Dr. McCoy's famous catchphrase first appeared in a classic film

It was potentially first used 33 years earlier.

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Few catchphrases are as iconic as Dr. McCoy’s "I’m a doctor, not a…" line from Star Trek: The Original Series. The phrase would go on to live long after the series. Numerous characters from across the Trek franchise and pop culture would reference the line, including The Doctor from Voyager, Julian Bashir from DS9, and many more.

This witty remark may have become a staple of the series, but its origins are potentially from a classic 1930s movie.

Premiering in 1933, The Kennel Murder Case was a mystery film about the murder of a professional dog-show competitor. Helping to solve the case was Dr. Doremus, who first uttered the line “I’m a doctor not a…" for the first time.

The line was used twice throughout the classic film. The doctor would state that he is not a detective and then later a magician.

33 years later in 1966, we would see Dr. McCoy use the same line in The Corbomite Maneuver during the first season. Our favorite Trek doctor would use the catchphrase several more times throughout the series, including the exact magician line used in The Kennel Murder Case.

The lines appear to be identical enough to be more than just a coincidence, though it is unconfirmed if it a direct homage. While we may never know how original the famous line truly was, it'll continue to entertain Trek fans for years to come.

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Snickers 31 months ago
My favorite I'm a doctor not a comes from "Devil in Dark". I'm a doctor not a brick layer.
Fuming 33 months ago
Did Dr. McCoy say "Jim...he's dead" or was it "he's dead Jim", maybe it was both.
ETristanBooth Fuming 33 months ago
Usually, "dead" came before "Jim." Here's a list: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/He%27s_dead,_Jim
QazWiz ETristanBooth 33 months ago
can be confirmed by "Dr. Demento" as in, "Star Trekin'" (across the universe)
MrsPhilHarris 33 months ago
Have seen The Kennel Club Murder many times, but I don’t remember that line. I just remember that the doctor was cranky because his breakfast (or some meal) was interrupted.
LenLaPenna 33 months ago
Kelly says the exact phrase in a pre Star Trek episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMFIfpEmDl0&list=PLF0TccIBIU4FpwBQdH9FuTN5k6-saDfnj&index=29
CaptainDunsel LenLaPenna 33 months ago
Yep. Except that's from "The Millionaire", not Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The Episode was "The Iris Miller Story", from 1955. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0648431/reference
Pardon me. "The Iris Millar Story"
tomtriox 33 months ago
Did anyone note that he once appeared on Bonanza playing a doctor wrongly convicted of murder? At one point he says to Ben "I'm not a doctor, I'm a condemned murderer!"
Pacificsun 33 months ago
I vote this the best article that the MeTV Staff Writers have done!

I introduce this nomination to other opinions from those who comment here!! Let the games begin!
Maverick66 33 months ago
"D*mn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a screenwriter!"
Pacificsun Maverick66 33 months ago
I thought they were going to reference "Beam me up, Scotty" because truly I keep listening for that in every episode! I swear he's said it somewhere along the line!
Maverick66 Pacificsun 33 months ago
I think it was always some variation like "Two to beam up" or "Beam us up, Mr. Scott." I don't think he ever actually said the exact words "Beam me up, Scotty."
Pacificsun Maverick66 33 months ago
I know, it's been parodied so much that we "think" we've heard it, but you're right, instead!
ETristanBooth Maverick66 33 months ago
According to Memory Alpha, it's a "famous misquote":
"Beam me up, Scotty", attributed to Captain James T. Kirk. Though a widely known catchphrase, Kirk never actually says this exact phrase in any canon Star Trek work. Similar phrases include "Scotty, beam us up" (TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion", "The Savage Curtain"), "Beam us up, Scotty" (TAS: "The Lorelei Signal", "The Infinite Vulcan"), "Beam me up" (TOS: "This Side of Paradise"), and "Scotty, beam me up" (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)."
TheDavBow3 33 months ago
I thought his catch phrase was .... Shut up, Spock!!
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Pacificsun lynngdance 33 months ago
From Bread and Circuses

Dr. McCoy : [indignantly] I'm trying to thank you, you pointed-eared hobgoblin!
lynngdance Pacificsun 33 months ago
Yup 😝😜 One of my favorite episodes! 😆
texasluva lynngdance 33 months ago
Weekend bonus movie.

What a Way To Go! (1964) 1hr 50 min-comedy, romance
Director : J. Lee Thompson
Shirley MacLaine
Paul Newman
Robert Mitchum
Dean Martin
Gene Kelly
Robert Cummings
Dick Van Dyke
A four-time widow discusses her four marriages, in which all of her husbands became incredibly rich and died prematurely because of their drive to be rich.

texasluva lynngdance 33 months ago
!!Wanted!! but preferred Alive
Those that wish to participate in the Weekly Movie Quiz.
Conversation as to what this movie might be
Winners name in MeTV Lights
Just plain ole fun
Let's Do it at: Is this an episode of Adam-12 or a Charles Bronson movie?
Friday @ 10:00 P.M CT
The Show Must Go On-Another knock down quizorama and entertainment.
One of our Bonus Movies will be: American Graffiti (1973) !!!!!!
justjeff 33 months ago
"Jim...I'm a plaigerist... not a doctor"
Pacificsun justjeff 33 months ago
"I only play a doctor on TV, I'm really an actor!"
harlow1313 33 months ago
His high-water mark, "Night of the Lepus." I have never since been able to look upon rabbits as gentle creatures.
Moody harlow1313 33 months ago
You have a problem with us?
ETristanBooth Moody 33 months ago
King Arthur and his knights could relate to this.
Moody ETristanBooth 33 months ago
Run away!
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