R.I.P. Commander Canarvin

Almost but not quite absent from the obituaries of James Doohan (Star Trek’s “Scotty”), who died this morning aged 85, is the fact that in 1979-1980 he had a role in a live-action Saturday morning children’s TV series, Jason of Star Command (fan sites here, here and here).

Jason was one of many programs from Filmation, a studio that produced a whole shitpile of low-budget cartoons from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, including the animated Star Trek, Fat Albert, Tarzan, Flash Gordon and a bunch of cartoon versions of sitcoms. With animation and even music constantly being reused, they emphasized quantity rather than quality, and boy did they ever produce; that rotating thing in the credits (“Produced by Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott”) was permanently etched into my retina by the time I hit the fourth grade. For more, see part one and part two of a feature on Filmation.

I remember watching Jason rather avidly — I may have even had a pre-pubescent crush on Susan O’Hanlon. It later occurred to me that “Commander Canarvin” kind of looked like the late 1970s version of James Doohan, but I couldn’t remember enough about the show to make the connection until today’s obit provided a title.

As an aside, that character actors are remembered primarily for their roles, with their catchphrases as their epitaphs, is a real pity; they’re invariably finer people than the dreck they perform in, or the lines they’re given (Slim Pickens’s Wikipedia entry is filled with quotes from his better known movies, for example, which has little to do with him, I think).