What a Way to Start a Con

There are people out there who don’t know who James Doohan is, who know nothing about Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott of the starship Enterprise.  Luckily, those people are not spending four days at Dragon*Con.

For the rest of us, we rushed, four-hundred strong to see this star of the classic Trek series early on Friday.  The good people in charge of rooms, seeing this horde, moved the panel into the Regency ballroom where we sat patiently as everything was setup.

Then we heard the immortal words “The VCR still doesn’t work. Is there an engineer in the house?”  I may never know if the VCR was fixed, but a few moments later, James Doohan seated himself, slowly, before us.

“I don’t stand very well; that’s why I sit,” He said with a smile.  Several weeks back, he’d gotten a call from his agent to tell him he was dead.  We all acknowledged that he was alive and well.

Doohan spent the next hour answering questions and filling us in on his unusual life, which included:

  • Being the first from his unit to hit the beaches on D-Day (where he was shot eight times and survived due to a cigarette case that stopped a bullet from hitting his heart).
  • Joining the Canadian Air Force where he gained a reputation for wild flying (under telephone wires, touching the tops of wheat plants).
  • Fathering six children, aged 46 years to 16 months.
  • Acting for over five decades.

If you weren’t one of the four hundred, you have got several more chances before the Con is over.

Author of the article

Matthew M. Foster is a freelance film critic and film historian and also the Director of the Dragon*Con Film Festival, which annually brings filmmakers, features, and the best in Independent Short film to Atlanta.