I loved Star Trek as a kid and watched it faithfully in the original run from ’66-’69 (can it really be that long ago?) – it was exciting, fired my young imagination and seemed like a fully-realized creation, manned with real people doing real things in fantastic settings (I wanted Uhura
to be my personal communications officer). And it was funny, too.
I remember listening raptly to a lecture by Gene Roddenberry when I was in college in the later ’70s, and was very excited when he announced that a Star Trek theatrical film was in the works.
But I didn’t respond that well to the films – the jump to the big screen and the vastly improved production values seemed to diminish the charm of the concept rather than improve it for me, and of course, I was getting older. I don’t think I have even seen the last couple of films in the series and I have never watched a single episode of any of the subsequent TV series, at least on purpose.
So I am not a Trekkie in any meaningful sense of the word, but I have to admit the thought of James “Scotty” Doohan
being too old and sick to carry out his faithful convention duties gives my heart a tug.
He is being celebrated this weekend:
- This weekend, Doohan, 84 and slowed by the diseases of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, will say goodbye. To the conventions, to the fans–though not the affection.
“Beam Me Up Scotty…One Last Time” is the quite-serious title to a three-day event at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel billed as a farewell to the actor who, as fiery Montgomery Scott, ran the U.S.S. Enterprise’s engineering deck on Trek’s 1966-69 flagship series and six big-screen adventures.
The fest opens with a party Friday night, before turning into a more conventional convention on Saturday and Sunday. A Doohan roast, benefiting Alzheimer’s research, and featuring an appearance by Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong, is set for Saturday night.
Doohan, whose family disclosed his battle with Alzheimer’s in July, was said to be unavailable for interviews to talk about the event, which dovetails with Tuesday’s scheduled unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But wife Wende says “he’s totally aware of it–totally looking forward to it.”
As such, Doohan is set to attend. And in a show of intergalactic unity, so are his sometimes-fractious crew mates: William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov), George Takei (Lt. Sulu), Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Rand) and Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Nurse Chapel, as well as creator Gene Roddenberry’s widow).
The only original cast member to miss the reunion, scheduled for Sunday, is DeForest Kelley, Starfleet’s esteemed Dr. McCoy, who died in 1999.
….Steven Stevens Sr., Doohan’s longtime agent, says he came up with the idea for the con when it became clear his friend, who last did one in November 2003, wasn’t going to be able to hit the road for Trek.
This weekend, Doohan won’t do the question-and-answer and autograph sessions that are the staple of fan events. But he will visit the convention floor.
“Probably some of it is kind of a bit wistful,” says Wende Doohan, “but being realistic, he can’t get out and do the convention circuit like he used to.”
….With the remaining Trek cast reunited for what promises to be the last time, Stevens says fans won’t just be saying goodbye to Doohan or Scotty. They’ll be saying goodbye to an era.
“They realize that it’s coming to an end,” says Stevens. “And they don’t want it to come to an end.” [E! Online]
There comes a time when no amount of makeup, sleight of hand and wishful thinking can hide the sad reality that human beings age and die. Scotty shall beam no one up again, at least in public.