Medical Show Pioneers (01:50)
Actors discuss appearing on hospital dramas "ER," "St. Elsewhere," "Dr. Kildare," and "Medical Center."
Actors recall attempts to make the medical show appear realistic. Noah Wyle's character Dr. John Carter was inexperienced; view the scene that won him the role. He grew, evolved, and absorbed real medical knowledge.
Uninterrupted Shots (03:04)
Dr. Peter Benton, played by Eric La Salle, was Carter's mentor. He recalls a challenging monologue that took 22 takes. Continuous scenes had to be choreographed for dialogue, movement, and medical procedures.
"ER" Characters (03:03)
Anthony Edwards' character Dr. Mark Green loved medicine. His cancer diagnosis became the longest death scene in television history. George Clooney's womanizing character Dr. Doug Ross made him famous.
TV Guide Campaign (02:04)
Clooney advocated equal publicity for African-American co-stars and devised techniques to remember "ER" lines while shooting movies at night.
Acting Like Doctors (04:11)
"ER" test audiences protested the near death of Julianna Margulies' character Carol Hathaway. Co-stars hid their emotions. Gloria Reuben's character Jeanie Boulet shed new light on HIV. By the final season, all original actors had left.
"St. Elsewhere" (05:05)
Hear how the first realistic medical series prototyped "ER." Howie Mandel had no experience when he joined the cast. Ed Begley, Jr. discusses playing Dr. Victor Ehrlich. View a scene with Bill Daniels.
Casting and Production Innovations (03:50)
Stars like Denzel Washington got their start on "St. Elsewhere." The show was designed to look like a documentary and pioneered long shots with uninterrupted dialogue. Theater actors thrived with this technique.
Theater Actor (03:18)
Norman Lloyd recalls working with Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock. He regaled the "St. Elsewhere" cast with stories of Old Hollywood. His character Dr. Auschlander became television’s first cancer survivor.
Television "Firsts" (03:51)
"St. Elsewhere" featured the first drug addicted medical professional, autistic and AIDS patients, addressed healthcare costs, and included flawed doctors. Lloyd and Pickles discuss its controversial final episode.
"Dr. Kildare" (03:16)
In contrast to realism in "St. Elsewhere," the 1961 medical drama portrayed doctors as flawless. Richard Chamberlain took the lead role; co-star Raymond Massey became a father figure. Chamberlain discusses challenges of reaching emotional ranges.
Heartthrob Doctors (02:22)
Chamberlain on "Dr. Kildare" and Vince Edwards on "Ben Casey" attracted female viewers and fueled merchandising. Medical school enrollment increased; many people assumed the shows were realistic.
"Marcus Welby, M.D." (03:25)
Robert Young's willingness to blur the line between actor and doctor made him television's best known physician. The role helped him cope with depression and alcoholism. Medical professionals criticized his unrealistic portrayal.
Nurse Consuelo Lopez (02:23)
Elena Verdugo played the first Latina character on television with a professional career. Descended from a Southern California land owning family, she brought comic relief to "Marcus Welby, M.D."
"Medical Center" (03:09)
The CBS series starred Chad Everett as surgeon Joe Gannon and used technical advisors for medically accuracy. After the first season, Everett insisted on losing a patient to make the show more realistic.
Political Activism (04:29)
"Medical Center" helped pass California legislation protecting employees from discrimination based on medical history. Actors discuss what attracts viewers to doctors and nurses. Take a "Pioneers of Television" quiz about medical dramas.
Credits: Doctors and Nurses, Episode 2 (00:60)
Credits: Doctors and Nurses, Episode 2
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