Twitter users dug up a 1978 clip of the “Star Trek” star performing a spoken-word rendition of Elton John’s 1972 hit “Rocket Man” at the 1978 Saturn Awards, which honor films in the fantasy, horror and sci-fi genres.
The video features an intro by “Rocket Man” lyricist Bernie Taupin, who declares himself “truly proud” to introduce Shatner.
The original Captain Kirk then appears onstage in a ’70s tux complete with a huge bow tie and a cigarette ― which, ILoveClassicRock.com duly notes “never seems to burn down to the filter.”
Although the ciggie seems to be the traditional tobacco kind, Shatner emphasizes the line “I’m going to be ... high as a kite by then,” as if cannabis is somehow involved.
The performance than really hits the stratosphere when the screen splits to show a smoking Shatner on one side and a speaking Shatner on the other, proclaiming, “I’m a ... Rocket Man!”
Not surprisingly, many Twitter users posted the clip in tribute to Shatner. But instead of snark, a vast majority used a variation of the line, “He’s a real ‘Rocket Man’ now.”
Meanwhile, here’s the infamous video which, frankly, holds up even when the sound is off.