Thursday, July 21, 2005

Aye, Aye Captain

James Doohan as Scotty from Star Actor James Montgomery Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery Scott on the TV series Star Trek has died at age 85. Doohan, who was actually from Canada and took part in the Normandy invasion in World War Two, played the quintessential go-to guy for years, even when he "coulna beam up a flyyyyyyy."

Doohan was suffering from Alzheimer's, but died of pneumonia and other complications. He began his career on the stage, at New York's Neighborhood playhouse and built a reputation for being able to do foreign dialects. It was reportedly a fellow soldier in WWII who was the inspiration for Scotty, and the role would take Doohan to worldwide fame and recognition, even though his character was a supporting role.

Scotty was always fixing the ship, which Captain Kirk did his best to get into trouble. When Kirk's bacon was in a sling, it was Scotty he would call for more power, more phasers, a photon torpedo, or to beam up. By the way, the phrase "Beam Me Up, Scotty" never occurred on the TV show. Kirk would always call the ship, sometimes Scotty, and tell the number to beam up ("Mr. Scott, Kirk here, two to beam up," etc.)

And Scotty would always find a way to provide what Kirk demanded. Whether it was more power (even though "I cannu break the Laws of Physics!) or transportation (We cannuh beam up a flyyyy) or a drink (well, its ... it's greeeeen).

Scotty provides us a life lesson - being the go-to guy is a vital role. What if Kirk had no phaser power or Spock had no ability to scan or - heaven forbid - the shields failed. The whole crew would have been toasted, nueralized or absorbed by a giant space tube. But Scotty always found a way to get Kirk what he needed.

And that was vital. Spock had the science, Kirk lusted his way across the galaxy, McCoy was the medical genius and had fights with Spock, but it was Scotty who was the everyman. He was there to do his job and always found a way to do it.

Doohan accepted that he had been typecast in the role and embraced it. He was always a highlight to fans who gathered at Star Trek conventions.

Fittingly, Doohan's death came on the anniversary of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. And According to his agent Steven Stevens, the family will fulfill Doohan's wish to have his remains shot into space on a "Memorial Spaceflight" provided by Space Services Inc. of Houston. G'bye Scotty. Here's to yah, lad.

No comments: