PANIC! "Emergency" 1958 This is the third episode of the 1957-1958 suspense series, PANIC! Each episode was a story about a person involved in an incident of stress and panic. The series ran for a total of 31 episodes. Each episode starts with narrator saying, "You are about to witness a moment of panic in the life of a man".
This particular episode is headlined by everyone's favourite film noir character player, Elisha Cook Jr. Cook is a cab driver grabbing a cup of coffee at a café near a hospital. A news report comes over the radio about a young boy who had been the victim of a hit and run. The boy is severely injured and the Police have no idea who the boy is. They need to contact the parents for permission to operate.
Cook makes a comment that the doctors should just go ahead and operate. An intern in having a meal, Paul Harber, tells Cook that the Law says they must have a parent's permission. Cook, calls his wife, Peggy Webber to check on his own young son. Webber tells Cook that he is over at a friend's place visiting.
Cook decides to stop at the hospital and ask how the young boy is. The nurse supervisor, Virginia Gregg, misunderstands Cook's question and takes Cook for the boy's father. She calls in the doctor and shoves a permission form at Cook. Cook, without really thinking about what he is doing, signs. The slip is given to the doc and the child is rushed to surgery.
Cook calls his wife again and says he will be busy for a while at the hospital, and that he will be home later. Of course the wife calls back and gets nurse, Gregg. Gregg says not to worry about her son as husband Cook is here already. Now Webber is in a panic and grabs the car and roars over. Compounding Cook's evening now are the Police. They want to know why the boy had been out at night riding a bike with no lights etc.
Now Webber comes dashing into the waiting room in a frenzy. Cook pulls her aside and tries to explain what has happened. Then, nurse Gregg tells them that the boy is out of surgery and in a recovery room. There is no holding back Webber from seeing the boy she thinks is her son. They get to the boy's room and Webber just stares at the unknown child. She looks at Cook who again pulls her aside and finally explains what he did and why. "It was the only way to save the boy's life. They could not find his parents. I had to save his life." The wife is equally happy that the boy is not her son, and equally upset with Cook for his actions.
Now the real father, Walter Reed, appears. The nurse asks if he is family etc. Cook now steps up and explains to Reed what he did. A furious Reed threatens lawsuits and such if the boy has been harmed. John Phillips, the surgeon who operated on the boy, enters the conversation. "It was a good thing you showed when you did." He says to Cook. Another five minutes and the boy would have died." Reed, after hearing the doc's comments can't thank Cook enough for his actions.
This is a real crackerjack of a series if you are asking me. Plenty of suspense with a good solid story seems to be the standard for this series. This is the fourth I've seen and they have all been winners. The director is radio director turned television and film helmsman, Fletcher Markle. Markle started out doing early STUDIO ONE live broadcasts. He helmed the feature films, JIGSAW -1949 and THE MAN WITH A CLOAK 1951 He was married to Oscar winning actress Mercedes McCambridge.
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