Wednesday, July 20, 2005

One to beam up...

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It is with great sorrow that I read of James Doohan's death today. He died as a result of pneumonia and complications from Alzheimer's, according to the story. Doohan is best-known to the public for his role as Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott in the classic Star Trek television series and movies. "Scotty" was one of the four primary characters on the show, renowned for his engineering prowess and his ability to pull technological rabbits out of the warp engines' hat. He is the second of those original four to pass, preceded by DeForest Kelly in 1999.

I went to see Jimmy Doohan a few times at Star Trek conventions some years ago when I was into attending those events. He was an incredibly engaging speaker, full of stories of the days of the original series production and a range of ethnic accents that was truly astonishing. Seeing the comsumate "scottsman" speak well-known lines from his acting on the show in a Mexican or French accent was funny and wierd at the same time.

Less commonly known is that Doohan was a combat veteran in his home country of Canada. He joined the Canadian forces in WWII, serving in the artillery until being injured. (That injury resulted in the loss of a finger on his left hand, something that the camera crews and directors in his many appearances managed to hide from the general audience.) He finished out his service as pilot-observer and, according to his bio, became known as the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Force." I wonder if that still holds true today.

So, tonite I'll hoist a wee dram to his memory, saluting to another passing part of my youth. Godspeed, Jimmy.