20 July 2005

[cult_tv] And Scotty Too, Now...?

Like other aging sf geeks I noticed with sadness the passing of James Doohan. As I was aware he was in seriously declining health (remembering the videos of him being wheeled to and from his Walk-of-Fame Star's debut in a chair) it was not a surprise, but it is still regrettful.

I had a sort of a personal moment with Mr Doohan some years back. He showed up at one of those otherwise-dreadful "Creation" Star Trek Cons (Trek stars have always enthusiastically supported the fans who support them-I think that's one reason why Trek still remains mad wicked popular even with no show on the air or movie in development now) and he showed off his techno-slant. Doohan was always renowened as the most techologically-savvy of all the cast, and his words were fairly inspiring; while I don't remember what they were, the upshot is permananetly memorable-he thought nuclear power could be made safe and dependable, if only the bean-counters weren't running things. Good engineers freed to do good engineering, that was the thing.

I took two mimeo'd souvenirs we'd gotten at a dealers table-otherwise forgettable, a "Star Fleet Bartending Guide (yeah, right) and something else, and got in the signature line. I asked for them both to be signed, and he seemed a little annoyed (I still regret irritating him), but he signed them both.

Like I said, that's the way Trek stars are.

We still have them, tucked in my original-printing Star Fleet Technical Manual (a little careworn, but I saved my allowance to buy that book and I loved that thing!). I also have an early edition of the Star Trek Concordance... you know, the one with the dial built into the cover graphic that was a quick-locator to the contents. But I, as usual, digress.

I also recall Mr Doohan in a supporting role in the Knight Rider oeurve. Back about 1996 or 1997, I think it was, they capped the series off with a movie, Knight Rider 2000. It was about Michael Knight and KITT moving on in a world that didn't really need them until, of course, it did. For the interim, KITT's computer brain (and Cylon scanning eye) were housed in a '56 Chevy Bel-Air.

This left KITT a little impaired. He stunned a passerby who looked as though he was presenting a threat. That passerby turned out to be Doohan, playing himself.

"This is James Doohan", Knight enthused as he helped administer first aid to the stunned Doohan, who was repeating certain Scotty lines. "He played Scotty in the original series and all ten Star Trek movies!".


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