Blogs > HNN > A Brief Tribute to a Classic Actor

Jul 20, 2005 7:36 pm

A Brief Tribute to a Classic Actor

I know I am not alone in morning the passing of James Doohan , better known as “Scotty” on the original Star Trek series. You don’t have to be a Star Trek fan, or even to have seen the show at all, to know this character and his famous catch-phrases.

Of course he did a lot more than star in a campy 1960’s TV show, serving as captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery Regiment force during WWII, and landing on Normandy beach on D-Day. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate in Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, after half the students there said that Scotty had inspired them to take up the subject.

Star Trek remains ahead of its time both culturally and technologically. It envisioned a world of cell phone-like devices, desktop computers, laser-like weapons, and numerous other elements that seem antiquated today but were years in the future of the 1960’s series. At the height of the Cold War, and only 2 decades after WWII, the show brought together Russian, Japanese, African, Scottish, and American characters to serve together as one crew (although they were mostly played by Americans and Canadians who faked accents). Its aliens represented Swiftian satire on contemporary issues like racism, drugs, and political leaders, while maintaining an optimistic vision of the future. The sets were cheesy, the acting less than Shakespearian, and the special effects grossly outdated, but it was an American icon and we should all take a moment to morn for one of its greatest characters.

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