Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.
TV URBAN LEGEND: Kirk never actually ever said, “Beam Me Up, Scotty” on Star Trek.
It’s funny, I’ve done legends like this one before, like on whether B.A. Baracus ever actually said “I pity the fool” on The A-Team or whether Gracie Allen said, “Goodnight, Gracie” on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, but I’ve left this one alone because I figured that it was too famous. And don’t get me wrong, it IS pretty well known, but what about the people who DON’T know it? I figure I might as well get it out of the way for those folks, as well.
So here ya go, despite there being a whole lot of teleportation on Star Trek over the years…
and Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (who also famously hid his right hand for most of the series) often being the one being the controls of the teleporter…
Did he ever use the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty”?
Nope, it was never actually used on the Star Trek TV series or the Star Trek films.
The closest Kirk came in the original series was in the episodes “The Gamesters of Triskelion” and “The Savage Curtain”, where he said, “Scotty, beam us up” and he also said in “This Side of Paradise”, just a simple, “Beam me up”.
In the fourth Star Trek film, Kirk said, “Scotty, beam me up,” which is probably the closest you’re going to come (Shatner later used the official phrase in an audio book, Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden.
Obviously, people just misremembered the phrase. This was back in the days where there were no readily available ways to re-watch an episode. It wasn’t until the show went into syndication that people could see episodes more than the initial airing (and the original network reruns, of course) but I assume by that point the misremembered phrase had become ubiquitous.
It’s so notable that it even made it’s way into the obituary for James Doohan (who played Scotty) and he also named his auto-biography after the phrase!
But it was never actually used.
The legend is…
Thanks to Jim S. for the question!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.