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Chicago Got William Shatner For Its Amazon-Bid Video Because Jeff Bezos Is A Shameless Trekkie

By Stephen Gossett in News on Oct 26, 2017 7:25PM

William Shatner at Javits Center on September 4, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Attempts to land Amazon's potentially transformative second headquarters have included some hilariously shameless stunts from multiple cities, ranging from Tucson sending a 21-foot saguaro cactus to Amazon’s HQ1 to Kansas City mayor Sly James writing 1,000 Amazon product reviews—all of which gave 5 stars. Apparently, Chicago isn't above a bit of look-at-me ridiculousness, either: the city's bid video reportedly features narration from none other than William Shatner, a clear nod to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' oft-professed love of Star Trek.

News that Chicago's bid clip features the dulcet, performatively stilted tones of the man who will forever be known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk comes via the Tribune. As the paper notes, Bezos is such an unrepentant Trekkie, he even had a cameo in last year's Star Trek: Beyond. (Bezos has even claimed that Amazon Echo and Alexa were in part inspired by the voice-activated technologies in the franchise, according to Geekwire.)

Bezos also once challenged Shatner and Trek legends Patrick Stewart and George Takei to the Ice Bucket Challenge, back in 2014.

Aldermen whose wards fall in areas that include Chicago's proposed sites were treated, if that's the right word, to a screening of the pitch video and had positive overall responses, according to the paper—although they all somehow focused on its non-Shatner aspects.

A rep for the mayor said that World Business Chicago paid for the video—which if you have a copy, oh please do pass along to—and presumably Shatner's undisclosed line-read fee.

Chicago officially submitted its bid for Amazon HQ2 last Monday. The bid included ten Chicago-area sites, including Lincoln Yards (née the Finkl Steel Site), the Tribune Freedom Center, and the Thompson Center, among others.

The Chicago-area bid reportedly includes at least $2 billion in tax breaks and other incentives. Whether that also qualifies for the "shameless stunt" category remains in the eye of the beholder.