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« one to beam up | Main | trek nation »

August 30, 2004

farewell, mister scott

When I drive from Pasadena, I can get to Hollywood three different ways: 1) down the 2 and through Echo Park to the 101, 2) down the 2 and through Silver Lake to Beverly, 3) out the 134, over Barham, and down the 101 to Highland.

Of course, when I take the Metro, it's significantly easier: park at Del Mar Station, relax, and change trains once at Union Station . . . but since I was running late, I chose to drive route 3.

As I headed over the Cahuenga pass, I noticed a greater-than-usual number of busses with "SHUTTLE" or "HOLLYWOOD BOWL" or "PARKING LOT x" on them. I was so focused on getting to Jimmy's Dinner, though, even if one of them had said, "HEY, WIL! THERE'S A CONCERT AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL, SO YOU SHOULD STAY ON THE FREEWAY UNTIL GOWER" I probably wouldn't have noticed.

Luckily, some little voice in the back of my head said, "Excuse me, Wil? There's a lot of traffic up there. You'd better go down to Gower to avoid it." And I listened. If I'd gone straight, I would have been stuck in at least 45 minutes of crap, but I made it to Hollywood and Highland in under 5 minutes, without resorting to creative driving. Yes, I was very proud of myself.

I pulled into the Valet line at 7:50, and began to panic. I was supposed to arrive at 8, and I was going to have to run through the hotel as it was . . . so when the valet told me that I had to park in a far-away garage, I freaked.

"Dude! I have to speak in ten minutes, and I'm totally late, and you HAVE to park my car! PLEASE!"

"Well, I don't know if --"

"I'm begging you, man!"

I waved a fiver at him, and he capitulated. I must admit, I felt like Mini Henry Hill for a second.

I walked into the cavernous lobby of the Hollywood Renaissance hotel, and looked for signs that would direct me to Jimmy's Farewell Dinner. Finding none, I called a friend of mine who was already at the dinner, and asked him where it was. "On the fifth floor," he said.

"Oh, that should be easy. I'll just get into the elevator and . . . "

I'm not going to tell you how I got lost, because it's incredibly embarassing, so let's just fast forward about fifteen minutes, okay?

I walked into the ballroom, and marveled at the crowd: over 600 people filled the enormous room, and it took me several minutes to find my friend Harry. I had also misunderstood the schedule: I wasn't on until around 9:15, so I had time to eat some dinner and visit with a few people.

Just before 9, the lights went down, and a woman got up to play an incredibly beautiful Star Trek suite on the oboe. Then Marc Lee took the stage, and started the show. The mood was not as somber as I thought it would be, and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt when Walter Koenig took over the hosting duties, and told stories about Jimmy and himself. I've heard for years about how funny Walter is, and I know both of his kids, who are incredily funny people . . . but I'd never actually seen Walter in action. Goddamn, man, he's hilarious.

I got major butterflies when Walter called me up. I was only cast member from The Next Generation in attendance, and I wanted to represent my cast honorably.

My remarks went well. I had the audience on my side the entire time I spoke, and when I was done, I was so relieved that I didn't suck . . . I walked right back to the wrong table. Of course, everyone was still watching me, so I got a bonus (and unintentional) laugh. Nice.

Nichelle spoke after me, and she was fantastic. She looked very beautiful and . . . well, imagine that Storm from XMEN (the comic, not the movie) was in her 60s. That's how she looked. Her remarks were brilliant, and when she introduced Neil Armstrong . . . holy crap, man. The whole ballroom exploded! He gave a great speech, where he said that none of the rockets he rode were as advanced as the Enterprise, because they couldn't even get out of the solar system. Like everyone else there, he'd been inspired by Jimmy's work on Star Trek, and he thanked him for being Scotty.

And that was really the theme for the entire evening: 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.

Over the years, I've had a few moments when I've been able to "touch" how influential Star Trek is, but nothing has ever been like this night. I'm honored that I got to be a part of both.

Posted by wil at August 30, 2004 02:09 PM
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference farewell, mister scott:

» A Fond Farewell to Scotty from James Landrith - Taking The Gloves Off
Wil Wheaton on the passing of actor James Doohan: ...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 11:01 PM

» Beam Me Up, Scotty from Tampa Sci Fi
Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) has a weblog. He was recently in attendance at James Doohan's farewell convention and shares his thoughts on the man and his legacy. WIL WHEATON DOT NET: farewell, mister scott [Read More]

Tracked on August 31, 2004 05:25 AM

» Goodbye Scotty from TheGiant.US
If I had to choose one person that I looked up to as a child, that would be Scotty as a character, who was played by James Doohan as an acter. He was recently Diagnosed with Alzheimer's (I think that's how it's spelled). They had a farewell dinner f... [Read More]

Tracked on September 1, 2004 10:13 AM

» Poignant Farewell To A Star Trek Actor... from The Moderate Voice
....from another Star Trek actor (who is a fine writer). The writer/correspondent/actor: Next Generation's Wil Wheaton (who also starred in "Stand By Me") who played Wesley Crusher. The scene: a special farewell to actor James Doohan, who made his final [Read More]

Tracked on September 3, 2004 04:40 AM

» The Influence of Engineers from CaptainNormal.org
Living in Los Angeles and then New York for the past 20 years, every now and then I get to see a celebrity---y'know, an honest-to-gosh famous person. Most of the time it's someone you pass on the street who makes [Read More]

Tracked on September 8, 2004 02:48 PM
Comments

That's just lovely, Wil. I'm glad that you made it with pleanty of time to spare. Too bad you had to go through the panic in the first place. Congrats on a job well done!

PS: I'm assuming James wasn't there, was he?

Posted by: Angelwwolf at August 30, 2004 02:22 PM

Jimmy *was* there. He'd arrived a few minutes before I did, and he was being mobbed -- by his fellow cast members!

Posted by: wil at August 30, 2004 02:37 PM

Well goddamn.

That was beautiful Wil. Don't ever stop writing.

Posted by: Animeraider at August 30, 2004 02:38 PM

I caught news of this on the "news" and can only hope to be as spry as Jimmy at 50 as he is today.

Well done in your part of the tribute, too - you've done you and yours proud.

Posted by: Randy at August 30, 2004 02:45 PM

Very nicely done. You couldn't go wrong with the remarks you wrote up on Saturday.

BTW, did you wear The Shirt?

Posted by: brian at August 30, 2004 02:54 PM

Oh man! How did I miss this. I totally wanted to go and it completely slipped my mind. Curses.

I'm sure you were great. Glad to hear it went well.

Posted by: 5000! at August 30, 2004 02:55 PM

Wow -- to be in the same room as Neil Armstrong -- to be where fiction and reality have found a common ground, and it is one of achievement and optimism -- words are just so inadequate! I am so glad -- so glad -- that Mr. Doohan was honored in this manner, for it acknowledges all of us who believe that there is still hope in, and for, and BECAUSE of the future. I feel you were my representative for the evening too, Wil. Thank you, thank you.

Posted by: Eva at August 30, 2004 02:58 PM

As usual your writing makes me feel like I was there.

Posted by: Veronica at August 30, 2004 02:59 PM

Thank you for posting this, Wil.

-A Trek fan of long standing.

Posted by: medancer at August 30, 2004 03:04 PM

Thank you, You brought a tear to my eye with that one.

Posted by: Nuala at August 30, 2004 03:21 PM

Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us, Wil.

I saw the original series when I was younger than you on TNG. I will deeply miss knowing James Doohan is at conventions reliving those years.

But it's wonderful knowing that he was so honored while he's still with us.

Posted by: ShelaghC at August 30, 2004 03:23 PM

I met James Doohan at a Costco in Kirkland, Washington when I was 14 years old.

I'd had a crowd around me because I was doing tricks with a hacky sack while my mom waited for photos. James Doohan snuck up behind me and said something I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

The hackysack was on my back and I was leaning forwards, desperate to keep it from rolling off the side of my neck too early, and he said
"Well done kid, but what are you going to do with it now?"

I rolled it off my neck, and set it on my foot, from my foot to my teeth, flipped it from my teeth to the top of my head, then headed it straight up, and caught it in my shirt pocket.

I'd been trying to do that trick successfully from the age of 12, and that is still, to this day, the only time in my life I was successful.

The crowd (which now included James and I can only assume his wife) then applauded me. He shook my hand, smiled at me, then continued to wheel his cart out of the front exit.

It was by far the single most surreal and beautiful moment of my life. I've had happier moments, like when my wife said "I do". I've had more momentous occasions, like catching the winning pass in the little league game, and carried around on my peer's shoulders; but I've never really been around anyone since then with the kind of presence and attitude that just inspires that kind of hope. And to me, that's beautiful.

I think it's great that he's taking time off from being an icon for himself and his family, and I wish him the best.

I know what you mean though Wil, in that moment he stopped being Scotty, and he just became James. That wonderful guy who lives up on Queen Anne.

Posted by: Matt T at August 30, 2004 03:28 PM

Wil, I was having a somewhat crappy day (not hard for me to do lately it seems) then I read this post. As another person commented "thank you for making me feel like I was there".

You are a helluva writer and I am appreciative that your sharing with us.

The Keeme

Posted by: KEEME at August 30, 2004 03:49 PM

Wil, thanks from the bottom of my heart...It's a rarity when someone can be honored in this manner while still alive. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate this post and your recollections and impressions of that night. We hope that Mr. Doohan sees many more days of health as he spends more time with family and friends.

I'm a looong time Trek fan...I can recall vividly the very first airing of STOS in 1966...

Posted by: Epitath at August 30, 2004 03:49 PM

The Cahuenga exit works pretty well, without having to go all the way down to Gower... For future reference. [I work in Burbank and live in the 'wood, so I end up caught in that Bowl traffic pretty regularly during the summer season...]

Posted by: ChuckEye at August 30, 2004 03:57 PM

There's a bunch of photos from the event on Yahoo. Wil didn't rate a photo and, for some reason, the first 25 are from the event and the next 40 are from various Star Trek movies. Hmmm...

Posted by: ttrentham at August 30, 2004 04:16 PM

Am I the only one reading who thinks the valet should have recognized Wil immediately and offered to park his car? C'mon, he was a celebrity guest! Even if the valet was living under a rock until six hours before getting the job, wouldn't the hotel have shown pictures of the expected guests so they could know whom to look for?

Also, I saw Deep Core on TV again; once again I was impressed; once again I'm too shy to send Wil my comments directly.

Posted by: Meredith at August 30, 2004 05:12 PM

"I hope that when I am an old man, I am thought of half as fondly as Jimmy is."

Dude, You are som very respected. Especially in your old age ;)

Seriously though, Hearing about these events and your participation in them makes me feel happy for you. There was a SciFi event here in Toronto on the weekend and Levar was here and Patrick was supposed to be but he was recovering from surgery and was unable to attend.
I happened to walk past the convention center on Friday just as the con was getting into the Friday rush and I have to tell you, I can really see why some of these people would freak you out at a con.
Hard Core.

Anyway, kind of a tangent there. Gald to have you back from your well deserved vacation. You were missed.

Time for some good poker stories.

Posted by: Chris at August 30, 2004 05:30 PM

Thanks for sharing this story with us Wil.
I think it proves how special you are that you
were chosen to speak about Jimmy. I can't think of
anyone better to represent The Next Generation Cast.

Posted by: ColleenS at August 30, 2004 05:47 PM

Sounds unreal! I really think you need one of those GPS things that tell you when traffic is banked up dude, you've really been unlucky lately. haha

Posted by: Mitch at August 30, 2004 05:58 PM

A long time ago my Dad was watching TV. It was November 10, 1967. My Mom came into the TV room and said, "It's TIME". My Dad protested that Star Trek was on and couldn't it wait? He never did see that last part of that episode.

Star Trek has been a part of my life since the day I was born. I have loved and adored every series and all the cast members. I have only had the opportunity to meet you, Wil. And I will treasure that short encounter at your book signing.

I am glad you made it in time and your tribute went well. I am sorry I am not able to attend. Scotty is truly one of the most loved characters from the Star Trek family. Thank you so much for sharing.

-gil

Posted by: Gilbert at August 30, 2004 06:10 PM

As always, a great post.
I have to wonder how it feels to be Mr. Doohan. I mean, it's sort of like when they give the Oscar to an older actor, as if to anticipate the inevtiable.
"The good news, Jimmy, is that you get to be here to join in the celebration...
... the bad news is: we're afraid we can't wait another year."
I am happy, though, that he gets to enjoy it.
My father's health is degenerating and I see him losing some of his cognitive skills every day.
I'm so glad we celebrated every Father's Day, birthday, and anniversary.
Our own fancy little farewell dinners.
I only hope we have another farewell dinner, next year.
And the year after.

Posted by: Mister Lizard at August 30, 2004 06:13 PM

Wil,

The link to "Jimmy's Farewell Dinner" said that
Geordi and Worf would also be at the banquet. Did you see them there?

Freeman :)

Posted by: Freeman in Louisiana at August 30, 2004 06:21 PM

/me is sad. I had no idea my fellow Canadian, the kindly Mr. Doohan was ill. thank you Wil for posting the words you spoke. thoughtful.

But one thing, I believe the Universe is conspiring to give you the wrong deadline. An early deadline. So you'll be there on time. :)

Posted by: anc at August 30, 2004 06:25 PM

Wil, thank you for sharing with us your thoughts and feelings about the dinner. Glad to hear that your speech went well. As always, your writing allows us to vicariously experience events such as this. :^) I think I would have fainted if I saw Neil Armstrong in person. ;^)

P.S.
Will you be attending the unveiling of Jimmy's star tomorrow?

Posted by: clara at August 30, 2004 07:02 PM

Wil, I agree with the other commenters, please don't stop writing! I've had a secret crush on Scotty since I was five years old, and I'm very sad to hear about his illness. But how many people get to say goodbye so graciously. I'm sure he feels appreciated. Are you going to be there when he gets his star on the walk of fame?

Please keep the postings coming...what I appreciate the most about your writing is your honesty. How many stars would admit that they walked back to the wrong table, or got lost?

Did Jimmy say a few words at the end of the evening?


Posted by: Linda at August 30, 2004 07:06 PM

Thank you for making me learn the word capitulated on dictionary.com.

Posted by: Kevin0323 at August 30, 2004 07:50 PM

Bravo and well done Wil. There's thousands of us that wish we could have been in your shoes to tell Jimmy how much we adored him and you said it well for all of us.

Posted by: Mike at August 30, 2004 08:26 PM

I'm glad you represented the next Gen. family, and did a great job of it. I hope your fellow cast members appreciate you, and how you represnted them in such a classy way.

I meant Mr Doohan, when i was working at Seattle Tacoma International airport (security). He was a great guy, and very classy. And not the typical hollier then thouw celeb, but like your next door neighbor, or your favorite uncle.

In closeing, you were not just represent the next gen cast, but all of us, that visit your web site daily.

Thanks Wil for being you.

Posted by: Terry at August 30, 2004 08:27 PM

Once again you have brought your experiences to life for us.. thank you! I cannot believe that Neil Armstrong was there.. that is so cool.
It is a shame none of the other Next Gen cast were able to be there but I am sure you did a wonderful job representing them. At least it sounds like you did.

Now I am going to second clara's question.... ARE you going to be at that unveiling of Jimmy's star tommorow?

Posted by: neph at August 30, 2004 08:38 PM

Wow, sounds like an awesome night! Wish I could have gone, but... ya know... living in Michigan, blah blah blah... Glad you had fun! :o)

Posted by: Kimberly at August 30, 2004 08:40 PM

"Don't ever stop writing, Gordie. You're going to make it big some day." Heh. :)

Glad you made it with time to spare!
*Melinda*

Posted by: *Melinda* at August 30, 2004 09:42 PM

I *was* invited to attend the ceremony tomorrow, by none other than Chris Doohan (after I spoke. He came all the way over to my table, and told me how moved he was, and thanked me on behalf of his entire family -- Chris is a class act) but I have to work tomorrow, and I have a family commitment in the morning. I'm hoping I can move some things around so I can get down there, but it seems unlikely.

Posted by: wil at August 30, 2004 10:02 PM

Here's what the L.A. Times had to say. OK, Wil?

'Scotty' of 'Star Trek' Bids Fans a Fond Farewell

James Doohan, diagnosed as having Alzheimer's, retires from public life.

By Richard Fausset, Times Staff Writer

For a brief moment, the denizens of this peculiar universe stood united: the valiant Starfleet commanders, the fierce Romulan warriors, the pimply speculators in the action figure market.

They gathered Sunday in a ballroom at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel to say farewell to James Doohan, 84, who played Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on the original "Star Trek" TV series.

With the recent onset of Alzheimer's disease, Doohan, a former regular on the Trekkie convention circuit, decided to make one final appearance for fans before retiring from public life.

The "Star Trek" faithful paid up to $995 to take part in a two-day tribute and convention, "Beam Me Up, Scotty … One Last Time," which culminated Sunday with the actor, in a wheelchair, flanked by his fellow space travelers, blowing kisses to a standing-room-only crowd.

"He wanted to say goodbye to his fans," said Dave Mendel, of Berryville, Va., who said he spent much of the weekend near Hollywood and Highland dressed in full Klingon battle armor — including sand-crab forehead and spiked shoulder pads. "How could you not show up for that?"

Mendel, a 6-foot-4 truck driver who also goes by the Klingon name "qarjagh," fit in among his fellow fans, some of whom packed fake phaser guns in homemade utility belts. There were Scotty impersonation contests, Scotty trivia and a panel discussion titled "The Influence of Scotty on Society."

The New York-based Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation set up a booth, passing out information about the degenerative brain disease, and astronaut Neil Armstrong stopped by for an honorary banquet.

Doohan, who also has Parkinson's disease and diabetes, mingled with fans and spoke haltingly at a news conference, but his family members had to elaborate on his bond with "Star Trek" and its loyal followers.

Fans plan to flock Tuesday to Hollywood Boulevard, where Doohan's star will be unveiled on the Walk of Fame.

"We're just very proud to honor Dad with this star," his son, Chris Doohan, said. "A lot of 'Star Trek' fans helped us out with this."

It was, of course, William Shatner's Capt. James T. Kirk who was the star of the first "Star Trek" series, which ran on NBC from 1966 to 1969. But many Trekkies still find Shatner to be irredeemably nguq — Klingon for "arrogant" — after he dissed Trek culture in a 1987 "Saturday Night Live" skit.

Fans love Doohan for being so approachable. Some of the hundreds who made the trip for the chance to see him one last time said they paid the admission because over the years, the man they knew as Scotty always took the time to talk to them, sign autographs and chat about alternate universes, obscure plot points and spaceship specs.

"He's probably the nicest man I've had the pleasure of meeting in Hollywood," said Jim Pawlowski, a rebuilder of airplanes from the Ojai Valley.

They were equally fond of his character, the chief engineer of the starship Enterprise, the guy always ready to bail out Kirk and start the engines early.

After all, it was Scotty who fielded that famous request — "Beam me up" — which entered the pop lexicon as a geek-chic update on the hippie maxim "Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out."

The role came to Doohan after two decades in radio, television and theater. Before fighting mock battles in space, he had been a captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery, losing a finger and injuring his leg and hand as he led troops into battle on D-Day.

Although Doohan, whose ancestry is mostly Irish, became best known for the character whose Scottish brogue was a product of acting rather than lineage, the association never bothered him.

"Many actors get upset when they are typecast, but that didn't concern him, because he was typecast as Scotty," said Chris Doohan. "It's been his bread and butter."

Posted by: Scott T at August 30, 2004 10:08 PM

Wow, Scott--thanks for posting that :)

Wil, your remarks were awesome and I wish I had been there to see them. Like everybody else has said, I felt like I was right there. Thanks for that. Am I the only one who is now super curious as to how you got lost in the hotel??

Keep up the good work Wil. You rock. :)

Posted by: Erin at August 30, 2004 10:46 PM

Tears two days straight. Thanks, Wil.

Posted by: Richie at August 30, 2004 10:59 PM

Thanks for the first hand report, Wil. It's really great to hear your view of the event.

Jimmy always had time for a photo or an autograph for a fan. It was always an honor to see him but he always made *you* feel like the special person.

Hmm, Wil, I just noticed that the Seattle Times story has you down as an engineer on TNG.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/artsentertainment/2002019936_scotty30.html

Posted by: loretta652 at August 30, 2004 11:03 PM

wil said: "…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."

I’ve got a feeling that won’t be a problem for you Wil, especially if you keep that sense of humility about you.

Posted by: James Landrith at August 30, 2004 11:04 PM

Yep, I'm curious to hear about how you got lost in the hotel too :) Come on, share!

Posted by: Sarah at August 31, 2004 12:11 AM

Great Read

Posted by: griff at August 31, 2004 12:32 AM

I've never been a serious Star Trek Fan. I've watched a few of the episodes to keep up my geek quota and that's about it. What's always impressed me, far beyond anything the episodes themselves could do, is the stories that the fans relate about the cast... especially Scotty.

I would also really reccomend everyone read the NY Times article today about the Sun Setting on Trek. It can be found at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/31/arts/television/31trek.html?pagewanted=1&th

My best wishes to you all.

Posted by: DrGrizzley at August 31, 2004 08:00 AM

My father is a genuine trekkie. He has and gets everything that has to do with the original show or the other shows, so I grew up watching the original star trek series and of course I started watching the next generation because of you wil. I did have a major crush on you back then. hee hee hee hee. What a wonderful way to remember the actor who played "scotty". so in honor of him all I can say is. "BEAM ME UP SCOTTY!"

Morgan

Posted by: Morgan at August 31, 2004 08:47 AM

Good thing you weren't late....that's a huge sign of disrespect. Your time is more important than whatever everyone else is doing.

Posted by: Misty at August 31, 2004 09:43 AM

Oops, that came out bitchier than I intended. I meant "your" in the general sense, not as in you personally, Wil.

Posted by: Misty at August 31, 2004 09:44 AM

Wil,

I think it is a fantasy of every sci-fi geek to somehow be a part of Star Trek -- to think, what would be like to be a part of that large family? It is a fantasy akin to wondering what it would be like to be a rock star on a stadium tour, or be a famous baseball star and crack one out of the park, or something like that.

What is awesome about your books, your stories, and posts to your website like "farewell, mister scott," is that for a brief moment, all us geeks ARE a part of Star Trek and a part of that family, but through your eyes. That is very cool.

In fact, what makes it cooler than that is that you are both a geek like the rest of us and Star Trek star at the same time. So, reading about the emotions and feelings you have when you are in one of those moments really is like what one of us might feel. For a geek like me, that is especially cool.

Anyway, with all that said, I think what I really wanted to say was thanks.

Posted by: Hunahpu at August 31, 2004 09:56 AM

Wil,

Very nice, made me cry again! I wish I could have been there.

I hope it was not lost on you that you were the only Next Generation member there, and asked to speak no less! I hope you gave the 'voice of self doubt' a good kick in the nuts?!?!

Michelle

Posted by: Sharfa at August 31, 2004 10:34 AM

Wow. I read your speech for the dinner and I was so moved. Really great words and so true.

I just wanted to post a couple of links you might be interested in. Sunday was the Peace March in NYC and I took some pictures. Over 400,000 people marched past Madison Square Gardens where the Republican National convention was held in protest against the Bush Administration. I posted my pictures on my own blog.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/pandora1/225740.html

Also, a member of the Trekkies Live Journal Community wrote an entry about you and Wesley Crusher. I thought you would be interested to read what he and other members thought. :-)

http://www.livejournal.com/community/trekkies/142002.html

Just thought you might be interested. You are an inspiration to a lot of people.

Posted by: Jessica at August 31, 2004 10:43 AM

I'm curious why no other Next Generation cast members were there?

Were they all invited? Just some? Was there a reason none were there?

I would think at least LeVar Burton would be there since they worked together the most on the Next Gen episode Doohan did.

Regardless, you done good, Wheaton. You done good.

Posted by: Fred Buntz at August 31, 2004 10:48 AM

Great entry Will. I was wondering, are there any transcripts from the night? I'd love to read what Koenig had to say.

Posted by: nlscb at August 31, 2004 11:07 AM

I so wish I could have attended this function. Scotty was my favorite character in any of the Star Trek series. I am an engineer, and my name is Scott, and there is no doubt in my mind that I became one in part because of being inspired by Mr Scott on Star Trek. For years I've had a daydream of meeting Mr Doohan, shaking his hand, and introducing myself as engineer Scott. I even have friends who know about my trekkieness and call me engineer Scotty.

My favorite Mr Scott story is very personal. I was having a lousy day at work, and things were not going my way. I was working on site, doing a review of an old water treatment plant in preparation for designing an upgrade. I found an old set of engineering drawings of the plant from the 1950s, which in Canada always have the stamp of the designing engineer on them. The drawings I found had a stamp from an engineer with the name of J. Doohan, I swear to God. My partner on site found me laughing and taking pictures of the engineer stamp on the old drawings. I remembered why I had got into this racket to begin with, which had a lot to do with Star Trek, and I had a dard good day after that.

Thanks Mr Doohan, and thanks Wil.

Posted by: Scott F at August 31, 2004 11:44 AM

You know we love you Wil, but...man, you gotta start getting out of the house a few minutes earlier for these appointments! ;-)

Posted by: Tukla at August 31, 2004 11:48 AM

Hey, I just found your site through SFI. I don't know why it took so long. You said if someone linked to you to drop you a line. So I did(although I botched the link, see: http://www.livejournal.com/users/silentounce/157159.html ). That was a great speech that you gave. It seems like you are the same kind of man that Mr. Doohan is, so don't worry. I hope that makes this comment related to the post. Also, I read about your gmail for the troops idea and it's nice to see more support for the military. I'm a Marine stationed in San Diego and I just want you to know that we appreciate everything the public does to support us. As a matter of fact I have some gmail invites myself that I've sent to friends in the Corps. So, right on, brother.

Semper Fi
LCpl P

Posted by: Silentounce at August 31, 2004 12:10 PM

I didn't know Mr. Doohan was doing so poorly. That makes me sad, but the turnout for his farewell makes my heart glad. I'm glad you shared.

Neil Armstrong. When I ran into you, I said, "You and I share the same birthday", hoping you'd be impressed. You said "You know who else shares our birthday? Neil Armstrong." I knew then, that he was important to you. So, I'm curious, did you get to talk to him? If so, I hope you didn't use the same opening line I did! :D

Posted by: Laura at August 31, 2004 12:36 PM

hey sorry to hear that.. oh just to let u know seen u on sceen savers last night 7pm est .. on the segmnt on space stuff ..it was so cool about it people at work were talking about it .. later

Posted by: lynn at August 31, 2004 12:59 PM

Thanks for that Wil. It brightened my day.

Posted by: Masked Mofo at August 31, 2004 03:49 PM

will,

i seriously think you should get some sponsership from http://www.kleenex.com/home.htm on your website. either i get teary eyed from sentimental posts like this or cry from laughter from some of your posts..... i'm glad you had the opportunity to go and be a apart of this gathering... and you were the only one to represent TNG? AWESOME!!!!

ANY WORD ON HOW PATRICK IS DOING???

good job
cheers
crystal

Posted by: crystal s at August 31, 2004 04:03 PM

Well, living in Toronto I don't think I will get the opportunity to meet Jimmy Doohan, but reading Wil's post makes me feel a bit closer to him. I was at SFX in Toronto over the weekend. George Takei, Michael Dorn and LeVar Burton were amongst the guests, as well as Aron Isenberg and Cirroc Lofton, to name a few. Anyway, LeVar and Michael were last minute replacements for Patrick Stewart (as someone already mentioned had heart surgery).

If you ever get the chance to see George Takei I highly recommend it. What a gentleman. What a voice. He was flying out on the red eye from Toronto on Saturday night to attend the Jimmy Doohan event on Sunday. When I heard him speak he was entertaining us with stories of Jimmy.

Posted by: kat at August 31, 2004 04:11 PM

It sounds like it was a beautiful evening... and I know you represented your part to the full extent.

Posted by: Laura at August 31, 2004 04:41 PM

Amazing writing... You did more then bring a smile to my face, you made me feel as if I were sitting in the room watching and participating. Truely an inspiration.

Posted by: Lyn at August 31, 2004 04:47 PM

WOW, wil, how can some one send you a message or email, I need to send you some info.

I posted 2 PM's on Paracosm and it is just setting in the outbox.

Posted by: Doc Cowles at August 31, 2004 04:52 PM

...

Darn. It's kinda a bummer that he's retiring. I had big plans for his character. I suppose I could still use the character, but since the story is going to be a movie and a HUGE BLOCKBUSTER HIT!! *blink blink* I don't suppose it would be possible.

I'm not a huge fan of the original series. ... Yeah .... I can't stand it actually. It's a bit too corny for me, but I DID absolutely love Scotty. And I loved what they did with his character in the Next Generation. He'll definitely be missed.

Posted by: Veronica Knight at August 31, 2004 05:35 PM

That was a really great story Wil. Your comments about Mr. Doohan were very kind. I grew up watching all incarnations of Star Trek and absolutely loved the character of Mr. Scott. One of my favorite moments with him was actually in Star Trek IV,(with the whales) when he sat down to use the computer in 20th Centurey San Francisco and he kept saying "computer...computer.." over and over and nothing happened. Then Captain Kirk explained they weren't as advanced as in their time, to which Scotty quipped "how quaint" and proceeded to type at warp speed. A classic moment as fan for me. I was sad to hear Mr. Doohan now has Alzheimers. He has a wonderful life, and he is very beloved. Today I believe was the day he was getting his Star on the Walk of Fame, which is long overdue. Thanks again Wil for sharing as always!

Posted by: Jason at August 31, 2004 07:18 PM

How awesome it must have been to be there! Mr. Doohan will be sorely missed. God Bless him. Good Job with your speech Will!

Posted by: Jessica Manus at August 31, 2004 08:04 PM

Wil, your comments were great.

I guess I too am one of those engineers inspired in part by Scotty.

Strangely enough, there was an article recently about what could arguably be called "transparent aluminum" even though it's really just alumina glass. Just one more bit of Star Trek and Scotty inspired creativity in the real world.

Posted by: Astrosmith at August 31, 2004 08:46 PM

Wil, (this is from your Mom). You know I rarely comment.I loved your tribute to Jimmy and want to share one of the many memories I hold dear. I got to know Jimmy during the STTNG years, most specifically on the all those cruises. Jimmy is such a dear and generous man (I can't talk about him past tense). I remember... we were on a cruise to Mexico. We had stopped in Encanada (probably the armpit of that coast) Anyhow, Jimmy joined us; me and your dad, for a day of touring. We were inundated by biggars as we navigated the streets. It was so sad, very young women supporting nursing babies, so hopefully holding out a free hand. 6 year olds selling gum. Everyone was selling something. Jimmy walked (boldly) ahead of us. But he kept stopping, listening to every pitch. Wheeling and dealing.I didn't understand. Just walk on, I thought. We can't help everyone. Apparently Jimmy could. At one point I walked up behind him, trying to move him along. (afterall,we were meeting the STTNG and ST casts for lunch) Then I saw it,he had this huge wad of cash, he was just peeling off the dollars and stuffing his pockets with their wares. When we finally we got into a cab, Jimmy was weighted down with colorful belts, silver (colored) bracelets, and lots of gum. Looking back I know it wasn't about the trinkets, or the deals he'd made. He didn't care about any of it. He gave them his money, he have fun letting them negotiate, but, more impotantly, he gave them his time.He wanted these people to feel valuable.He was concerned with their spirit.I learned alot that day, I will never forget it.
Plus, we had a fabulous lunch. We shared a lobster. He gave me a silver bracelet and some green gum. (your dad's ok with that)

Posted by: deb wheaton at August 31, 2004 10:28 PM

Wil,

I'm so glad that you share these things with us. When I saw about a week ago that there was a farewell Con for Jimmy, I was depressed, mainly because like an idiot I didn't read further so I assume dit was the BIG farewell.

Good thing you share your comments and I was able to figure out the truth.

Anyway, I feel that those of you who spoke ever so briefly at Jimmy's farewell got to hold the flag for all of us. You had the rare privelledge of being able to show your appreciation and love to someone who, by all accounts deserved it.

I never knew Jimmy, only his character from Star Trek, and the person who was talked about on websites as a kind and gentle, generous man. Still, I am sad to see him go in a way I can not explain.

As for yourself, I think you probablly are loved more than you know. We don't hang gere because we hate you man.

Last bit before I go. Your Mom? She's very cool to share what little she does here. I think you are richer than you realise Wil Wheaton.

Shawn

Posted by: Shawn at August 31, 2004 10:56 PM

Wil,

As a long-time reader and first-time poster I'd like to say thanks for it all. ST, this site, and Dancing Barefoot.

Your writing is superb, your words about James Doohan are spot on, and it's incredibly cool that your mother reads and posts here.

Peace, live long, prosper.

Posted by: Michael 'Mickey' Sattler at September 1, 2004 02:56 AM

Hey Wil,
Great of you to be so supportive to your friend. I thought you'd be at the Republican Convention giving them a piece of your mind! LOL!

Posted by: 1cutebird at September 1, 2004 07:31 AM

awwwww
I didn't know he was sick - I don't watch TV anymore except for movies that we rent or the Disney that we own. With my boys having austim there was no reason to pay for cable & the money goes to horse back riding therapy.

He always seemed like that kinda of guy form the things I did see. there are some people in this world that just make this place worth living & I hope everyone will try to be like that.

There is so many awful illnesses out there that I wish we can cure - I'm glad to hear that they think they can. It is awful knowing you have something that can't be cure. that one is really bad but at least he got to share his life with alot of people & made them feel better.

Ok I'm off - I have to get back my sewing - I'm making some dresses for a 7 year old girl in a wheelchair that can only only point to two choices - when you see what is out there you really get glad about what your own kids can do - mine can dress themselves & run - this girl can't -- so anyone who is heathly please be thankful for what you have while you still have it

Reddy

oh - sent 6 invites for gmail for you

Posted by: Reddy at September 1, 2004 09:00 AM

Your comments about Mr. Doohan were very touching and heartfelt; ditto for your mom's just above.

Still, though; all I could think of was Neil Fucking Armstrong! Dude, he NEVER does public appearances. What an incredible tribute.

Posted by: Tom at September 1, 2004 10:30 AM

Woah, Neil Armstrong. This is the shit -- he never never never shows up for public apearances.

Posted by: Draken at September 1, 2004 11:32 AM

I'm quite sure someone might have mention it in your comments here but it disapoints me after seeing the movie clip on startrek.com of James Doohan star on the walk of fame, that the other two cast members were not present at his last appearance. If I can recall I don't think you ever mention Shatner or Nimoy were present at his farewell dinner. I guess that just goes to show how both are self centered assholes (excuse the language) or too good to be seen in public with their fellow and former co-star. Very sad...

Posted by: David at September 1, 2004 02:10 PM

Thank you for writing this. Everyone's said everything else I might say. But I hope one more thank you doesn't hurt.

Posted by: Archangel Beth at September 1, 2004 04:14 PM

I was there Wil, what a weekend! I had heard that LeVar and Dorny would be there too, but I guess not. Thank goodness you showed up. You did a great job and were a fine representative of TNG...

How special was that appearance by Neil Armstrong... he never appears anywhere and he stayed the whole weekend. I heard from one of the volunteers that he was in the green room with Leonard and Bill the next day. They were all watching the marathon in Athens and asking each other questions, each a fan of the other, like awe struck kids... bet that was a sight! (sigh)

Anyway, thanks again for being a special part of a special tribute to a wonderful man.


Posted by: Vedek_n at September 1, 2004 04:19 PM

Hey Wil,
thanks for your write up. I hope someday you will bring the wife and kids down here (Johnson Space Center) to see just how much of an influence Trek has had in our nation's space history. Don't tell the folks here "it was just a TV show" it truly was something that set our imaginations on fire keeps us dreaming of what will be. . .

Posted by: Houston at September 1, 2004 07:00 PM

>I pulled into the Valet line at 7:50, and began to panic.

Weren't you late for a book signing last week, too?

>"Dude! I have to speak in ten minutes, and
>I'm totally late, and you HAVE to park my car!"

At least consider the possibility that you're STILL "A Really Big Asshole™".
It just doesn't go away automatically just because you recognized it some years back.

Here's what's wrong:

1) Just because you are late and it's important to you and many other people, you're still some prick who's shouting.

2) I wonder if you only call teenagers, gardeners, janitors, and gate guards "Dude."

Tighten up your act, Wil. I mean, jeez, you are not a child. Think Patrick would have acted like that, even if late to the same event?

Posted by: A Very Nonymous Coward at September 2, 2004 12:38 AM

Nice story Wil. Thanks!

I only met Mr. Doohan one time, at a signing back in 1984 in Florida. I was a poor student and couldnt' afford to buy the Star Trek VHS tapes they were selling, but stood in line anyway, hoping he'd sign my advertising flyer from the event.

He did and I asked him a couple of dorky questions, which he answered very nicely.

He's a very nice guy.

Posted by: Cosmic Bob at September 2, 2004 12:56 PM

Hi Wil,

Have just re-read your post again for around the fifth time since the day you posted it, and it's still just as moving. Your mum's post in the comments above was fantastic, too, what a lovely memory to share of the wonderful Jimmy.

Thought I'd share a pic I found of you on StarTrek.com whilst at the dinner (you look great, by the way!).

Pic

Cheers,
Lis in Aus :)

Posted by: Lis at September 4, 2004 05:21 AM

Regarding A Very Nonymous Coward's post...

Er, I personally think that seeing your faults is a very good indication that you have changed, even though Wil Wheaton has never been what I would call "A Really Big Asshole™". (Gotta love the ™ there; great, now we have a running joke...)

But A Very Nonymous Coward does have a point, Mr. Wheaton--you should absolutely be able to control traffic.

That was sarcasm :)

Posted by: Marilyn at September 5, 2004 07:05 PM

A Nonymous has a point, and based on the way this entry read, I would agree.

But I didn't yell at the guy. I was pleading with him to help me out, and when he hesitated, I bribed him.

I've made a minor edit to the story so that's clear. (I'd like to think that if I had an editor, he or she would catch that sort of thing for me.)

Anyway, I appreciate Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous for pointing that out.

Posted by: wil at September 7, 2004 01:10 PM
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