July 21, 2005

Aye, Aye Sir

You can't beat this tribute to Jimmy Doohan by James Lileks.

You know, I think he could have changed the laws of physics, if he had to.

We don’t know who first offered Jimmy Doohan a smoke, but it saved his life. One can assume he kicked the habit, since he lived into his middle eighties, but he was still packing away the gaspers in ‘44. He had a cigarette case in his shirt pocket, and it stopped a German bullet. He may have laid on the sand for a moment and wondered if it would all end here on the shores of Normandy – but no, of course not. He got up, he made it through the day. He made it through the war, went home, took up acting. One day his agent called: Can you do a Scottish accent?

Sure. What’s the part?

It’s impossible to understate Doohan's appeal - if you sneak into a NASA control room during a mission and ask the controllers how many chose their profession because of Scotty, half the hands in the room would go up. No one wanted to go into space because of that whiny little red-head kid on Lost in Space. It takes something indefinable to be a Kirk, it takes med school to be a McCoy, it takes green blood to be Spock, but Scotty – aye. Any man could be Scotty, if he applied himself. And he'd be among manly things, too.

In a hundred years from now, no one will remember Brad Pitt. But they’ll have a picture of Scotty taped up in the break room off the moon shuttle.

Hank Stuever writes in the Washington Post

The real tribute to James "Scotty" Doohan, 39 light-years after he first saved the USS Enterprise's heinie (and did it many times over), is that it's now almost impossible to have a boyfriend or husband who can't do a somewhat reasonable impression of Doohan's famously stressed-out burr: "We've got nuh powrrrr, Cap'n!" Or "She cannuh take much moor."

From the Associated Press

He made his name in Hollywood beaming his colleagues back to the safety of the Enterprise on ''Star Trek.'' Now, actor James Doohan's family is hoping to beam him up to the ''final frontier'' that Doohan's character ''Scotty'' loved so dearly.

The actor, who died Wednesday at age 85, had told relatives he wanted his ashes blasted into outer space, as was done for ''Star Trek'' creator Gene Roddenberry.
Doohan died at his home in Redmond, Wash., with his wife of 31 years, Wende, at his side. He had retired from public events last year, not long after announcing he had Alzheimer's disease.

Houston-based Space Services Inc., which specializes in space memorials, plans to send a few grams of Doohan's ashes aboard a rocket later this year. The remains, which will be sealed in an aluminum capsule, will eventually burn up when they re-enter Earth's atmosphere.

It should be a fitting finale for an actor who, as the Starship Enterprise's frazzled chief engineer saved the Enterprise almost every week from blowing up, burning up or being overrun by renegade aliens when the warp drive, the phasers, the shields, the power cells or some other futuristic collection of doohickies failed.

Posted by Jill Fallon at July 21, 2005 3:19 PM | Permalink