I have been a fan of the "Perry Mason crew" and Jack Webb and Dragnet, Adam-12 and Emergency! since are all a large part of why I became a lawyer. I did not remember seeing the Emergency! pilot (I think I was nine at the time), so I watched this episode the other day. This one-hour episode thoroughly cemented the major personalities and their attitudes; also, the episode explained various aspects about the series a casual viewer may not grasp from the tenor of later episodes. The viewer is introduced to a version of the "Hawkeye Pierce" physician and "Margaret Houlihan" nurse prototypes that neither stretches credulity (or the gag reflex) of the viewer. One believes and empathizes with the skilled, ethical emergency physician, partnered by his competent, yet independent, nurse, who is, herself, a veteran of the Korean War "triage" theatre. One understands the genesis of the emergency hospital system on display in the series (where many providers donated their time and talent and where registered nurses traveled on the road with firefighters who were not trained to render medical attention to the victims). And, the viewer sees how Rampart 51 got its start... and how several, but few, firefighters became firefighter paramedics. This show, miraculously, is a solid hit with our generation of America; I say this is "miraculous" because the show depicts REAL LIFE type of medicine and law I have seen throughout my life and not the HollyJollywood soft-pedal fantasy that, obviously, a few other viewers prefer. No one is texting, singing, voting or trying to keep up with another back in good, ole this show still has the power to amaze 2013 audiences.
I really enjoyed this "first" episode. Obviously, effects and manner of story telling are very different 40 years later, but the show was still enjoyable, the characters well-formed and the story interesting. It made me want to continue on to the next episode.
Jack Web can't direct. He proved that in the pace, character, and structure of the episode. Nevertheless, Kevin and Randolph have enough acting chops to make it work. They are the best parts of the pilot. he Dr. Brackett character is about as likable as a wet tshirt in a snowstorm. He has an uncanny ability to be insulting without any effort. This of course was the dramatic tension between paramedics and doctors in the field; nevertheless, this was about as exciting as washing dishes. Pace is groaning nevertheless this was the setup for a great tv series that was always innocent and charming requiring not too much effort. Some will say this is too simplistic and foolish but considering how scary the world is today, sometimes dropping our tensions into the world of simplicity and charm seems like a pretty good recipe for a night off.
The start of it all. Roy and John are new to the paramedics there waiting for the legislation to pass so they can use there training. Dr. Brackett is against the program. Mean while Roy and John go on emergency calls but they half to have a Nurse along who can administer Drugs. When Dixie McCall is Injured they go against Dr. Brackett call to wait for another Nurse. Dr. Brackett finely changes his mind a goes to the legislation committee to testify that the Program is needed. Later when there's a cave in and a man is having a heat attack Dr. Brackett tells Roy and John to shock the man even though the bill has not pass. They do saving the man's life.
This is one of the best pilots I have ever seen. It has action, adventure, character depth, a little comedy, and a good steady plot.
Action and adventure wise, the rescues are exciting. The best two are the accident where Dixie gets hurt and the cave in. These scenes were very realistic with the exception of the floating rocks in the cave in. Clearly they were made of some sort of foam. There is quite a bit of character development in this pilot. We see John Gage going from only wanting to be a rescue man to signing up for the training, telling Brackett "To hell with the orders", to stopping Roy from treating a man in the cave in because doing so might jepordize the bill's passage. Roy is a graduate of the first paramedic class. He helped train Johnny's class. He calls Johnny Junior at one point in the pilot. He is older than Johnny, and a war veteran. He is an encourger.
Dixie works in the ER as a nurse. She handles the nursing part of ER. She is a Korean war veteran. She is very much in favor of the paramedic program. She is in a relationship with Kel Brackett, Rampart's chief of Emergency services. They clash over the paramedic program. **Sidebar** Too bad they did not do anything with that relationship in the series.
Dr. Kel Brackett, as previsously mentioned,is Rampart's Chief of Emergency services. He is not at all in favor of the paramedic program...that is until Johnny ignores his orders and saves Dixie's life. He realizes that immediate on scene care is important, and that there are not enough doctors to do it alone. His speech to the committee about the bill helps it pass. His confidence in Roy and Johnny is shown when the lies, telling the the bill has already passed and has them treat a heart attack victim at the cave in rescue.
Dr. Joe Early has a small role in the pilot. We do know he has his own practice. He donates time to Rampart's ER. He can also play the piano and sing.
All in all this was an excellent pilot. It set the background for the series very well.
The first time I saw the pilot was in syndication and it was a 4th season episode in which Roy and Johnny flashback to the first day they met. It was thrilling to see the whole pilot episode in its unedited entirety when I got it on video through Columbia House and now I have on DVD via the 1st season of Emergency season set.
It is a great episode all the way around especially when Johnny decides he wants to give up being a fireman because he didn't get the man to the hospital in time to save him and Roy talks him out of it. Also was when Dr. Brackett at first is very adament on his stand about the paramedic program.
There is also some instancies in this episode that Dr. Brackett and Nurse McCall were more than doctor and nurse and that both had romantic feelings for each other. There is another episode(Boutilsm) where briefly they fight in the coffee
room at the hospital where Brackett argues with McCall about the school nurse program and then when he goes to her apartment and finds out that she burns the dinner. Unforunately after this, no other time were their romance even mentioned or touched upon.
Emergency is a super drama all the way and hopefully the rest of the seasons plus the TV movies come out on DVD.
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