He's dead, Jim. 'The Big Valley' meets 'Star Trek'

LAPL/Herald-Examiner Collection

Barbara Stanwyck with husband Robert Taylor at the 21st Academy Awards, held at the Academy Theater in Hollywood. Stanwyck was nominated for the "Best Actress" award for her portrayal of Leona Stevenson in the film, "Sorry, Wrong Number," but she lost to Jane Wyman. Photograph March 25, 1949.

On Star Trek, the Original Series, which ran from 1966 to 1969, Dr Leonard McCoy was always a little bit too late. 

Good thing, or he couldn't have delivered his meme: "He's dead, Jim."

But on March 28, 1968, Miss Barbara Stanwyck, as Victoria Barkley, matriarch of The Big Valley, told old flame Sen. Jim Bannard (James Gregory) that his challenger, the conniving Judge William Daggett (Harold Gould), bit it after a bruising fight on a moving horse carriage.

"He's dead, Jim," she says.

Did writer Margaret Armen know what she was doing? Possibly, because she also penned three Star Trek TOS episodes: The Cloud Minders, The Paradise Syndrome, and The Gamesters of Triskelion. (According to IMDB, Armen wrote for at least 29 shows, from Zane Grey Theater to Emerald Point NAS. Alas, she died in 2003.)

UPDATE: I just spoke with Margaret's son David, and he says he doesn't remember his mom ever mentioning such an in-joke.

By the way, I think Stanwyck would have been a great choice as a proto-Dr Beverly Crusher.

If you just tuned in, you're asking "The Big Valley is on TV again?!"

Yes, it's part of the lineup on ME-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television), which runs everything golden from The Rifleman to Kojack to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Every weekday at 4pm, ME-TV runs a Jack Webb trifecta: Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency. Here are the channels:

Hollywood Time Warner: 137
DISH: 20
DirecTV: 20
KDOC (over the air): 56.3
KVME (over the air): 20.1
AT&T U-verse: 3
Verizon: 462

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