Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A toast for James Doohan

A toast for James Doohan

Preferably with some very old Scotch if you're so inclined.

When the series ended in 1969, Doohan found himself typecast. In 1973, he complained to his dentist, who advised him: "Jimmy, you're going to be Scotty long after you're dead. If I were you, I'd go with the flow."

"I took his advice," said Doohan, "and since then everything's been just lovely."

And so it is today, as every obituary includes THE line - not even HIS line.

The Canadian-born Doohan fought in World War II and was wounded during the D-Day invasion. He was enjoying a busy career as a character actor when he auditioned for a role as an engineer in a new space adventure on NBC in 1966. A master of dialects from his early years in radio, he tried seven different accents.

I told them, 'If this character is going to be an engineer, you'd better make him a Scotsman.' "

In a 1998 interview, Doohan was asked if he ever got tired of hearing the line "Beam me up, Scotty" - a line that, reportedly, was never actually spoken on the TV show.

"I'm not tired of it at all," he replied. "Good gracious, it's been said to me for just about 31 years. I hear it from just about everybody. It's been fun."

It was fun to watch, too. Thanks, Jimmy - you meant a lot to one geeky pre-teen, racing home afer school to catch the Enterprise's latest adventures. Favorite Scotty moment: "The Trouble With Tribbles," when he stops Chekov from fighting while the Klingons insult Captain Kirk, but then throws the first punch when they call the Enterprise a "garbage scow."

I think the line got reversed and was originally "Scotty, beam me up."

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