Emergency! (1972–1979)
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The Wedsworth-Townsend Act 

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.



(creator), (creator) (as R.A. Cinader) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
State Assemblyman Michael Wolski
Woman In Trouble
Lew Brown ...
Man with Ulcer
Chief Conrad, Battalion 14
Wilma Jacobs, R.N.
Committee Chairman
Ron Pinkard ...
Tom Gray, M.D.


After Roy DeSoto encouraged Johnny Gage to join the paramedic program, their first mission was to face their staunchest opponent, Chief of Emergency Services, Dr. Kelly Brackett, to support paramedic legislation that means getting help to where it is needed most. While running two separate calls with Gage and DeSoto, their mentor and friend, Head Nurse Dixie McCall, is injured and knocked unconscious. Written by Gary Richard Collins II (brothergaryii@gmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

15 January 1972 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Linda Kelsey's TV debut. See more »


Early on, Dixie McCall is established as a former military nurse who had served in the Korean War. Later, when she is injured during a rescue, Johnny tells Rampart her age is "approximately 30". The Korean War lasted from 1950 to 1953, which means Dixie would've only been between 9 and 12 years old at the time of the war, far too young for military service, let alone as a nurse. Her correct age should've been closer to Julie London's actual age of 45 at the time this episode aired. See more »


[Brackett is addressing a legislative committee to promote support of the bill to allow paramedics to operate]
Dr. Kelly Brackett M.D.: Gentleman, you are all in danger. If an earthquake or a bomb should hit this room right now, I might be the only doctor available to all of you. Oh sure, independently owned ambulances with attendants would be here in a few minutes, and rescue units from the fire department. But all they could do is carry you off to where another doctor is waiting. I wonder if you could all last that ...
See more »


Followed by Emergency! (1972) 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.

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