Looking for Denny Crane at a Star Trek Convention

People that have a close relationship usually have their own inside jokes. When I see my daughter Hannah in the morning or after school, I come up to her and extend my hand for a handshake. Her face turns serious, she shakes my hand and says “Denny Crane,” and we both collapse in laughter. To the rest of the world this will look like an odd moment. But this tiny moment lights up our hearts. This is our inside joke.

Hannah and I love the show Boston Legal, a comedy-drama starring William Shatner and James Spader that went off the air in 2008. Shatner plays Denny Crane, a named partner at a law firm in Boston. Here is how Shatner describes Denny Crane in his book Live Long And . . .:

Once among the greatest attorneys in the nation, as someone who is slowly losing his connection to reality – but whose confidence and ego remain fully intact. But what I found most intriguing was that in his growing dementia Denny Crane had lost his inhibitions. He had direct contact with his emotions. Unlike most people, he was able to express and do whatever he was feeling. …

Denny Crane didn’t just experience his emotions; he broadcasted them. He forced other people to deal with them, too. He was loud and bombastic and smart and lovable, but he lived life and he gave it no quarter.

I love watching Star Trek, but I am not a “Trekkie,” and neither is Hannah. I don’t think she watched a single episode of the original Star Trek. I watched a few, but I grew up with Captain Picard and Lieutenant Commander Data. I’d argue that Denny Crane is William Shatner’s best creation.

Often you don’t know if the person you’re watching is a brilliant lawyer or a madman. To let everyone know that they’re in the presence of a legend, Crane always announces himself (without saying hello): “Denny Crane.” This is where Hannah and I got our inside joke.

What really makes the show is the wonderful bromance between the William Shatner and James Spader characters – their relationship almost defines what a true friendship should be like. Denny Crane calls them “the two flamingos.”

I saw how much Hannah loved Denny Crane and thought it would be great if she could actually meet William Shatner. I discovered that Shatner was coming to Denver to attend StarFest, a sci-fi convention, where he would be taking pictures and signing autographs. I didn’t tell Hannah about it until Sunday, the day of the event. In the morning I said, “Hannah, today we are going to meet Denny Crane.” Her face lit up and she asked, “is it my birthday?” That was her natural response.

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Vitaliy Katsenelson

I am the CEO at IMA, which is anything but your average investment firm. (Why? Get our company brochure here, or simply visit our website).

In a brief moment of senility, Forbes magazine called me “the new Benjamin Graham.”

I’ve written two books on investing, which were published by John Wiley & Sons and have been translated into eight languages. (I’m working on a third - you can read a chapter from it, titled “The 6 Commandments of Value Investing” here).

And if you prefer listening, audio versions of my articles are published weekly at investor.fm.

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