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In a lot of ways Emergency brought about change in the Rescue field that many of us couldn't even imagine.There once was a time when car accident victims couldn't be treated on site,as in the pilot Emergency episode demonstrated,that all changed with the help and exposure of Emergency.The term EMT was never heard of before,nor "Paramedic" by many,but thankfully the service that we take for granted today was helped along big time by Jack Webb and the talented cast of Emergency.I cant imagine anyone forgetting about this program,for it was a big part of every kid's viewing and play acting habits in the 70s (and 80s too with the syndicated "Emergency One" reruns).I cant think of any other program that has done so much good for so many as this program has (excepting Americas Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries).Remember,there would have been no "Rescue 9-1-1" with William Shatner,no St Elsewhere,no ER...had Gage and Desoto not rescued the injured in their trusty red 72 Dodge.Praise them all,and may Jack Webb be forever immortalized. Now the 1st season will be released in August on DVD!!!! Finally! Time for Emergency to live again,and that adorably cute Nurse Sharon Walter (Patricia Mickey)to gain a whole new crowd of male fans.
"Emergency" was a show that had it all....gripping medical drama combine with high adventure and cliffhanging excitement. As a child growing up,it was a Saturday night staple during its run on NBC from 1972-1977. Basically,it was a show about paramedics but a whole lot more. The show not only follow the lives of two paramedics DeSoto(played by Kevin Tighe),and Gage(played by Randolph Mantooth)at Station 51 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department who risk their lives saving people in daring but sometimes dangerous situations,but it also follows the staff and doctors at Mayfair Rampart General Hospital,particularly the details in the lives of Dr. Brackett(played by Robert Fuller),and Dr. Early(played by Bobby Troup),and the head nurse McCall(played by 50's recording artist Julie London). Its premiere episode from January of 1972,was the most gripping ever,which in turn begins the partnership of Gage and Desoto and the situations they encounter(which in a two parter episode Nurse McCall is injured when she tries to save a woman from a burning car hanging inches over a steep cliff,and Gage and Desoto raced against time to save them both). The producer of this show was Jack Webb(the man who was Joe Friday from Dragnet) who also during this created the best action series ever to come out of the 1970's which during that time he was producing shows like "Adam-12",and "O'Hara-US Treasury")and its rarely seen nowdays(except if you catch some of the episodes on TV Land) and its one of those shows you don't want to miss.
Even better than modern medical shows like "ER". We've got 2 sides to this, the hospital staff and doctors, and the paramedics/fire-fighters. Jack Webb produced this series, and like his others, is a great achievement. The acting, stories, directing, and just about everything you can think of is top-notch. A wonderful series, one to be treasured.
You have to consider a show great if it can convincingly combine both medical drama and nail-biting action rescues. The writers, creators, special effects artists and stuntmen on this show went to great ends to think up convincing accidents and then depict them for entertainment purposes. Throw in two likeable guys in the form of Keving Tighe and Randy Mantooth along with a station of cut-ups and you have a hit series on your hands. A lot of tongue in cheek humor made this series for me as Gage was always trying to get rich quick or fireman Chet Kelly letting loose with the practical jokes, but yet it was all played straight to save others as we the viewers learned at least superficially the ins and outs of the paramedic business. Kudos to a well remembered and well liked show !
My formative years occurred during the span of Emergency. It was a great
show and an inspiration in many ways. I feel bad for my 3 boys that they
will not now the innocent quality product that I viewed as a kid. Action,
accidents but never pointless gore and suffering. I'd love to know how
of today's firefighters became firefighters after watching Emergency as a
kid. Same goes for how many kids became cops after watching
Hopefully, Nick at Night or TVLand will keep these great shows around forever.
P.S. Ringers lactate and D5W - fluids given to help stabilize the body when in shock.
I loved this show as a kid; it made me want to become a paramedic (which I did actually). I remember tuning in every Saturday night on NBC to watch it, rerun or not. I wish they'd release it on DVD and/or at least put it back on TV Land. I am kind of surprised that some creative TV guy hasn't tried to revisit this program, with the current hero-interest in firefighters these days; that'd be great.
Emergency is airing, now, very late at night, on the local TV station. And
it's great to see it again. Before Baywatch, this show gave us a much more
realistic look at the daily
lives of those who respond when we call 911.
Although some of the technology and terminology is outdated now, most of it is surprisingly still in use! The dramatic component..that rescues don't always succeed..is refreshingly real in comparison to Baywatch, where CPR always works and no one dies unless their character has to be killed off. But the humour is there too, just as it is in the locker rooms of firehalls and police stations all over.
A minor comment about Gage's lack of musical abilities prompts him to take up the bagpipes, among other instruments, and the ongoing practical jokes played by Kelly add greatly to the humanity of the show. In fact, I strongly suspect that most of the incidents portrayed on the show actually happened.. Most of them are far too ridiculous to have been invented by some writer!
A great show from days gone by...if only they'd do as well now..
One of my best-remembered shows as a kid. What set this show apart from its predecessors was in drawing respect from the audience for the firefighters it portrays; for the first time the paramedics, doctors and firefighters didn't arrive to wave a magic wand putting the fire out and saving the patient. The range of (at the time) operating medical and CB radio procedures and terminology, the open identification with real-time Los Angeles and the range of rescue situations faced by Station 51 and their paramedics showed how thorough Jack Webb's research and commitment to authenticity was, pushing the benefits of the paramedic program in the face of a skeptical California state government; as a concerned West Coast citizen with an eye on the Big One he probably knew this was an important step forward in public health that would save many, many lives when that day inevitably arrived. Rescue 911, ER, Law & Order, Third Watch, Cops; the entire medical and police reality television genre can trace their origins to Emergency! and once a compatible DVD box set for Australian players arrives I'll have it to reminisce with too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This telecast used to come on at 4:00 PM our local time. I had just
started in a rural practice my first year out of medical school as a
physician assistant. I used to catch glimpses of the series each day
during afternoon rounds, but seldom did I get to see an entire episode.
I was grateful that full seasons were available on DVD. Since I finished my quest to acquire some of these, I have been watching them observing their principal features; getting a lot of enjoyment from the realism of the plots and the pursuits used to make diagnoses in those times. Realism was also very, very faithful. Only once did I note that a couple of amps of sodium bicarbonate were not given following an episode of cardiac arrest. And in an early episode I saw an elderly patient who was dehydrated given D5 and ½ Normal Saline so it was not all D5&W or Ringer's Lactate.
Quite enjoyable is seeing the technology and equipment in use at the time, (not to mention the clothing we wore then: polyester shirts and double-knit trousers). As one of the first PAs, we were taught to employ even more ancient technology at a time when physicians actually touched their patients instead of reviewing test results. An example was the use of chest percussion to evaluate lung condition and heart size. The further use of abdominal palpation and percussion to determine liver size, locate areas possibly containing fluid, and the use of the other senses such as observing the patient's coloration, and the particulars of smell such as might occur with exposure to foreign agents.
I had forgotten the ancient Datascope cathode ray tube monitor that one had to really concentrate on to recognize the electrical processes going on within the heart. Other ancient CRT systems were used and only recently did I see the same style of equipment one viewed in early days of a heart echocardiogram and skull echoencephalogram. Today we especially appreciate having the modern automated blood pressure apparatus, the likewise modern method of obtaining body temperature, pulse and respiration, oxygen saturation and the modern twelve lead EKG taken all leads simultaneously, and all seen on one sheet.
Too, it is a trip into the past to hear the names and uses of older medications which have been largely replaced today. Today the common aspirin can have life-saving properties when chewed and swallowed during an acute episode of chest pain due to arterial compromise. Another medication is still used which goes back centuries, and is the best pain reliever known, morphine sulfate. Conversely, I saw an earlier episode of poisoning of a child who ingested the wild version of the ancient poison used by Socrates, hemlock.
One of the first things interestingly noted is the apparent absence of use of the then commonly available rudimentary automobile seat belt. In 1974 I did not have a newer car, being too poor, but my old 1970 Chevy did have seat belts. In each episode you see Gage and DeSoto bolting into the Dodge, putting on their fireman's hats, and roaring off to the scene.
I have to comment on the acting skills of physicians Dr. Brackett, Dr. Early and RN nurse McCall. I seem to remember that Robert Fuller's earlier acting life had principally been in western films. I have to say that both of these physician-surgeons did justice to their high honors as Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), though seldom seen in actual operating room surgery scenes. Today the emergency physicians most likely are Fellows of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which by the way, was even around in 1968 though trained, board certified physicians in the specialty were still in a minority.
Julie London is particularly memorable, having first known of her as what came to be called a "torch-singer," and a principal one who succeeded greatly in the recording industries. Her albums continue to sell and entertain today, probably 50 years after they were recorded. A particular effort was noticeably made by the writers to portray her breakthroughs in reaching significantly proper conclusions and discerning facts.
Having been one of the first five hundred PAs, I have an understanding of the problems facing the early EMTs. Today they fill expanded roles and are permitted to function in a similar manner as PAs, using their education and training to make decisions in the field and to initiate many life-saving procedures without first getting "permission" from a supervising physician. Like us, they do follow established protocols and are also said to be under physician supervision at all times, though this does not mean they have to be supervised "over-the-shoulder" as in earlier times such as during training.
I am not completely through the first season of episodes I received, which unfortunately came out-of-order, and I look forward to seeing the first season when it arrives. Likely I will complete the set as I have a lot of time to view material now, having been retired for 8 years. I was not a youngster when I began my education at Wichita State University in 1973.
It is also noteworthy to follow the changes in the emergency transport vehicles from the old style Hearse-types, to a similar version with an extended upper roofline. Then the first two-tiered stretcher square-shaped van, becoming later seen as the full size custom made coachwork of the modern mobile intensive care capable vehicles in general use today in most locales on North America.
I highly recommend this series and echo most of the remarks made by earlier writers such as how it was the landmark presentation whose success made succeeding series possible and of interest to us viewers. My hat is off to all who had any hand in the production of Emergency! Thanks all!
I remember this show as a youngster and loved it. I could not wait until it came on ABC Thursdays (I believe) and crammed to finish homework before it aired. I have not seen it in syndication yet but think it would be a good show for one of the retro tv stations to replay.
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