Wednesday, July 23, 2014

James Doohan

After World War II, Jimmy Doohan moved to London, Ontario. His goal at the time was to continue his education in the technical field but after hearing a radio drama, he knew he could do better. So he recorded his voice at a local radio station and learned of a drama school in Toronto. While at that school, Jimmy won a two year scholarship to the Neighbourhood Playhouse in New York City. There he studied with people such as Leslie Nielson, Tony Randall and Richard Boone. 

Starting January 12, 1946, Doohan had many roles on CBC radio and would travel between Toronto and New York. He estimated he performed in over 4,000 radio programs and 450 television programs in that period of time. He earned a reputation for his versatility.

In the mid-1950s, Jimmy appeared as forest ranger Timber Tom - the Canadian counterpart to Buffalo Bob -in the Canadian version of Howdy Doody. Ironically, William Shatner - Doohan's Star Trek co-star - was appearing as Ranger Bill in the American version at the same time. Doohan and Shatner both appeared in the Canadian science fiction series, Space Command, in the 1950s. In 1957 and 1958, Jimmy appeared in several episodes of Hawkeye and the Last Mohicans. 
For GM Presents, James played the lead role in the 1956 CBC TV drama, Fly into Danger and in 1960, The Night They Killed Joe Howe. Arthur Hailey rewrote the former into the novel Runway Zero-Eight then adapted to Terror in the Sky.

Among Jimmy Doohan's credits are The Twilight Zone, GE True, Hazel, The Outer Limits, Bewitched, Fantasy Island, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) and Bonanza. The 1962 episode of Bonanza he was in is entitled 'Gift of Water' and one of his co-stars was Majel Barrett who later portrayed Nurse Chapel on Star Trek.

As well, Doohan was an assistant to the president of the United States of America in two episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and has an uncredited role in the 1965 Satan Bug. In 1971, he shared the screen with Richard Harris in the movie,  Man in the Wilderness, filmed in Spain.

Once again, I want to thank Wikipedia for the information on James Doohan. I will tell you more on Friday. I haven't even gotten to his Star Trek days or his personal life.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beam Me Up Scotty

Vancouver has its fair share of celebrities emerge from our rain sodden shores. Today I am going to tell you about Jimmy Doohan, best known as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on the original Star Trek.

James Montgomery "Jimmy" Doohan was born on March 3, 1920 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His father was a pharmacist, veterinarian and dentist who reportedly invented an early form of high-octane gasoline. Sadly, the elder Doohan was also an alcoholic as recounted in Jimmy's 1996 autobiography. Mrs. Doohan was a homemaker.

At some time, the Doohans moved to Sarnia, Ontario where James attended high school at the Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School. He excelled in math and science.

In 1938, Doohan joined the 102nd Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp. When World War II started, he joined the Royal Canadian Artillery. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 13th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and went for training in London in 1940.

James' first combat was the invasion of Normandy at Juno Beach on D-Day. Doohan shot two snipers then led his men to higher ground through a field of anti-tank mines. There, they took defensive positions for the night.

While Doohan was crossing between command posts at 11:30 that night, he was shot by a nervous Canadian sentry. Six rounds from a Bren gun hit the lieutenant - four in his leg, one in the chest and one through his right middle finger. The bullet to the chest was stopped by a silver cigarette case given to Doohan by his brother and his right middle finger had to be amputated. He was careful to conceal the missing digit during his acting career.

James trained as a pilot. He and 11 other Canadian artillery officers graduated from Air Observation Pilot Force 40. He flew a Taylorcraft Auster Mark V aircraft for 666 (AOP) Squadron, RCAF as a Royal Canadian Artillery officer in support of 1st Army Group Royal Canadian Artillery. All three Canadian (AOP) RCAF Squadrons were manned by Artillery Officer - pilots. They were accompanied by non-commissioned RCA and RCAF personnel acting as observers.

Doohan was never actually a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force but he was once labelled as the 'craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Force. A story tells of Jimmy slaloming a plane - variously cited as a Hurricane of a jet trainer - between mountainside telegraph poles to prove it could be done. The actual feat was performed in a Mark IV Auster on Salsbury Plain north of RAF Andover in the late spring of 1945.

I want to thank Wikipedia for the information. 

Wednesday, I will tell you more about James Doohan and look at his acting career. I hope to see you then.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rounding Off 45

Samuel Patrick Cromie, aged 27, returned from RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) service  and went back to work on November 1, 1945. Cromie was the third son of Vancouver Sun newspaper founder, Robert Cromie. The younger Cromie was employed at the Sun as a mechanical superintendent. Before the war, he had worked as a pressman in the circulation department. It didn't take long for Samuel to rise to the position of vice president.

With the end of the war, the Boeing aircraft factory on Coal Harbour was primarily inactive. On November 5, 1945, it was sold to B.C. Packers. The intent was likely to use the building as housing for their fishing fleet. “The big building, the main Boeing plant before the war added the Sea Island hangar and shops [in Richmond], would be used for the present as a net and gear storage loft . . . The building has a 132-foot frontage on West Georgia, extending back to the water's edge.”
November 6, 1945, the city council for Vancouver cancelled an order that established separate swimming days at Crystal Pool for non-white people. The pool was now open to everyone, regardless of the colour of their skin or race of their ancestors.

December 8, 1945 was the day that Vancouver lost one of the men who made this city great - Jonathan Rogers. Last month, I wrote a whole series on Rogers and here is one of the entries.

Also in December of 1945, the Burrard Dry Dock let go of the last of its female workers. There were 13,000 workers at the Dock and out of those 1,000 were women. At the war's height, 34 "Victory" ships were built in 26 months. The end of these positions wasn't a shock though. In fact, when the war ended, many women at the factory cried because they knew it meant the end of their jobs since the men would be coming home and returning to their positions.

Also in 1945, Seattle brewer, Emil Sick, bought the Capilano Stadium. It was run down and in poor shape and didn't open until June 15, 1951.

The United Fisherman and Allied Workers union was organized in 1945.

Lansdowne racetrack was sold to the B.C. Turf and Country Club.

The first Cloverdale Rodeo was staged in 1945.

D. MacKay ended his six-year term as chief of the Vancouver Police Department and was succeeded by A.G. McNeill.

Walter Moberly Elementary School - built in 1911 - burned down in 1945. It as rebuilt in 1946 at 1000 East 59th Avenue.

W.H. Malkin stepped down as chair of the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Cancer Society. He was replaced by Dr. A. Maxwell Evans. Evans served in that position for the next 33 years.

The first mall in Canada opened in 1945. The anchor store was Woodwards and it was heralded as innovative, state of the art shopping. The mall? West Vancouver's own, Park Royal.

The B.C. Power Commission was formed in 1945. This was good news to many British Columbians because the commission began extending electricity into rural areas.

This was the year that the city agreed to provide $1 million to build a new main library to replace the Carnegie building, which was built in 1901. The new library, however, wouldn't open until 1954.

Foon Sien Wong, a spokesman for Chinese rights, began the fight to get the vote for Chinese Canadians.

Mary Pack was dismayed by the lack of services for physically handicapped children in Vancouver. She started the B.C. Spastic Society, which would later become the B.C. Division of the Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society in 1948.

1945 was an interesting year, a year full of changes. I want to thank the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.