A lot of people are born on January 20, among them Doctor Who’s Tom Baker who turned 80 today and is getting a lot of press from the Who fandom and web sites. So while I certainly wish my Doctor a Happy Birthday, I wanted to focus on another Doctor in my life, DeForest Kelley who played Dr. McCoy on Star Trek.
Longtime readers know that I like all things Star Trek, but there is a special place in my heart for the original series. It was the one I grew up with (TNG didn’t appear until High School) and the one I spent hours and hours watching and memorizing the episodes. Shatner and Nimoy get most of the press from TOS and arguably have had the most success post-Trek. But Kelley’s Dr. McCoy was the third anchor of the trio at the core of the show and the perfect balance to Spock and Kirk.
Some of my favorite lines of his are also popular with the masses – “He’s Dead Jim” and the “I’m a Doctor…” series of quips never failed to make me smile. People tend to forget though that he did a lot of the emotional heavy hitting – making the other two see the emotional consequences of our heros actions. There were not a lot of “McCoy” episodes, but I think his finest hours were when he was checking in on Kirk and begrudgingly paying respect to Spock. I think his roles in the Original Series movies were his best work – Calling out Kirk in TMP, the “Jim!” on Regula 1 in TWOK, carrying around Spock’s Katra in TSFS, “Don’t Bury Yourself in the Part” in TVH, the scene with his dad and “How Come You Don’t Know Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in TFF, and a good chunk of his work in TUC.
Thanks for all the memories you gave us De, even your bit part in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, your last role.