Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Did I Ever Bother With Sinatra?

Tonight, I was fishing around Youtube for something else-- William Shatner performing Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" on the Mike Douglas show-- when I came across something I never thought I'd see again; Shatner performing "It Was A Very Good Year" on the Mike Douglas show in the seventies.

Here's the thing: I remember watching this when it was first broadcast! After my family moved to the suburbs in 1971, the television was pretty much constantly on. I'd watch Mike Douglas' show if there was a Gilligan's Island rerun I'd already seen a half-dozen times. I remember watching it and being vaguely impressed by it; he seemed really damned serious, and I'd never heard Sinatra's version.

During my search, I found more travesties. For instance, Shatner crucifying performing the Harry Chapin classic "Taxi."

Perhaps the worst was Shatner performing the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song "Rocket Man" at a science fiction film award ceremony, introduced by lyricist Taupin. How much do you think Taupin and Shatner needed that money? They probably paid Taupin in a couple of grams of you-know-what and Shatner got a couple of free passes to the buffet and a bottle of scotch.

The best, though, was Chris Elliot doing a straight-up rendition of that very same performance on Letterman's show. My guess is that it was in the late eighties or early nineties.


Bubs said...

This was just f*cking perfect. Nothing like getting home late and finding Shatner, that's cool enough, but to get CHRIS ELLIOT TOO?


Anonymous said...

One time I was in a department store and I heard this woman yelling "Sinatra". I thought "Holy Crap Frank Sinatra is here in the store". A couple seconds later a little boy ran around the aisle and his mother said "Sinatra - don't run away from me again". I cannot hear about Sinatra without thinking about this little boy stuck with this crazy name. UGH!!

Mnmom said...

Those clips of Shatner are just embarrassing and made me so uncomfortable I was forced to have a cocktail.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

That stuff is hard to watch.

Grant Miller said...

Chris Elliot is a genius.

Distributorcap said...

did you ever see shatner doing "lucy in the sky with diamonds"

and i think there are a few gems from leonard nimoy as well

Johnny Yen said...

I always loved Chris Elliot's appearances on Letterman. Remember "The Guy Under the Seats?"

Suzel's Sass-
"Sinatra - don't run away from me again".

How many times do you think Frankie heard that one himself, always a woman's voice?

I was forced to have a cocktail

Well at least something good came out of it!

I always try to picture Shatner's agent or some sycophant convincing Bill that he could actually perform. "Yeah, Bill, it'll be brilliant! Have some more scotch!"

Dr. Monkerstein-
Yeah, but then again it's like a bad accident; I can't avert my gaze.

Grant Miller-
Agreed! Did you ever see him on that show where he was living in a treehouse at his parents' house? His own father, Bob Elliott (of Bob and Ray) played his father.

I own "Golden Throats," which has his version of LSD on it, as well as his horrific version of Dylan's "Mr Tamborine Man." On vinyl, no less. It's also got Leonard Nimoy's constipated-sounding version of Proud Mary, as well as a cocktail lounge version of Cream's "White Room." It's a classic. I need to get it on cd.

SkylersDad said...

Shatner doing Rocketman is a very special kind of bad. It's bad with a side of relish...

vikkitikkitavi said...

JY, you really need to own the Shatner CD that Ben Folds produced, "Has Been," if you don't already. Awesome.