Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Today I am going to look at the year 1946 and show you photos of the Justice Institute in New Westminster. This is where I go for my Toastmasters meeting.

After World War II had ended, there was a housing shortage in Vancouver. Homeless veterans from the war took up residence in the old - and vacant - Hotel Vancouver on January 26, 1946. That building was two blocks east of the present one.

On February 7, American bass Paul Robeson performed at the Orpheum. There were 3,000 fans at the theatre - a sold out show and that kept the performer coming back for more. A favourable review by the Sun's Stanley Bligh read, in part:

“In addition to his great success in the artistic field, the eminent Negro has won an outstanding place in the world by his firm stand on the question of racial equality, his knowledge of languages, international economics and his wide sympathy for the oppressed peoples of the whole globe.”

When I get to the year 1952, I will tell you how that sympathy garnered Robeson trouble and involved Vancouver.

On February 14, 1946, a headline in the Vancouver Sun newspaper read:

ELEVEN HUSH-HUSH TROOPS DOCK HERE. 11 Canadian soldiers, who had served in the Pacific war, arrived from Australia. The war may have been over but the men were still under orders not to talk about their military activities.

Who were these men? Today we know that four of them were Chinese Canadian soldiers from B.C. These brave men had served in a "secret Chinese guerilla unit" in the East Indies. Due to the prejudice at the time, the Chinese had been fighting a war to be accepted into the military. None of these men were drafted - all volunteered - and all served with distinction.

The four men were Sgt. Norman Lowe and Sgt. Louis King of Vancouver, Tpr Douglas Mar of Port Alberni and Sgt D. Jung of Victoria. Jung was 22 at the time and went on to become the first Chinese Canadian veteran to receive a university education under the auspice of Veteran's affairs. He was also the first Chinese Canadian lawyer to appear before the B.C. Court of Appeal. In 1957, he became Canada's first Chinese Canadian MP.

Sgt. D Jung also won the Burma Award during the war.

On March 21, one of the biggest companies in B.C. opened its doors for business. TCG had its origins in one automotive replacement glass store: Central Auto and Window Glass Shop. You may also know the company by one of its brand names - Speedy Glass or Novus Glass.

I am getting my information from The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

After the Trek

James Doohan had hoped that his role on Star Trek would be a big boost for his career. Unfortunately, the actor found himself typecast once the series was over. So Jimmy supported his family by doing personal appearances. He loved meeting his fans and his character 'Scotty' inspired many to go on and become engineers themselves.

Many of his roles after Star Trek were related to his Scotty character and he reprised the role for seven of the Star Trek movies. James made a guest appearance on the 130th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and on National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, Doohan played a police officer who tells his superior "I'm giving it all she has got Captain!" in the same voice he used for the role of Scotty.

As I mentioned, Doohan inspired many people to pursue a career in engineering. He once found a young fan who was considering committing suicide. He persuaded her to attend his next convention appearance and later discovered that not only had his words of encouragement and kindness saved her life but also inspired her to become an electronics engineer.

James was married three times and had five children with his first wife. His second marriage produced no children. His third marriage produced three children, the last being born around his 80th birthday.

James Doohan suffered from Parkinson's disease, pulmonary fibrosis, diabetes and, in 2004, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. After the Alzheimer's diagnosis, he withdrew from public life - his last public appearance was when he attended the ceremony for his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

On July 20, 2005, James Montgomery Doohan died at his home in Redmond, Washington. Some of his ashes were scheduled for a memorial flight to space the following fall but that trip was delayed until 2007. The rocket spent four minutes in suborbital space before parachuting to earth with the ashes still inside.

Doohan's ashes were then launched on a Falcon 1 rocket, on August 3, 2008. This was intended to be a low Earth orbit but the rocket failed two minutes after launch. On May 22, 2012, a small urn containing some of Doohan's remains in ash form was flown into space aboard the Falcon 9 rocket as part of COTS Demo Flight 2. (The rest of his ashes were scattered over Puget Sound Washington)

Thanks to Wikipedia for the information on James Doohan.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Where No Man ... You Know the Rest

I have heard from a few people that they were sure that Jimmy Doohan was Scottish because his character on Star Trek - Montgomery Scott - had such a rich Scottish brogue. But Doohan had developed a talent for accents as a child and when he auditioned for the part of the chief engineer on the USS Enterprise before series creator, Gene Roddenberry, he practised several accents. Roddenberry asked the Canadian born actor, which accent he preferred.

Jimmy replied "Well, if you want an engineer, he better be a Scotsman because, in my experience, all the world's best engineers have been Scottish". He chose the name "Montgomery Scott" after his grandfather. And with that, a legendary television character was born.

When the Scott character was conceived, he was intended to be a semi-regular. But, with characters Spock and Dr. McCoy, he was elevated to leads alongside Captain James T. Kirk. It was noted that, owing to his technological orientation, Lt Commander Scott was third in command of the Enterprise and was often left in charge of the ship.

The writers of Star Trek were also able to use Scott in subplots where he disabled ships components such as the dilithium crystals which regulated the warp drive, the transporter teleportation device, or just fiddling in the Jefferies tubes.S cottie was also used to foil some of Kirk's ambitious plans because the starship couldn't handle it. Any fan of the series will remember the Scot throwing out phrases such as 'I cannae push it any faster, Captain!'  or perhaps 'I cannae guarantee that she'll hold up!'

Scott was more than a tinkerer or an improvisational engineer - even if it did appear at times that he was holding the ship together with chewing gum and spit! Many fans saw the Enterprise herself as the star of the show and Scottie as her defender. In the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", Scott stands by, even restraining Chekov, as a Klingon insults Kirk. However, Scott was provoked into violence when the Klingon insults the Enterprise.

Doohan would recount the casting process in later years at Star Trek conventions. He would demonstrate a variety of voices, accents and characters. When Roddenberry produced Star Trek: The Animated Series in the early seventies. Because of his ability to change his voice and character so often, he was able to perform most 'guest star' male roles. He once did seven different voices for a record episode.

James once said that Scottie was "99 percent Doohan and one percent accent". Doohan devised the Klingon and Vulcan language used in Star Trek, The Motion Picture. Later professional linguists expanded Klingon into a fully constructed language.

In addition to playing Scottie, James also did many guest voices on Star Trek including: 

  • Sargon in "Return to Tomorrow"
  • The M-5 in "The Ultimate Computer"
  • The Mission Control Voice in "Assignment: Earth"
  • The Oracle in "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"

  • Monday, I will be looking at more on James Doohan. This time a look at life after Star Trek and his personal life. Thanks goes to Wikipedia for the above information.

    I hope you find the beauty around you.