Dr. Kildare : Season Five Project

Season Five Project

I’ve been watching the recently-released DVD of Dr. Kildare’s 5th season and have had so many opinions I decided to organize them and post them.

For the first four years, Dr. Kildare was an excellent but conventional TV series: a once a week, hour drama about the medical profession, a rival to Ben Casey, (when will that be out on DVD?), and a pre-cursor to Marcus Welby, Medical Center, E/R, Grey’s Anatomy and others. But for their fifth season, they decided to experiment with multi-part episodes told in half hour segments, twice a week. It turned the show into more of a soap opera but also opened up the possibility of more complicated, movie-length stories. I saw one of them, years ago, a remarkable story of an atheist who has a heart attack and claims to have seen God, years ago and was amazed by how good it was. But this proved to be the last season of Dr. Kildare, so I guess the great experiment didn’t work.

The series may have run its course but I think one problem was that the quality of the fifth season episodes is very uneven and if they were stuck in a bad one, they were stuck in for weeks. There’s also the problem with continuity, (which works beautifully in daytime soaps and has been used effectively in prime time in recent years), is that you’ve got to have seen the prior episodes to fully know what it going on and prime time audiences in the 1960’s may not have been used to that.

One note: Lee Kurty is an agreeable addition to the show. The Barbara Eden look-alike takes over as the head nurse on Kildare’s floor and becomes a possible romantic interest for the handsome young doctor, (who must have been tied of that after all the failed romances of the first four seasons). Kurty’s character becomes a second sounding board for our hero, in addition to Dr. Gillepsie. Kurty has a strong presence and maturity to go with a beautiful face and deep voice, giving her sufficient gravitas of the role. Strangely, this is her last credit on the IMDB, (she was 26 years old at the time), and it doesn’t show a marriage that might have been the reason. She died at age 70 of dementia, probably no longer remembering what she was so young and pretty and strong on Dr. Kildare.

I've put my reviews of the Season Five stories, bunched under the first episode of each story.





The past is a series of presents. The present is living history we are privileged to witness

Re: Season Five Project

Thanks for your insightful post and your episode reviews as well. I have the 1st 3 seasons on dvd, still need to get the last two.
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