I’m closing in on doing 1,000 blog entries (this being my 950th one), and I haven’t told you all about one of my favorite celebrity encounters.
On the weekend before Christmas in 1991, I went with my mother and a few of my relatives to the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort for a weekend vacation. We went to Disney Friday night, Epcot on Saturday, and the Disney MGM Studios on Sunday before leaving to head back home to Largo that afternoon. I’d never been to either Epcot, which to that point had been open a little less than a decade, nor MGM (which has since been renamed the Disney Hollywood Studios) which opened on May 1, 1989.
Going on a tour of one of the Disney MGM studios, the host announced that we had a surprise visitor who would take questions: James Doohan. If you watched the original Star Trek series in syndication or the movies it spawned off, you knew that Doohan portrayed the voice of reason engineer, Mr. Scott, who reminded Kirk and Spock that you can’t change laws of physics while they often did.
I was honored to get to ask Doohan a question, considering how the sixth Star Trek movie had just been released in theatres a couple of weeks prior, would there be a seventh movie? James, while a smile on face, advised me and the audience to stay tuned, as you never know what the future of the series will bring. A couple of years later in late 1994, his words proved prophetic: as the Star Trek Generations movie ushered the end of the involvement of the original series cast, and ushered in the cast of The Next Generation before the silver screen.
He left me with the impression that he was a good man who knew how to treat people, and never forgot the fans who helped make that series part of televised science-fiction lore. It was no surprise to me that when he died in 2004, a portion of his ashes were selected to be sent into outer space aboard an unmanned spacecraft.
What a thrill for me to pick the brain of the man who played Montgomery Scott.