Just heard the sad news about James Doohan. Star Trek's "Scotty". I'm sure there are loads of kids out there that grew up wanting to be engineers because of him. I hadn't known he had been landed on D-Day with the Canadians. He took
6 machine gun rounds and lost a finger. 30 year I've been watching him and never noticed he was missing a finger.
Yes, he can be said to have had a pretty full life. Sad thing is, he couldn't enjoy it to the end because, as I understand it, he was an Alzheimer's victim. I lost a good friend to AZ several years ago and it is really devastating what that condition does to a person before they die.
damn.....while i'm neither a trekkie nor trekker, i do appreciate the ground st broke in helping popularize sf. i has english teachers grade me down because i read it.st helped end that. while many of st's stories were blatant useage of sf story cliches, they weren't known to massmind and really helped acceptance of a truly great literary field. i hope he beamed up somewhere cool.
And I had read about the missing finger. Many of the "close up" shots of his hands, in TOS, was reportedly a "stand in" (actually, common practice, even for actors who have a complete set of fingers...lol)
After his injuries on Juno Beach he retrained as a pilot, despite the fact that his injuries entitled him to be repatriated. He flew operations as an AOP pilot and was considered to be "the craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Force"!
This is true. However very occasionally, when there is a long shot of Scotty operating the transporter, you can see his injury. The close up of Scotty's hands were used for just about every person who operated the transporter, whether or not they were a Lt Cdr.
My threshold will be when I start thinking [misnomer] like V*ss Irv*ne.
As for Scotty, I just got a chance last week to look at the DVD extras on the ST-TOS DVDs. Scotty's main interview was shot late 2003 and while he was not in good health, he appeared to be quite cognizant of events surrounding ST both now and 40 yrs ago. He even got in a subtle dig on both Nimoy and Shatner. He and Shatner were not on good terms when Shatner wrote his ST Memories memoirs - I wonder if they ever buried the hatchet?
In the interview he mentions that he was the first man to disembark from his boat on D-Day and that he was shot 9 times - those two points sort of agree with each other, huh. He holds up his hand to the camera and shows the 4 remaining digits on that paw. As far as I can recall, his hand with the missing finger can be seen in only two ST episodes. I recall one being "Catspaw" - the Halloween Trek episode of sorts. They were normally very careful to keep that hand off camera.
Oddly, I was watching the Jane Pauley Show this morning and Alzheimer's was the topic. Scotty knew he had it and said goodbye to the public about a year ago. Sadly, the folks we've lost from ST/TOS have been my favourites. Kirk I like, Shatner I don't.
Shatner seems to have spent the last ten or so years taking the Mick out of himself. He is currently starring in a series of breakfast cereal ads in the UK that are extremely silly.
I think the Scots engineer-type character only became a cilche when others copied it. --------
The older I got, still watching ST TOS, I realised that there was some subtlty to the performances given by the cast. Doohans "Scotty" seemed to me to be a man perfectly at home in his own domain and a little adrift outside it. My own favourite "Scotty" moment from TOS comes in "The Trouble with Tribbles" he walks up to Kirk with an armfull of Tribbles "Aye! They're in the machinery!" Classic. He shows up in ST The Next Generation episode "Relics" having survived 75 years in a Transporter Pattern Buffer. The scene in the Holodeck was brilliant.
William Shatner has become much more tolerable since he stopped taking himslf so seriously He was very good in "Miss Congeniality" and "Showtime" and to hear DeNiro's tough New York cop deliver the line "You OK there TJ?" just cracked me up. The breakfast cereal advert shown here are quite good, Shatner plays it almost as a pastiche of himself.
I think the Scottish Engineer is an archetype from much further back, stemming perhaps from James Watt himself, not to mention Thomas Telford, John McAdam, John Rennie, or scientists like Kelvin and Maxwell. Certainly Kipling recognised the stereotype, and gave it prominence with "McAndrews Hymn".
I know a highly educated person who said he would do that after being diagnosed with early alzheimers, could not stand the idea that he would not have his faculties. Unfortunately the condition sneaks up on you and by the time his symptoms were obvious to everyone else(it is usually the spouse that sees the initial symptoms six months to a year before anyone else notices) he was no longer conscious of any change and "forgot" any desires to end his life as a dependent. He is now a muddled and forgetful human being that does not know that anything is wrong and is a constant source of worry to his family. Now his worst fear is being realized (without him knowing it)...his family is going to remember him as a muddled and forgetful person, not the vibrant intelligence he once was.
The rule is: Once diagnosed with alzheimers, if you truly intend to end it, pick a date not too long in the future, live largely in the way you choose... and then get it done....even then, its a crap shoot, a race between diminishing capacity and determination.
Not advocating suicide for alz patience, just information for those who thump their chest saying they will do it..... that they will commit suicide if they get it....only the most determined and courageous will actually do it...because you have to do it when your mind is still very clear....and it always appears to be another day for which it could be delayed, and then one day, you wake up and you forgot how sharp your mind once was and your determination to do it. Even if you leave yourself a reminder you will not remember how impassioned was your intent at the time you initially determined to end your life.
I don't know the stats on how many people swore they would commit suicide if they got alz, and actually did it, but based on what I have seen of several alz patients, none would have ever wanted to be what they became even in the second quarter of the symptoms but by then they had no idea of their degeneration, only a fuddled memory of what was once their life.