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George C. Scott,
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Classic medical drama series that needs to be seen.....
Until his counterpart,Dr. Kildare,Ben Casey was a resident of a large hospital,a full-fledged doctor on staff who was a very prominent neurosurgeon who was under the supervision of his mentor,Dr. Zorba. But just like any other medical doctor,Ben Casey always had his patients confidentality and tender care and sometimes have him going against the medical establishment at times with was sometimes the case along with him and his mentor finding the cure and making the demands of the both the patients and the staff he works under.
Ben Casey was a gritty medical drama that was also realistic which featured Vince Edwards going against the establishment and the administration not to mention his patients at fictional Metro General Hospital. The series was produced by Bing Crosby's production company,BCP Productions,and amazingly ran for five seasons on ABC-TV from September of 1961 to September of 1966. However,the black and white episodes ran from 1961-1965,and in its final season,Ben Casey made the transition to color by the end of the show's final run,from 1965-1966. The series also starred Sam Jaffe,as Casey's mentor,Dr. David Zorba,and Franchot Tone as Casey's friend and assistant Dr. Niles Freeland,and Harry Landers as Dr. Ted Hoffman. Vince Edwards' character of Dr. Casey you may say was a precursor to the changes that were happening during the time,which in point during the show's run,the country was going through the motions of its time,especially with the Cuba Missile Crisis,the Civil Rights Movement and the violent confrontations that occurred within the South with the unjustice of the Jim Crow laws,the assassination of President John Kennedy,the march on Washington,the signing of the Civil Rights Act,and the escalating war that went on in Vietnam,and rioting that occurred in sections of the country including the Watts riots,and so forth. In other words,America was at war with itself,and this occurred during the show's five year run. "Ben Casey" was given great support from the assistance of the American Medical Association which was behind some of the scenes during its production.
But getting back to Ben Casey,it was a groundbreaking medical show that had it share of some tough issues of that era,but case in point,Casey had to work with a system that was a monolith that existed for its own purpose and within its own momentum. He knew he had to deal with the pressures of a major medical hospital,so he had to wrestle with it especially with the mediocrity around it to get the job done. But within its own frame of dealing with that,you had his mentor,Dr. Zorba who often appeared to be more of a matador than a mentor,trying to tame the raging bull that was inside Ben Casey,as he always called him. That was the case in various episodes where the good doctor had to overcome the impossible in order to accomplish his task. There were two examples of this,one which had the Dr. Casey and Dr. Zorba in a malpractice suit where guest star,Beau Bridges was the center of the settlement,which was a good two-parter episode,and the other where Casey is bitten by a rat and goes into shock,and the other episode dealt with racism where Casey and his associates defend a black doctor,played by Greg Morris,who is accused of neglecting a patient and Casey has to defend him during a run-in with a discriminatory administrative staff.
The last time this series was even shown was during the mid-1980's when cable's CBN Network(The Christian Broadcasting,aka The Family Channel) showed this series during the mid-mornings hours and sometimes late nights too. However,Ben Casey paved the way for the next batch of medical shows including Marcus Welby,Medical Center,Trapper John, Doggie Howser,and ER.
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