The Center Seat

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Title: The Center Seat
Publisher: William Shatner Fan Fellowship, "Creative Enterprises"
Editor(s): Sonni Cooper, Susan M. Stephenson
Type: newsletter
Date(s): 1980-?
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
External Links:
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The Center Seat is a gen Star Trek: TOS newsletter. It has the subtitle: "The William Shatner Fan Fellowship Newsletter."

v.1 n.1

The Center Seat v.1 n.2 was published in April 1980, contains 12 pages.

front page of v.1 n.1
  • a discussion of a possible club fanzine
  • pen pal listings
  • notes on club charities
  • a complete horoscope for William Shatner

v.1 n.2

The Center Seat v.1 n.2 was published in 1980 and contains 12 pages.

front page of v.1 n.2
  • an announcement of the William Shatner Weekend ("not a convention, but rather a celebration. The weekend will give fans a chance to meet Mr. Shatner and attend a banquet at one of the best hotels in Los Angeles!." It was admittedly to be very pricey as it was in a fancy hotel and Bill got to pick the menu.)
  • a fawning bio of Marcy Shatner
  • many fawning shorts about how wonderful William Shatner is
  • you find out Shatner's favorite color is "earth tones"
  • a LONG, strange, very petulant and inappropriate letter from Bjo Trimble about being taken advantage of by a visiting fan family: "Unfortunately, it only takes one bad apple to show up to make the whole barrel suspect. I've had that bad apple show up, ruining my day, my hospitality, and my reputation!"
  • a long, almost equally strange letter by Sonni responding to Trimble's letter, recounting the drama
  • a testimonial by a fan about the poor, desperate behavior of other fans, and how she isn't like that
  • a long article about "Bill's natal horoscope"
  • glowing reviews of Shatner's recent appearances

v.1 n.3

The Center Seat v.1 n.3 was published in August 1980 and contains 12 pages.

front page of v.1 n.3

v.1 n.4

The Center Seat v.1 n.4 was published in October 1980 and contains 12 pages.

front page of v.1 n.4

v.1 n.5

The Center Seat v.1 n.5 was published in December 1980 and contains 12 pages.

  • Shatner wishes everyone, "including myself," a loving and prosperous New Year
  • lots about what Shatner is up to, and how super he is
  • Marcy Shatner's apple pie recipe: the crust takes 1/2 cup sesame or sunflower oil, 1/3 water, 2 cups of whole wheat flour... [1]
  • an article on dog shows, Dobermans, and Shatner's dogs
  • update and details on the upcoming William Shatner Weekend: ("This is not a convention. It is a meeting of WISH members." -- "Here's your chance to really meet Bill, have dinner with him, and get to know him. Your attendance at the Weekend will prove to him how much we really do care."
  • a review of the movie "The Babysitter"
  • a recounting of an art show where Marcy Shatner was the model
  • a fan offers up her audio tapes of the show: "Trek Audio Tapes for the Blind" -- Generosity is a characteristic of Star Trek fans and our club members are running true to form. If any of our members know of a needy blind member, or better still, of a school for the blind who might take up Marie Jean Abt's offer, contact WISH. Marie writes: "I am a member of the William Shatner Fan Fellowship and I am an avid fan of Bill's. I have an audio-tape (reel-to-reel) of the Star Trek TV series -- all of the 79 shows. As I have now purchased a video-tape recorder, the audio reels are now sitting in the attic. What a waste! Do you suppose that some blind Star Trek fan would want these tapes? I will send the tapes free of charge to that person." We are proud of members like Marie. -- Sonni"
  • there is a blurb for Equicon 1981: "Good news for convention goers. Bjo Trimble is once again putting on Equicon. For those in the know, Equicon is the superlative for convention. Never in fandom has there been a better convention than the 4 previous Equicons. The membership will be limited to 2,3000. That's a small convention in these days of the hype of the professional con-sharks. Equicon is a fan con. It is a non-profit venture for charity.... Here's where you come in. We have a table for WISH and we need people to staff it.... You will be expected to buy a membership in the con, even if you are helping. It is for charity. This will give some of you a chance to make a concrete contribution of support for WISH and the return of a fan-run quality convention."

v.1 n.6

The Center Seat v.1 n.6 was published in February 1981 and contains 10 pages.

front page of v.1 n.6
  • announcement that Star Trek will return "in the form of a television feature" and "Bill was really excited about the prospect of putting on the Admiral's uniform again"
  • a long, scolding letter to fans about what the club's officers do, and don't: examples -- "If you're having family problems, mental health problems, or personal crises of some sort, look up the appropriate agency in a local telephone boo, and call them. Club business does not include running a mail-order psychiatric, family counseling, or occupational guidance service." And "Letters complaining about missed newsletters when you moved without bothering to inform us of your new address aren't too popular around here, either." And "The William Shatner Weekend is not a STAR TREK convention. It's expensive (just like we warned you it would be!) because we don't have the attendance a convention attracts.... Los Angeles is "The Big Enchilada," and costs reflect that fact. The banquet alone will take $25 of the $50 Registration fee as for under that we'd need "catering by MacDonald's." I hardly thing that would be appropriate to honor Bill, do you?"
  • info on various charities
  • yet more about the William Shatner Weekend, and a reminder that uniforms and costumes are inappropriate
  • a question and answer section with Bill: you learn that one thing that drives him "into a rage" is "interference with my personal life"
  • a full-page ad for a two-record set of "William Shatner Live"
  • a full-page ad for the fan club's swag and some publicity photos
  • the newsletter reprints a rude article "from" Shatner that was printed in The National Enquirer, and then refutes that Shatner had anything to do it
  • a article about Bill's upcoming 50th birthday, about how hard it is for actors to age, and how WISH fans will support him no matter what
  • a recipe from Marcy Shatner: "Vegetable Squares" -- dry soybeans, raw peanuts, butter, celery, carrots, mushrooms, onion, walnuts and water, bake in a shallow pan and cut into squares, "good served with a vegetable sauce" [2]

v.2 n.1

The Center Seat v.2 n.1 was published in April 1981 and contains 9 pages.

front page of v.2 n.1
  • from Bill:
    On this, the first anniversary of the Fellowship, I want to take the opportunity to express my best to all of you. Truthfully, it was with some trepidation that I agreed to yet another fan club. Past experience had been discouraging and I did not look forward to the thought of dealing with another problem. Happily, this club has been entirely different. From the onset, Sonni and I have worked closely to assure quality. I am really pleased. The Fellowship is a great deal more than I had anticipated, relieving me of the worry over fan mail and fan relationships completely. I have thanked Sonni and her staff personally for all of their assistance and for the quality of everything associated with the Fellowship. The club has helped me in other ways as well, making me feel more comfortable with all of you. My tour in "Deathtrap" was a demonstration of just how much of a difference I felt. The special effort I made in meeting fans backstage and signing autographs was directly related to the Fellowship. And the courtesy of the fans on that occasion made me feel more secure than ever about the quality and devotion of my fans. I am putting more time into the Fellowship than I had originally anticipated, and it is continually proving its worth. Thank you for your loyalty, devotion, support, and all of the birthday cards and wishes. I am enthusiastically looking forward to this second year and meeting those of you who are able to attend The Weekend in July. My warmest regards to all of you. -- William Shatner

  • various glowing fan testimonials
  • the editor justifies her purchase of a computer for the fan club: mainly that she's a professional writer and expects one, and Bill Shatner "wants to play with it"
  • an account of Bill in Toronto
  • recipe from "The Captain's Table": "Marcy suggests this tasty salad -- 'Garbanzo Bean-Cheese Salad'"
  • a full-page ad for "nature's gift," Marcy Shatner's Hair & Skin Care Products

v.2 n.2

The Center Seat v.2 n.2 was published in June 1981 and contains 8 pages.

front page of v.2 n.2
  • a report about the versions of Trek that are shown in Japan with Japanese dubbing
  • Shatner's daughter is getting married, Shatner gets a new dog named Paris
  • a small photo of some WISH members at Equicon
  • a WISH-focused Equicon con report
  • a long article about changing fandom and rotten behavior by fans, see Public Image
  • recipe from Marcy for "Triticale Bread"
  • the editors describe their trip to see the landing of the space shuttle Columbia

v.2 n.3

The Center Seat v.2 n.3 was published in August 1981 and contains 15 pages.

front page of v.2 n.3
  • some of Bill's comments at William Shatner Weekend
  • four pages of Harve Bennett's comments at William Shatner Weekend
  • a full-page, single-spaced account by Shatner of having to put his dog to sleep
  • the club "adopts" a Navajo boy named Matthew, photo included
  • three page recount of the William Shatner Weekend, one of these pages was a photo collage
  • a full-page ad for the William Shatner Fan Fellowship club
  • two full-pages of a newspaper clipping from the Los Angeles Times about Shatner and fandom
  • a full-page ad for club swag
  • an open letter by a fan to "Bill, March, Sonni, Susan and all" about how fabulous they are

v.2 n.4

The Center Seat v.2 n.4 was published in October 1981 and contains 12 pages.

front page of v.2 n.4
  • a group of six New York fans ("4 WISH members, 2 prospective recruits") got together on July 31 at a hotel a la William Shatner Weekend: "dinner consisted of Chicken cutlets in mushroom and wine sauce, Spinch souffle a'la Geiger, and cheesecake for dessert. At 8:00 we retired to the Geiger TV room, which was renamed the Shatner Viewing Room, for the evening, where we viewed photos of the WISH weekend through each others eyes, and recapped the details. At 9:00, we broke out wine and some health food snacks, and settle in to watch one of Bill's wonderful performances in "Kingdom of the Spiders."
  • every issue appears to have had something about lost newsletters in the mail, and the "Klingons" who swipe them; this was no exception
  • "Our Gift to Bill" is about an "ambitious new project: the acquisition of a Star on Hollywood Boulevard for our star"
  • Bill gets another dog, this one named "China"
  • a long review of Marcy Shatner in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
  • part two of a report on the William Shatner Weekend
  • five testimonials from fans about how fabulous the William Shatner Weekend was, including one from an unemployed man who sold his motorcycle to be able to make the trip

v.2 n.5

front page of v.2 n.5
notice of the club's termination

The Center Seat v.2 n.5 was published in December 1981 and contains 8 pages.

  • includes a photo of the fan club president, Sonni Cooper and Bill
  • an ad with Bill Shatner selling Commodore Computers
  • Marcy offers up a hearty soup recipe: celery ("save tops for garnish" [3]), water, leeks, potatoes, mushrooms, some herbs, blend in blender, cook some more, "be careful -- it will burn easily!", makes two quarts [4]
  • some letters from fans about reassuring Shatner that they would still see a Trek movie without Spock in it, not to be downhearted about all the fans that say they would boycott a Spock-free movie, and that fans really love Bill Shatner
  • a long, LONG descriptive article by Sonni Cooper about being on the set of Star Trek II, includes an interview with Kirstie Alley
  • the end of the run, printed in red:
    NOTICE! Please take heed! On January 31, 1981, with the February issue of THE CENTER SEAT, CREATIVE ENTERPRISES will fulfill it's [sic] contract with Bill and THE WILLIAM SHATNER FAN FELLOWSHIP will terminate. I know this comes as a total surprise to most of you, but it has been brewing for some time now. Due to other important business demands upon Susan's and my time, and on Bill's, we feel it best to stop. With costs soaring we thought it best to end rather than compromise the quality of the club. Bill did not wish to turn the club over to anyone else at this time. Possibly, in the future when there is a greater demand, we may pick up where we left off. The February CENTER SEAT will cover procedure for all remaining business. There are some obligations which we will continue. THE WISHbook will be printed and distributed to those who have ordered it. You may still place an order if you have neglected to so so. Button money will be returned. We have some inventory of sale items in stock. This will be your last opportunity to order photos, shirts etc. If sufficient interest is shown in our proposed zine, KIRK, we may go ahead with it. SASE if you are interested. We must have 300 orders to print. The STAR ON HOLLYWOOD BLVD. will still be sponsered [sic] by WISH and donations will still be accepted, even beyond the termination of the club. As arranged, I will be with Bill in England in April and and [sic] in Houston in June. I hope to meet some of you in my travels. My STAR TREK book will be available in September 1982. If you include a SASE back, I'll be pleased to autograph yours for you. I will personally continue Matthew's sponsership. [sic] Membership dues will be returned (pro-rated) or you may opt to have the remainder of your membership applied to our gift of the STAR. More detailed coverage will be in the February issue of THE CENTER SEAT which will follow shortly. It's been fun; We've made some wonderful friends, including Bill. All good things must come to an end sometime. It's much better to go out in a nova than just fade away. -- Sonni Cooper and Susan Stephenson

v.2 n.6

front page of v.2 n.6

The Center Seat v.2 n.6 was published in February 1982 and contains 9 pages.

  • a farewell editorial which thanks a lot of people
  • a recipe for hummus: "If anyone wondered what that stuff we served in the Suite at the Weekend was that looked like beige library paste and Bill dove into, well, this is it!"
  • a description of Nicholas Meyer on the set of the Star Trek movie, as relayed by Sonni Cooper
  • Barbara P. Gordon has an ad selling large portraits of James T. Kirk
  • a clearance sale on William Shatner Fan Fellowship swag
  • an interview with Merritt Butrick
  • a clipping of an article out of an Australian news service
  • many thank yous from fans
  • Sonni Cooper cites the high costs of putting this newsletter out, and how much work it is and adds:
    Another qualification is a master's degree in psychology. There are many who draw to fandom, particularly to TREK who are lonely and isolated. Many require professional counseling. We've had their burdens on our shoulders for two years, trying to get them to seek professional help. We have called suicide prevention centers, mental health associations, etc. all in an effort to help troubled fans. Since we were answering all of Bill's mail these calls were not limited to members, but covered a multitude of other people. Although the percentage of these chores was small they were most demanding. I must admit that among the STAR TREK characters, Captain Kirk probably attracts the most stable group of fans. He represents authority and stability and appeals to people who generally respect both.

  • Sonni Cooper plugs her upcoming pro Star Trek book, and writes:
    What will happen now? Why don't I turn the club over to another person? Simply because Bill and I have a very special relationship, that of friends, and he doesn't want anyone else to handle a club for him. Why doesn't Susan take over? Simply because she just isn't financially able to handle the club or the time it takes either. It takes a great capital investment. Hopefully, in the future, Bill may find someone whom he trusts to work with him, for the moment, however, he wants and needs break just as Susan and I do. As careful as we were not to infringe on Bill's personal life Bill feels the club has become an intrusion and wants to draw back from it. Without his constant input and cooperation we just couldn't so do our job properly. We will miss you. I expect to diligently hold onto those new friends I have made through the Fellowship. They are a special bunch of people who have been supportive and helpful throughout the entire life of the club. To Susan, the Regional Assistants, the membership committee, and the staff my very grateful thanks. I especially look forward to meeting some of our foreign fans and I am eagerly awaiting my trip to England in April where I will have a chance to meet our British and German fans. I do want to meet with you when I am there and have asked for a room for that purpose.


  1. ^ Be ready to break a tooth on that.
  2. ^ Sounds like something Spock would like.
  3. ^ You're gonna need to do something to dress this up.
  4. ^ Sounds like about 1 7/8 quarts too many.