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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  August 17, 2017 6:00am-6:31am PDT

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good evening from los angeles, i'm tavis smiley. william shatner started as a stage actor and since been in multiple tv series, recognized him as the price line negotiator. he's written several books, recorded four items and more than passionate about horses. we're glad you joinedconversati legendary william shatner in just a moment. ♪ ♪
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers lake y -- like you. thank you.ike you. thank you. pleased to welcome william short ne shatner, actor, producer, writer. he's been on "star trek" and more stars roles like "the price line" pitch line at 86. is that right? >> that's got to be a misprint.
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36. >> at 36 he credits horses for keeping him young and mind and body and spirit. his new book is titled "spirit of the horse, a celebration in fact and fable." mr. shatner, good to have you. you doing okay? >> yeah, great. >> good to have you on. i was teasing you about the misprint on the prompter there. so you have been at this for awhile now. >> well, if you said i've been at it 70 years -- >> yeah. >> and i'm 36, i must have been a spirit. when i hear the number, i just -- who? what? how did that happen? and they are all dying around me. every time i look around, a friend is dead of old age. >> what do you make of the fact and i'm not going to put your business out but i know you came from another taping today to do this. so you're still busy. you're still working, still out
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there. >> in fact, i started very early in the day to do publicity. my book has come out spirit of the horse has come out and the -- as you well know, i'm sure some of your audience knows, the author goes out and publicizes, hey, i got a book, thousands of books are being printed. this one you should read because it's got five stars. i buy a lot of books on my phone. i travel a lot and i'm reading all the time. so i see a book with three stars, that's pretty good. four and a half stars, i'm buying that book. this is five stars. i'll buy this book like now. in fact, i bought two copies because of the five stars. >> that means people love william shatner or horses, which is it? >> well, probably a combination of both, and -- what i was going to go to was that in order to ride at the level that i do ride, i ride competitively in
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three disciplines, rainers, which are horses that do a pattern based on cowboy moves so that the horse might gallup into the stadium and 40 miles an hour slide to a stop and do a rollback, go to the other end, slide to a stop, come to the middle, slide back up and do four turns to the right and four turns to the left and fast circles, slow circle, change, fast, change lead, come to a stop. that's one pattern. now you practice and practice and practice. so you got to be in good shape. >> yeah. >> so i love this. i love that competition. i love to get on these horses who are olympic athletes trained by danny, a genius at training and i love to fulfill the promise, the potential of the horse and not get in its way, his or her way. >> yeah. >> i got to be physically adaptive. i got to have stamina.
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i got to have balance in order to do that, i got to work out and keep trim and be careful and that may very well be a reason that i'm as healthy as i am. >> the horses have kept you young? >> yes. >> yeah. the description of that activity alone could wear somebody out. actually sitting on the horse while that's going on. at your age, why still do that and do you not fear or get concerned -- >> i've broken. yeah, i've broken legs three times. after 30 years of hard riding, in any profession -- [ laughter ] >> your body wears out. my back is really bad. i got to ride. i got to ride. i got to act. it got to be a performer. i got to ride a horse. i got to be in love. i got to work. i've got to play. i've got to love dogs and horses
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and children and i've got to feel that i've done something good, which brings me to horses and a horse show on june 3rd here in los angeles. >> do it every year. >> do it evidenery yearmen. i've raised not the millions of dollars that big campaigns do. small charity but several hundred thousand dollars over a 30-year period amounts to many millions of dollars that go to children and late to veterans who ills are similar in socially, social lee and in physically and emotionally
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programs aid those. i find myself with children autistic children who talk to me and i'm able to say to -- as i did three days ago, look at you. you're talking to me in front of thousands of people. you're talking to me and you're telling me you're autistic, look at you, doing something good is also part of my life for us. >> who knew horses could heal that way. who knew? i'll tell you who knew. many people knew. the horse is come messdomestica. in arabia where the great horses start
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started. we move with great endurance and their look makes them more lovable. they are bred for that. and go from there. war horses that knights would get on with 500 pounds of armor and this horse now is bred stoc stocky, draft horses were the war horses 500 years ago. >> you ran a lit knst of things
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have to do this and have to do this and i stayed with you for the entire list. >> i started 6 years old and never done anything else. this is what i do. what i've discovered and it's part of this book as they evolv evolved, i increased awareness of unity of everything. all life is unified. the dna of a tree is not that dissimilar to our dna. you can see the relationship of plants to humans. all life is one.
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as that knowledge, as i have acquired that essentially spirit ty, i have become not only a better human being and actor and incidentally a better horseman. all because i'm becoming more and more aware of who horses teach you. the tiger came or tomorrow when the wolves will come. they got to think. they have to stay in the now, that's what horses teach us, one of lessons.
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>> what's it been about in relationship to you? >> i don't think what occurs to me when you ask he the question is that with the role there is always humor. in a comedy, there is always importance. always -- if you can balance being funny with being serious and you've got these two things going or vice versa, you've got a more rounded character. that's generally what human beings are anyway. >> what was "captain kirk"? a serious role? >> "captain kirk" was serious with a sense of humor, which is different than the actor trying to be funny. >> and the difference is? >> consciousness. you're unconscious as captain -- as the character. you're conscious as, oh, look,
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i'll tell a joke now. >> what -- what do you make and i'm sure you've been asked before but not by me. what do you make of the impact that that role, you're playing that role has had in a series that lasted a few seasons? >> so what's your question? >> it's mind boggling. >> three seasons and done and 50 years later we're talking about it. >> yeah. >> so what is your question? >> my question is, what do you make of the impact that that role -- >> well, extraordinary. i mean, here 50 years later we're saying i mean, it's embarrassing. [ laughter ] >> i've done some children's shows, some of the kids know me from the voice of what the children's show is. the grandmother says charlie, i'll i'm going to show you and this is captain kirk and televisions that are 50 years old.
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where is captain kirk? yes, that's me, you little monster. >> but it does show, it does show, though, the impact that your work had because you're known by different generations of different characters. >> i've had on interesting series occur every decade. even some that have gone by somewhat unnoticed, it was "rescue 911" that lasted five years and one of the, perhaps the original reality show that brought you what these emts were doing and we consciously had an 80% success rate and it's not that in real life, but it made for a more positive show.
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that was something i was very happy to be a part of, "rescue 911" and then there was an earlier one called "for the people" early in my career out of new york that was really very good but it was up against a popular show "13 and out." there is a series like every several years. there is something rather nice happens. >> i mentioned in the introduction of your -- of the show that you start out as a shakespeare actor way back in the day. is this what you thought, hoped, dreamt of or put another way, i assume you're okay with us forever knowing you as captain kirk versus your shakespeare training. >> right. it doesn't matter to me. >> doesn't matter? >> no. >> the captain kirk thing, i'm here with you. you're a -- you've got a great
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mind and examine people and talk and serious and funny and it's great. it's a pleasure and privilege to be with you. i'm here because of captain kirk originally. which started the whole thing. so i'm happy with the character and references to it. i don't mind that. for shakespeare, i learned poetry, the use of words and the way we balance and color words. the way we phrase shakespeare parts so the long speeches are broken down into moments and that's been my training, and that's what i bring to the role so shakespeare and captain kirk are linked. that's the way -- it's one large
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story in which i think i've evolved and i've become a better actor every time i get better. i keep saying oh, that's how you do it. i didn't realize that's how you did it. i finished this movie and did a really great job. of course. i'm playing on a solo machine and evolved. >> have you gotten good yet? >> i'm getting good. i mean that. i mean that sincerely. i'm getting good. >> what do you make of the fact as you've been getting gooder, what do you make of the fact, i'm trying to think of a short list that is character and copied and the way you speak --
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>> it's so strange. i remember saying does jimmy stewart know he goes -- ah, ah, ah, does he know he does that? which is not dissimilar to edward g robinson. so he's got it. i want to go do you know you go nah, nah, nah. he would say what are you talking about? get out of my way. [ laughter ]
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>> have i done that? am i doing -- [ laughter ] >> you know, you don't do that but you do -- we all have a way of speaking. >> now i'm going -- >> what's funny about this is -- what's funny about this is -- that's you. [ laughter ] >> i want to get into your spirit. i want to get into your flow. if you're loud and crazy, there is a chance i'll be loud and crazy with you. i want to match the pace. you have these halting ways -- you have these pauses. >> i'm thinking about what the hell i'm saying. [ laughter ] >> imagine rambling on and on.
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thought about the correct word. >> it works. i'm just telling you, you have a unique way of space but we all do that. >> you know when it is time to stop doing what you've done and do so well -- [ laughter ] >> he's dead. he's dead, jim. [ laughter ] >> i was on the tavis smiley show once. i wonder if he would have me back. [ laughter ] >> you're going to keep doing it -- >> until they find out i'm not.
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[ laughter ] >> you're albums, i'm looking back, i got you here reflecting on all these things you have done, the choice to do that was because? >> i was offered the opportunity in the beginning years ago i think i was shooting "star trek." would you like to make an album? i chose pieces of poetry and i had come off the stage at that point and still had the idy of beauty and i had somebody write background music. a couple items were good. i did to be or not to be i thought was pretty good music segway in and out and you have music under literature and the
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literature with a song. so there was a -- the song might have becoen comparative. i may claim to no great heights but will climb alone. segway into a drug song. it segway sboosinto it was aood year. some of it didn't work. some did work. but the story is i was doing publicity like this on johnny carson show and so i was going to do the drug song, which was the segway into loose in the sky with diamonds and fredy came running up and said that's six minutes long. you got three minutes. what do you want to do? the speech or song? i might as well do the song.
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i'm doing the song with no explanation and see johnny carson. everybody laughed. the end of the album. years later i was asked to do another. then i did has been. >> before i let you go, because you raised this i. what to circle back, you mentioned johnny carson and fred freddy, you said in this conversation you're looking around and you're losing friends here and there -- >> death? >> it scares me. >> it does scare me but for some reason i got a lot more comfortable with it at 50, i'm 52 now. i got a lot more comfortable, at 40 strangely i was scared to
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death. i was afraid i wouldn't live long enough to get some things done that i really wanted to accomplish and i still got a lot more to do but at 50 i got more comfortable with it. i'm at the age now where i have older -- i got a lot of older friends and i see my friends now starting to past. i'm not at your age yet but i'm havi having. i'm curious how you're dealing with that? >> see, i know, i know conscious consciously, we enter the flow of energy, which is the universe and many years that reforms and forms other material. i know that consciously. that's what i believe. i don't believe in heaven or hell. and i don't believe there is retribution for ills that you've
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done on earth. i think you just die. loneliness is enemy for many years as a kid growing up, my loneliness was death. so when i die, i'll be alone and i've often talked about and i do a one-man show and in that one-man show, i ask the audience, what do you think that final moment is going to be like, you're alive and conscious? i'm dying. i'm dying. hear is death and you're coming and say my god, i think i'm going to die. i'm dying.
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now what happens? that's the scary part. >> wow. the book is called "spirit of the horse, a celebration in fact and fable." i got to go home now and process what he said for the rest of the night. there's a lot of marinate on. given what you've just offered. i'm honored to have you on the program, sir. >> thank you. >> that's our show tonight. thanks for watching and as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. >> hi, i'm tavis smiley, join me next time for a conversation with two-time emmy winner regina king. that's next time. we'll see you then.
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♪ ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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. good evening. i'm tavis smiley. trayvon martin was killed walking with a canned of iced tea and a bag of skittles as we know by now. the incident sparked a national conversation about race and gun violence and consequently helped fuel a generation of black activists. tonight his parents sabrina fulton and tracy martin join us to talk about his life and pursuit of justice for his death called "rest in power." the enduring life of trayvon martin. sybrina fulton and trise and tr in just a minute.

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