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I was a big fan of this show from the first episode. Back in the early 70's, everyone wished they had a doctor like Marcus Welby. The way he treated patients and took a interest in their personal lives is what made the show so good. I think it was one of the first medical programs that dealt with serious medical issues and took a realistic approach in each show. One of my favorite episodes was about a small boy with autism, something that was just not talked about 35 years ago. Today, the family doctor is just about extinct with managed care and HMO's. Marcus Welby, M.D. reminds us of the good old days. I think the time has come to get these shows out in DVD so we can get to enjoy them all over again.
Before there were the onslaught of such Medical shows as "Trapper
"St. Elsewhere","Chicago Hope","Doogie Howser,MD","ER","Presidio
there was one show that brought great medical drama at its very
That show was "Marcus Welby,M.D.".
The series ran on ABC-TV from 1969-76. During its run on the air,the show garnered several Emmy nominations including one for best dramatic series which Robert Young won for best actor for one of the episodes which was directed by an unknown at the time who would go one to directed several episodes of the series before he established himself as one of Hollywood's biggest producers of all-time. Need I say more?
As for the series itself,the show dealt with several situations in and around the confines of his medical offices and his confrontations with the medical establishments at the local hospital where a patient's confidentality was being discussed(which was the focus of some of the episodes). Some topics on the show dealt with cancer patients,the effects of retardation in children,and the overall situations of the medical world,and one episode in particular dealt with two topics;one was the effects of depression and the other was with alcoholism and so much more. The show was produced in by the guidelines instructed by the American Medical Association and this series was the first to show a surgical procedure done by the book and its complications to follow. Very deep.
For one,Doc Welby stood his ground and spoke out where his patients were concerned and sometimes aided by his assistant,Dr. Kiley(played by James Brolin),and nurse Consuelo(played by Elena Verdugo). Unlike the other medical series that came out about the same time(Medical Center which was very controversial,but was on a rival network which went off the air
a year before this series did),but in all this was a TV classic that has stood the test of time and will continued to do so.
This show had a lot of guest stars on it than any other show,but it had some that were just starting out in some of them....check out guest appearances by actors Sharon Gless,Joanna Cameron,Heather Menzies, Richard Thomas,Teresa Graves,and Arthur Hill(who was sometimes the medical lawyer,Owen Marshall for Doc Welby and Dr. Kiley).
Actor Robert Young was one of the few actors on television history to
be closely identified with two highly successful and long-running
roles. For one,he was kindly family Jim Anderson on the situation
family comedy series "Father Knows Best"(1954-1960),during the
mid-1950's,that ran for eight seasons,and his other successful role was
that of the kindly and passionate Dr. Marcus Welby on the medical drama
"Marcus Welby,MD"(1969-1976),that ran for seven seasons. After "Father
Knows Best" ended its run in 1960,Actor Robert Young came out of a
seven year retirement to originate the role of Welby.
"Marcus Welby,MD",premiered on ABC-TV on September 23,1969,and it was a Tuesday night staple for the seven years that it was on the air. Created and Produced by David Victor,who served as also the executive producer,was a brilliant series that portrayed the cases of a veteran general practitioner in Santa Monica,California,and also at the hospital where he was the chief medical adviser,at Lang Memorial Hospital,where the thoroughness and dedication involve him in the lives of all sorts of patients. Assisting him was his eager and young apprentice,Dr. Steven Kiley(James Brolin). During Season One,Kiley was contracted to work with Welby for one year before his training as a neurologist(he stayed). Thus the inevitable tension between youth and experience was established,but in this case,Welby tended to be more unorthodox of the two,often confounding the dedicated but textbook-oriented Kiley with his psychiatric approach to medicine. Welby treated the whole patient,his temperament,fears,and family environment,as well as his physical ailments.
The ailments were certainly varied for a suburban GP;during the first season alone there were subjects that were never discussed or mention for television,a first when this show came around in 1969...the subject matter of tumors,autistic children,strokes,pernicious anemia, blindness,emphysema,LSD side effects and other dangerous drugs,lukemia, diabetes,Huntington's Chorea,alcoholism,dope addiction,breast cancer, dope addiction,racism,an being overweight. Other subjects were even controversial included one episode that dealt with abortion and so much more. Its no wonder this show rack up some many Emmys during its seven year-run. Out of the actors that were on this program,only actors Robert Young,James Brolin,and Elena Verdugo remained throughout its entire run. 169 episodes were produced for this series until its final episode on May 11,1976. Highly endorsed by the American Medical Association.
When "Marcus Welby,MD" premiered in 1969,it became one of the biggest hits in the history of the ABC network,and was the first ABC series ever to rank at number one among all TV programs for a full season during the 1969-1970 season and also for the 1970-1971 season as well. Within its first year,the show was second to "Laugh-In" and "Gunsmoke" in the Nielsen ratings. The guest stars for this show made it successful too from Leslie Nielsen to Heather Menzies,Arthur Hill,and Norman Fell.
This episode focused on the diagnoses of breast cancer in two women,
by Elaine Giftos and Pamela Hensley, the latter of whom was one of the
'stock' players (actors who appeared in frequent episodes on the series.
Miss Hensley later played Dr. Kiley's wife).
The episode was, in my opinion, time-sensitive, in that at the time of its airing, the wives of two public political figures were going through their diagnoses of breast cancer.
The most motivational moment of this episode is James Brolin's emerging from character to talk about diagnostic and early-detection tools for breast cancer. Such is the hallmark of television that is not only entertaining but informative.
I wonder if anyone remembers an episode entitled "Fun and games and
Michael Ambrose"? It starred a young David Cassidy, before his fame on
the Partridge Family.
I hope I'm not the only one who remembers this show. Personally, I thought that he was a fine dramatic actor. I liked him as Keith Partridge, but I would have liked to see him pursue a more dramatic line of acting.
Long ago and far away, but I thought it was a really good episode.
Does anyone have an idea of how to get this old TV series on DVD? I would love to get this series and several other 60's TV shows on DVD or even VHS.
Unlike "ER", "Marcus Welby, M.D." played it straight. No silliness. No
irony upon irony stacked unrealistically tall.
Unlike "House", "Marcus Welby, M.D." had pleasant, instantly likable, lead characters.
There are only three regular characters in "Marcus Welby, M.D." but watching it is not a limitation.
The highly skilled experienced MD.
The dashing young new MD.
The caring helpful nurse.
Each is played in a perfect ultra-idealistic way. The lead characters offer a limitless aura of security, competence, and high ethics. In the history of TV, I cannot think of any series with benevolent elders exuding such a sense of personal strength and security. One hour of "Marcus Welby, M.D." is the polar opposite of watching one hour of 9-11 World Trade Center attack footage.
The series employed doctors and scientists to give the medical activities ample grounding.
Each episode is a morality play centering on one main problem. To its credit, the series often attempted to show both sides of a controversy or at least go deeper into the "wrong" side to explain its origins. "Problems have two side," as Dr. Welby often says.
The main weakness is the same with any weekly TV series: production shortcuts. With casting, for example, in the Ngyun episode, a 1/2 Viet-Nam / 1/2 black war orphan is rescued and flown to the USA, but the young actor looks to be a white boy with an American accent with his hair dyed black and skin darkened.
However, shortcuts can be seen in the greatest of weekly TV series. However, taken as a whole, "Marcus Welby, M.D." is America's greatest medical drama. Better than "Medical Center". Better than "ER". the best.
Before there was "St. Elseware","Doogie Howser,M.D.","ER", and
Hope", there was Marcus Welby,M.D.
It was a TV show from 1969-1976, starring the late Robert Young (Father Knows Best) as a Southern California doctor with Dr. Steven Kiley (James Brolin) with Consuelo the nurse (Elena Verdugo).
It was a TV classic.
I give it *****.
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