Dr. Kildare (1961-1966)
The Eleventh Hour (1962-1964)
Dr. Kildare is the granddaddy of every medical drama on TV today. Dr. Kildare was a series before there even WAS television. Back before the boob tube when people had to get their drama groove on by going to the movies, Hollywood actually cranked out movie series. That's where Dr. Kildare started.
Dr. Kildare was the story of young, earnest Dr. James Kildare. Helping people, being all serious and concerned, making female viewers wish he'd get all serious and concerned over them. He was George Clooney's Dr. Doug Ross decades before that character ever was invented. Balancing out the young new doctor was his mentor Dr. Leonard Gillespie, the older more seasoned surgeon. They helped people dammit!
Then came TV. Suddenly there was a new market for Hollywood just demanding shows to fill up all the broadcast hours. Imagine that. A day and age when there just wasn't enough stuff to fill the TV dial with. What to do? Many studios decided to go with what they already knew worked. They took their successful movie series and made them over into TV series.
Dr. Kildare was a natural to make the transition to the small screen. So in 1961 Dr. Kildare hit TV on the NBC network. TV's Dr. Kildare was played by young and handsome Richard Chamberlain. All good looking and angsty, he helped make the show a hit.
And if one doctor show is good, two's gotta be better, right? But shows each need to have their own angle. NBC's show The Eleventh Hour was a kind of Dr. Kildare series. But instead of focusing on straight physical medicine, The Eleventh Hour focused on psychiatry. So young angsty psychiatrist and his mentor helping to deal with patients who were maybe a little more young and angsty than was healthy. Or, you know, just plain old loopy. (Loopy is a medical term.)
NBC must have figured, well, if one of these shows is good and two is better then putting them together has got to be amazing. The TV equivalent of putting chocolate and peanut butter together into a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
I gotta hand it to them. What they came up with sounds pretty attention grabbing to me. And it did win some awards. Can't argue with that. The show was a two parter starting on Dr. Kildare and ending on The Eleventh Hour.
The story starts with a young girl being rushed to the hospital unconscious and in seep trouble. As it turns out the girl, unwed and pregnant, took some good old fashioned do-it-yourself abortion juice. Only it turns out what she actually made was some good old fashioned poison-yourself suicide soda. She nearly killed herself and the baby was fine.
I should point out the girl, Darlene Landon, was played by Marta Kristen. She also played the older blonde Robinson sister on Lost In Space.
Seems the father of Darlene's unplanned bundle of joy is young Bob Quincy. Bob Quincy was played by Tony Dow, aka Wally from Leave It To Beaver. Wally! WALLY CLEAVER!!!
As it turns out both these kids' parents suck. None of them were The Cleavers. Bob's mom and dad make pro wrestlers look like diplomats. Meanwhile Darlene's laying there all preggers having just attempted suicide and where her mom's head is at is how this will affect her daughter socially. Nice.
So, yelling non-supportive parents and a suicidal pregnant girlfriend in the hospital. Is it any wonder that Wally... I mean Bob... snapped, spazzed, went bonkers? That's right. Sweet Tony Dow lost his marbles. That brought an end to part one with his story to be continued on The Eleventh Hour.
Not to repeat myself excessively but... that's awesome! Sweet Wally Cleaver sexes up Judt Robinson and gets her pregnant only to have her go suicidal. Then both sets of parents help lay so much pressure on him that he goes nuts. Wow! Who knew?
Now while finding info on Dr. Kildare episodes is relatively easy, trying to find info on the long forgotten Eleventh Hour is another story. Info on part two beyond the fact the it did happened and aired on X date has been next to impossible. Which is a shame because I actually really want to know where this story went! I mean, clearly the shows addressed the issues involved more seriously than I have. And that is a lot of pretty heady subject matter, especially for the time it was made. I wanna know what happened to Wally dammit!
Sadly for now, all I have is my own speculation and imagination as to what happened in part two. Again, I think my speculations are probably a little more wacky goofy than the grim truth of what happened in the episode. I leave it to your own imaginations as well. If you have any speculation on part 2, feel free to drop me a line on what you think might have happened next.
Man I'm sure I'm gonna regret asking for that. Heheheheh.
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