Posted by CANbike on Fri, 22 Mar 2013

Rocket Man: Stewie Griffin and William Shatner Know What it Takes to be Cool

A quick look at William Shatner’s infamous performance at the 1978 Sci-Fi film awards, and the Family Guy parody.

William Shatner is “Rocket Man”

During the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards, William Shatner performed a reading of Elton John/Bernie Taupin’s song Rocket Man. Since then, the moment has been greatly parodied. In many ways, it was William Shatner’s defining moment that has typecast him into this role. Utterly serious, yet over the top. It’s hard not to laugh. His interpretation was literally out there and very creative; yet, he kept a straight face the whole time. It was William Shatner at his best. Whether or not he was completely serious or was a comedic genius has been greatly debated.

Maybe, he was serious about Rocket Man and took advantage of the infamy, or it was planned all along. Evidence was there to support the latter since his Star Trek fame. First, Shatner was trained as a classical Shakespearian actor and performed for the Stratford Festival starting in 1954. He played a variety of roles, acting on theaters and broadways. Second, Shatner had released a 1968 spoken word album “The Transformed Man” which was know for delivering exaggerated interpretive recitations of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Third, his rendition of Rocket Man basically featured the three faces of James T. Kirk. In other words, it was a natural extension of his Star Trek role. Fourth, he has perfected the typecast role of being serious and over the top. Presently it is all he is known for which is unfortunate as a former Shakespearian actor. Nonetheless, he gives the fans the farce they want.

Stewie Griffin, “I Know What it Takes to be Cool”

The ultimate parody of William Shatner’s Rocket Man was in Family Guy’s Episode 5 of Season 3, “And the Wiener Is…”. In it, Stewie Griffin parodies every crucial detail of the 1978 Science Fiction Film Award’s segement with tuxedo, cigarette, and vignettes.

Even funnier though is the classic line he opens the segment with . . .

Yes, when you’re ready come talk to me sweetheart, I know what it takes to be cool

which he says with a serious face.

The Videos

William Shatner’s “Rocket Man”

Family Guy Season 3, Episode 5: Stewie Griffin’s “Rocket Man”


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