William Shatner continues to master this mortal coil as a vital man of action. But he has regrets, as we all do, such as the one about the Rat Pack.
“I was around in the Sinatra era, but I never got ‘with it.’ I wish I had,” Shatner said Friday.
“When people ask me what I regret, I would have loved to have (become a bigger celebrity sooner), so that Sinatra and their group would have recognized me, and I could be on the periphery and hang out from time to time with those guys,” he said. “That would have been fascinating.”
No doubt. How did that not happen?
“I don’t know. I didn’t have a sense of myself as being worthy of being a part of that,” he said.
Since then, Shatner has built a wealth of courage and confidence, including here in Vegas. He will return June 19-21 to perform his one-man show, “Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,” in MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre.
If only the Shatner of today could intersect with the Rat Pack of yesteryear, everything would work out between them, he feels.
“I would now come to them with this sense of having accomplished something,” he said. “And after I’ve played Las Vegas, even more so. I could come through the theoretical Rat Pack and say, ‘Hey, I am now one of you. I have played Las Vegas.’ ”
Shatner comes to town fairly frequently to see shows and eat in our fine dining establishments.
“The fact they don’t have a late-night flight out of McCarran to Burbank is astonishing to me,” he said. “But I come out to these events all the time and love it. The eating adventures — you could spend a year exploring.”
I asked him why he never moved here.
“I wanted to pay taxes in California and do my duty,” he said, then paused perfectly for my laugh. “I’m joking, of course. Everybody’s moving to Las Vegas so they don’t pay whatever the taxes are (in California).”
Bill Cosby was in Vegas to perform Friday at TI, and he will return July 18.
He recently told me about “one of the greatest moments” he had here in 1964, when William Harrah sent Cosby a red convertible Cadillac.
Cosby was appreciative — he was a fan of Harrah — but Cosby said to a hotel executive: “You know, there’s a stereotype about black people and Cadillacs, and especially the red Cadillac convertible, and I’m driving up the street, and I’m the only black person in town. Can you send me another car?”
So what did Harrah replace the Caddie with?
“Bill Harrah sent a Ferrari 2+2,” Cosby said. “And it was red, and I did not turn that car back in.”
So then, Cosby and his wife rode in the pretty Ferrari over to Harrah’s on his opening night.
“And I pull into valet parking, and one of these Volkswagen buses with the flowers and all this stuff on it was backing up, and the guy had no mirror to see, and I couldn’t find the horn,” he said. “I mashed everything except my wife’s face hoping to hit a horn. And this guy went ‘clunk,’ and he bent the bumper ever so.”
Cosby remembers that Ferrari being advertised for $17,000, a lot of money back then.
“And I’m going, ‘$17,000.’ I think I was making $7,500,” Cosby said. “I said (to a Harrah’s executive), ‘You better come get this car.’ He came and got the car — and sent another one!”
BIEBER, NOT REPPING HUSTLER
Justin Bieber could have been a spokesman in Vegas if he would have accepted an offer from the Hustler strip club chain to be the face of Hustler.
Larry Flynt’s offer was for $1 million, which would have called on Bieber to take his 21st birthday party to the Vegas club on March 1, 2015.
But won’t Bieber be there anyway, in between defacing photos of Bill Clinton on camera and getting into mobile phone altercations at miniature golf courses?
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/entertainment/reel.