Sunday, April 3, 2011

RIP: Paul "Ensign Freeman-plus!" Baxley, 1923-2011

Unfortunately, neither the news nor its newsmakers always travel at the warp speed we desire—or in the luxury they deserve.

So it is we just received word of the passing March 4 of Trekland native Paul Baxley, he of the wig-losing village "patrol leader" on Neural, the stunt double for Kirk... and most famously, Ensign "I didn't throw the first punch" Freeman of "Tribbles" fame.

Sadly, his hometown obituary from Palmdale, Calif., was only prompted by a trigger from the Social Security Death Index, and did not include near enough biography as even his Memory-Alpha entry contains. Perhaps that will change with time.

Fortunately, his later work on all seven years of The Dukes of Hazard as stunt coordinator and director is being remembered by that crew, where John "Bo Duke" Schneider broke the news by email April 16.

Meanwhile, I'd suggest any TOS fan take a second and go to his online memory site and recall Paul, another one of the unsung faces of the classic series—and perhaps being one who did not know we all were out here. I, for one, regret never having gotten to meet the man and record his memories for others to share.

Check the Western movies' Boot Hill blog here for more of the story and the memorial in Los Angeles—mounted by the Dukes crew, but open to all fans and friends of Paul's.

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