Scotty’s been beamed up…

Actor James Doohan, Lt. Commander Scott (Scotty) on the original Star Trek series died today at the age of 85.

His passing has some signifcance for me — though I was never a “Trekkie” or at a Star Trek convention — as I remember being a huge fan of the show as a kid and I also met him in the mid-Nineties while at NewTek. The company had fun Christmas parties where a variety of B-list celebrities were invited and in attendance. The focus of the invites was on those actors who starred in TV shows and movies which the NewTek technoweenies adored. It was almost a geek cult of space science that had Star Trek at its core and the NewTekkians loved having him there (as well as Wil Wheaton from Star Trek, Next Generation who has a short post here).

Doohan was paid for his celebrity attendance at our Christmas party and was a little lit up as I recall. It must’ve been uncomfortable for him to be in Topeka, Kansas at this party where people revered him. We talked briefly and I tried to treat him with respect when others around me were hanging on him like he was a Trekkie convention trinket…and were reciting damn near every line the guy ever spoke on the TV show.

It’s hard to imagine what it would’ve been like to act in an obscure, Western-like space show in the Sixties that inexplicably leapt to the forefront of American culture. According to the news articles I’ve just skimmed, he was seemingly agitated about his typecasting as “Scotty” at first until advised to accept it, enjoy it and move on. By the time I met him, he was clearly in that place and was really enjoying himself and the fan adoration at our party.

Whenever someone so ingrained in the popular culture passes on, it makes me stop, consider their contribution and then think about my own which is usually sobering. Though I haven’t watched any original Star Trek episodes for years (and the special effects are almost surreal and campy now), I’m going to rent a couple of DVD’s this weekend. Thanks Scotty…

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About Steve Borsch

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