Beam Me Up, Scotty

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9780671520564: Beam Me Up, Scotty

Montgomery Scott, the endlessly resourceful chief engineer of the "Starship Enterprise" TM, has been a familiar presence in our collective imagination for over three decades. All around the world, everyone knows "Scotty" -- but far fewer know the true story of actor James Doohan, who has brought Starfleet's legendary "miracle worker" to life for three seasons on television and in seven major motion pictures. Here at last are all the colorful details of Doohan's life and times, including: How war hero Jimmy Doohan charged the beach at Normandy on D-Day, and how World War II left its mark on him forever. How Doohan landed the part of Scotty on the classic "Star Trek" television series, and how the character acquired an accent. Memories of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and all of the original crew of the "U.S.S. Enterprise" TM, and the feuds and friendships that formed among them. How Doohan made his peace with "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (R) -- and brought Scotty back to television for one very special episode. The long and affectionate bond between Doohan and generations of Trek fans -- and how "Star Trek" brought true love into Doohan's life. "Beam Me Up, Scotty" is an entertaining and indispensable look at the unforgettable personality behind one of the twentieth century's most enduring icons.

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From Publishers Weekly:

This is clearly meant to supplement the already fairly extensive knowledge possessed by your average Trekkie: e.g., the book presumes you know who Majel Barrett is (Number 1/Nurse Chapel/Deanna Troi's mother/Gene Rodenberry's wife) and that you're up-to-date with earlier gossip about the crew dynamics, which allows Doohan to gloss over his feelings about William Shatner: "I have to admit, I just don't like the man. And, as has been well-documented elsewhere, he didn't exactly have a knack for generating good feelings about him." As evidenced by the above, the writing leaves something to be desired, but there are insights and trivia enough for the fan. Actually, the best part predates Star Dates, as Doohan recounts a youth defined mostly by his family's poverty and his father's alcoholism. In 1939, motivated, no doubt, by equal parts devotion to duty and desire for escape, Doohan joined the military, where he spent five years in training before seeing action on the beaches of Normandy. On returning, he trained at a theater in New York City, worked with Leslie Nielsen, Jackie Gleason, Tony Randall; got a few TV roles; and even had a run-in with the entertainment industry's red-baiters. Doohan's a basically sanguine guy, with real insights into the extremely sharp double edges of his fame. After Star Trek limped to the end of its third season, Doohan said he was "saddled with all the disadvantages of a popular series (namely, being locked into a particular characterization) and none of the advantages (namely, continued employment)." With the old crew now unlikely to appear in any subsequent movies, Doohan clearly hopes this will clear the decks for a new acting career, sans brogue.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

More than 10 years older than the other Star Trek actors who have given us their memoirs, Doohan remembers things they can't, such as radio as the primary entertainment medium and World War II from a participant's perspective. The war remains very bright in his memory, and his war experiences constitute a big, engrossing part of this book. A Canadian army lieutenant, he took part in D-Day, caught some machine-gun fire, and lost a finger. He also lost his intended bride to a doctor back home, so he immediately became an air surveillance pilot. He survived the war, anyway, and coming home after six years in the service, studied acting at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse (Richard Boone, Lee Marvin, and close friend Leslie Nielsen were classmates), finally faced down the father whose drinking and violence had marred his childhood, and married his first wife in 1949. The marriage lasted 17 years, not happily; meanwhile, he moved to TV and Hollywood. It is page 127 before Star Trek memories commence. Those who think that isn't soon enough should get in a 12-step group for Trekkoholics. Sure, there are good things in Doohan's ST recollections (e.g., he allows that an outstanding performance by Bill Shatner as Captain Kirk was "pretty okay" --ouch!), but what precedes it is arguably better. Broad-minded Trekkers should chow down. Ray Olson

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