In the opening scene Consuelo, Dr. Welby's nurse (Elena Verdugo) is accosted by a loquacious young man who launches into a confusing discussion about the "coordinated medical linens" that Dr. Kiley, Welby's associate (James Brolin) ordered for the office, and compliments him for choosing the "lavender stripe on a green background."
Dr. Welby (Robert Young), who has just entered the room is given the same spiel; mystified, asserts that he is going to confront Kiley.
Presently, Kiley arrives and Welby calls him out of the room. Kiley storms in, angry over the expensive order he never placed when the young man turns and grins.
Kiley laughs, and hugging him affectionately introduces him to a relieved Dr. Welby and Consuelo as Mike, the youngest Kiley brother and the family's practical joker.
Mike Kiley is also the family genius; he is a brilliant research biochemist in Boston.
Mike has come to visit his older brother, Steve, so Marcus invites Mike to stay at his home. Up in the guest room, Mike's jaunty facade disappears. The now sad-eyed, melancholy young man pulls a tape recorder from his luggage, lies down on the bed and proceeds to record a host of painful symptoms - presumably, from which he is suffering.
Later, while having lunch on the patio outside Mike Kiley refuses Consuelo's tuna fish salad and opts for a glass of milk instead, justifying his curious choice with a humorous dissertation about all of milk's salubrious components.
The others are suspicious, and concerned about Mike's peculiar behavior, but Steve Kiley makes allowances for his brother's childishness because Mike was partially orphaned at their mother's death, leaving Steve to serve as surrogate parent.
When he goes out for dinner, Mike Kiley causes more consternation by refusing to eat, asking if he can get "carry out" instead.
Back at Dr. Welby's, Mike accepts a snifter of brandy before retiring. Upstairs, Marcus Welby hears agonized groaning coming from Mike's bedroom, and admonishes Mike that he wants to examine him the next day. Mike agrees, but when Dr. Welby leaves, Mike lies down on the bed, curled up painfully with a pillow pressed against his stomach.
The next day, Marcus examines Mike and orders him to the hospital for x-rays. Mike cheerily agrees to go (which he has no intention of doing.)
Meanwhile, Consuelo receives a call from Boston, relaying the information to Mike upstairs. Consuelo evinces interest in his tape recorder which Mike dismisses as a device for recording music.
Next day, when Consuelo goes to deliver another message she listens to the tape, and is shaken to hear Mike Kiley speculating about whether he has lymphatic cancer, or Hodgkin's disease. Mike catches her listening and runs angrily from the house.
Consuelo goes looking for Mike and finds him at the beach, glaring broodingly at the sea. Mike admits he came home for emotional support, but the illness's sudden onset convinces him the situation is hopeless.
Consuelo angrily demands that Mike fight for his life, but is dissuaded from informing Steve for fear of upsetting him.
After finding out that Mike didn't keep the appointment for the x-ray series, Steve storms up to Mike's bedroom. A confrontation ensues; Mike decides to leave and take a cab for the airport.
Consuelo, guilt-ridden, confesses everything to Dr. Welby who rushes to the airport, dragging Mike out of the waiting room before his flight. Eliciting from Mike that he neither saw a doctor, nor had a biopsy made, Marcus warns Mike Hodgkin's disease cannot be diagnosed without the medical test.
Welby pleads with Mike to stay and have the procedure done - which is fortuitous, because Mike collapses in the airport.
At the hospital Dr. Welby examines Mike, who now suffers from peritonitis and needs emergency surgery.
As they wheel Mike in for x-rays Steve Kiley rushes to his side but Mike (chagrined over his foolishness) turns away, crying, and won't look at Steve.
Marcus and Steve examine the x-rays which disclose the presence of a perforated ulcer. During the surgery a cervical section is taken for a biopsy.
After surgery Steve sits down to comfort Mike, but as Steve gets up to greet Welby (who has the results), a vulnerable Mike stretches out his hand frantically, imploring Steve to return.
Dr. Welby delivers the verdict - cervical adenitis (a bacterial infection of the lymph nodes) which appeared, coincidentally, at the same time as the ulcer - but no Hodgkin's disease.
Mike sobbingly leans over, childlike, and nestles his head in his brother's lap.
At the end, a now-recovering Mike is back to his old, bad-boy self. Upon receiving a call from his girlfriend in Boston, Mike mischievously asks Dr. Welby to keep a pretty blonde nurse away; Mike told her he was becoming an Himalayan monk and wouldn't wish to disillusion her.
Mike's visitors all laugh heartily; Dr.Welby chuckles: "We have to warn the world about Mike!" and they depart, leaving Mike chatting animatedly on the phone.
Barry Brown (the featured guest in this episode) stole the show. A handsome, highly intelligent young actor, he had natural vitality and an insouciant charm that was unarguably charismatic.
In the late 1960's-early 1970's Brown's star was in the ascendant; he was he was featured in many TV shows and several movies (notably the underground classic "Bad Company.")
However, this star-crossed performer was overwhelmed by deep depression and acute alcoholism, and what could have been a brilliant career was eclipsed.
After many years of suffering, Barry Brown tragically committed suicide in 1978, at the age of 27.
Made over a generation ago, "Marcus Welby, M.D." may seem dated, but it's worth watching, in general, for its timeless, wholesome appeal, and in particular, to appreciate the talent of one of the 1970's best young actors - the late Barry Brown.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?