At first glance, William Shatner, Betty White and Donald Faison seem like an unlikely trio. Shatner is an Emmy winner who is most famous for being the original Captain James T. Kirk in the iconic sci-fi TV series “Star Trek.” White is a legendary, Emmy-winning actress who has starred in classic sitcoms such as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls.” Faison is best known for starring in the 2000s medical comedy series “Scrubs.” So what do they have in common? They were all panelists on a “Legends of TV Land” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego on July 24, 2014. And they proved to be an entertaining and humorous trio together.
Highlights from the panel, according to TV Land: Shatner showed a piece of an asteroid from a fan that was four-and-a-half-billion years old. He jokingly turned to fellow panelist Betty White (who is in her 90s) saying, “Maybe you can remember.” Faison then mentioned that his 1995 movie “Clueless,” which is approaching its 20th anniversary “makes me feel old.” White then said sarcastically, “Poor baby.” White also playfully showed off one of her legs to Shatner, who responded: “Everything with you is sex. Sex, sex, sex!” White retorted, “You got a better idea?” During the panel, it was also revealed that on July 30, 2014,“Hot in Cleveland” (the TV Land sitcom that has White as one of its stars) will premiere an animated episode with a zombie-apocalypse theme. Here is what Shatner, White and Faison said when I caught up with them for a brief Q&A at Comic-Con before they did the panel.
Although you’ve done movies and other projects, it’s safe to say that your fame when to a different level because of starring in TV shows. Can you remember any turning point in your lives when you knew that you were famous?
Faison: I don’t know if I ever feel like I’m famous, you know what I mean? I feel like there are a lot of people who know who I am. That doesn’t necessarily make me famous. It just makes it that a lot of people know who I am.
I’ll say this though: I realized I was succeeding in the entertainment industry when one day I was lying on the floor on a soundstage. I looked up, and all I saw were a bunch of lights hanging. And I thought, “Wow, this is exactly where I wanted to be.”
Shatner: The lights didn’t fall on you?
Faison: Absolutely. It could’ve happened, but just the fact that I was on a soundstage, and there were people working less than 20 feet away from me, and I took a nap, taking it all for granted, and then waking up and realizing, “Holy cow, I’m where I want to be.”
White: I did a local talk show for five-and-a-half hours a day, six days a week, for four years with no script, no nothing. You just had to have the effort and hope for the best, which was a great experience. It was like television college.
But then when I got on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” for one shot, but they asked me back after the show. They said, “Don’t go anywhere. We have another script in mind that we’d like to do.” “I thought, “I made it!” It was so exciting. I don’t think I slept that night or the next three nights.
William, how has the “Star Trek” fandom changed over the years?
Shatner: They’ve gotten more and more passionate.
Donald, you’re one of the voice actors in the animated TV series “Star Wars Detours.” Are we ever going to see the show? It’s been in the works for a long time.
Faison: I don’t know. I think that Disney put it on hold because they want to re-introduced Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia and Han Solo and the rest of the cast all over again. It would be weird to introduce them through a comedy and a spoof of the genre. Hopefully, after “Stars Wars: Episode VII” comes out, we’ll see “Detours.”
For more info: TV Land website