Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Belated Birthday Remembrance for James Doohan

We couldn't let it pass unnoticed -- last Thursday was the 91st anniversary of the birth of James Doohan, beloved by so many of us for his role as Scotty in Star Trek. He was an icon -- as himself and as the character -- adored for his jolly presence at Trek conventions over the years and for his portrayal of a skilled and dedicated engineer with plenty of personality. Doohan was born on March 3, 1920 and died July 20, 2005.

Some people may think Scotty only loved his engines (and his Scotch) and never got the girl, but in several classic Star Trek episodes he had quite an eye for the ladies, such as "Wolf in the Fold" where his adoration of a beautiful belly dancer at a bar got him mixed up with the dead spirit of Jack the Ripper, or "Who Mourns for Adonais?" where he was the one squiring around the breathtaking Leslie Parrish in her famous pink backless gown, that is, before Apollo (Michael Forest) took a shine to her.

One of the most amusing Scotty scenes is in "By Any Other Name" where he tries to get an alien (played by Robert Fortier) drunk. Let's watch:

James Doohan returned as Montgomery Scott in wonderful guest appearance in the Star Trek series follow-up Star Trek: The Next Generation in the episode "Relics". Scotty is discovered, miraculously preserved in a transporter wave, and brought back to life where he must adjust to a very different Enterprise and a very different time. Here's a cute scene between Doohan and Brett Spiner as Data.:

Doohan appeared in all the Star Trek big-screen movies and has the distinction of being part of one of the most quoted Trek phrases -- "Beam Me Up, Scotty!" -- which is a bonafide pop culture touchstone now.

So a tip of our cap to our favorite starship engineer, James Doohan! We will leave you with this lovely YouTube fan-made video which combines footage of Doohan's ashes being shot into space by NASA, with Star Trek footage, resulting in a fitting finale send-off for Scotty. (For the whole story on what actually transpired with this spaceflight tribute, click here.)


Jane said...

My favorite Scotty moment was in The Trouble with Tribbles. Scotty is in some sort of Intergalactic watering hole, enjoying a drink. Some bad alien (a Klingon, most likely...maybe a Romulan) is trying to get a rise out of Scotty, but he's ignoring the guy. Finally, the bad guy makes an insult about the Enterprise, and calls it a garbage scow. Scotty goes ballistic. You can say anything you like, but don't put down his beloved ship! Thanks for remembering one of the greats, Lisa!

Lisa said...

Yes, that is a great scene! Couldn't find a good clip of it on YouTube -- I'll search some more!

He made engineers cool!