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August 28, 2004
one to beam up
Here are the remarks (I don't think it's quite long enough to be called a speech) that I'm delivering at Jimmy Doohan's Farewell Convention Dinner in an hour-and-a-half.
Yeah, that's right. I'm supposed to leave in 30 minutes, and I just finished them. Turns out I work well under pressure.
Or something. :)
Because of my involvement in Star Trek, I have gotten to meet some really interesting and cool people over the years: space shuttle pilots, a former vice president of the united states, men who walked on the moon . . . all of them are people who have made a huge impact on the world, and all of them are Star Trek fans. Guess who all the scientists and engineers credit with inspiring them to persue their careers?
That's right: Commander Kang.
Just kidding. Of course, it's Jimmy Doohan's "Scotty."
I can't remember if I first met Jimmy when we worked together on Next Generation, or if I had snuck onto the set of Star Trek V. I don't remember if I saw him through the eyes of the professional actor I occasionally was, or through the eyes of the drooling fanboy I always was.
I don't remember if he was in a costume or street clothes, speaking with that wonderful brogue, or without . . . but the first time I saw him, he was Scotty. And he patiently listened to me geek out at him about realigning the warp core, and how excited I was to be part of Star Trek, and to work in Engineering -- just like him. I babbled on about the mater / anti-matter intermix chamber and of course, the transporter. I imagine it wasn't anything he hadn't heard from thousands of Star Trek fans a thousand times before -- well, except for the also-working-on-Star-Trek part -- but he smiled, and listened, and when I finally calmed down enough for him to actually talk to me, Jimmy made me feel like he'd known me his entire life, and he was never just "Scotty" to me again. He was Jimmy, and he was my friend. Over the years, our paths often crossed on Star Trek cruises or whenever Paramount was celebrating yet another Star Trek milestone, and I gradualy became aware of something: the way Jimmy made me feel wasn't unique to our relationship. He truly made everyone he met feel like he was their best friend.
And I think that is why so many of us are here tonight: to honor and celebrate our friend Jimmy Doohan.
I first read that Jimmy had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's on the Internet, at TotalFark.com, and I felt like a member of my family had fallen ill -- actually, I imagine that anyone who ever spent more than a few minutes with Jimmy felt the same way -- but the news struck very close to home for me. My wife's grandmother was diagnosed in October of last year, and we've experienced the helplessness and frustration that accompanies any serious illness.
Gene Roddenberry's legacy is the positive future depicted in Star Trek -- a future free of war, prejudice, ignorance . . . and disease. People have been working to create that future since September 8, 1966.
Today, people travel into space so often, it rarely makes the front page of the paper anymore. Our cell phones look like communicators, our PDAs look like tricorders, and my brother-in-law drives a minivan that looks -- and handles -- like a shuttle craft. We're not quite there yet with ending ignorance . . . but when we do, I think war and prejudice will quickly follow.
We are *very* close to ending disease. Scientists at the University of California are working on a vaccine, and Karolinska's Alzheimer's disease research centre at the Huddinge hospital, was just established south of Stockholm in Sweden. In July, Sheldon Goldberg, president of the Alzheimer's Association, said, "A world without Alzheimer's disease ... is within our reach."
And that is also why we are here tonight. I can't think of a better way to honor and celebrate our friend Jimmy Doohan than by doing everything we can to ensure that Alzheimer's disease is cured within our lifetime.
Posted by wil at August 28, 2004 06:38 PM
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» A LOVING TRIBUTE from EyeNo's Blog
Wil Wheaton, best known as Ensign Wesley Crusher on Star Trek, shares his tribute to James Doohan (Scotty). Doohan is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and is attending his last Star Trek Convention.
Much love is evident in his words. [Read More]
Tracked on August 29, 2004 08:59 AM
» Kind Words For James Doohan from AlzHub
Thanks to actor / writer Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation) for posting the moving words he delivered last night in honor of James Doohan (Montgomery Scott (Scotty) from the original Star Trek series). Mr. Doohanâ€™s [Read More]
Tracked on August 29, 2004 05:39 PM
» Dad and Mr. Scott from My Life as a Lizard
Wil's news about James Doohan reminds me of my Dad's current condition. [Read More]
Tracked on August 30, 2004 11:30 AM
» A Fond Farewell to Scotty from James Landrith - Taking The Gloves Off
Wil Wheaton on actor James Doohan here and here:
...all these people were there because they'd been touched by Jimmy's work, or they'd been lucky enough to know him. I hope that when I am an old man, I am thought of half as fondly as Jimmy is.
... [Read More]
Tracked on August 30, 2004 11:17 PM
» http://sunnypad.com/wordpress/index.php?p=31 from sunny days, starry nights......sunnypad.com
Tracked on September 14, 2004 03:35 PM
» into the final frontier from rants and ramblings
Today brought the sad news that actor James Doohan, best known as "miracle worker" engineer Scotty on Star Trek, died this morning at the age of 85. His death was attributed to pnemonia and Alzheimer's disease. (AP: "'Star Trek' Star... [Read More]
Tracked on July 20, 2005 10:43 AM
BRAVO! (follow with silent standing ovation)
Seems appropriate to mention that he's recieving a star on the walk of fame this tuesday.
Very good. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Fond farewells to a good man.
Well said Wil,
Didn't Know about the ALtz. very sad, most of us grew up watching him. You had some actual times with him. Nice way to send him off.
Is there going to be a Walk a thon for him?
I wish I could be there to hear it live.
Once again your writing skills show us how gifted you are - I am sure "Scotty" will love it :)
This is a fantastic piece of writing. It's leaving me speechless.
Lovely Wil. I didn't know he was ill, thats so sad to hear. (it does feel like family.) I believe he lives very close to me in Washington. I hope I get an opportunity to see him here. Everyone loves Scotty and always will.
That's a beautiful tribute, Wil. Jimmy will be missed in the public eye by everyone who loved him.
I just realized Arne Starr is going to be there. If anyone reading this happens to catch up with him, please let him know that "STAR" from GEnie (capitalization intentional) says hello. I haven't seen him in years.
Oh, and while I knew Jimmy was ill, I didn't realize his star had been purchased! That's great news.
Wil, you have expressed my feelings about Star Trek in a way I have never been able to. Thank you....I am going to print this for my girls to read because they haven't yet come to appreciate Gene's dream of the future as I have...but they do know know who Scotty, Kirk, Spock & Wesley are!!
Great writing, Wil. Gave me chills. He is indeed a great man. I know that James will always be there in Star Trek as one of those who helped make great the ideals of Roddenberry's vision. As for you, you've certainly found your calling.
An incredibly classy piece, WIl.
I met Mr. Doohan years ago when I worked cons; hell of a nice guy. Here's hoping they end this plague upon humanity calld Alzheimer's.
Very sweet, Wil! Was Jimmy aware enough to appreciate the ceremony?
REALLY great speech, Wil. Please tell us how it went!
To say that I was not happy would be an understatement when I heard the news about James Doohan. He always seemed like such a great guy and it was not fair that he would now have to take that terrible road towards Alzheimers. There isn't much we can do but we can all help push for a cure with our support and our dollars. You're in our heart, Scotty.....ALWAYS!
P.S. Needless to say a lot of people would tell me, "Beam me up, Scotty." I was/am proud of that and always will be!
Nicely done Wil. I hope the dinner goes well. "Scotty" is an icon for geeks, nerds, and even engineers everwhere.
As a TFer, it does my silly little heart good to know you were reading TFARK -- and I found this little tidbit via TF.
Bravo! Very good speech. Jimmy/Scotty should be proud of everything you and the other speakers will have to say tonight.
Just like Star Trek, hopefully in the future we will have advanced stemcell research. We will have cures for ALL CANCERS, ALZEIMERS, MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY, PARKINSONS AND QUADS WILL BE ABLE TO LEAVE THERE WHEELCHAIRS AND WALK AGAIN. But with Republicans like George W. Bush, we will never have that future. And Star Trek will just be a fantasy, and nothing we can strive for.
Ronald P. Reagan said it best at the democratic convention "On November 2, vote for advanced stemcell research".
Wil, that's the spirit. Two of my grandparents are suffering with Alzheimer's. I feel not only the pain of losing someone so slowly to such a disease, but feel vaguely worried that soon, at least one of my parents will face the same fate. A celebration like this is good for someone in the beginning stages, so they could at least enjoy themselves one last time. I hope you did well.
-Fellow TFer, zeroroach
P.S. I sense a tear in Gabe and Tycho's eyes.
Good job, Wil. Very moving. I got a tear in my eye reading. One of the most eloquent things ever to be said at a Trek Convention, I'm sure.
That was a wonderful speech Wil, as I'm sure you know. Scotty was always one of my favourite Star Trek characters (next to you and Picard, of course) and I was saddened when I read about his illness. I can only imagine what it was like for you to speak to him as a fan and also a cast member, because whenever I see celebs, even if I really admire them, I don't approach them because I just don't know what to say. I figure they have heard it all before. It would be interesting to hear your take on that, as you must meet many people who tell you stuff you have heard a thousand times before. What's it like from the celebrity's point of view?
wonderful speech wil...and i know it will be well delivered...seeing my star trek heroes fade away brings my own mortality into focus...i was very young when i first visited the star trek universe...it was an optimistic view of the future that was so different from the one i saw on the evening news...but it is the view i choose to embrace...thanks, of course to people like jimmy doohan...who put a human face on gene roddenberry's dream...of all the star trek events that i could ever be present at...this one seems most special...and i envy the opportunity you have to pay tribute to a very talented actor...and a very warm and wonderful human being.
My mother once told me that if ever came down with Alzheimer's to take her to Sweden because that is where they knew how to REALLY treat it. She said she'd even conquer her fear of planes long enough to get on one "because I won't remember it anyway, but bring me back by boat, because I will remember the trip back."
It's encouraging to hear about cures for these diseases that aren't necessarily fatel, but still incredibly sad and scary. It gives me hope that we might one day find a cure for cancer (the scariest of them all because it isn't choosy about who it attacks) and aids.
Awesome speech by the way.
A very beautiful speech. I think you would do Mr. Doohan proud.
Well said indeed Wil!
My grandmother has severe Alzheimer's disease. I love her very much, but it is like she no longer exsists. It is very sad to watch her deteriorate, at such a rapid rate. I do hope that they find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease (which my father-in-law is inflicted with).
Scotty was indeed my favorite...
May he "Live Long And Prosper!"
wow, that was a wonderful speech wil.
I think most of us have someone close to them that has been affected by this disease.. ya we really need to find a cure for this soon. It takes so much more from a person than memories.. those memories represent so much more.. its like wiping the life away.. It is tragic.
You did an awesome job with the speech honoring Jimmy Doohan. I was at the convention (actually at the table next to yours) and the speech came off very sincere and heartfelt.
The speech really captured the moment of the event.
That speech was incredible.. I only wish I could have heard it as well as read it.
When people who have meant something to me die, it is always heartening to know that someone is able to deliver very deserved words in their honor. Thank You so much for sharing that with us Wil.
Great stuff here, Wil. My father is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. Your speech made me break down. But in a good way. It was nice to be reminded that there are people, like you, out there who understand. I'll be participating in Memory Walk 2004 which is the nation's premier fundraiser to help those battling Alzheimer's disease. I'll have two wristbands on this year, one for my stepfather and one for James Doohan. If you or your readers are interested, the walks are scheduled around the country from September throughout early November. Additional information can be found here: Memory Walk 2004. Once again, great speech and thanks for drawing attention to the cause.
I read about the farewell convention on Yahoo at work yesterday. It made me sad to read about Mr. Doohan's battle with Alzheimer's. The thing that made me even sadder, though, was hearing about how many cons he's done in the past and knowing that this disease is the reason why he won't be doing any more. The thought put tears in my eyes, which I had to blink away before my co-worker saw me and thought I was nuts for crying at work.
I think this speech (I'll call it a speech) was awesome. It really captured Mr. Doohan's essence and portrayed it for those of us who weren't lucky enough to have met him. I started watching Star Trek in junior high. I'd fall asleep to the 11 o'clock re-runs on channel 13 (back before UPN) and I always remember hearing "Beam me up Scotty!" right around the time I'd be between waking and dreaming. And whenever I try to fake a Scottish accent it's always Scotty's I try to impersonate.
Thanks for posting this for us. I'm glad to hear you were there and I'm happy you gave us a taste of what it was like.
BTW - I think your site is awesome and I really appreciate how honest you are in your posts. I keep posting about it in my livejournal and I think my friends are starting to get sick of me! But poo on them. :p Both of your books are currently on their way from bn.com and I can't wait to read them!
I was unable to attend (I hoped I could), but reading your remarks made me wish I could've been there to hear them myself. You REALLY DO work well under pressure.
Now I REALLY feel bad about missing this last night.
I would have really liked to have heard this, and been able to add my applause as one who has been personally inspired by the Enterprise's chief engineer.
For as well as Kirk, Spock, and Bones illustrate the individual components of men -- the passion, the soul, and the logic -- so it is that Scotty, often "down in engineering", shows the dedicated hard worker, the thinking man who never gives up. Montgomery Scott was an inspirational character to not only geeks, but to men (and women) looking to round out their own humanity.
Great speech! Hope it was well received!
You write the way I wish I could.
Very nice, heartfelt speech. I am sure even Gene would be proud.
I met Mr. Doohan when I was 12 at an autograph signing at my local comic book store. What you said about how he makes everyone feel is dead on. My sadness upon hearing that James Doohan has Alzheimers is tempered slightly by the fact that he has finally received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Honestly, I almost cried, for me, no small task. My step-grandmother was diagnosed with middle- to end-stage Alzheimer's. It is a horrible disease. Thank you for that glimmer of hope.
Live long and prosper.
thank you,you wrote it very wonderful
That was great Wil.
I live in Redmond, WA and ran into Jimmy a few months ago at a local grocery store: http://darthpedro.blogspot.com/2004/03/beam-me-up-scotty.html.
He was looking pretty old at that time, but still had that great Scotty smile. I hope you guys gave him a great farewell party.
What a wonderful tribute to such a wonderful man.
You did good Wil.
Please let us know more about the tributes he
received. I would have loved to have been there
but funds are short.
Go Wil. Go James. Go Research. Go Away, Alzheimer's.
And now, a goat for James Doohan...
Great stuff, Wil. I think everyone will know from this short speech that this is a guy who means alot to you, and to a lot of people. Very fitting indeed.
I am sure your speech will be fine. Jimmy will always be missed.
Thanks and bravo Wil!! I loved your speech and after reading it,I literally had to wipe away tears!!! I didn't know about Jimmy's battle with Alzheimer's until just now. I lost my grandfather and stepfather to this horrible disease. Thanks again for writing such a moving piece of work!!! Bravo!!
Nice job Wil.
Please blog the Farewell Convention! Would love to hear about it.
Like may others, my Grandfather is suffering from Alzheimers. It's such a cruel and inhumane disease. Robbing once vibrant and very intelligent loved ones of their dignity.
I never had the priveledge to meet Jimmy Doohan, but I get the impression that he has a gentle soul.
Cheers to Jimmy!
Scotty will be remembered!
vice president of the united states
I hope you mean to capitilize this..
I hadn't heard the news before today.
The speech is beautiful, Wil.
May god be with Jimmy D. (Scotty) as well as you my dear friend. It is the the passing of an era.
My heart goes out to Jimmy D. and all his family and friends.
I did not know that Jimmy was ill. When i think of him it's as a boy who bribed his sitter to let him stay up to watch Star Trek almost 40 years ago. The endless parade of Scotty imitations shows how beloved the character is.
Thank you for being able to speak for us.
James Doohan was the first "Star Trek" actor I ever saw in person. It was April 5, 1989 and he presented "Star Trekking with Scotty" at Odessa College. He was so cool in his presentation. This was between "Star Trek II" and Star Trek III" and the big question on everyone's mind was "Will they bring back Spock?" James gave us a hint saying, "I can't tell you anything about the plot, but I can tell you that one of the security guards asked my 'Why is Leonard Nimoy directing with his ears on?' He followed his talk by showing "The Trouble with Tribbles" while he signed autographs in the foyer. And he said "For those you have to watch the entire episode because you've only seen it 100 times, I will sign autographs afterwards as well. He stayed there until every one of us had a chance to get his autograph. He signed both the program and a baseball-shirt for me. (The baseball-shirt says "Beam me up Scotty") He was even willing to use a "special" pen for me that wrote silver with red highlights to match the color of the shirt. He is my favorite original series actor. I was so sad to hear he has Alzheimer's... I have an Aunt who has a similar disease (The doctors tell us it isn't Alzheimer's but the symptoms are the same.)
I wish I could have been there "to honor and celebrate our friend"...
Wow, how awesome...I wish I could write my speeches even with just half your talent (trust me, I suck :P)..hope it went wonderfully! ...-Nic
Wil, a bit of your speech made it to the Seattle Times.
Ya know, Wil...that was outstanding. Especialy the part where you talk about how he feels like such a part of your family. I'd have to say that as a major fan of Star Trek, he probably feels alot like family to people everywhere. I just wish I had the chance to know the man behind the character as well as you do. Many times did I feel excited when, even after the classic series had ended, even aside from the movies, when someone from the beginning...the real history behind Star Trek...like James Doohan...made an appearance on TNG. He realy had the power to make you feel what Scotty was feeling, especialy in that one particular episode where he was on the holodeck recreation of the original constitution class Enterprise. Moments like that make you realize just how good an actor truly is when they can touch your heart like that. So my best wishes go out to "Jimmy" and his family, and to you Wil, for keeping it real with us here on your blog.
Wil Wheaton, you have an unprecedented way with words. I wish the best of luck to Jimmy, as a fellow Canuck.
Wow. Beautiful comments. I love your description of how you met, and how he comes across to you. He sounds like a pretty cool guy.
Appreciate your comments about the disease. My grandmother died last year after a long battle with it.
Beautiful words Wil. And a heartfelt God bless to Mr. Doohan.
Well done, Wil!
A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Mr Doohan. He was doing a meet-and-greet that my mother had organized, and she and I spent about an hour in his hotel room with he and his wife. We drank coffee and listened to him tell stories about the war and Star Trek and his childhood. It's horrible to think that all of those memories may be lost. He was witty and kind, and though we were strangers, he treated us as friends. I feel honoured to have made his aquaintence.
Wonderful sentiment, Wil. The LA Times ran an article today about it, but neglected to mention anyone attending other than those in costume.
Stupid LA Times!!!
It's so sad to hear about such wonderful beings being crippled by this horrible illness.
Good on ya Wil! Supporting such a great friend is wonderful.
Give him a handshake for me!
Tell him he'll be missed.
Thanks for posting your comments for the tribute. I always liked "Scotty" alot and never as much as scene(in Star Trek IV ? the one with the whales.) in which he tries to use the mouse to talk to the computer..."Hello Computer." I still giggle at that one. I help people to use computers, its part of my job, and I can't tell you just how many people think that they can talk to the computer. But I digress. I will be keeping James Doohan and family in my thoughts and prayers.
All I can say is "WOW", I got goose bumps reading, great work for a well deserving human. I am sad to see him leave public life but he has earned it along with our respect (we can only hope that Mr.. Doohan will grace up with visits from time to time. Again Great work and say hello and farewell from us all.
Sucks that Mr. Doohan has the alzhiemer's. Very sad. Always great to hear that some of these people are awesome individuals.
My grandpa has Alzheimer's and it really sucks. I'm sorry about Jimmy, send him my love.
So wonderful to read your remarks Wil. When I was a college actor, I hoped to be half the actor James Doohan is. Since, I've revised that to try to be half the good person he is. You said it for so many of us.
Wow. I'm always amazed when I read or hear tributes that just so perfectly capture the feelings someone has for another. Beautifully written.
I heard from my friend Jackie Bundy that you spoke at James Doohan's farewell tribute. We wish we could have been there with Jackie and our other friends on the USS Angeles.
You are truly a man of class and humor. Shame we didn't even get to meet. Someday, I hope, the next time you ever hit Dallas. (We just moved there from the South Bay).
Will, I raise a glass of tranya to you. Keep on rockin' in the free world.
why plug TF? do you need the ad revenue? wasn't just "the internet" enough?
shame on you.
That should be "gradually"
Thanx for the speech dude.
Thanks for posting that for us all to read. I feel fortunate that my daughter and I got to meet him (along with Nichelle and George) at a convention in my hometown about 8 years ago or so. We both followed the news stories on him about this farewell convention. Heck I just saw him on a ST episode today! He infused our lives as much as any of the ST actors, and he's well loved.
Hey thanks for keeping your blog. We all enjoy it. I stop by from time to time to catch up on your news. Best to you and your family.
Open Letter to Mr. Doohan (I've never been lucky enough to meet the man):
It is a very long list of admirers, so I'll be brief--STAR TREK was one of the three things that got me interested in SF and in writing, and "Scotty" always seemed to have enough character to warrant his own name in the opening credits. He was a multi-faceted character that seemed to grow beyond the stereotypical Scottish Engineer as a man who was devoted to his captain and his ship (not necessarily in that order) and the fact that he, like many modern engineers, padded his estimates to look like a miracle worker. (Note--I thought ST V made him look like a dope for hitting his head on a bulkhead, and have only recently forgiven them.)
Mr. Doohan, you were the inspiration for many IT professionals, who carry on Scotty's legacy as miracle workers. It isn't the Engineering Bay...but it'll do just fine. :) Thanks for everything, Scotty. We're all pulling for you.
Hi. Just stopping buy to say high! I am new to the internet and I have been surfing all night. I really enjoy your website. :)
Hi Meridith (Star). I know its been about 5 months but maybe you'll get my "wave" here. :) I did try to get over to see Wil at the con, but some things never change and once the lights went up after the banquet, he was immediately surrounded by females..:) I figured I'd give him a chance to slim the crowd down, so I stopped over at Garrett Wang's table to yank his now longer hair, and he could also yank my now longer hair, but I shmoozed too long, and Wil vanished out the door just minutes later. I'm now a west coaster, so I'll bump into him sooner or later..:) Happy New Year.
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