WATCH: William Shatner’s ‘Rocket Man’ Performance is More Timely Than Ever

by Jennifer Shea
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As actor William Shatner returns from his historic trip to outer space, a vintage video of him performing a spoken-word rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” has gone viral on the Internet.

Twitter users unearthed a 1978 video of Shatner reciting the words to the 1972 hit at the Saturn Awards, a fantasy, horror and sci-fi awards gala.

In the video, Shatner is introduced by Elton John’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin, who says, “I’m truly proud, once again, to present my ‘Rocket Man,’ as interpreted by our host, William Shatner.”

Then Shatner appears onscreen, clad in a tuxedo and smoking a cigarette. He delivers an emphatic rendition of the lyrics to the song as the melody plays in the background.

Watch Shatner’s performance here:

William Shatner Became the Oldest Person to Visit Outer Space Today

At 90, Shatner is now the oldest person to journey to outer space. He made the trip on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket today at roughly 9:50 a.m. ET.

After the voyage, Shatner was reportedly in tears, saying, “I hope I never recover from this.”

“I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened,” Shatner said, according to The Guardian. “It’s extraordinary, extraordinary. It’s so much larger than me and life. It hasn’t got anything to do with the little green men and the blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.”

“To see the blue color whip by you, and now you’re staring into blackness,” he added. “Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see this.”

William Shatner rode the New Shepard for free, but Blue Origin, founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is aiming to make a lucrative business out of civilian spaceflight. The company has reportedly sold $100 million in tickets for future rides.

Shatner and NASA Tweet About His Trip

Meanwhile, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) tweeted its best wishes to Shatner, along with a graphic of a “Star Trek” reference, a palm making a Vulcan hand gesture.

“@WilliamShatner We wish you all the best on your flight to space,” NASA tweeted. “You are, and always shall be, our friend.”

Shatner, for his part, posted a scheduled tweet while he was in outer space. It featured a quote from Isaac Newton, the legendary mathematician and scientist who is widely regarded as the leader of the 17th-century Scientific Revolution.

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now & then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me,” Shatner tweeted, in seeming recognition of the historic strides by mankind that enabled his voyage today.

Outsider.com