Wednesday, February 11, 2009

James Doohan: Beam Me Up, Scotty

"He's dead Jim." This is true Bones, which is why it wasn't easy attempting to learn more about this seemingly fine man.

My latest excursion into the literary world [The One To Be Pitied would beg to differ] would be this fairly difficult to find autobiography on the late, great Star Trek alumnus James Doohan as our friend Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott otherwise referred to simply as Scotty. Beam Me Up, Scotty: Star Trek's "Scotty" In His Own Words has been out of print for some time and save having to spend roughly 50 dollars on the book from someone it can be a tough find. I scored a fairly mint copy off an Amazon seller. I love Amazon. I love my local bookstore too, but they can't find gems like I Am Spock or Beam Me Up, Scotty and deliver them to my doorstep unfortunately. Additionally with the unfortunate death of Mr. Doohan and little interest surrounding his life on the whole by publishers looking to make a buck it would seem unlikely another opportunity to read about the man's life would come along. This would be about my only chance. So, since I missed the book upon its initial run in stores I had to get industrious. I probably had my hands full with tribbles upon its initial release.

I've seen some of the critiques out there on Doohan's book. Some folks have been brutal and particularly unkind. I certainly cannot attest to its sense of truth or dramatic license so I'll have to take it on face value. Something tells me he may have has a flair for the dramatic, but he was such an adorably charming fellow I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Interestingly enough he co-authored the book with famed Star Trek comic book writer Peter David so it 'kenna be all that bad Captain'.

Here's how the ol' transporter worked for Scotty.

Introduction: James Doohan gives us a run down of his castmates on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series. It's a little awkward, but interesting to see things from his perspective rather than Leonard Nimoy or William Shatner for a change. His descriptions of his fellow actors are fairly terse and kind of cheeky. I can't say I learned alot from the intro but I was definitely thirsty for more. One thing I did not know was that Doohan was close friends with Gene Roddenberry. Fascinating. Overall first impressions on the writing style tends to lean toward the conversational. There's a folksy feel to it. It's not at all like Leaonard Nimoy's I Am Spock. Nimoy is a fine writer. Doohan clearly needs Peter David's help here and how much of it he receives I'm uncertain. Still, it takes a little getting used to, but I have a feeling Peter David had his work cut out for him.

Birth Of A Notion: Doohan discusses how the name of Montgomery Scott originated as a nod to his grandfather of the same name. Apparently Doohan had considerable input into the character of Scotty. We get a glimpse of life in Northern Ireland and Belfast and it does lend itself to some fantastic insights into the political climate of the day as well as the depressed state of his surroundings during his youth. He talks extensively about his talented, intelligent father whose talents excluded him from joining the military since he was needed on other fronts. There has always been a soft side to Doohan. It’s a side that’s easy to identify with considering what he endured as a kid. He speaks extensively about his father who suffered from alcoholism. He was unfortunately a violent man who affected those around him. There's a lot of identification here for me as my father suffered from alcoholism. I was fortunate in that my father was a gentle man who never exhibited a violent bone in his body. It’s a touching account and it’s not lost on me how affecting this type of stuff can be on a young mind. Eventually, Doohan’s family opted to get the heck out of dodge moving from Belfast to British Columbia to Ontario. It was an obvious improvement in living conditions. Sadly, James Doohan’s plight was at the hands of a violent and sometimes physically abusive drunkard of a father. It is disturbing to read his account of those terrible days as a young lad of eight years old. It had to be hard for him to recall such painful memories honestly. As if it couldn’t get much worse during those formative years, Doohan came down with Diphtheria and nearly died.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles: No this is not about John Hughes, Steve Martin or John Candy. Doohan reflects on his love for toy trains, a passion and hobby that lasted all his life. We offers more insights into the complicated relationship he had with his father. We glean a bit into the romantic, child-like wonder of Doohan's love affair with cars and trains. This is hardly riveting information to the Trek fan looking for Trek dirt, but I like how the book informs us about what makes the man the man.

That’s Entertainment: Scotty gets down and dirty by sharing his first sexual encounter with readers. Too much information? It was a bit like watching a train wreck. I kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe he’s sharing this stuff with us,’ but it's his autobiography. So, too much information aside, I was mildly intrigued and kept reading anyway. Doohan discusses other entertainment avenues like radio as a kid and the advent of television. It’s funny to hear him say something like “If someone had come to me from the future and told me I’d actually be spending a respectable portion of my life on that little screen, I wouldn’t have known what to make of it.” Doohan reflects on one of his greatest gifts, that of the accent. He chose an Aberdeen accent for Scotty. I actually spent a summer in Scotland once and had to do a paper on Scottish Nationalism for my British Politics class, which may explain some of my interest in the British-influenced James Doohan. For a period, I did everything I could to consume Scottish culture, Scottish women and the occasional Scotch. We learn about Doohan’s first love Kay Glynn, his love for the stage plus more on the pain of his relationship with his father. It should be noted Doohan’s mother was very nurturing and did her best to shower him with love to compensate for his father. Like anyone, he still yearned to capture the attention of his father's love. Still, Doohan’s father was isolating him and discarding him in the same way his grandfather had done it to his father decades earlier. History often offers a vicious cycle.

Giving Hitler The Finger: Useless fact of the day perphaps, but did you know Jimmy Doohan lost his middle finger? I did not. He kept it mostly obscured from camera during the filming of Star Trek: The Original Series. Fascinating until you make the point to The One To Be Pitied who quickly flaunts the fact she still very much has her own middle finger. This is why I share it with you. Anyway, you can note the missing finger in TOS Season One, Episode 15, The Trouble With Tribbles. He lost his finger during the invasion of Normandy on D-day. I’m a huge fan of history. You can learn much from it or choose to ignore it. It’s truly interesting to hear Doohan recall conversationally his memories of Hitler and the dictator's growing quest for power and domination. He remembers English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and how England and France declared war on Germany following Hitler’s usurpation of Poland. Canada wavered on remaining neutral, but did eventually join the war. Doohan quickly enlisted with the Canadian Army. Who knew they had one? For Doohan it was, oddly enough, a bit of a godsend to join the army to fight Hitler as it was an avenue to escape the oppression of home. Doohan gives a terrific account of how poorly prepared and trained the Canadian Army was back in the day. With the war upon him Doohan was forced to go his separate way from Kay for roughly five years.

You're In The Army Now: It's basic training for Doohan. He gets the snot kicked out of his ass to be accepted and learns Morse Code. It seems ironic he would be involved in communications even then not knowing he would become one of the world's most famous engineers.

Waiting For Action: This is a terrific remark referring to a bunk mate from Scotland after Doohan had arrived in England from Canada. "Some people make snide comments, saying that Scotty's accent is inaccurate, that it's not authentic. Believe me, if I did it the way Andrew from Aberdeen did, you too would not understand a damned word Scotty said. In fact, Gene Roddenberry, pulled me aside early in the series- several times, in fact- and said 'You mustn't make the accent so thick. No one's going to know what you're saying.'" That's perfect and it speaks volumes about why alot of actors deviate from the 'real' accent. Sure, some actors just plain can't act or just can't do a decent accent to save their life, not so for Doohan. On the war front, Doohan explains the waiting game in England before facing the encroaching Germans who were taking France. Doohan gives a vivid account of life in charge of his own regimen and the difficulties that accompanied that duty after just three years in the military. After four years in service he was about to make it to his fifth with Normandy.

D Day: Doohan vividly recalls some tension building moments leading up to D Day. I certainly cannot comment on the validity of his words, but I have no reason to doubt him. There is a stirring account of Doohan's nerve-rattling experience during the charge of Normandy Beach. It's a gripping tale and there is a genuine flow here that I can only believe Peter David helped coalesce. I can't say I've read an account of D Day, but if these weren't the words from the mouth of one of my favorite science fiction actors, I'd say this was a pretty astounding account of that day from one soldier's point of view. There's a down-to-Earth, regular guy kind of vibe as Doohan reflects on the little things that go through all of our minds before something difficult. Still, nothing comes close to what these young men had to handle on that fateful day. I am forever humbled by that day and Doohan's account reminds us why. This chapter served a detailed recollection of that day and it was a riveting read. Some critics have complained they did not get enough on Star Tek from this book. Remember, this is an autobiography and he spends a fair amount of time on his fairly lean upbringing and his time in the military. I really appreciated this window learning more about the man and the experiences that shaped him. In fact, more time could have been spent on this on this wrenching account. The book is a fairly quick read and merely scratches the surface of a number of topics. I also didn’t find his details surrounding D Day as being particularly self-aggrandizing as some have suggested. I mean Christ, the man stormed the beach at Normandy, was shot to hell, lost a finger from machine gun fire, got shot in the leg, shot in the chest, barely survived thanks to a cigarette case in his pocket that his brother gave him and lived to tell about it. For cryin’ out loud if the man lent any kind of writing embellishment in his recall of that day I’m okay with that. The man is still a hero just like everyone else who sacrificed so much that day against the Nazis. Not once did I feel Doohan made more of his sacrifice than was deserved and to be honest he could have written much more. Anyhow, it’s an astounding chapter and his penchant for telling a story shines through making it an entertaining portion to be sure. When I got to the end of it he mentions he had the opportunity to meet actor Van Heflin. It didn’t mean much to me, but then he mentioned he starred in Shane, which he really loved. I laughed. My father loved Shane. It was like the western to end all westerns for him. I even bought it for him on VHS tape long before DVD took off and he loved that movie. It is a good film. It just reminded me of my father, again, who was also served in the [United States] Army.

Junior Birdman: Doohan received mail from his love, Kay Glynn, only to learn she had moved on in her life with another man. Those are crushing letters and I’m sure we’ve all received letters like that in our lives at one time or another. To avoid having to deal with his father, yet again, Doohan took up flying instruction outside of London. He spent much time as an an airman working for the military. Later, the war in Europe may have ended, but the Japanese pulled him back for more. He continued flying in the war effort against the Japanese. You’ll recall they did not surrender as early as the Germans. He recalls US President Harry S. Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This was a fairly powerful and thoughtful reflection. “It’s become popular nowadays to second-guess Truman’s decision, but all I can tell you is that, while we were willing to fight on for however long it took no one was breathless with anticipation over continuing the war for year after year. The bomb ended the war. Unfortunately it also ended the lives of thousands of Japanese souls. Truman never wavered on the rightness of his action, and speaking as a possible beneficiary of his decision, I feel it was nice to have made it through the war, if not in one piece, then in a condition fairly close to it. Still, I’d be very surprised if the imagined screams of those thousands who died in the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima and Nagasaki didn’t haunt Truman in his private hours.” I think those are pretty honest words from someone who was there. Doohan really endured some physical pain during the war. It's amazing how affable and light-hearted Doohan remained after all he'd been through. Given the fairly difficult path he would need to navigate, endure and overcome to get there, it's hard to believe he would become the man known as Scotty.

How You Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm...?: Doohan returned home arriving in Montreal to see his family for the first time in six years. He also visited his old flame Kay briefly. So began his journey toward the vocation of acting, which lured him to New York City for a time. The one thing that Doohan seemed unable to put to rest, the scratch he couldn't itch, was his relationship with da. Doohan had an unbridled sense of anger toward his father. He let him have it before leaving again. He made certain he understood the sense of torture he felt as a child. It was the last time he saw him and he does regret that exchange. He knows the devil of alcoholism and what it did to his father. He clearly regrets his actions that day. Alcoholism has a pretty profound impact on a life and it is such a feeling of helplessness that you have no control over fixing the other person's troubles. I really feel for him here. Fortunately my father was a joy to have around despite his weaknesses. We all have them.

Treading The Boards: I found it amazing just how little experience James Doohan had in the field of acting. Despite his shortcomings he certainly took on the challenge with his usual vigor. He always rises to the occasion. Doohan points to an interesting fact that sort of accompanied him on his journey through life and was his internal desire to run away from facing issues at home. The ghost of his father often ruled Doohan's motivations and actions. It really played a part of who he was as a man. "When you get down to it, my entire acting ambition- which not only was I at a loss to grasp, but seemed to have sprung almost out of nowhere- was really an extension of everything that had happened in my life to that time. I'd spent my entire existence happening upon new ways of escaping- to other countries, to a war, to the air." And now acting had Doohan escaping to what he referred to as "another reality altogether." He talks to some extent about how acting requires you to be open and free with yourself, which was the complete antithesis to everything he had been doing all his life. He had been walling himself and running from aspects of his life. It was complete self-preservation and an approach he needed to change.

The Year That Was: Doohan talks of his flatmate John Fiedler from Star Trek TOS, Season Two, Episode 14, Wolf In The Fold. Further, he discusses what a bizarre period it was in his life in that he took up attempting a singing career with John and Tony Randall [The Odd Couple]. One of the things that struck me was just how much older Doohan really was back in the day compared to some of his eventual Star Trek cast mates. The other thing is, despite his many hardships, Doohan led a fairly clean lifestyle. But boy, did this man live. Apart from training in NY, Doohan even spent some time in Rhode Island with Theatre By The Sea and Jackie Gleason of all people. He uncomfortably recollects his miserable seventeen year marriage to Janet. They had four children and a terrible marriage. He doesn't mention much more than that. Let's put it this way he indicates Normandy being easier. Yikes!

Jimmy Hollywood: Doohan lost his fragile sister Margaret at the ripe young age of thirty-seven. He was there for her on that day and it's a heartbreaker. His Mom and Dad also pass on. It's the 1950s and Jimmy Doohan is beginning to hit his stride. Jimmy said goodbye to his greatest mentor Sandy Meisner striking out on his own. Doohan expresses some interesting scenarios behind-the-scenes regarding the whole House Un-American Activities period of the 1950s and the search for communists within the acting community. He lived it to an extent. So the war was over, the war with his wife that is. He finally left her and his children though he talks a bit about them and how hard it was to leave them. His old friend actor Leslie Nielsen took him in for a time in 1964. This took him to a short three season stint for some little known show called Star Trek.

Show-time: For fans of Star Trek this is certainly THE chapter to read for all things Scotty. The Star Trek Pilot [1965] was picked up in 1966 just as Doohan learns, “Thanks very much, but we don’t really think we’re going to need an engineer.” That's not exactly good news if you’re an excited Jimmy Doohan. His agent got the old wolf back in the fold. Doohan was in his mid-forties when he tackled the part of Scotty. He shares highlights and lowlights here by episode. I've included a few. The Corbomite Maneuver: Doohan gives his impressions on the strange-looking, but brilliant, actor Clint Howard. The Naked Time: Doohan remembers Bruce Hyde singing one of his favorite songs growing up in the form of I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen. Classic Scotty line: “I canna change the laws of physics.” Doohan comments on the precedings with, “This was coming from an engineer aboard a ship that defies Einstein with its faster-than-light travel and has a matter transporter that flies in the face of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Okay, okay maybe Scotty couldn’t change the laws of physics. But he sure could bend them a good ways.” The Galileo Seven: This is one of my very favorite science fiction episodes of all time. I almost named my blog after it. Anyway, Scotty attempts to fix the coolest shuttlecraft in the universe. It was the first time he really worked closely with Nimoy and speaks with great respect for him. The Squire Of Gothos: The first entry Scotty lent his voice to a number of characters outside his role as Scotty. He was the voice of Trelane’s father. He really enjoyed actor Bill Campbell. Tomorrow Is Yesterday: Doohan offers observations regarding the effects utilized for the episode and how primitive they might be in comparison to the effects of today, but they were cutting edge. There is such a great vibrating shot of Scotty during an Enterprise hit they re-used the shot for The Doomsday Machine. Space Seed: He speaks reverently on Ricardo Montalban’s dynamic performance. Funny enough, Doohan later enjoyed a guest role for an episode of Fantasy Island. The Menagerie: Doohan fondly remembers guest Susan Oliver who has since passed. Someday I hope to touch on some of these fine actors when I pay tribute to Star Trek. Devil In The Dark: "What a lovely show. I just thought it was one of the best." He really appreciated the sci-fi intensive script. City On The Edge Of Forever: The first script was drafted by none other than Harlan Ellison, but was apparently not used and legend has it he was unhappy with their final choice. Doohan likes Ellison but calls him a man with "diarrhea of the mouth." Nice. Operation: Annhilate: The episode features "creatures that look like flying omelets." I loved those flying omelets! It made such an impression on me. One of my favorite scenes as a kid included Spock taking it in the back by the flying flapjack alien. It was so scary when I was kid. Metamorphosis: Scotty's role was greatly reduced here. Friday's Child: A big example of Kirk ignoring the Prime Directive of non-interference. Julie Neumar guests and Scotty takes command of the Enterprise. The Doomsday Machine: This is a Doohan favorite. Wolf In The Fold: This is like a Doohan vehicle. Scotty is a suspect in a series of murders. Did you know he dated Tanya Lamani? Do you care? There's a sequence that calls for the scanning of Scotty's right hand and since that is the infamous hand with the missing middle digit, a stunt double was utilized for the actual hand. You just gotta love those behind-the-scenes details. Doohan takes to task the scriptwriter's decision to have Kirk dope his crew rather than trust their training and proceeds to discuss one of those reasons why we love Kirk. "Kirk- without missing a beat-immediately tries to talk Spock into beaming down to the planet with him to check out a 'place' with women so amazing that words are never found to describe them. Think about it: Kirk wants to leave his ship in the hands of 430 drunk drivers (Sulu is literally spinning in his chair) so he can go planetside and score. Kirk ultimately discards the idea, probably because he remembers that he has a ship full of a hundred or so females, all with great legs, miniskirts and all of whom will be in a extremely good mood for, according to McCoy, the next five hours. Why go out when you can order in?" The Changeling: Scotty is the dreaded recipient of those fateful words, "He's dead Jim." Doohan believed it was his final curtain call but it was simply part of the script. Mirror Mirror: The one episode Scotty refers to the Captain as "Jim!" The Trouble With Tribbles: Scotty got a beefy part in this one. Doohan enjoyed this fine script by David Gerrold, but also credits Gene Roddenberry and Dorothy C. Fontana for their input as well. Elaan Of Troyius: Doohan moves into the much-maligned third season of Star Trek and kind of falls in line with the general sentiment out there about its problems. Leonard Nimoy expressed much insight on the subject in the book I Am Spock. The third season was indeed problematic on many fronts. You get a sense of it with Doohan's episodic criticisms noting the lack of Roddenberry's steady hand at the wheel. The Savage Curtain: Scotty wears a kilt. Doohan hasn’t much praise for Season Three.

Family Album: Like some families, Doohan dishes it on his cast mates. He refers to Walter Koenig as “dour” and “depressed” the more he got to know you. He had a “dry sense of humor and quick wit.” I think his personality shines on Babylon 5. Doohan loved hanging with George Takei. He felt sorry for Nichelle Nichols because she was so completely underutilized and unappreciated as an actress. DeForest Kelley was an incredibly likeable fellow. Leonard Nimoy, again, was the consummate professional and gentleman who always put the show first. Then there is Bill. “As for Bill Shatner, well…I have to admit, I just don’t like the man.” This seems to be a common refrain from the voices of Star Trek's cast. He doesn’t have much to say about the man and I think that about covers his feeling on the matter. I think some fans would have enjoyed more dirt. He certainly respects his old friend Gene Roddenberry, but felt he was better at spotting talent for the show as far as scripting than possessing scripting talent himself. His secretary Dorothy Fontana was exactly that kind of talent. He was a terrific producer. Doohan reflects very favorably on the talent of Gene Coon who also played a significant role in the show’s success along with Fontana. When it comes to the third season Doohan holds Roddenberry responsible for its failure. He became very hand’s off compared to his work on the first two seasons and the product suffered for it. It was interesting to read Doohan’s refections on that period because they are different to Leonard Nimoy’s reflections on the causes for Roddenberry’s departure for Season Three in his own I Am Spock. Now, they may have seen two different things or been privy to different facts, but Doohan definitely felt Roddenberry should have stepped up to the plate to see it through properly. It’s definitely an interesting chapter in Star Trek lore. I am fascinated by what exactly transpired between Season Two and Season Three. Things went terribly wrong for some key players. Nimoy certainly vented his frustrations in his biography and Doohan does here to some extent while maybe not to the same degree or detail. He definitively felt Roddenberry abandoned his baby. I would gather there may be some element of truth to it, but it’s certainly Doohan’s perception and it is a unique perspective. Doohan was definitely disappointed with Roddenberry’s surrender of the third season to Paramount and notes it suffered badly as a result of his missing vision. The chapter rounds out with some terrific insights into the man that was Gene Roddenberry. It’s interesting to hear him talk about how fans looked upon him, while Roddenberry was unable to articulate himself in the same way Star Trek was able to articulate his vision philosophically for him.

Star Struck: Finally, life after Star Trek in the world of Hollywood typecasting. We learn how he met his third wife Wende. They inevitably married with Trelane [William Campbell] as his best man. Times were tough, but the swell and demand of a growing Star Trek fanbase kept Doohan afloat.

Fan Dancing: Doohan’s first convention experience is shared in fairly good detail and it’s pretty entertaining for it. Doohan discusses the knowledge fans have of the episode dialogue. You know you’ve done your job as a writer when fans can recite lines and know which episode the line is from. Doohan gives us the technical version of how the transporter scenes were filmed. This chapter amplifies what a generous and giving man James Doohan was to fans of all the Original Series stars. He wore his heart on his sleeve for the fans. There isn't a question about this man’s gratitude for them. He is indebted and sincere in expressing his appreciation for them. There’s a nice bit about the Official James Doohan Fan Club organized by a girl named Anna. Eventually she got so busy she had to pass the torch to someone else and she went to Doohan to tell him. Doohan sincerely loved the fan club and how Anna ran it. He said to her, “Nobody will run it like you did, Anna” and opted to close it down. He tells some strange stories, one in particular about a young lad who wanted a vile of his blood. Weird. He even has an unexpected reunion with old flame Kay in CT. His wife oKAYed the reunion. I'm not sure The One To Be Pitied would okay such a reunion.

The Continuing Voyages: Doohan offers his perspective on Star Trek: The Animated Series. He was not overly fond of the resulting product but he lends some great insight into that period. He shares a strange moment when he decided to call up Bill Shatner, but Bill was less than kind and was quite angry with Doohan and how he got hold of his phone number. Shatner is an odd, but entertaining, duck indeed. It's easy to see why he wasn't crazy about Shatner though. At the time of Star Trek: The Motion Picture there were plans to make a series [Nimoy covers it in his book a bit more], which mutated into the film. Doohan discusses that ordeal a bit. He mentions how the final product was a “snorer” and referred to as Star Trek: The Motionless Picture. Ouch. Then came Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, which Doohan enjoyed, but felt a number of scenes were cut to shreds and left on the editing room floor. He does indicate the director chose to place those scenes back into a final director’s cut. Doohan, understandably, was quite pleased by the decision as he felt they left certain aspects of his character’s actions unanswered upon the original release. I've seen the film and I'm still scratching my head on some of those scenes. For Star Trek III: The Search For Spock Doohan had many fine things to say about Director Leonard Nimoy, but he did feel the film was lacking by the absence of Nimoy as Spock within the film and lacking in overall action. Doohan adored Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and its beautiful environmental message. Shatner announces his plans to make a fifth film himself during the filming of the fourth and needless to say no one was overly inspired. When it came time to do Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Doohan was less than enthused he had to walk down the corridor and bump his head. He saw the scene as something Bill Shatner designed just to put him down. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is far and away Doohan’s personal favorite of the bunch directed once again by Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan helmer Nick Meyer. Star Trek: The Next Generation came along for Doohan and the episode dubbed Relics. Doohan, like many, was quite opposed to the concept of TNG initially, but was inevitably won over. There's his hysterical analysis on the technobabble used in TNG versus the dialogue utilized by Scotty in TOS. It's pretty funny. He recommends comparing the two someday. Perhaps we'll do a video comparison right here on The Sci Fi Fanatic. Doohan thought Scotty was retired until Star Trek: Generations arrived. Doohan's final words in the chapter said alot about his character and the creation of Scotty and why to some he seemed a fairly one note character. "So much of what made him unique came not from any great acting challenge, but instead were simply elements of James Doohan, and an accent." That's about it. That's exactly the charm of Scotty. He was an incredibly likeable character because James Doohan was incredibly likeable. He adds, "To me, Scotty is Scotty and was already a full human being as soon as I opened my mouth with a Scottish accent." Amen.

One Trek Beyond: Doohan enjoyed a brief stint in soaps playing a part oddly reminiscent of his own father, only this time he was playing the role of his father. So would Scotty do it all over? “Would I do it again?” He goes into detail about the many things he has achieved thanks to playing the part of Montgomery Scott Scotty. He met Wende and had two wonderful boys. The answer is clear. “I guess I do regret not having played all those other characters I know I would have played. But to do that, I would have to stop being Scotty. I’d lose the negatives…but the positives, as well.” I often wonder what if I went down this path or that path. What if I had done this or decided to do that or not this. Don’t we all wonder a little? There’s no question Doohan wouldn’t change a thing, but he does wonder about those other roles as an actor, but we all wonder about those other roles for ourselves.

Reflecting back on the book about a man I knew little about going into the read, my inclination is to say, I really liked this man. There were certainly old school, traditional things about the man's experiences that reminded me of my father. I enjoyed that reflection. My father was a simple man who enjoyed simple things. It's a rare thing today. I miss having him around for those things. Funny, I loved the book for Doohan's ability to tell a tale or recall a story and to learn things about him outside of Star Trek. I also liked the book for making me recall aspects of my father.

Beam Me Up, Scotty: B

No comments: