Sunday, April 14, 2013

Classic TV Commercials Starring William Shatner

Shatner shilling for Miss USA
During the course of his lengthy career, the ubiquitous actor William Shatner has starred in dozens of television commercials for different organizations.

His resurgence in popularity since the late 90s (as embodied by the Priceline Negotiator character) is rooted in a fearless willingness to poke ironic fun at his own public image.

Nevertheless, it’s the sincere early commercials that deliver the most entertainment for me. For your viewing pleasure I herewith present this collection of Willam Shatner’s greatest appearances as a company pitchman...

[Click to watch. Some videos may open in a separate window on YouTube.]

Loblaws—Late 70s?:

See also: Another Loblaws Shatner commercial.

Promise Margarine (1974):

See also: Another Promise Margarine Shatner commercial (1975).

Commodore VIC-20:

See also: Another Commodore VIC-20 Shatner commercial

Inevitably, corporations attempted to capitalize upon Shatner’s most famous role as Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek...

Western Airlines (1985):

See also: this footage.

National Power/PowerGen:
PowerGen commercial starring William Shatner/James Doohan of Star Trek

Image: Star Trek DirecTV commercial with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

See also:

Shatner’s campy, knowing portrayal as the Priceline Negotiator from around 1997 onwards signalled a new era in his career as a commercial spokesperson. Audiences loved that he seemed in on the joke, able to maintain a straight face while delivering the most absurd lines of dialogue...

Priceline Negotiator Death:
Priceline Negotiator Death commercial with William Shatner

The Priceline Negotiator Lives!:

See also:

Miss USA Pageant (2001) (a result of his role as Stan Fields in Miss Congeniality?):
Miss USA Pageant commercial (2001) - William Shatner

All Bran Challenge:

See also: All Bran Challenge Day 1 Shatner commercial

World of Warcraft:
World of Warcraft Commercial - William Shatner

Dial Direct Insurance (Piggy):
Dial Direct Insurance with William Shatner

See Also: Dial Direct Tennis with William Shatner

Shatner also pitched for various legal firms, perhaps a derivative benefit from his role as Denny Crane on The Practice and Boston Legal:

See also:

Miscellaneous Adverts

Rescue 911 (1989):

Rescue 911 commercial starring William Shatner

State Farm: Eat, Fry, Love (Shatner & Turkey Frying):
(In my opinion this overlong piece sadly fails to capture the Shatner magic. It’s bad, but not quite bad enough to be funny...)
State Farm: Eat, Fry, Love: Shatner & Turkey Frying

Desperate Crossing: “I’m Jewish; You’re Probably Not”

See also:

Additional Reading

This excellent NY Times profile of Shatner provides some illuminating context to his career and to these advertisements. I recommend reading it!

Hat tip 

A few weeks ago, +Joey DeVilla wrote a post about the highly amusing Star Trek video game promo with William Shatner vs. the Gorn. It was his article that prompted me to assemble this compilation.

Incidentally, Mr. deVilla is well worth following online. I’m not even sure how to describe him—Local tech personality? Bon-vivant? Pop culture critic? Gentleman adventurer? Blogger? the Accordion Guy? At any rate he is determined to live and document an interesting life.

Bonus Links

Shatner dancing on $25,000 Pyramid:

Common / People - a William Shatner, Kirk & Spock slashup:

See also:

Did I miss any great commercials of Mr. Shatner’s? Post ’em up & discuss your favourites in the comments!