Happy birthday, De!
As I have done ever since I started Trekland: The Blog, I don’t allow January 20 to pass without a remembrance for my first real Star Trek “favorite” every year on his birthday: Jackson DeForest Kelley, BTD in 1920.
Which mean, I guess, this is my TENTH nod to DFK on his day. Wow.
I’ve said and shared a lot over the years, about what both De and McCoy meant to me as a young fan … about my lonely “minority status” as a McCoy fan… and even how Leonard’s passing updated my appreciation not only for he and Spock, but for De and the doctor as well. Majel’s passing did the same thing to me, too.
I’ve also shared a lot of De’s early and prior-McCoy career imagery for those not so disposed to Googling… and especially all those years of Western bad-guy roles that predisposed Desilu and NBC suits to oppose Gene’s original preference for casting De as his space doctor in the first place.
And I’ve even talked about how his biographer and my friend Terry Rioux pointed out to me how much De, McCoy, and my other hero Will Rogers have in common. Duh—took me long enough! BTW, her book and the memory tome by De’s friend Kris Smith are go-to reading if you want to get to know De in 2018.
This year, for his special day… here’s just another fun pic. I apologize: I don’t know the exact date, or even the original source or my source (let me know if you recognize it, donor!) by the time I scanned the photo above in 2008. I have a print, and it was likely shot for a late ’60s TV reporter or “fan mag.”
What I do know is that not a week goes by that at least one Trek fan—from any walk of life, whether a Hollywood pro or an everyday obsessive (and they seem to be getting younger all the time!)—doesn’t proudly confide to me that “McCoy is my favorite character, too.” Sometimes, even across the whole franchise. I need to start keeping a count and an age tally!
So, for this year’s image, taken as he sits here besides his beloved Caroline, obviously at some point from “in the day” during the latter second or perhaps third seasons, I imagine myself today thinking the same thing as this tribble-clutching De right then:
“What does THIS all mean?
And where the heck is it going?”