Walter Koenig took time recently to answer fan questions; with topics including his favorite moment on set, his character and public reaction to his character and Koenig’s relationship with William Shatner.
Although word was put out that the Russians complained that there were no Russians on the original series, Koenig says that was nothing but a P.R. story. “Star Trek wasn’t being played in the Soviet Union,” he said. “That whole promotion thing they did about Pravda complaining that there weren’t any Russians on Star Trek was exactly that; it was a promotional thing by the P.R. department at NBC. They were really interested, of course, in having somebody that would attract the same fans that The Monkees did. And that’s really why they added the character.”
Koenig has a favorite episode, and given his prominence in that episode, it is no surprise that he likes it so well. “I think the one that I enjoyed doing the most and that I thought was my best episode at the time was Spectre of the Gun,” he said. “It was an interesting concept mandated by economics. Our budget was very small and they didn’t have the wherewithal to be a complete, detailed Wild West town, so they did it in a sort of abstract manner, which I thought gave it some class and some style. I thought it was a very, very good decision and it worked very well.”
What about his relationship with Shatner? “[During the show], we were not feuding,” said Koenig. “The supporting cast did not hold a great deal of animosity for Bill. That subsequently became a factor, but not during the television series. I would say that what maybe people didn’t know, which was a positive thing, is that Bill was very funny. He kept the set light and there were a lot of laughs. Despite what was happening behind closed doors, it seemed like a very congenial environment.”
In spite of any animosity he may feel towards Shatner, Koenig accepted an appearance on his show, Shatner’s Raw Nerve. “I did his interview show,” said Koenig. “It’s going to air on March 1, and I would certainly recommend that people tune in. It was pretty much from the hip. Nobody got angry, but it was very candid, a very honest, candid conversation between us.”