Episodes Mercy or Murder Strange Sort of Accident New Doctor in Town Reckoning
And now we come to the end of this classic series and what a weak way to end it this is. It starts out as an interesting discussion about abortion, circa 1966 and turns into what appears to a pilot about a doctor, (played by someone named Mart Hulswit), who goes from the big city to a small town to escape a scandal he is innocent of but is being blamed for. The small town sequences, (basically the last two episodes), suggest a rip-off of Peyton Place, (which also had a doctor as a main character).
The subject of abortion is lost until the very end as we are introduced to various small-town characters and to the relationship between Hulswit's character and his friend, (West Side Story's Richard Beymer), the local minister and his wife. There's a lot of strained small talk with jokes about serious subjects such as infidelity and what the townspeople will think. Then there's a long monologue by one of the key characters while Dr. Kildare mutely watches. That reminded me of the second story of the season which had several such scenes. The IMDb doesn't identify the writer of these closing episodes but the on- screen credits say it was "Jerry McNeeley". The second story was written by "Jerry de Bono". Could it be that Jerry de Bono found that the reaction to the second story was so bad he decided to change HIS NAME TO Jerry McNeeley? (There is a writer named Jerry McNeeley on the IMDb who is credited with 10 other Dr. Kildares, so I guess not but you wonder).
The saddest thing is that Gillespie and Kildare are reduced to supporting players, just filming "wrap-around" scenes bringing the viewer up-to-date on a story they are no longer really a part of. In the final one, we are not shown Hulzwit deciding to stay in the small town. We are just told that he did. Raymond Massey and Richard Chamberlain have barely contained smiles throughout, suggesting that they must have known that this would be their last scene together. It's just a shame it couldn't have been in a better episode, one more appropriate for sending this great show off into our memories.
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