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Emergency!

Updated on September 10, 2009

Squad 51, this is Rampart...

Emergency! was a pioneering TV show that thrilled audiences and had a direct impact on the field of emergency medicine. Each week firefighter/paramedics Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage raced to the rescue with humor and bravery. Come along for the ride with Squad 51!

The Emergency! Season Five DVD Set is available now at Amazon.com for about $25 with free shipping available.

Not just a show for kids

Lots of kids want to be firefighters when they grow up, and Emergency! is a thrill for every one of them, but the show was much more than kids' entertainment. The timing and scope of the show meant that it played an important role in the development of paramedic programs throughout the country.

By the late 1960s, CPR was well established as a means for ambulance drivers to provide meaningful care for patients before they arrived at a hospital, and the medical community had begun to explore the possibility of training non-physicians in more advanced medical care. In July 1970, in spite of opposition from the California Medical Association, the California Fire Chiefs Association, and other powerful interest groups, California governor Ronald Reagan signed the The Wedworth-Townsend Paramedic Act, formally creating the first paramedic program in Los Angeles County.

The pilot episode of Emergency!, entitled "The Wedworth-Townsend Act," aired in early 1972. The plot involved firefighters Roy DeSoto and John Gage deciding to join the new paramedic program even as they faced opposition from the medical establishment. By the end of the pilot, the firefighters convince their greatest opponent, Dr. Brackett, of the value of the program, and in the end Dr. Brackett's testimony is key to the fictionalized version of the passage of the legislation.

Emergency! went on to show the rest of America what was happening with emergency medical services in Los Angeles, as each week Gage and DeSoto assisted Dr. Brackett in saving lives. Soon officials and ordinary citizens throughout the country were demanding the same services in their own communities, and Emergency! is widely credited with playing an important role in creating the level of prehospital emergency care we take for granted today.

Emergency! on DVD

The first five seasons of Emergency! are available now on DVD. Check back for updates on availability of later seasons.

Emergency! Facts & Trivia

  • The show originally aired in early 1972 and ran for six seasons.
  • Station 51 as seen on the show is actually Los Angeles County Fire Station 127 in Carson, California, and is still in use today. It has since been renamed Robert A. Cinader Memorial Fire Station in honor of the producer of the show.
  • The exterior of Rampart Emergency Hospital is Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.
  • Julie London (Nurse Dixie McCall) and Bobby Troup (Dr. Joe Early) were married for more than 40 years. Julie London's first husband was Jack Webb, creator of Emergency!
  • The character of John Gage was based on the real firefighter/paramedic Jim Gage, who helped create the paramedic program in LA County. Randolph Mantooth was a speaker at Jim Gage's 2004 funeral.
  • The 1965 Crown Fire Coach used as the first Engine 51 is on display at the LA Fire Museum.
  • A 1973 Ward LaFrance pumper was also used as Engine 51 on the show and is still in use today at Yosemite National Park.
  • Real-life LA firefighter/engineer Mike Stoker played himself on the show. He got the role because the show's producers wanted a qualified firefighter to drive the fire truck and Stoker happened to have a Screen Actors Guild card.
  • Kevin Tighe (Firefighter/Paramedic Roy DeSoto) can currently be seen on Lost as recurring character Anthony Cooper, father of Terry O'Quinn's John Locke.

Guest Stars on Emergency!

  • Tony Dow (Wally on Leave It To Beaver) as Motorcycle Rider in "Brush Fire" (Season 1)
  • Ronne Troup (Chip's wife Polly on My Three Sons, daughter of Emergency!'s Bobby Troup) as Judy in "Crash" (Season 1)
  • Jeff Donnell (Quartermaine housekeeper Stella Fields on General Hospital) as Katie in "Crash" (Season 1)
  • Cicely Tyson (Guiding Light, Roots) as Mrs. Johnson in "Crash" (Season 1)
  • Kevin Dobson (Kojak, Knots Landing, The Bold and the Beautiful) as 1st Deputy in "Decision" (aka "Problem," Season 2)
  • Lloyd Bochner (Dynasty, Hawaii Five-0) as Dr. Sutherland in "Decision" (aka "Problem," Season 2)
  • John Travolta as Chuck Benson in "Kids" (Season 2)
  • Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives) as Nurse Sally Lewis in six episodes, beginning with "Show Biz" (Season 2)
  • Cathy Lee Crosby (That's Incredible) as Jenny Hollister in "Virus" (Season 2)
  • Larry Storch (Corporal Randolph Agarn on F Troop) as Ben Wesley in "Saddled" (Season 2)
  • Kelly Troup (daughter of Emergency!'s Bobby Troup and Julie London) as Debbi in "Saddled" (Season 2)
  • Ronne Troup (Chip's wife Polly on My Three Sons, daughter of Emergency!'s Bobby Troup) as Lisa Hill in "Saddled" (Season 2)
  • Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey) as Sheila in "Fuzz Lady" (Season 2) and as Sculptor in "Election" (Season 5)
  • Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester on The Addams Family) as Junkyard Owner in "Trainee" (Season 2)
  • Dick Van Patten (Eight is Enough) as Man with Hand Stuck in Sink in "Women" (Season 2) and as Cartle Merkl in "Grateful" (Season 5)
  • Melissa Gilbert (Laura on Little House on the Prairie) as Jenny in "Dinner Date" (Season 2)
  • Jamie Farr (Corporal/Sergeant Maxwell Q. Klinger on M*A*S*H) as Alan Austen in "Helpful" and "Boot" (Season 2)
  • Frank Maxwell (Dan Rooney on General Hospital) as Captain Carter in "Drivers" and "The Professor" (Season 2)
  • Joe E. Tata (Nat on Beverly Hills, 90210) as Neighbor in "Honest" (Season 2)
  • Bruno Kirby (City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally...) as Ken in "Seance" (Season 2)
  • Vic Tayback (Mel on Alice) as Tanker Driver in "Boot" (Season 2)
  • Marion Ross (Happy Days) as Margaret in "Inheritance Tax" (Season 3)
  • Jo Anne Worley (Laugh In) as Screaming Woman in "Zero" (Season 3)
  • Mariette Hartley (Dr. Claire Morton on Peyton Place) as Mrs. Mannering in "Zero" (Season 3)
  • Kathleen Quinlan (American Graffiti) as Janet in "Understanding" (Season 3)
  • Donny Most (Ralph Malph on Happy Days) as Fred Wilson in "Computer Error" (Season 3)
  • Bonnie Bartlett (Grace Snyder on Little House on the Prairie, Dave, Twins) as Eunice Evans in "Computer Error" (Season 3)
  • Audrey Landers (The Huggabug Club, One Life to Live, Somerset) as Marsha in "Computer Error" (Season 3)
  • Dick Butkus (NFL legend) as #55, The Animal, in "The Hard Hours" (Season 3)
  • Nick Nolte (48 Hours, Cape Fear) as Fred in "The Hard Hours" (Season 3)
  • Larry Csonka (Hall of Fame football player) as Al in "The Screenwriter" (Season 4)
  • John Carradine (The Grapes of Wrath) as Jonas Larson in "Daisy's Pick" (Season 4)
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (legendary NBA basketball player) as Man Stuck in Car in "Foreign Trade" (Season 4)
  • Linda Dano (Another World, One Life to Live, Guiding Light) as Lora Gibson in "The Firehouse Four" (Season 4)
  • Erik Estrada (CHiPs) as Man With Eye Injury in "Details" (Season 4)
  • Adam West (Batman) as Vic Webster in "The Bash" (Season 4)
  • Mark Harmon (Chicago Hope, St. Elsewhere, NCIS) as Officer Dave Gordon in "905-Wild" (Season 4)
  • Wolfman Jack (Radio Hall of Fame inductee) as himself in "The Inspection" Season 5
  • Ruth Buzzi (Laugh-In) as Amy Merkl in "Grateful" (Season 5)
  • Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas) as Judy in "That Time of Year" (Season 6)
  • Joanna Kerns (Maggie Seaver on Growing Pains) as Joanne DeVarona in "Firehouse Quintet" (Season 6)

Behind-the-Scenes Book on Emergency!

Emergency!: Behind the Scene
Emergency!: Behind the Scene

This book captures the essence of an important chapter in television history: coverage of the origins of the Emergency!, a dramatic series significant beyond entertainment. Emergency! followed the daily lives of a pair of Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters/paramedics, along with their colleagues at Station 51 and the emergency room staff of Rampart General Hospital. The book offers a behind the scenes look, packed with interviews from many of the medical and fire department technical advisors, cast members, writers, and other production crew members that worked on the series.

 

Emergency! Cast

  • Randolph Mantooth as Firefighter/Paramedic Johnny Gage
  • Kevin Tighe as Firefighter/Paramedic Roy DeSoto
  • Robert Fuller as Dr. Kelly Brackett
  • Julie London as Nurse Dixie McCall
  • Bobby Troup as Dr. Joe Early
  • Tim Donnelly as Firefighter Chet Kelly
  • Michael Norell as Captain Hank Stanley

Baby Boomer Lens of the Week

This lens was chosen Baby Boomer Lens of the Week on September 8, 2007. Thanks to KimGiancaterino for the nomination and to GiddyGabby for running the great group Boomers Rock!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Johnny and Roy showed us how firemen trained as paramedics, much like medics on the field of battle, could save lives. Ring the station bell for Freaknoodles and give a woot to KimGiancaterino, formerly timefortravel, for her seventh winning pick.

Tell me what you think!

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    • kerryhrabstock profile image

      kerryhrabstock 

      5 years ago

      Love Emergency. Still watch it. They did so much for the paramedic program in this country. Randy Mantooth still does. In fact, a few years ago I purchased an autographed pic from his website and he signed a birthday wish to my volunteer firefighter brother. He raises a lot of money for fire dept. charities.

    • Mike ha profile image

      Mike ha 

      9 years ago

      One of my alltime favorites and one of the few shows my sister and I agreed on. Her because of Gage and me due to Dixie. Flaked me out when I found out she was with the old guy...Bobby Troupe.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      i loved Roy De Soto and the whole show!!!!

    • Lewister profile image

      Susan 

      10 years ago from Texas

      Wow! I had no idea Emergency played any kind of role in bringing about paramedic services. Guess I'm too young to remember a time when there weren't paramedics. But I remember watching Emergency as a kid. My mom loved shows that showed authority figures in a positive light! :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      where can i get a copy of the two hour tv movie, Emergency; "what's a nice girl like you..... "?

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      11 years ago

      OH! I had the biggest crush on Johnny Gage!! Great lens here, thanks for bringing back good memories.

    • profile image

      Kabsannie 

      11 years ago

      Wow great lens here. 5 stars. Being a boomer myself, I loved this show! Great job! Congratulations on boomer of the week lens! Kathie

    • profile image

      giddygabby 

      11 years ago

      Congratulations on winning Baby Boomer Lens of the Week, Colleen! Your lens joins a growing circle of fine Boomer lenses chosen by Squidizens who love all things Boomer.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 

      11 years ago

      Great show and you organized things beautifully! I'm nominating this for Boomer Lens of the Week! ~ Kim

    • profile image

      giddygabby 

      11 years ago

      Oh, Johnny and Roy. How the little girls squealed when Johnny and Roy came on. I wasn't aware of the show's impact on our emergency response system. Good info! Thank you and welcome to the Boomers Rock! group.

    • rejoicemusic profile image

      rejoicemusic 

      11 years ago

      Oohh, yes .... Randolph Mantooth .... yum. I remember watching Emergency on Saturday nights - thanks for the memories! 5 stars for you! Patrice

    • MrNoodles LM profile image

      MrNoodles LM 

      11 years ago

      Being a firefighter/paramedic, I can really appreciate the authenticity of this show. Not to mention, some great guest stars.

    • fleurdelisrising profile image

      fleurdelisrising 

      11 years ago

      Oooh! Squad 51! I had a major crush on these guys!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      11 years ago

      What a blast from the past, great lens and excellent presentation - Kathy

    • profile image

      KimberlyDawnWel1 

      11 years ago

      Great recap and fun assortment of info!

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