I could win the Nobel Peace Prize and my grave would still say Punk On Bus, Star Trek IV.
Because “Punk on Bus” had no lines, Kirk Thatcher (as he’s credited there; the middle initial comes and goes) gets no residuals from Star Trek IV as an actor. However, one of his soundtrack credits—he has a really busy IMDb page—is for writing the punk classic “I Hate You.” He wrote it because he didn’t think the song originally playing was appropriate for his character. It’s become a classic of sorts since then, though if IMDb is to be believed, its only other appearance is the next year in Back to the Beach. Still, Thatcher has reprised the role a couple of times, including appearing in the MCU.
Still, Kirk Thatcher wasn’t on the set of Star Trek IV solely as an actor. His initial credit, in fact, was as “production assistant/visual effects.” He ended up doing so much work that he was upgraded to associate producer. It’s not commonly known, but most of the shots of “whales” in Star Trek IV were in fact models. Particularly large models, true—they were four feet long. But models nonetheless, and Thatcher was one of the people working on them. Using skills he developed as a technical assistant for ILM on Return of the Jedi. He would then go on to work with the Muppets, presumably because he got to know Frank Oz as well. Apparently he’s going to be a writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000 at some point, working with all pop culture’s greatest puppets.
He’s also worked with a pretty wide array of humans. Frank Oz. Joe Johnston. Jim Henson. Leonard Nimoy. David Fincher. Stephen Spielberg. Michael Giacchino. George Lucas. There are not a lot of people who’ve done as many of the great pop culture icons of our time, but Thatcher is one of them. He’s actually been two people in the MCU, which is also a pretty exclusive list, having reprised Punk on Bus and also having been Jovan in Werewolf by Night. If you count Sesame Street as separate (but overlapping) from the Muppets, which legally they are, he’s done that, too.
All this and we can still safely assume that his IMDb page is incomplete, given that IMDb is notoriously spotty when it comes to things like visual effects and puppetry and even music. All three of which are his primary wheelhouse. Oh, he’s done plenty of acting, goodness knows, and more than just Picard and Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, probably more people know the Muppets Tonight theme, which he wrote, than his one-episode performance of Klutter on Eek! the Cat. Even without Star Trek IV, he’s done enough music to remain memorable.
Thatcher is a busy guy. He’s got a dozen categories on IMDb, never mind “self” and “archive footage.” A lot of it these days is for the Muppets; he even has a couple of Webbys for Muppet shorts that appeared on YouTube. (“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Ode to Joy,” both of which are excellent.) He’s one of the people who will frankly mostly be ignored by most media reporting. If he comes up at all, yes, it’ll be because of that one iconic moment of his life. However, there are a lot of people in his line of work who don’t even have that, so it could be worse.
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