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DeForest Kelley's Lost Performance

Before landing one of the starring roles on Star Trek (Dr. "Bones" McCoy), DeForest Kelley paid his dues in early sitcoms and live melodramas.


Jeff Vilencia has unearthed what must be the actor's first TV role - in a six minute playlette called "The Bitter End", featured on an anthology series called 'The Little Theatre', circa 1949-50.

This was also known as 'Suicide Theatre' - now there's a limited concept! Don't bother looking up 'The Little Theatre' (or 'Suicide Theatre') in the TV history books - this is the only evidence such a series even existed!



The Bitter End
(6 Minutes)

Starring DeForest Kelley and Ellen Corby (Grandma on 'The Waltons'). Ellen Corby passed away on April 16, 1999. DeForest Kelley died on June 11, 1999.



by Jeff Vilencia

Several years ago, I met this woman named Ann, who lived in Long Beach. Somehow she knew that I loved 78rpm records, and wanted me to transfer a rather worn out "audiodisc" copy of a 78rpm adult party record! "Audiodisc" was a brand of blank 10 inch records you could buy in the 1940's, to make a record at home. In those days, other than a wire recorder, you could attach a cutting head to your phonograph player, and cut your own record at home! I collect these discs as well, as most of them are familys talking & singing.

I met her, we talked and she invited me over to her home to look thru her 78rpm collection (which she bought new as a young girl in the 30's & 40's).

Months later, she saw an article about a RHINO VIDEO I produced, in which we used an early DeForest Kelly segment. She called me up, and said that she & Kelly have been life long friends, and he and his wife (also seen in the photos) visits her all the time!

She asked me if I could make up a special copy of the film, and then, when DeForest & his wife came over, she would pop it in the VCR and surprise him!

Kelly had never before seen the film! I asked if she could take photos of his reaction to the video, and she did, and made me copies!

DeForest Kelley

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