Before They Were Stars (2-for-1 Special): DeForest Kelley and Betty White in a World War II Military Training Film

Well, since I’m doing a Star Trek-themed week on “Before They Were Stars”, I started researching the early career of DeForest Kelley and found out he made his acting debut in a military training film made near the end of World War II… which also happened to feature the screen debut of the one and only Betty White! Produced in 1945, this 22-minute short was titled Time To Kill, but, no, it doesn’t feature DeForest Kelley and Betty White fighting on the battlefield together with bayonets. Rather, its central message was that enlisted men would benefit from continuing their education whenever they, uh, had time to kill. Anyway, when military training films were produced during World War II, they would often try to cast established actors who happened to be enlisted at the time, so Time to Kill features a few other recognizable names, including George Reeves and Barry Nelson. 25-year old DeForest Kelly had never done any acting before this, but this experience made him decide to pursue a career in the field once the war was over. Anyway, you’ll catch your first glimpse of 23-year old Betty White at the 10:20 mark of this film and even though she had already worked on radio for a couple years at this point, this was her first official appearance in front of a camera.

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