If you think the title of this post more vitriolic than nostalgic, then you are tragically uninformed in regards to one of the great pieces of 80’s nerd-dom that has now been reborn in 21st century nerd-dom. How so? To begin…
Star Trek Sets the Stage!
The classic 1986 film Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home (you know, the one in which our heroes must travel back to the 1980s and kidnap 2 humpback whales to take them to the future to save the Federation from a Giant Black Space Cylinder that looks a little like a current day MacPro) includes a scene in which Kirk and Spock are riding a bus in San Francisco and are being subjected to the boom box music of the appropriately credited “Punk On Bus.” (Don’t repeat the colorful metaphors, kids!)
Punk on Bus was played by one of the film’s associate producers, Kirk Thatcher, and he wrote and recorded “I Hate You” in a 24 hour period in an effort to provide The Punk with a genuine, angst-ridden punk song. I don’t suppose it’s technically a parody of punk, but it is deliciously over the top. It takes a real artist to work “I eschew you” into their lyrics.
If you’re curious, here’s the entire song. Warning Kids: The Punk uses colorful metaphors too.
Spider Man Brings It Home!
Fast forward 31 years, and in Spider Man Homecoming there is a scene in which Spidey performs a back flip to the amusement of a hot dog salesman and a bearded character who is listed in the credits as “Punk On Street”. Mr. Street is carrying a large boom box worthy of Trek’s Punk On Bus, and I said a little, “Um..What?” when I saw that in the credits.
It turns out that Punk On Street is, in fact, our hero Kirk Thatcher.
Mr. Thatcher’s role in Spider Man was conceptualized and filmed just about as quickly as I Hate You was birthed all those years ago. There was a meeting in L.A. in which Thatcher met one of Spidey’s producers, Kevin Feige. Feige loved Star Trek IV, yaddah yaddah yaddah, and within 24 hours The Punk was performing his Spider Man cameo on set in New York City. (StarTrek.com can tell you the whole story here.)
This Tells Us That Hollywood Can Be Our Friend
When I fell in love with Star Trek as a grade schooler in the mid 1970s watching Original Series reruns in the afternoon, the state of Star Trek was grim, though there were rumors that maybe… someday.. there would be a TV movie that reunites the cast! (Quiet nerdy gasp!)
Now, 13 movies and over 700 episodes of television later, Star Trek continues to bring a smile to the face of my grey bearded 10-year-old self. When anyone cynically says, “What did Hollywood ever do for you?” I respond that THIS is what Hollywood did for me.
There’s even a new Star Trek series coming to CBS interactive this fall. I don’t know if it will be good, but I know I’ll be watching, and I’ll be rooting for at least one more cameo, perhaps from Punk On Asteroid? If Kirk Thatcher isn’t available, I can let my beard grow longer and take over the role, no problem.
Do you think I’m the only person so happy to see Punk On Street in Spider Man? I hope not.
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