Happy 99, De! Remembering when you were a doctor, not a doctor

It wouldn’t be Jan. 20 without me sharing an image of DeForest Kelley on his birthday… a tradition when I first began Trekland in 2009.

So much has changed since then in both Star Trek and Trekland that I bet all our newer readers would welcome me sharing again this photo in good res—the one that’s been the longest unrepeated here, from that first year of the blog 10 years ago. It’s of the other doctor that De played … that finally let him join the 23rd century.

Not McCoy… but Greene!

De did such a splendid job for years playing bad guys in Westerns, big and small screen,  that NBC kept nixing Gene’s desire to cast him as his doctor for that new spacey series … even after more than one pilot!

Until, it seems, this little 1966 project that couldn’t sell a series, but sold NBC on De. This living “demo reel” proved he could pull of a sympathetic, modern look in medicine—but still outspoken—as “Lab Chief Charlie Greene” from Gene’s unsold pilot, Police Story (no, not that one— nor of course not the other one!). You can also find Grace Lee Whitney and Steve Ihnat there, too.

Was it the new Kennedy-esque hairdo that premiered here that turned the tide? Or just going shaved and spurs-less?

In any case, we love ya and miss ya, De. You’d be amazed how your small fan club has come out of the closet and won over millions — who’da thunk it?

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