Thursday, May 3, 2007

Farewell to “Scotty”

James Doohan, the actor who played “Scotty” the gruff engineer of the original 1960’s Star Trek series whose funeral service almost befitting a starfleet personnel.

By: Vanessa Uy

James Doohan passed away 2 years ago, yet his funeral service: which was held last April 27 is similar to one might expect in a Gene Roddenberry-esque Utopian Future 200 years from now. James Doohan’s ashes will be blasted into space. His widow, Wendy Doohan was on hand of the launch button after delivering a eulogy.

James Doohan’s dedication to making Gene Roddenberry’s creative vision possible still continue to inspire Star Trek fans around the globe. Together with William Shattner who played Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy who played the half human half vulcan science officer named Spock and the rest of the cast of the original Star Trek series made possible a new breed of science fiction TV series. Like the British Dr. Who sci-fi serials, Star Trek relied more on well honed story plots than whiz-bang special effects. This is probably the secret to Star Trek’s success.

At present only a handful of people had space burials, and these prestigious group eerily resembles the “Founding Members” of a Gene Roddenberry-esque Utopia. Like Frank Zappa, the late 1960’s Rock musician known for his unique songwriting skills. Most “Trekkies” I know are also Frank Zappa fans. The 1960’s psychedellia guru Timothy Leary whose life and personality resembles an ancient Vulcan philosopher/character created by Gene Roddenberry. While the ultimate in space burrials goes to the lunar geologist and astronomer Eugene Shoemaker, whose ashes are rocketed to the moon.


Lilith Fair said...

During James Doohan's - a.k.a."Scotty's" - final appearance on the 2002 Star Trek convention before he retired due to ill-health, to me, the space burial is a fitting tribute to someone who is actively promoting the esoteric echelons of theoretical physics to us common folks.
P.S. Have you already seen the latest Star Trek movie?

Nancy said...

During the early days of Star Trek conventions in the 1970s, Leonard Nimoy who played Mr. Spock the original series' science officer was often asked with highly technical cutting edge theoretical physics questions - often on subjects that only Professor Stephen Hawking or Professor Abdus Salam could answer. Which eventually prompted Leonard Nimoy to write a then famous tell-all book entitled "I Am Not Spock". It wasn't until the late 1980s when Nimoy became comfortable being Spock when appearing at subsequent Star Trek conventions. In my opinion, it is only right to pay tribute to the other stars in Star Trek eclipsed by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy - especially James Doohan who played the original series' engineer Montgomery Scott a.k.a. Scotty . Nichelle Nichols and George Takei even had asteroids - authorized by the International Astronomical Union of course - named after them. If only the I.A.U. would make Pluto into a true-blue planet again.

Hirum said...

James Doohan - popularly known as the Star Trek's original series' intrepid engineer Montgommery Scott / Scotty - truly deserves a space burial because without his role influencing a generation of kids to chose a career in science and technology related fields, we wouldn't have mobile phones - cheap mobile phones - and the Internet.
Speaking of Leonard Nimoy's tell-all book "I Am Not Spock" about the burdens of his role in playing Starship Enterprise's half-human, half-Vulcan science officer, it did talk mostly of the first few Star Trek conventions when an overwhelming number of Trekkies often mistake him for being as smart as the giants of 1970s theoretical physicists like Professor Abdus Salam and Professor Stephen Hawking.
Speaking of the IAU's deciscion to downgrade Pluto into a "dwarf planet" - I think it is much easier to convince Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to accept that the Holocaust is real than convincing the IAU to re-classify Pluto as a bona fide planet.

Anonymous said...

Question: What is the difference between Leonard Nimoy's 1977 tell-all biography "I Am Not Spock" and the 1995 "I Am Spock"?
Answer: Nothing, except maybe Leonard Nimoy finally appreciates the "financial incentives" of playing Star Trek's half-human-half-Vulcan science officer named Spock.

Tallulah said...

To all hardcore Trekkies out there,
Here are the two things I noticed which proves that the directorship of J.J. Abrahms of the latest Star Trek movie is a move away from Gene Roddenberry's established canon: One - On the Original Series episode Man Trap when Lt. Uhura attempted casual conversation with Spock which lead to Spock saying that planet Vulcan has no moon, what piece of ice-covered rock was Spock - i.e. the older future Spock - was stranded on? Especially when it had a good vantage point as Vulcan was swallowed-up by the artificially-generated black hole / singularity.
Two - remember that original series episode when Capt. Kirk and Spock must fight to the death in front of the Vulcan high councillor T'Pol? This was the episode when Star Trek fans were first introduced to Vulcan having a stronger gravitational pull and thinner atmosphere than Earth. Then why are Sulu and Kirk were not wearing any supplementary oxygen gear - similar to ones used by mountain climbers attempting to summit Mt. Everest - when they attempted to destroy the laser drill of that rogue Romulan starship in the Abrahms-directed Star Trek movie? Maybe he should had kept Felicity's hair long.

Gibson said...

On James Doohan / Scotty's passing, he really deserves that outer space burial because he probably inspired most of NASA's current astronauts to chose their present careers.
I too agree with the two points cited by Tallulah with regards to the latest Star Trek movie directed by J.J. Abrahms. Although that ice-covered rock could be an asteroid in the Vulcan system assuming that Vulcan's gravitational pull is 1.5 to 3 times that of Earth, then planet Vulcan could have a diameter 14 times that of Earth, thus making Vulcan "comfortably" visible from an asteroid 1 to 3 million miles away from it. On the use of supplementary oxygen / breathing apparatus for Kirk and Sulu, this was unfortunately a case of "Hollywood Culture" circumventing the laws of physics. Remember the movie Backdraft where Kurt Russel was made not to put on his protective gear to make his face "highly visible" to the camera. Sadly, even Star Trek has to ultimately bow to the laws of Hollywood.

Sisto said...

To add my own two cents, James Doohan was not the only "high-level" Star Trek personality who got a space burrial, Gene Roddenberry - Star Trek's creator - also got his ashes rocketed into space. If this trend continues, then every cast member of the original Star Trek series will be eligible for space burial.
Speaking of the latest Star Trek movie, I think whoever wrote the script is "somewhat sympathethic" to His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet for a call to free Tibet from The People's Republic of China. By making the Vulcans as a displaced people, it does mirror the plight of the Dalai Lama's government in exile in Darmsala, India.

Anonymous said...

Even though Majel Barrett Roddenberry recently passed away near the end of 2008, I think - like James "Scotty" Doohan - she deserves a space burial given that without Mrs. Roddenberry, we Trekkies would have "perrished" years ago.
Is it just me or are the people
responsible for creating / producing the latest Star Trek movie hanging out just a wee bit too long in the Tibet House with Richard Gere and Philip Glass?