  Later in the conversation I looked around and I could not find Sterling.  Sterling had gotten up. 

I went looking for Sterling and there was a hedge with a hole in it to the next door neighbor.  I looked in the hole and I saw Sterling with a rabbit.  He was twisting and pulling it and the rabbit's dead! 

Sterling has got a dead rabbit! (30299 bytes)So I called over to my Friend "Oh my God!  Sterling has got a dead rabbit!" 
My friend shouts: "Oh!  That my neighbors rabbit!  She is going to kill me!  That's her favorite rabbit!  What are we going to do?  She is going to call the police, I'm sure of it!  I got so much trouble, my God."  
So I say:  "Here, I know what to do: Sterling, come here. Give me that rabbit!" 

I got it and I ran into my friends house and I put the dead rabbit into the bathtub.  And I washed the rabbit.  And it's dead!  And I washed the rabbit all up and I got a hairdryer and I blow dried its hair!  I got it all fluffy and silky.  And then I ran back to the neighbors house and I looked in the hedge: I could see the rabbit cage.  I went through the hedge and put the rabbit back into the cage!  I took Sterling and went back into the part of my friends garden.  We were sitting there and then we hear the patio door open. 

The neighbor had come back and we wondered "What's she gonna do?  What's she gonna do?  I hope she won't report Sterling."  Then we hear her walk around, she keeps walking around and suddenly we hear a

"OH MY GOD!", the neighbor is screaming "OH MY GOD!" 
And suddenly she appears through the hole in the hedge with the rabbit in her arm
"OH MY GOD!  IT'S A MIRACLE!  I BURIED MY RABBIT FOUR DAYS AGO AND IT'S APPEARED BACK IN THE CAGE!" 

I couldn't tell the neighbors that it was all a cover-up.  So she thinks it's a miracle: the second coming of her rabbit!

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Black Panthers at Night

Oct 31. '99


I
n the whole world Star Trek is very popular.  I was in Berlin Zoo this morning and the lions started to roar.  And we saw leopards and panthers, too.  A soft black panther in the Berlin Zoo.  That reminded me of something I did a few years ago. 

I was asked to go to Iran.  The Shaw (the monarch of Iran) was still in power.  They wanted me to photograph a panther at night in the wilds of Iran.  We went into the wilderness area which they had modeled on the United States wilderness.  They had taken chunks of land and used them as wilderness areas.   We had a guide and a movie crew and we went into the wilds were they had seen a black panther.  I then discovered that these wilderness areas weren't set aside for wilderness areas but every time they saw a beautiful animal they phoned back to Teheran to tell the Shaw's brother that there was some large animal that he could come and kill as a trophy. 

It was like their hunting ground rather than a wilderness area.  Nevertheless, it was an adventure to go and photograph a black panther at night.  They had a Range Rover for us and a guide with a camera in the backseat. I sat in the front seat.  It was cold at night.  So I had a sleeping bag.  And a camera with a long lens. 

"A Jaguar Pic" by talented artist Asali Nyuki, click here to visit her web-site...They had something staked out for the panther to eat.  The first night we were there I was waiting for the panther.  I had the window down because I had to take photographs.  The idea was that the lights would go on when triggered by the panther eating whatever it was they had staked out.  When the lights went on I was to take the photographs!  That was the whole idea of the show. 

The first night I was in the front seat driving around in the sleeping bag.  We could hear the panther but he didn't come near.  We packed up in the morning.  The next night (I hadn't been able to sleep all day) we were out there again.  Now I was really tired.  I was sitting and lurking, sitting and lurking with the camera.  I kind of wrapped the sleeping bag around me and laid my head up against the window of the Range Rover.  And fell asleep.

The black panther was like a big cat purring (57758 bytes)I was awakened by the sound of a train "Why?  I don't remember train tracks around here?"  And I realized it was the panther on the other side of the door making that noise.  The panther was like a big cat purring.  I didn't want to move because he'd startle and move off.   Then the panther moved to the stake to collect his bait.  I had the camera at the ready.  And what happened?

A black panther at night.  You can't see it.  It escaped.  It took whatever it was at the stake and it was gone.   And they said  "Hmmm!  Black panther. Night time. Black on black."  Well, we'd come all the way to Iran to make a photograph that couldn't work.  And that was the end of the show.  We did a show about how stupid we were to think that you could photograph a black panther at night.  Those animals are incredible. 

Children and the environment are my big causes.  Germany is at the forefront of environmental causes.  And I'm so glad because the adventures I've had in the wilderness have all indicated to me, along with some of the other people of course, how deadly the stuff we are doing to the planet is.   That we are killing ourselves.  And we got to do something very quickly to stop that.  We got to work very hard to clean up our countries and also to tackle the main problem, which is overpopulation.  We've got to do something about all that.  

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Swimming With Whales

Oct 31. '99


I
was snorkeling two or three months ago at the Sea of Cortez in the Baha peninsula.

We were actors to photograph whale sharks.  These are 65 feet long.  So, I sat there in this small boat with snorkel and fins on.  They said the whale sharks wouldn't hurt us.  Whale sharks are giant animals.  I swam close to one.   It was underneath me.  I only had a snorkel and no scubas.  I swam after it.  They are not a flesh eater but eat plankton.  Hence it's mouth is very big.   They eat by lowering themselves and then sucking in the plankton. 

So I swam alongside and then I moved over. I got onto it's mouth and I was able to hang onto the edge of it's mouth while it swam along.  There aren't that many whale sharks left.  They are killing a lot of them as well.  But the two days I spent swimming with whale sharks hanging onto their fins, hanging onto their mouths and looking into their eyes.  Holding onto their fin and putting my hand on the whale shark and petting it and trying to tell them with my hand I wasn't a threat. 

So I was patting it, trying to send my emotions to the whale shark, holding onto the fin with one hand and trying to pet this giant animal.  And I know that one of these whale sharks understood what I was doing.   It had a sharks eye, which rolls around. 

I swam, I looked him in the eye.  And his eye rolled around and looked back at me.  And then he kind of swam into me.   Swam around me.  And it was the most incredible kind of communication between man and another animal.  The most beautiful.  And I spent the time with whale sharks who are being slaughtered in various parts of the world. 

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Coco the Gorilla

Oct 31. '99


I
n the United States there is a Gorilla called Coco.  
Coco the Gorilla. 

And Coco has been taught about 600 sign language words. 
So that Coco the Gorilla can sign for example "I love you".  600 words!  And it has made phrases up. 

Once she saw a duck fly into the water.   She had been taught the signs for "water" and "bird".  And she signed "water bird".  She put the two together.  The level of intelligence was there.  I once did something about endangered animals and they wanted some publicity.  The publicity was going to be this: they wanted me to go into Coco's cage and talk to her.  With a 600 pound mountain gorilla!  Who can tear you apart. 

So, I said "Okay!  I'll do it."  I walked into the cage.  Knowing animals a little bit I know that they read your body.  If you move in a strange way they notice that.  I believe that they watch your body language.  As an actor I know that you can say words and your body will follow.  I can say "I love you", and now suddenly your body is forward. 

So I started to say "I love you Coco", hoping that my saying would convince her and convince me that I wasn't scared.   So I kept saying "I love you Coco. Coco, I love you."  I got closer and closer to this giant gorilla.  Who was sitting in a chair.  And her big brown intelligent eyes were looking at me. 

I got closer: "I love you... I really love you Coco." 

And she extended her hand and grabbed me by the crotch. 

I stood very quiet.  "I love you Coco.  I really love you Coco."  In a hoarse voice: "Coco, I love you..." 
She then dropped her hand.  But boy, it was close I tell you!

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The Biggest Fan

Oct 31. '99


I
love animals. 

I have horses in Kentucky.  I love my horses.  
I ride in competition in two kinds of discipline. 

One is a kind of dressage with American saddle dress.  Very beautiful horses.  And I won some World championships in that.  And I ride in competition in reigning horses.  Those are quarter horses that slide and stop and whirl, doing fast and slow circles.  I have some wonderful horses. 

The old-timers don't like amateurs to ride young horses because young horses are unpredictable.  A young horse is like a teenager.  You never know what they are going to do.  And for some reason, I've forgotten why, I think it was a particular nice gentle three year old horse, everybody decided that I could ride this three year old in a competition. 

And so I got on his back and we went to the ring.  We did our thing and were on our way to the stables when somebody in a golf cart startled the horse and the horse reared.

And ordinarily when a horse rears you got to throw them the reigns and lean into them.  You got to go against every instinct.   Your instinct is to hold on the reigns and pull yourself up.  But you got to throw them the reigns and let them get their balance.  If you pull on the reigns you can pull them back over, they loose their balance and topple backwards and you end up underneath them and you die.  

What happened was that he startled me so much that I grabbed him for a moment and being a young horse and being unaccustomed to being grabbed he started falling backwards.  In that moment as the horse started to fall back I thought "Oh my God!"  But at the last second the horse fell to its side and crossed me in my leg. 

The horse got up and I tried to get up and fell back down.  I couldn't use my leg.  I got back up again and fell.  Up and down. 

They said "Lie down. You are hurt. We call an ambulance." 
I said "Don't call an ambulance!" 

They said "You could die.  You could be bleeding inside."
I said "Call an ambulance!" 

The ambulance arrived. 
A big EMT comes and takes my blood pressure: "Oh my God. We got to get you to a hospital!" 
I said "I'm not going to a hospital!" 

"But you see the blood pressure is so low." 
"Alright.  Then get me to a hospital!" 

They put me on a gurney and they put me in the ambulance.  And of they went through the streets of Blue Hope.  And every 911 that I have ever seen, and every picture of an ambulance racing through the streets I've ever seen, there are always people in the back of the ambulance.  You know, there is somebody at the gurney, somebody with water, somebody with oxygen.  They are trying to keep the person safe. 

There was nobody in the back of the ambulance with me! 
And the EMT didn't tie down the gurney. 

So every time the ambulance went around a corner the gurney slammed into the sides of the ambulance.  If I was dying I would have been dead. 

Finally we get to the emergency hospital.   They wheel me in and take x-rays and pictures and they find nothing is broken.   I had just torn a lot of muscles. 

So I'm sitting on the edge of the emergency bed.  The doctor comes in and says "We want you to stay overnight to make a observation."  I say: "I can't stay overnight."  The doctor: "It's alright.  Here's a bottle.  We need a specimen to make sure you are not bleeding internally and the men's room is over there."  And I said "But I can't walk!" He said "That's no problem."  And he whipped the curtain around the bed to isolate it.  He says "I'll be right back in a minute.   Give me a specimen." 

I hate to tell you that Captain Kirk was giving a specimen.  But there I was.  I was giving a specimen.  Okay?   And somebody... the curtain opens up... and the prettiest nurse I've ever seen stood there. 

And she goes "Haaa!  Oh my God!   I'm your biggest fan!" 

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Character comparison: T.J. Hooker versus Captain Kirk

Oct 31. '99


T
.J. Hooker was supposed to be a conservative policeman caught in the change of the times in a more liberal arena. 

So he was a conservative caught in a liberal time.  He was finding it difficult to change.  And that I thought was an interesting premise.  That was the premise of the show.  Then you get into series work and all they can do is tell a simple story because things happen so quickly and there is so little time for good writing and there is so little time for anything.

In a series all you can do is just get out the work.  So that premise kind of got lost at times.  But I think that's an interesting premise.  I watched an interesting examination on television this morning about the catholic church. 

The question was: Should the conservatives in the Catholic church holding true to the doctrine be the one's in power. Or should a more liberal church take over and adjust to the changing times.

In this case they were talking about whether priests should be allowed to marry or not.  The conservatives say "We can't let that happen".  A wonderful quote was something one of the cardinals said: 

"We can't let change, like a thief in the night, come and take away the value of what we have to offer. 
We should go with what we always have and be true to that and not change."  

And that's the argument about the United States constitution.  Should we change gradually change the constitution, or should we hold onto the constitution and say that it is "The Word" and this will always be "The Word".  There is an argument to be made on both sides.  The character of T.J. Hooker in the changing times nudged on those type of questions. 

Just read them the Miranda rights whilst there is so much controversy over whether the laws should favor the accused as against the victim.  You know, that whole controversy is out there even today, or especially today. 

I see the potential for police to abuse their power.  And police are just ordinary guys trying to do their job.  And they have a lot of power.  The potential is there  for the abuse of power.  So the law must, in my opinion, help the citizens. I think the statement that its better for a guilty man to go free than an innocent man to be accused, is true.  Because that happens a lot and that's not good in my opinion.  There was T.J. Hooker in all that controversy.  That's what the series should have been about. 

Now about Captain Kirk.  You have Captain Kirk torn between the emotions of Dr. McCoy and the logic of Mr. Spock.  And then Captain Kirk trying to decide, is this an emotional event, is this a logical event and how to combine the two.  Which is the best way of doing it I guess.  To make decisions based on logic and emotion at the same time.  That's classical playwright.  

The Greeks talked about the antagonism and protagonism, too.  Star Trek at it's best placed the hero on the edge of a dilemma.   To find a solution on how to solve that dilemma.  In Star Trek's case the choice of whether to be emotional or logical or a combination of both provided a wonderful forum for drama. 

Both shows, T.J. Hooker and Star Trek, had the potential of being good programs and a good arena for drama.  Unfortunately both shows fell short of that ideal, because doing sixty pages of drama a week for nine to ten months is too much for any group of human beings.  You aim at the best, but you fall short, because we are less than perfect. 

Both of those characters were great. 
Captain Kirk seems to have caught the imagination of more people. 
Based on that I guess Captain Kirk was the more popular. 
But both characters certainly had potential  for being terrific dramatic persona. 

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