Mark Steyn on James “Scotty” Doohan

It has been nearly three months since James Doohan died, but only now has Mark Steyn been able to post the full version of the obituary he wrote for last month’s Atlantic Monthly. It’s a fun read.

One slight correction, though, if I may. Steyn writes:

With the Congressional Record awash in “Beam me up, Scottys”, eventually somebody decided it was time for Star Trek to put the famous words belatedly in Captain Kirk’s mouth. So, after the best part of quarter of a century, he finally delivered them to his engineer in the fourth Trek movie.

Not quite. What Kirk actually says to Scotty in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) — AKA “the one with the whales” — is, “Scotty, beam me up.” It is the closest he ever came to uttering the famous phrase, but it’s not quite there yet. Click here for proof.

And, incidentally, in context, it’s a somewhat odd phrase, since at the time Kirk says it, Scotty is standing inside a Klingon Bird of Prey in Golden Gate Park, and Kirk is standing beside the ship — so he’s really going sideways, not “up”. (Then again, why is he beaming into a cloaked ship, when he could simply walk up the ramp? Well, because the writers couldn’t think of any other way for Dr. Gillian Taylor to trick Kirk into bringing her aboard…)

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).