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James Doohan Interview

On November 19, 1996, THE BOOK REPORT welcomed James Doohan, Scotty from Star Trek, and the author of BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY. THE BOOK REPORT interviewer was Sean Doorly (BookpgSD).

Bookpg SD: Thank you, Mr. Doohan, for being here with us at THE BOOK REPORT. First question: So why a book?

James Doohan: A thousand people not connected with STAR TREK said.... Why not write a book. It was immense fun. I enjoy any kind of work

Bookpg SD: Tell us how SCOTTY was almost cut from "Star Trek."

James Doohan: After the pilot was sold, Gene Roddenberyy sent me a letter. He thanked me for my time. He said, I don't think we'll need an engineer, so I called my agent.... He seemed to know all the ghosts in the closet.... because at 3 PM, I was back on the show

Bookpg SD: What made you choose a Scottish accent?

James Doohan: I didn't choose it. I did about 8 different accents when I was reading.... Gene asked me which one I liked.... I said, If you want an engineer, you'll want a Scotsman! He liked it, and I said fine. and he made me Montgomery SCOTT

Bookpg SD: You have alluded to friction with Shatner in your book, will you expand on it?

James Doohan: I don't want to talk much about him.

Bookpg SD: Not many people know this but you are missing a finger, right? How did that happen?

James Doohan: I was on the beach at D-Day. I was wounded that night. Three bullets hit one finger..... And I had four in the left knee. One hit a sterling silver cigarette case.... Four weeks later, they cut the finger off. It was useless --- and not pretty.... I hid it in the episodes.

Question: Hi, I'm Martin and I am 8 years old. I've been a Trekkie since age 5! I would like to know if there are any schematics of the "Star Trek Enterprise 1701"-"A USS Enterprise" set that the movies and all the shows were made on? And if so, where can I find them?

James Doohan: You have to call Paramount and ask them! But if you know a good Star Trek store, the answers are in those books

Question: What differences did you find on "The Next Generation" vs. the original series when you guest starred?

James Doohan: "Next Generation" had a LOT more money than we had.... They made it very comfortable. They treated me like a king. If they had been Japanese, they would have bowed. I'd do it again.

Question: Mr. Doohan: First, let me say that I am a young "Star Trek" fan who grew up with the rerun and have become a better person because of the positive influence "Star Trek" has on my life. My Question is, Do you have any interest in Scotty coming on board "D.S.9.?"

James Doohan: If they wrote a script with Scotty, I'd be happy to appear..... I haven't watched in quite a while.

Question: I admire the way that the "Star Trek" series was done in that it tried to resolve problems without resorting to violence. Do you foresee this as a part of the future "Star Trek Generations" series?

James Doohan: That's not up to me. Can't say.

Question: Hey "Scotty beam me up". but seriously are you going to be in the upcoming movie "Star Trek First Contact?" Yes I know it's the next generation crew but are you still in the movie?

James Doohan: No, I'm not. I'll see it Friday.

Question: I understand that you flew in the Canadian Airforce, do you still fly? If so, do you own your own plane?

James Doohan: No, I don't own a plane. But I fly every time I get a chance.... I last flew a 9 passenger seaplane in Alaska.

Question: Mr. Doohan: How technologically literate are you really? We all know that Scotty can fix anything, but is the same true about yourself

James Doohan: I'm technologically literate --- from books I read long before "Star Trek". I can't do the formulas, but I sure as heck know what they're talking about.

Question: Is it true that they are thinking of doing a new "ST" series with Sulu as captain? George Takei mentioned something about it at the Huntsville convention. I wasn't sure if he was joking or not, though.

James Doohan: George is NOT joking! He'd love to have that happen! Know what? It WON'T happen.

Bookpg SD: In your book you say you enjoy going to the STAR TREK conventions. Anything strange ever happen?

James Doohan: I don't think anything weird has ever happened. Oh, once a guy asked for my blood..... He had a kit and everything... The civilians around me were waiting to go up in the elevator.... they were quite shocked... I said, Hey, son, I'd only go for a blood test if it was under the purest of medical conditions. I met him 12 years later again....and he asked the same question!

Question: Will you be appearing on "Bold & the Beautiful" again?

James Doohan: I just did 3 episodes last week! I'm giving secrets away here.....but I was at a wedding.....Hard work the first day....just wedding pictures the next two..... I can say no more!

Bookpg SD: What is your favorite STAR TREK episode?

James Doohan: My favorite episode.....hmm.... The Doomsday Machine....it was so suspenseful.... There was a planet eater! Very thrilling!

Bookpg SD: What is your favorite STAR TREK movie?

James Doohan: Number 6. "The Undiscovered Country.Number 4" --- about the whales --- was nice to do....and "Wrath" was fine....if you took the footage that Paramount edited out

Question: What does it really feel like? Being immortalized as a part of "Star Trek" and its amazing run into history?

James Doohan: Immortalized? These things happen. I'm quite willing to accept it.... as long as I'm treated well.

Bookpg SD: What about typecasting...does it bother your?

James Doohan: Terrible! First 25 years of my career, I never had to worry about it....then "Star Trek" came along, and I was on every night of the week..... that's very dangerous for an actor..... there was a time for 3 or so years --- '72-75 --- when I wasn't making a living...I didn't like that!

Question: How did you feel when you heard the "Deep Space 9" crew would revisit one of the original episodes. What was your opinion of it?

James Doohan: Revisit episodes? Great! They paid me a nice fee just to do it! They understood I was wanted in that scene, so they paid me...

Bookpg SD: What about your current TV show?

James Doohan: "Home Boys in Outer Space" --- Paramount has some objections to my part in it.... so I'm not doing it any more.

Question: Mr. Doohan "Scotty" Just want to say you were one of my favorite characters on "Star Trek." Will you be in any more "Star Trek" movies?

James Doohan: I'm pretty darn sure I won't --- but stranger things have happened.

Question: Could you clear something up for me? Did you serve during World War II in the Canadian air force?

James Doohan: No. I was in the Royal Canadian Artillery. And I flew for them.... it's an old mistake, one I get tired of correcting.

Question: If you could've written "ST: Generations," how would Kirk have died?

James Doohan: The way he died was normal --- an accident aboard a spaceship.... I like Kirk --- I just don't like who plays him!

Question: Did you have any idea of the popularity of "Star Trek" when it began rerunning in the '70s?

James Doohan: No. None of us did. And it didn't start re-running. It never stopped running!

Question: Mr. Doohan how did you feel when you were cast for the part of Scotty?

James Doohan: It was a job --- that was the first feeling. Then I found out how much I liked it.

Question: James, my fiance was thrilled to meet you at a convention a few years back. Her name was Shannon and it was in Idaho. I was wondering when your next con appearance might be?

James Doohan: As a matter of fact, I'm not sure myself.....Valley Forge, Pa --- December 8.... then Portland, Oregon....

Question: Mr. Doohan...How do you compare the new "Star Trek" shows with the original?

James Doohan: That's not a possible comparison. We started it. The others are copies... They have so much more money to play with --- THAT's the comparison.

Bookpg SD: What about your other book?

James Doohan: It's a fiction book --- and I have two more coming....

Question: Mr. Doohan were you born and raised in Scotland?

James Doohan: No, I was raised in Vancouver British Columbia. The most gorgeous place in the world

Question: Entertainment Weekly says maybe "Star Trek" has run its course. What do you say to that?

James Doohan: Oh, I don't think so --- but it depends on who is managing it..... In a couple of years, it could be in poor hands and go downhill....tough luck --- but we'd have all those good things to look back on.

Bookpg SD: Do you have any desire to write any "Star Trek" novels?

James Doohan: Not really. I want to move into other fields.

Question: Hi! I love you in all the movies. Will you come to Baltimore for a convention?

James Doohan: I was there not too long ago. A normal crowd.....then I went to Richmond, not so far away, and they were raving!

Question: What do you think of the way "Star Trek" has gone, to include "Voyager?"

James Doohan: I watched the pilot, and the next episode --- it's still a darn good show.... a terrific captain....I had a few complaints with the director....

Question: Why didn't Paramount/UPN interview you during the 30th Anniversary Special?

James Doohan: Probably because I live up in Washington State!

Question: Did you see the "Deep Space 9" Tribble episode?

James Doohan: No. I have it on tape.

Question: Are any plans in place to tie your original characters into further "ST" movies or "STNG"-series shows?

James Doohan: I don't think so.

Question: Mr. Doohan, are you coming to an convention in or near northeast Ohio? Thanks.

James Doohan: I don't know.

Question: There have been a lot of stories about discontent on the "ST" set - what *good* memories can you share about different members of "the crew"? What do you remember fondly?

James Doohan: I can recall the great direction from Leonard Nimoy --- probably the best director we had and I remember eating sushi with George....

Bookpg SD: Do you still see any of the cast members?

James Doohan: Oh yes. But the point is, I don't see them because I live in Washington....but I look forward to seeing George and Walter over Christmas.

Bookpg SD: Unfortunately, we're now out of time. Thank you so much Mr. Doohan

James Doohan: A pleasure to be here. Thank you.

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