Before They Were Stars: William Shatner in “The Butler’s Night Off”

I already did a “Before They Were Stars” feature on William Shatner from when he appeared in a failed Alexander the Great TV pilot with Adam West (!), but the guy already had a plethora of credits on his resume before he did Star Trek, and many clips of Shatner’s early work can be found for viewing online. However, I’m going to take you all the way back to the very beginning of his career when Shatner made his acting debut at the age of 20 as a thug in a low-budget 1951 Canadian crime drama named The Butler’s Night Off, which was filmed in his hometown of Montreal. Not a lot is really known about The Butler’s Night Off as it was never even released commercially and remained unseen for nearly half a century until it was discovered in the archives of some film preservation society in Quebec and was given a full review at this William Shatner fan site. The Butler’s Night Off is the ultimate example of a completely forgettable film that would have remained buried forever if it didn’t have the good fortune to cast an actor with one of the most rabid fanbases of all time.

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