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, and a short-lived second 1970s television series. The character was created by the author Frederick Schiller Faust, under the pen name Max Brand.
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, played by Lionel Barrymore. Lew Ayres, who had played the young doctor beginning in the second movie, was a conscientious objector and then a medical corpsman in 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 known for the role of Master Po in the TV series Kung Fu.
- Internes Can't Take Money (1937), starring Joel McCrea as Kildare
- Young Dr. Kildare (1938), which introduced Ayres in the Kildare role, and Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Gillespie
- Calling Dr. Kildare (1939)
- The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939)
- Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940)
- Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940)
- Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940)
- The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941)
- Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941)
- Dr. Kildare's Victory (1942)
Later films without Kildare
- Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942)
- Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (1942), which introduced Gillespie's assistants Dr. Randall Adams (Van Johnson) and Dr. Lee Wong How (Keye Luke)
- Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943)
- Three Men in White (1944)
- Between Two Women (1945)
- Dark Delusion (1947), without Johnson
Novels tied to the films were published at the time of the film releases, and subsequently reprinted in later decades, not as movie tie-ins.
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. Carew, 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.
|Created by||James Komack|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||190|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||September 27, 1961 – April 5, 1966|
Dr. Kildare was an NBC medical drama television series which ran from September 27, 1961 until April 5, 1966, encompassing a total of 190 episodes in five seasons. 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. It aired on Thursday at 8:30-9:30 PM from September 28, 1961 to May 13, 1965, and on Monday and Tuesday at 8:30-9:00 PM from September 13, 1965 to April 5, 1966.
Kildare told the story of a young intern, Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain), working in a fictional large metropolitan hospital (Blair General) while 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. Chamberlain beat 35 other contenders for the role, and the series was largely responsible for making him 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.
A second television series, titled Young Dr. Kildare, premiered in first-run syndication in 1972. Starring Mark Jenkins as Dr. Kildare and Gary Merrill as Dr. Gillespie, it lasted for only one season of 24 episodes.
The underlying rights to the Kildare film and television franchise are owned by Turner Entertainment (via Warner Bros.), with the exception of Internes Can't Take Money, currently owned by EMKA, Ltd./Universal Television, keeper of Paramount Pictures' pre-1950 sound library.
On April 16, 2013, Warner Bros. released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available via WBShop.com & Amazon.com.
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).
- Dunning, John. On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8
- McNeil, Alex. Total Television. New York: Penguin Books, 1996. ISBN 0-14-004911-8
- Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs: The Story of Dr. Kildare on June 25, 2006
- "Lionel Barrymore Has Title Role in 'Calling Dr. Gillespie,' of the Dr. Kildare Series, at Loew' s Criterion Theatre". The New York Times. July 9, 1942.
- Warner Archive Releases 'The Complete 1st Season' on DVD Today
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