Emergency!: Season 1, Episode 0

The Wedsworth-Townsend Act (15 Jan. 1972)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Comedy
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 471 users  
Reviews: 19 user

The new LACFD paramedics struggle to prove themselves to a doubtful Dr. Brackett as a pending state bill authorizing their field duties comes to a vote.


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Title: The Wedsworth-Townsend Act (15 Jan 1972)

The Wedsworth-Townsend Act (15 Jan 1972) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
State Assemblyman Michael Wolski
Woman In Trouble
Lew Brown ...
Man with Ulcer
Art Balinger ...
Battalion Chief Conrad
Wilma Jacobs, R.N.
Herb Vigran ...
Committee Chairman
Ron Pinkard ...
Tom Gray, M.D.


Roy convinces John to join the paramedic program. They must deal with the opposition from both medical and civil authorities, including one of their staunchest opponents: Dr. Brackett. Eventually seeing the advantages of the program, his testimony proves the key to getting paramedic legislation passed. The paramedics assist the victims of a car accident (including Dixie, who is injured at the scene) and rescue workers from a tunnel cave-in. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

15 January 1972 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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,  »
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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ron Pinkard appears in the pilot episode as "Tom Gray, M.D. " instead of as "Dr. Morton", as he did throughout the seven year run of the series. See more »


When Gage and DeSoto are aiding in the rescue of the miner trapped under the tractor and the tunnel wall collapses, several rocks can be seen floating on the water, obviously made of foam or some similar material. See more »


Dr. Joe Early: [Talking to Brackett after Gage and DeSoto were forced to treat victims on their own, after Dixie was injured] That woman with the busted fibula, she's coming out of shock now. She might have stayed there if it hadn't been for those two ninety-day Kildares. I looked over Ferguson's shoulder in the cast-room, the immobilization of that guy with the broken legs. Pete could have phoned it in. No distal blood problems, a piece of cake. And then there was Dixie. I don't know, Kell... Dixie might be ...
See more »


Featured in Hometown Glory (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Ahead of its time!
8 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

We tend to take for granted that when we dial 911, or another emergency number, that police, fire, paramedics, etc will be there to assist in a timely manner. While firefighting has been strongly established in the United States since the Colonial days of Ben Franklin and bucket brigades, and rescue techniques have been studied and taught for a century, it is only in the past 35 years that emergency medicine in the field has come into being. Before that, ambulance attendants trained in basic first aid and oxygen administration would pick up patients, many of whom would die from lack of timely emergency medical attention in cases like heart attack, stroke, and trauma. Military medics returning from Korea and Vietnam in part spurred a call to establish emergency field treatment for civilians as well.

And this remarkable made for TV movie tells that story, using real facts and situations worked into a fascinating drama.

Many people were hesitant to move the hospital out into the field, and there were very few believers at first, even among the rescue-trained firefighters who would become these paramedics. Johnny Gage himself is a doubter when his battalion chief approaches him in the beginning of the episode, since he is worried that he would become an "ambulance attendant" and not the firefighter and "rescue man" that he had trained to be.

However, through incidents in the episode, including a near-fatal accident with Nurse Dixie and a tunnel cave-in, the worth of the LA County FD paramedics are proven, even to Dr. Kelly Brackett, the original greatest doubter who goes on to become the physician director and greatest proponent and defender of the program in later episodes. Brackett's speech before the California Assembly committee expressing his belief that short of more doctors and hospitals, trained paramedics were the best alternative, is vital in getting the bill passed that authorized the program.

Emergency! was definitely a show ahead of its time because it brought the reality of rescue into the living rooms of America and spurred countless people to support, and even join, paramedic and EMT programs. A show that still sparks discussion 31 years after its premiere and 25 or so years after its network series finale definitely deserves credit. The show is still relevant in firefighting and EMS circles especially, both from a historical perspective, and as examples of how incidents are handled. The only sad thing is that there is no restored DVD box set available, because although the message lives on, some film prints available on video have not survived well in color and sound quality, and some shown on TV have been shortened for time.

Still an all time favorite for me, I watched it with my father, and now I watch it with my 4 year old son.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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