Breaking Point (1963 TV series)

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Breaking Point
Paul Richards Breaking Point 1963.JPG
Paul Richards as McKinley Thompson.
Genre Medical drama
Created by Meta Rosenberg
Directed by Robert Ellis Miller
Starring Paul Richards
Eduard Franz
Theme music composer David Raksin
Composer(s) John Carisi
Walter Scharf
Richard Markowitz
John Williams
Morton Stevens
Jerry Goldsmith
George Duning
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 30
Executive producer(s) John E. Pommer
George Lefferts (1964)
Producer(s) George Lefferts
Richard Collins
Morton Fine
David Friedkin
Cinematography Robert Hauser
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 45–48 minutes
Production company(s) Bing Crosby Productions (produced at the studios of Desilu)
Distributor ABC Films (1964-1973)
Worldvision Enterprises (1973-1999)
Paramount Television (1999-2006)
CBS Television Distribution (current distributor)
Original network ABC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 16, 1963 (1963-09-16) – April 27, 1964 (1964-04-27)
Related shows Ben Casey
The Eleventh Hour

Breaking Point is an American medical drama that aired on ABC from September 16, 1963, to April 27, 1964, continuing in rebroadcasts until September 7. The series, which was a spinoff of Ben Casey, stars Paul Richards and Eduard Franz. The series was created by Meta Rosenberg.


Richards stars as Dr. McKinley Thompson, the chief resident in psychiatry at York Hospital, a fictitious hospital in Los Angeles. Eduard Franz co-starred as Dr. Edward Raymer, the hospital's psychiatric clinic director. McKinley was called Dr. Mac by everyone on the staff, and the stories focused on the people who came to the psychiatric clinic for their help. Like Ben Casey, which along with Marcus Welby, M.D. was one of the two most successful medical series aired on ABC, Breaking Point was a Bing Crosby Production filmed through Desilu Studios. In the fourth episode entitled "Bird and Snake", film star Robert Redford appeared as Roger Morton, along with Jack Weston as Sam Keller. This turned out to have been one of Redford's last television roles before he focused exclusively on his film career.[1]


Episode # Episode title Original airdate Plot
1-1 "Solo for B-Flat Clarinet" September 16, 1963 A musician (Scott Marlowe) is disturbed by the conflict between himself and his cruelly authoritarian father (Oscar Homolka). A continuation of a two-part story that began on the Ben Casey episode "For This Relief, Much Thanks" (September 9, 1963).
1–2 "Last Summer We Didn't Go Away" September 23, 1963 A psychiatric patient (Anthony Franciosa) tries to keep his treatment secret when he returns to teaching.
1–3 "Fire and Ice" September 30, 1963 An executive's wife (Janice Rule) seeks psychiatric help due to problems with her mother-in-law, as well as other complications
1–4 "Bird and Snake" October 7, 1963 A disruptive group therapy patient (Robert Redford) preys on the group to vent his hostility toward others.
1–5 "There Are the Hip, and There Are the Square" October 14, 1963 A young couple (John Cassavetes and Carol Lawrence) express their rebellion through a suicide pact.
1–6 "The Bull Roarer" October 21, 1963 A shy, young construction worker (Lou Antonio) is troubled by his inability to engage in "manly" activities, and fears he may be a homosexual.
1–7 "Crack in an Image" October 28, 1963 A senatorial candidate's (Peter Mark Richman) chances for higher office are threatened by the emotional breakdown of his wife (Kim Hunter).
1–8 "A Pelican in the Wilderness" November 4, 1963 A rabbi (Martin Balsam) loses his faith following the accidental death of his only son.
1–9 "And James Was a Very Small Snail" November 11, 1963 An autistic child is aided by a therapist who looks to find the key to communicating with him.
1–10 "Whatsoever Things I Hear" November 18, 1963 A frustrated salesman (Shelley Berman) is accused of attempted assault and Dr. Thompson goes on trial for refusing to release his case history to the court.
1–11 "Who is Mimi, What is She?" December 2, 1963 A fan club founder attempts to live vicariously through a fading film star (Ruth Roman).
1–12 "Millions of Faces" December 9, 1963 A psychiatric ward attendant (Rip Torn) who is impersonating a doctor, seeks the help of Dr. Thompson after he makes an enemy of a veteran nurse (Jan Sterling).
1–13 "The Gnu, Now Almost Extinct" December 16, 1963 An aging actress (Lillian Gish) refuses to accept the death of her witty, non-conformist husband (Walter Pidgeon).
1–14 "Heart of Marble, Body of Stone" December 23, 1963 A narcissistic model (Gena Rowlands) sees her marriage collapse due to her possessive father (Burgess Meredith), who tries to manage both her career and life.
1–15 "Don't Cry, Baby, Don't Cry" December 30, 1963 A prison inmate (Sheree North) participates as a substitute mother to a difficult child in one of Dr. Thompson's rehabilitation experiments.
1–16 "A Little Anger is a Good Thing" January 6, 1964 A retired barber (Arthur O'Connell) needs a reason to live and a warm-hearted widow (Rosemary De Camp) gives him such a reason.
1–17 "And If Thy Hand Offend Thee" January 13, 1964 A man (James Daly) involved in the bombing of Hiroshima marries a woman from the city and is plagued by guilt over his past actions
1–18 "Better Than a Dead Lion" January 20, 1964 An author (Robert Ryan) with writer's block develops an imaginary physical paralysis, causing his wife to fear he will attempt suicide.
1–19 "A Land More Cruel" January 27, 1964 A fashion designer (Eleanor Parker) compulsively seeks out alliances with strange men, then tries to seduce Dr. Thompson.
1–20 "No Squares in My Family Circle" February 10, 1964 An Italian baker (Jack Warden) suffers guilt from his early days as an immigrant affiliated with gangsters.
1–21 "So Many Pretty Girls, So Little Time" February 17, 1964 A philandering publisher (Cliff Robertson) runs into trouble with his boss and attempts to reconnect with his long-suffering wife.
1–22 "A Child of the Center Ring" February 24, 1964 A young trapeze artist (Susan Strasberg) is mysteriously unable to walk following her famous father's accidental plunge to his death.
1–23 "Tide of Darkness" March 2, 1964 A widower's (Edmond O'Brien) only child goes into shock after being attacked by an intruder.
1–24 "The Summer House" March 9, 1964 A patient (Piper Laurie) becomes catatonic after a shattering experience brings all her childhood fears into focus.
1–25 "Shadow of a Starless Night" March 16, 1964 A doctor (Bradford Dillman) who is blinded in an automobile accident is determined to resume his career with the aid of a guide dog.
1–26 "Glass Flowers Never Drop Petals" March 23, 1964 A perfectionist (Jessica Tandy) attempts suicide due to mid-life anxieties, which belies her seemingly ideal marriage.
1–27 "Never Trouble Trouble, Till Trouble Troubles You" March 30, 1964 A boxer (Terry Carter) insists he was knocked out by a hard punch despite the evidence of the boxing commission that he threw the fight.
1–28 "Confounding Her Astronomers" April 6, 1964 An extremely bright, but unadoptable child, shares secrets with an imaginary "Gypsy Man", which piques the interest of her co-therapist (Kathleen Nolan).
1–29 "I, the Dancer" April 20, 1964 A jazz ballet star (Joey Heatherton) and the head of a dance school find their marriage threatened by a false philosophy.
1–30 "My Hands Are Clean" April 27, 1964 A loan shark (Telly Savalas) is suddenly marked by stigmata to the consternation of his priest.

Guest stars[edit]

Notable guest stars include:

Production notes[edit]

The series' producer, George Lefferts, had served in a United States Army psychiatric ward during World War II. Like Ben Casey, The Eleventh Hour, and Dr. Kildare on NBC (as well as the non-medical show Slattery's People), Breaking Point featured an older, experienced doctor and his younger understudy.[2]

Breaking Point followed Wagon Train, which expanded to ninety minutes on ABC only for the 1963–1964 season. The program aired at 10 p.m. Monday opposite East Side, West Side and Mitch Miller's Sing Along with Mitch on NBC.

Award nomination[edit]

Breaking Point writer Allan Sloane was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama." The series also received an "Eddie" nomination as the "Best Edited Television Program" and a DGA Award nomination for director Robert Ellis Miller. All three nominations were for the episode "And James Was a Very Small Snail" broadcast on November 11, 1963, starring Harold J. Stone and Marsha Hunt as Joseph and Fran Babcock, respectively.[3]


  1. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 117
  2. ^ "Breaking Point: Summary". 
  3. ^ "Breaking Point Awards". imdb.con. 

External links[edit]