Both original Star Trek doctors came together to fight giant man-eating bunnies in 1972

Night of the Lepus gave Trekkies a rare glimpse of Dr. McCoy and Dr. Piper working together.

Night of the Lepus stands out in film history for many reasons. Many fluffy, furry reasons. Few other horror movies have dared to explore the frightful menace of… bunnies. Monty Python and the Holy Grail explored the idea of a killer rabbit for comedic effect, but three years prior, Night of the Lepus approached the concept seriously. Deadly serious. Well, audiences have chuckled at the unintentional humor in the cult classic for years now.

A spin on the giant, mutant monster films of the Fifties, Night of the Lepus originally went under the title Rabbits. The studio, MGM, changed the name in an attempt to keep the nature of the killer monsters mysterious. Apparently, they assumed nobody in the audience knew Latin. This was the decade that gave horror fans Frogs, Piranha, The Savage Bees, Empire of the Ants, GrizzlySquirm (killer worms), The Pack (killer dogs) and Orca. Perhaps it was inevitable that they would get around to bunnies.

Considering its hare-brained premise, Lepus attracted an impressive cast of well-known stars. Golden Globe winner Janet Leigh of Psycho and Bye Bye Birdie brought gravitas to the lead role. Her male costars would have been familiar to any fan of Fifties and Sixties television.

Stuart Whitman of Highway Patrol and Cimarron Strip took the hero role. Rory Calhoun of The Texan played the rancher with the rabbit problem.

And then you had two — yes, two — Enterprise chief medical officers from Star Trek: The Original Series.

Dr. Piper with Sulu and Scotty

Everyone knows Bones. DeForest Kelley played Dr. Leonard McCoy in three seasons of Star Trek and six motion pictures. But he was not the first chief medical officer working under Captain Kirk.

In "Where No Man Has Gone Before," the second pilot episode of the Original Series, the elder Dr. Mark Piper served aboard the starship.  He was played by Paul Fix, who is better known as Marshal Micah Torrance from The Rifleman. No wonder that Lepus cast him as the lawman, too, Sheriff Cody.

While they both appeared on some of the same series in different episodes— not just Star Trek, but Perry Mason, Have Gun - Will Travel, The Lone Ranger, Rawhide — but Night of the Lepus gave Trekkies a rare chance of seeing the two doctors working side by side. Battling bunnies.

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iloveoldtvshows 5 days ago
I bet metv won’t change schedule until September 21
UTZAAKE 6 days ago
Night of the Lepus occasionally airs on TCM Underground (F-SA overnight 2:00 am ET). The sight of stampeding giant rabbits in most of the world is downright frightening. In Texas, it's just a roundup (Texas Brags).
Doola005 6 days ago
This movie is so campy. The thought of giant killer bunnies is hysterical. These movies are gems.
Barry22 7 days ago
I remember that movie, saw it years ago. Terrible movie, by the way, even with those Wascally Wabbits in it. The 70's is also the same decade that brought us Willard and Ben.
cperrynaples Barry22 7 days ago
Yes, and don't forget Ssssss... with the killer snakes!
dmagoon 8 days ago
The top photo made me imagine: Man-eating tribbles.
texasluva 8 days ago
What's up Docs?..... (Sheriff Cody) I would say Killer Rabbits. (Elgin Clark)That would be my prognosis also. Oryctolagus Cuniculus on the rampage. (Sheriff Cody) No kidding I was a doc once. (Elgin Clark) Me too in another script. We had Tribbles then. Now it's murderous Lepus on the loose. (Sheriff Cody) Yeah go figure. Just when you thought it was safe to back into the carrot patch!
gh7qd 8 days ago
Not to be too picky, but John Hoyt played Dr. Philip Boyce in the first pilot. He was Christopher Pike's (Jeffrey Hunter's) doctor. So he should get credit as the very first Star Trek doctor. (And sorry if I put the wrong number of Ls into his first name.)
ETristanBooth gh7qd 7 days ago
Love John Hoyt (Twilight Zone; Outer Limits; Attack of the Puppet People).
purplerose60 8 days ago
Lol good catch!! Proofreading doesn’t seem to be much of a concern anywhere anymore ☹️
justjeff 8 days ago
"...He was played by Marshal Micah Torrance, who is better known as Marshal Micah Torrance..."

Let's "fix" that article to read "... He was played by Paul Fix, who is better known as Marshal Micah Torrance..."

A bad pun, I must admit... but Proofreading 101 is not on the MeTV editor's schedule...
ELEANOR justjeff 7 days ago
Yes, you guys!! Please read the stuff you write!! Yes, please "FIX" this!!
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