19. From the Terrors of War to Star Trek
By 1946, Jimmy Doohan had secured several radio roles with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Over the next few years, he shuttled between Toronto and NYC as work demanded, and eventually performed in what he estimated to have been about 4000 radio gigs, and 450 TV ones. By the 1960s, he was making regular appearances on TV, with credits that included The Twilight Zone, Bonanza, Bewitched, The Fugitive, The Outer Limits, and Hazel. His big break came when he auditioned for the role of chief engineer in Star Trek, and producer Gene Rodenberry asked him what accent best suited the role. “If you want an engineer, in my experience the best engineers are Scotsmen“, was Doohan’s reply.
And that is why Star Trek’s engineer had such a thick Scottish accent. Doohan was cast as the Enterprise’s engineer in the series’ second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, with the name Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, after the actor’s grandfather. Scotty spoke in an Aberdeen accent that Doohan had once heard, but he almost ended up cut from the show after Rodenberry had second thoughts, and wrote to tell him “We don’t think we need an engineer in the series“. The character remained only after Doohan’s agent intervened.