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Dr. Kildare: Wikis

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Dr. James Kildare is a fictional character, the primary character in a series of American theatrical films in the late 1930s and early 1940s, an early 1950s radio series, a 1960s television series of the same name and a comic book based on the TV show. The character was invented by the author Frederick Schiller Faust (aka Max Brand).

Contents

Films

The character begins the film series as a medical intern; after becoming a doctor, he is mentored by an older physician, Dr. Leonard Gillespie. After the first ten films, the series eliminated the character of Kildare and focused instead on Gillespie. Lew Ayres, who had played the young doctor beginning in the second movie, was a conscientious objector and then a Medical Corpsman serving during World War II. He was replaced in the series by Van Johnson and Keye Luke, portraying young interns. Previously, Luke had become well known as Number One Son in the Fox Film Corporation Charlie Chan series, and he later became even more famous as Master Po in the TV series Kung Fu.

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Later films without Kildare

Radio

In the summer of 1949, MGM reunited Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore to record the radio series, The Story of Dr. Kildare, scripted by Les Crutchfield, Jean Holloway and others. After broadcasts on WMGM New York from February 1, 1950 to August 3, 1951, the series was syndicated to other stations during the 1950s. The supporting cast included Ted Osborne as hospital administrator Dr. Carough, Jane Webb as nurse Mary Lamont and Virginia Gregg as Nurse Parker, labeled "Nosy Parker" by Gillespie, with appearances by William Conrad, Stacy Harris, Jay Novello, Isabel Jewell and Jack Webb.

Television

Dr. Kildare is an NBC medical drama television series which ran from September 27, 1961 until April 5, 1966, encompassing a total of 190 episodes. The show, which premiered at the same time as an ABC medical drama, Ben Casey, quickly achieved success and helped spark a number of new shows dealing with the medical field.

Kildare told the story of a young intern, Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain), working in a fictional large metropolitan hospital (Blair General) whilst trying to learn his profession, dealing with the problems of the patients, and winning the respect of the senior doctor, Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Raymond Massey).

In the series' first episode, Gillespie tells the earnest Kildare, "Our job is to keep people alive, not to tell them how to live." Kildare ignores the advice, which provides the basis for stories over the next four seasons, many with a soap opera touch. The series was largely responsible for making Chamberlain, who beat 35 other contenders for the role, a teen idol in the 1960s. He also recorded a song, "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight," with the music from the show's familiar opening theme. In 2006 Chamberlain reprised the role in a parody of Grey's Anatomy (along with other famous TV doctors from Julia, St. Elsewhere, M*A*S*H and The Love Boat) on the 2006 TV Land Awards.

Comics

Dell Comics' short-lived comic book based on the television show lasted nine issues from 1962 to 1965. The first two issues were part of the Four Color Comics line. Ken Bald drew the Dr. Kildare comic strip for 21 years (1962-1983).

Satires

  • In Blazing Saddles, One of Boris the Hangman's "clients" is an elderly man in a wheelchair referred to as the perpetrator of "the Doctor Gillespie killings.".

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References

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