Emergency! (TV Series 1972–1979) Poster


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One of the most influential series of all time.
Paul-30817 May 2003
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.
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A Saturday night staple back in the day
raysond8 June 2000
"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 that lasted six seasons and 122 episodes airing from January 15,1972 until May 28, 1977 with six made for television movies based on the series airing from January 7,1978 until July 3, 1979. The series was produced under Jack Webb's production company Mark VII Limited Productions and Universal Television and was the creation of producer Jack Webb along with Robert A. Cinader and Harold Jack Bloom who served as executive producers. "Emergency!" premiered as the mid-season replacement for two NBC situation comedies that were abruptly canceled..."The Don Adams Show",and "The Good Life" on its Saturday night schedule in January of 1972.

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 15,1972(which was also the pilot episode of the series)was the most gripping ever,which in turn begins the partnership of Gage and Desoto and the situations they encounter(which in a riveting and powerful episode Nurse McCall is injured when she tries to save a woman from a burning car hanging inches over a steep cliff,and its up to Gage and Desoto in a race against time to save them both). This also featured in the pilot episode Martin Milner and Kent McCord from "Adam-12"(also another successful Jack Webb produced series for NBC).

The producer and creator of this show was Jack Webb(the man who was Joe Friday from Dragnet)who made "Emergency!" one of the best action- adventure series ever to come out of the 1970's which during that time he was producing shows like "Adam-12","The District Attorney aka "The D.A.",and "O'Hara-US Treasury")and it was so successful on its prime time Saturday night line-up against strong competition with "The Mary Tyler Moore Show",and "All In The Family". The series was such a colossal hit that NBC also green lighted under the supervision of Jack Webb its own Saturday Morning cartoon show under the title "Emergency Plus-4" that aired on NBC's Saturday Morning schedule on September 8,1973 featuring the voices of Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe.
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Thor200024 September 2001
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 !
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DOCTORLUXEA16 March 2003
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 many of today's firefighters became firefighters after watching Emergency as a kid. Same goes for how many kids became cops after watching Adam-12.

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.
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Great show; still holds my interest
jandlthomas13 September 2002
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.
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Go go Gage & DeSoto
onamission17 September 2007
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.
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A Treat to See Again; A Quest Completed
Air America13 December 2007
Warning: 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!
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A more realistic show...
davis6211 November 2000
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..
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Emergency! is the best!!!!
SpencerC15 May 2000
E! is my favorite show in the world. I love the life at the firehouse, especially when poor Johnny gets hit with water balloons!! I also love the silly rescues- kid getting his hand stuck in a gum ball machine or guys getting stuck in the couch. those are funny. I love this show and anyone should watch it! Especially the episode "Snakebite" A great "johnny Owie" one!!! And the defibrillator RULES!!! LOL
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Before CHIPS we had this great television series!
THX-1328 July 1999
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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A show that everyone must see!!
Brenden20 August 2007
The beginning of the show, in the Wedsworth-Townsend Act, everything is quiet, your seeing the fire trucks, then you go up the pole, see all of the fireman and then, breaking the silence, the big loud fire alarm blasts waking not only you but also the fireman up. The fire trucks race to the scene and you can sense what the show is like from there. Johnny and Roy are one of the most memorable characters from the jokes to the rescues and then to serious matters, you can always know that they are ready for anything. The hospital always packs all kinds of scenarios from a lady getting stuck to a toilet seat to a doctor in Rampart Emergency dieing of a heart attack, the hospital always has something either unusual or something serious to show you. When squad 51 goes out on a rescue Johnny and Roy immediately start to provide the best medical care, they flip open the biophone, they get the information and they administer the drugs. After watching a couple of episodes of Emergency, you will never want to stop watching it. Buying Emergency! on DVD would be one of the greatest investments you ever made.
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Love the show!!
jfisher-1010 September 2005
I religiously watched this show as a child, played the roles with my friends and dreamed that someday I would be a firefighter/EMT. I never seemed to realize that I would live out that dream as a career right up until I started the job. If the creators of that show only knew how far ahead of their time they were. I was glad to see it was on TvLand for a short time and would love to see it come back. My crew just ordered the DVD's. Can't wait for them to arrive. I still kick myself for not saving all of the memorabilia that I had from back then, but who knew!! It is also amazing that the antics that went on in that station, still go on today. Some of the crazy meals too. Keep safe out there. And by the way, according to Johnny's quote about the stations without poles, my station does not have a pole.....
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Before Clooney, There Mantooth
Brian Washington7 March 2004
Twenty years before George Clooney and Anthony Edwards made emergency rooms sexy, Randolph Mantooth graced the bedroom walls of many a young teenage girl. This was probably the first medical show where action was a key component of the plot. This was a hallmark of the man who created this show, Jack Webb. Most medical shows up until that point were basically soap operas that dealt with the traumas of life and death. This show was the first that really made the viewers look at the day to day action of a modern hospital emergency room. Because of this, many of its young viewers were inspired to become firemen, paramedics and doctors.

Also, this was one of the most ironic shows on television due to the fact that Jack Webb not only hired his ex-wife and her current husband to play two of the leads. That had to make it very interesting in production meetings.
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Jack Webb - New Venue
DKosty12310 September 2007
In a way, Jack Webb cloned his Adam-12 success with this series in 1972. The setting & cast are different, I mean how can anyone with a colorful name like Randolph Mantooth fail? The regulars on this series provided some spark for sure as like the Adam-12 team they provided some of the spark for this show too.

Another similar thing is the action. Being set in a fire house & on the streets often on calls, Emergency has it's fair share of action sequences. Most of them are very well done too. One difference between this & Adam-12 is that it is set in a 60 minute format so the stories could be bigger & more extensive.

This had to be an easy sell to NBC execs, as you have the experienced Jack Webb production team who seems to endlessly come up with good action stories & endlessly keeps finding cast members that play off each other well. This show was a very good show.

Once again, rerun heaven for it might be established once it is released on DVD, as it might pick up some fans.
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I Too Loved Emergency!
rustyr302815 August 2005
I too Completely enjoyed this show as a child and Adam-12 as well. I have already marked Aug 23 on my calendar so that I can finally have my favorite shows on DVD. THANKS Universal! I'm looking forward to letting my kids enjoy the shows that gave me so much enjoyment and I don't have to worry about them seeing or hearing anything risqué', unlike the shows that are on today. I do enjoy CSI and ER and Third Watch but Always had to record it and watch it later when the kids weren't around. When these shows, Adam-12 and Emergency!, were no longer on, I always thought the older I got, the cornier these shows would be, if I ever saw them again. I was wrong. I still enjoy them and they always bring back fond memories of my childhood, when I would sit in my dad's lap and watch.
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An classic series that has aged unevenly .
Ken-1201 May 2003
When I was a kid, this series was a blast to watch with its action and fire trucks. However, watching this series again after so many years tends to bring its flaws to light.

For instance, the show generally worked on a strict formula. The typical episode generally had some expository action at the fire station to set up the humour subplot just before the station is called up for a dispatch. After that, the episode generally alternates the action with the paramedics responding to calls which themselves alternate with the serious and trivial while the staff of Rampart Hospital follow up. At the end, the fire crew typically responds to a major emergency, typically a big fire with explosions. In between the calls, there is the humour subplot at the station with is typically a bunch of comedic piffle which often involves the paramedic crew trying out a scheme to find another career outside the service. I typically mute those scenes which unfortunately often means missing their cool dispatch klaxon.

With that being said, the show still is a thrill when the characters focus on their jobs, The rescue sequences are exciting affairs that show excellent production values in a time when American network TV could pull in the audience numbers to justify the budgets for those spectacular scenes.

In short, this series is still wonderful viewing on a late saturday night, but more frequent viewings would wear it out for the viewer. However on a weekly basis, its a fun view.
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The Third Watch of the '70s
bcolquho3 June 2005
Before the 55th Precinct, before Sully, before Ty, before Doc, before Carlos, there was Emergency! Emergency! was the Third Watch of the '70s. Granted, it got its start on Adam 12 and it wasn't an integrated show like Third Watch, but in those naive days pre- 9/111/01, it was pretty cool. Roy Desoto, Johnny Gage, and the rest of Station 51, where Squad 51 was based, was actually a real fire station. That was the station shown in the opening scene. It was about the lives of the paramedics of the LA County Fire Department. Like Third Watch, Emergency! was about the professional lives of the paramedics. Unlike Third Watch, it didn't show their private lives. Desoto's wife, Joanne, wasn't seen in the series at all. The rescues were real. The fires were also real. However, as the disclaimer said at the end of the show, the names were changed to protect the innocent.
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Best Warning Alarm to ever sound on television!
pgoat32811 April 2000
I remember watching this as a youngin' back in the 1970s. As a young boy I loved the red trucks and all the tools and gadgets, and the derring-do of Roy & Johnny G. But I also remember my older sister's teen idol magazines featuring Mr. Mantooth alongside the likes of Donny, David and Michael Gray. This show is on TV Land and I faithfully watch every night. I don't much care about the trucks (which only make right turns, by the way, something I never noticed as a child) these days but there's so much untapped gold here; forget the guaranteed guest appearances of soon to be stars, the silly predicaments to be encountered (my favorite: freeing a portly woman from her strangulating girdle). The real fun here is the hospital staff, initially the focus of the series, quickly and rightfully regulated to supporting shadow status, they are so creepy the patients would have done better to be treated at curbside by Chet & Marco. Julie London is a true fright, Dr. Brackett is so surly he makes Ben Casey look like Marcus Welby. The Hair styles are cool too; watch the afros come and go, Randy's hair gradually succumb to gravity and growth, and - especially - Kevin Tighe's 'do trying to keep up. He has a new hair style every episode, each one worse than the last! Actually, the Firehouse banter is fun and well acted. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AS BRAIN CANDY/NOSTALGIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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What a return to the past...
jpavlica19 July 2001
I was really little when this show was on T.V. (Actually, I was still in my mother's belly when it first started airing!) I did not like Johnny Gage. He really gave me the creeps. I liked Roy DeSoto even less. I absolutely hated this show. About a year ago, my husband and I were vacationing in Virginia with our two sons, then ages 3 and 1. We were in our hotel room one evening when I came out of the shower, and I could not believe my eyes when I saw what was on the television. Actually, it took me more time to recognize the show than to simply ask,"Is that Emergency?!?" My 3-year old, Josh, was hooked immediately. He loved the firetrucks, the firemen, the ambulance, the whole shabang. When we got home from vacation, we didn't have cable, but we got it at the beginning of this year, and my son was glued to the tube whenever Emergency was on. Now the cable station has changed the airing time to the middle of the night, and he can't watch it much anymore, but he still asks to watch it and gets upset when we tell him it's not on when he can watch it. Ask Josh what his favorite part of the show is? "The Firetruck Station. And when the boy got his hand stuck in the gum machine." I love Emergency!
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Boost to EMS
I doubt there is scientific measurement to support it, but this series helped with acceptance of our Emergency Medical System we have today. Without this, 911 may have been delayed in concept as well as implementation; and many young folks of both the first run and syndicated showings may very well have had no interest in becoming EMT's and Paramedics. Besides the unwitting public service, this show is exciting!
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The main characters - Gage and DeSoto - keep it interesting
calvinnme19 October 2010
I remember watching this great show on Saturday nights back when I was in high school. In those days, the networks put the good TV shows on Saturdays. Today, Saturday night is a graveyard for the pseudo-cancelled. It's hard to believe that almost 40 years ago the concept of the paramedic was a novel one, and this is a great show about the problems and personal lives of those involved in those early days of the program.

Emergency kept the pace fast and interesting with a combination of strange, dramatic, and even humorous cases. More unusual cases I remember from the series include the rescue of a boy trapped inside his own homemade rocket, a man who has difficulty breathing because he has swallowed his partial dental plate, an amateur magician trapped in a safe, a bank robbery hostage has symptoms of a heart attack and the paramedics have to treat him at gunpoint, a patient with an earache caused by mothballs, and an artist trapped inside his own sculpture.

The personal side of Emergency is interesting too. The chemistry between paramedics John Gage and Roy DeSoto is great and their various misadventures are frequently humorous. They're good friends but quite different people. Roy is a family man through and through, and John is a carefree single guy. I remember one particularly funny conversation in which John is actually thinking about marriage but is not sure he and the girl have known each other long enough. He asks Roy how long he knew his wife before they got married and Roy says 12 years. When John says that is a ridiculous period of time to wait, Roy mentions that he and his wife met in the fourth grade. That's a pretty typical conversation for the two. I highly recommend this series. If you've never seen it, even though medicine has changed drastically, it is still good entertainment. Highly recommended.
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Other Locations Where People Can Find Emergency! Shows
agbtg25 June 2008
For those who have Netflix, let them be aware that they can download instant watching of all seven years of Emergency! Not all episodes can be watched instantly, some have to come in the form of a DVD, but most of the episodes can be watched instantly at least as many times as their particular plan allows.

I am a big fan of Emergency! It is nice to watch a show where I agree with almost everything that they are doing and saying. I guess that probably dates me, but I don't really care. What I do care about is the fact that this was, and is in my opinion still a great show that anyone can watch or purchase online as well.

Hopefully there will be others out there along with me who would like to see an updated form of Emergency! on television right now without all of the violence, swearing, sexual content and car scenes that were not needed to make Emergency! a great show! They did have their fair share of explosions and fire which was okay. Firefighters have to deal with fire and explosion and a series dealing with firefighters that didn't encounter those two elements would be suspect.

And since Emergency! can be found Online for both watching and purchasing, and can be found on NBC as stated as well as Netflix, I would think it could be found other places as well.

If you like Emergency! as well as I than perhaps we will have a bit of the 70s back into our lives on a regular basis or a new version of the same show updated.
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an action packed drama
cgwright15 August 2000
I remember growing up and waiting every week for Emergency! to come on. My family knew that when Emergency! came on I was not to be disturbed. I was so engrossed with Randolph Mantooth that I bought all of the "Tiger Beat" magazines I could, because I knew that details about him would be included, including those glossy photos. If you are an Emergency! fan or a fan of Randolph Mantooth please feel free to contact me and we can discuss our favorite episodes.
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The"ER"of the 70's.
sly-221 April 2001
To this very day this was and still is my favorite T.V.show. I must have watched every episode a half dozen times. I first started watching this show when I was about five, must have been about 1973 or 74 when shows like ADOM-12 and all in the family were burning up prime time.

I can still recall every saturday night at 8:00 PM on channel 4 before we even had cable T.V. tuning in to station 51 with roy desoto and johnny gage along with chet kelly, marco lopez, mike stoker and capt. hank stanly. it was my ultimate escape from reality for being only knee-high to a grasshopper at that time I was probably the only kid in america who got more enjoyment in watching this show than watching monday night football.There seems to be three different stories in each episode that are running in a straight line, the victims, the firefighters and the staff of rampart general hospital all having to cope with measures that require immediate action leading us as the viewer never to a dull moment but always in a constant state of sitting out to climax.
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