Wednesday, July 20, 2005

James Doohan passed away today.

Doohan, of course, was immortalized as "Scotty" on the original Star Trek. Scotty, to me, was always the "regular guy" on the crew. He was the guy you could see yourself sitting down at a bar with or having a chuckle over dinner in the mess hall.

I had the great good fortune to meet Jimmy a number of times when I was heavily involved with Star Trek fandom in the '80s and '90s. I shared several meals and drinks with him, and he always had a wealth of stories to tell. Jimmy used to say at conventions that Scotty was "1% accent and 99% James Doohan." It was really true. If he fell into the accent (which happened more frequently after a couple of glasses of Scotch - yes, he really did drink it) you could begin to forget a little bit that you were talking to Jimmy Doohan and not Scotty.

Much like Scotty, Doohan had his heroic side, too. He was wounded during the D-Day invasion, having a finger blown off his hand and was hit by five other bullets. One was aimed at his chest was stopped by a silver cigarette case

The legacy I think Jimmy was most proud of was the thousands of young people who were inspired to be engineers by seeing Scotty on Star Trek. Many of those engineers ended up working for Jet Propulsion Labs or NASA, helping to bring the fictional world of Star Trek a little closer to reality.

Warp speed, Mr. Scott. Godspeed, Mr. Doohan.


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