16 Jan

In honor of William Shtaner's arrival this Saturday, I am reposting an earlier blog of  of a tribute to Star Trek.



Who could forget the old country doctor from Georgia, who changed the face of interplanetary medicine?  His persona both onscreen and off was that of a good old southern boy.  Born on January 20, 1920, and delivered by his uncle, he was the son of a Bapist minister, Earnest David Kelley, and his wife Clara.  As a boy, he often sang in the church choir, and won an engagement with the Lew Forbes Orchestra at Paramount Theater.  In 1934, he attended the Decatur, Georgia Boys High School and played on the baseball, football, and basketball teams.


During WWII, Kelley served as an enlisted man in the US Air Force, but he never left the states and never saw battle.  He was assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit.  After an extended stay in Long Beach, CA, he decided to pursue an acting career.  His mother agreed with his decision, but his father was against it.


He started out in the major motion picture "Fear of The Night" in 1947.  Even though the movie did well, he didn't find steady work.  He moved to New York City for 3 years with his future wife Carolyn Dowling, an actress, and did various radio and television spots, but was unhappy with the jobs he was getting.  He decided to move back to CA, and landed several roles on Western movie and television series, including "Warlock", "Gunfight At The OK Corral", and on shows such as; Donna Reed, Ironside, Perry Mason,  Riverboat, and Loredo.  For nine years, he was cast in villian parts.  In 1956, Kelley played a small supporting role as a medic in "The Man With The Grey Flannel suit", in which he says "This man's dead, Captain," which became a trademark phrase on the Star Trek series.  He also starred in a low budget horror flick, called "The Night Of The Lepus", about a crazed horde of giant rabbits, which is ironic, because in "Shore Leave", on Trek, he again runs into a giant rabbit!


After refusing Roddenberry's 1964 offer to play Spock, Kelley agreed to play Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy.  He reprised his role in a voice over in "Star Trek: The Animated  Series",  in the first six Star Trek movies, and then finally did a cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  After Trek, Kelley had problems being typecast as well, and also did speeches and conventions to compensate his lost income.  He also wrote two poetry books as well.  He had no children.  He  died of stomach cancer on June 11th, 1999, and his ashes were spread across the Pacific Ocean.


Again, McCoy reminds me a little of someone,; maybe even myself.  I'm the son of minister, a bit skeptical, a bit cynical, and a bit comical.  I wasn't born in the south, but having been there, I'm a little used to the climate and atmosphere.  He was always one of my favorite characters, especially when he was upset.  One of the memorable moments that I remember from the series is in the episode "City On The Edge of Forever", where he accidently injects himself with the hypo, and runs amok straight to the surface of the planet-Classic!


Tomorrow will be the final installment of the series, and the biography of the most beloved of all the Star Trek series, Leonard Nimoy.   Please join me for this final tribute to a great actor.  Until tomorrow, here are today's links:





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