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Coming at a time in the middle 60s when such things as mental illness were finally coming out of the closet, this story about older mental health professionals, Ralph Bellamy and Wendell Corey, sharing their insights and experiences with a younger psychologist, Jack Ging, was thought-provoking and well done. Looking back at this show and others that had some touch with our more human side, it makes you wonder where we have gone. Compare the thoughtful unfolding of a vulnerable person's experience to reveal their innermost fears with the inane and pointless sitcoms of today with people sitting around spewing senseless banter to canned laughter and ask yourself, why not learn something about life, ourselves and others while being entertained?
Back in '62' as a 13 year old, The Eleventh Hour was my favorite show. I especially had a crush on Jack Ging and that's why I watched the show. Actors in the 60's were much different than actors today. Actors then, had personalities and showed compassion and kindness toward their fellow man. Actors today are stern, hard core and seem so disassociated with the human race. The sadistic cruelty portrayed in movies and TV shows is more than I can bear. If you've seen one you've seen them all. There isn't much on TV today worth watching. During the summer of '63' Jack Ging came to Indianapolis and my dad took me to see him perform live on stage in a play, "Mr. Roberts." We were fortunate to have had seats in the front row. As a 14 year old I loved him. I wish I could see "The Eleventh Hour," on DVD today. Why won't somebody bring it back?
"The Eleventh Hour" is now a period piece. Like its parent series, "Dr.
Kildare", physicians were presented as caring professionals, not
dysfunctional antiheroes as on "House M.D." and "Heartbeat". The lead,
Dr. Theodore Bassett (Wendell Corey) establishes his character the
first time we see him in the pilot episode. He steps out of the
elevator into the psychiatric ward where he bumps into a panicked
mental patient. The sight of Bassett's stern face brings the patient
out of his panic; Bassett looks at him compassionately and mutters,
"Poor damned soul."
That mix of pragmatic understanding and mercy is what Bassett brings to the cases who are referred to him. The original concept, as presented in the pilot, was for Bassett to be a forensic psychiatrist. It seems that idea couldn't be sustained and Bassett's practice was widened to the then-emerging field of psychiatric therapy.
Also like "Dr. Kildare", Bassett is mentoring a younger psychologist, Paul Graham (Jack Ging). In the few episodes viewed on Warner Archive streaming video, Graham appears to serve little purpose than be a sounding board for his mentor.
I am watching the whole first season thanks to Warner Archives. I had never seen or heard of this show before, it's very interesting. It features many young stars such as George Takei and Keir Dullea and many famous actors long gone but still wonderful to watch such as Franchot Tone, Burgess Meredith, Henry Jones, George C. Scott and his wife Colleen Dewhurst and of course one of the stars Wendell Corey. It's very different from todays dramas it's more cerebral, no action sequences, no swear words, just interesting well acted plots. Alas, we seem to be stuck with stupid reality shows, ridiculous sitcoms full of sexual innuendo with canned laughter and dramas full of zombies or vampires. While I do enjoy some current programing it seems todays programming has sunk to very low levels. This show is entertaining and informative. The Dr.s are capable, use common sense, and understand the frailty of the human mind. They know that even the most well meaning people can unwittingly cause harm. There are some interesting situations, good writing, and acting.
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