Dr. Christian

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Dr. Christian
Rosemary DeCamp as Judy Price and Jean Hersholt as Dr. Christian, 1953
Genremedical drama
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited States
TV adaptationsDr. Christian
StarringJean Hersholt
Rosemary DeCamp
Lurene Tuttle
Kathleen Fitz
Helen Claire
AnnouncerArt Gilmore
Andre Baruch
Perry King
Directed byNeil Reagan
John Wilkinson
Florence Ortman
Produced byDorothy McCann
Joan Cannon
Opening themeRainbow on the River
Sponsored byVaseline products

Dr. Christian is a radio series with Jean Hersholt in the title role. It aired on CBS Radio from November 7, 1937 to January 6, 1954.[1] In 1956, the series was adapted for television where it aired in syndication until 1957.

Hersholt had portrayed the character Dr. John Luke, based on Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, the obstetrician who delivered and cared for the Dionne Quintuplets, in the 20th Century Fox movie The Country Doctor (1936) and its two sequels. He wanted to perform the same role on radio but could not get the rights. He decided to create his own doctor character for radio, and since he was a Hans Christian Andersen enthusiast, he borrowed that name for his character of philosophical Dr. Paul Christian.


The program debuted as The Vaseline Program: Dr. Christian of River's Bend.[2] Dr. Christian practiced in the Midwest town of River's End with the assistance of Nurse Judy Price (Rosemary DeCamp, Lurene Tuttle, Kathleen Fitz, Helen Claire). With the opening theme music of "Rainbow on the River," Dr. Christian was introduced on CBS November 7, 1937, on The Vaseline Program, aka Dr. Christian's Office and later Dr. Christian, sponsored by Chesebrough Manufacturing Company's Vaseline.

The small-town physician's good humor, innate common sense and scientific training helped drive off a series of villainous types who tried to interfere with the peaceful lifestyle of River's End, as well as dealing with personal problems among his many patients and the majority of those who lived in town. The program was also unique in that, by the mid-1940s, listeners contributed the majority of the scripts (some were "professionally polished" before they were used), and an annual script-writing competition introduced in 1942 was the highlight of every season- top prize: the $2,000 "Dr. Christian Award" {with several $500 "runner-up" prizes}; among the later winners were Rod Serling and Earl Hamner, Jr. Produced by Dorothy McCann, the radio series became a popular success, continuing on CBS until January 6, 1954.

Ad for Seattle station KIRO

Hersholt was so strongly identified with the role that he received mail asking for medical advice.[1]

There were various spin-offs; Hersholt co-wrote a Dr. Christian novel and made a series of six family films as Christian for RKO from 1939 to 1941.


In release order:


In 1956, the Dr. Christian character made the transition to television in a 39-episode syndicated Ziv Television series, scripted by Gene Roddenberry, with Macdonald Carey as his nephew Dr. Mark Christian. Jean Hersholt appeared for the last time as Dr. Christian in the first episode, officially turning his medical practice over to his nephew. Shortly after filming the episode, Hersholt died on June 2, 1956.

Among the series' guest stars was Mason Alan Dinehart, who played Danny Martin in the 1957 episode entitled "Typhoid". Stacy Harris appeared in the same segment as Warren.

In the episode "The Sprained Thumb" of the 1950s TV show The Honeymooners, Ralph Kramden sarcastically asks Trixie Norton, "Well, Dr. Christian, have you got any more suggestions?"[3]

Season 1 (1956-57)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"The Thin Line"Herbert L. StrockStory by : Albert E. Lewin and Burt Styler
Teleplay by : Jerry Adelman & Jack Laird
October 1, 1956 (1956-10-01)
A noted citizen is seriously injured by an auto and the driver claims the man stepped in front of his car. His story is doubted and Dr. Christian tries to learn the truth.
22"The Fighter"Henry S. KeslerTeleplay by : Leonard FreemanOctober 8, 1956 (1956-10-08)
An unscrupulous fight promoter advises Jackie, an arrogant young boxer, to believe his own publicity and Dr. Christian feels he must intervene for safety reasons.
33"Escaped Convict"Herbert L. StrockTeleplay by : Ellis MarcusOctober 15, 1956 (1956-10-15)
Dr. Christian deals with a man who may die at any time but still can handle a gun with threatening ease.
44"Homecoming"Henry S. KeslerStuart JeromeOctober 22, 1956 (1956-10-22)
Dr. Christian helps a recovering mental patient return to his home and business and then finds the patient is totally unfamiliar with his past life.
55"The Guardian"Henry S. KeslerArthur WeissOctober 29, 1956 (1956-10-29)
Dr. Christian promises a dying mother that he will look after her daughter and finds himself embroiled in a major family argument.
66"Michael Higgins"Paul GuilfoyleLee BergNovember 5, 1956 (1956-11-05)
Though injured, foreman Mike Higgins stubbornly refuses to stop working.
77"Insurance Policy"Henry S. KeslerStuart JeromeNovember 12, 1956 (1956-11-12)
Walter Brandon takes out a large life insurance policy and dies shortly afterwards. His widow Betty has enormous feelings of guilt which sends her closer to a nervous breakdown unless Dr. Cristian can help.
88"Parolee"Paul GuilfoyleTeleplay by : Lee BergNovember 19, 1956 (1956-11-19)
Dr. Christian thinks he can help a troubled young man by have his imprisoned brother paroled. But after the older sibling is released it doesn't take long for Christian to realize he's responsible for an enormous mistake.
99"Orphan"Henry S. KeslerStuart JeromeNovember 26, 1956 (1956-11-26)
Dr. Christian tries to save an orphaned teen-ager from her scheming relatives.
1010"Locked Memory"James SheldonJack RockDecember 3, 1956 (1956-12-03)
A Korean War veteran is convinced he accidentally killed his buddy while on a night patrol. The event's trauma has caused him to lose his speech and Dr. Christian works with the man to overcome his past.
1111"Intern"Paul GuilfoyleVincent FotreDecember 10, 1956 (1956-12-10)
Dr. Christian steps in to heal a breach between a young intern and his father when the latter asks the boy to give up the study of medicine.
1212"Cameraman"Henry S. KeslerWilliam R. CoxDecember 17, 1956 (1956-12-17)
1313"The Legacy"James SheldonStuart JeromeDecember 24, 1956 (1956-12-24)
Dr. Christian inherits an estate of a recently deceased patient, and has his hands full with the woman's squabbling relatives.
1414TBAUnknownUnknownDecember 31, 1956 (1956-12-31)
A patient with a bad heart refuses doctor's orders about exerting himself. It's up to Dr. Christian to convince the man to take better care of himself.
1515"Truck Driver"Lew LandersLou HustonJanuary 7, 1957 (1957-01-07)
A man is fired after getting into a fight with his co-worker. Dr. Christian, with the assistance of his secretary Betty, tries to get the driver his job back at the trucking firm plus get at the reason for the altercation.
1616"Bullet Wound"Henry S. KeslerGene RoddenberryJanuary 14, 1957 (1957-01-14)
A criminal is wounded and his two brothers decide to get him medical attention. They kidnap Dr. Christian and force him to operate under adverse conditions.
1717"Revenge"Henry S. KeslerLee BergJanuary 21, 1957 (1957-01-21)
Rufus Corning blames Christian for his wife's death in surgery and vows revenge.
1818"Company Control"Paul GuilfoyleJack RockJanuary 28, 1957 (1957-01-28)
When the president of a chemical company has a heart attack, crooks move in and take over the business.
1919"The Farm Story"Herbert L. StrockDoris Hursley and Frank HursleyFebruary 4, 1957 (1957-02-04)
A father takes his son on a camping trip not realizing that the boy has a rheumatic heart.
2020"Vaccine"Henry S. KeslerLeonard HeidemanFebruary 11, 1957 (1957-02-11)
The dread disease, "Bubonic Plague" gives Dr. Christian a bad time when he learns of its spread in an outlying community and that delivery of the Navy's supply of life-saving serum will be delayed.
2121"Mother's Boy"Eddie DavisJack LairdFebruary 18, 1957 (1957-02-18)
A struggle to patch up a broken home to save the health and happiness of a small boy faces Dr. Christian.
2222"Haunted House"Henry S. KeslerStuart JeromeFebruary 25, 1957 (1957-02-25)
Janis Sommers is convinced her husband is trying to kill her. Dr. Christian is called in to evaluate the wife to see is she's mentally competent or telling the truth.
2323"Hit and Run"Herbert L. StrockVincent FotreMarch 4, 1957 (1957-03-04)
Johnny Haven and his friends are accused of being involved in a tragic auto accident. When they convincingly protest their innocence Dr. Christian decides to conduct his own investigation.
2424"The Bite"Paul GuilfoyleDon BrinkleyMarch 11, 1957 (1957-03-11)
Dr. Christian tries desperately to save the life of a little boy bitten by a black widow spider.
2525"Once a Cop"Paul GuilfoyleWilliam R. CoxMarch 18, 1957 (1957-03-18)
A retired policeman tries to prevent a robbery in which his daughter's boyfriend is involved.
2626"The Alien"Henry S. KeslerJack LairdMarch 25, 1957 (1957-03-25)
Dr. Christian comes to the assistance of a man who entered the United States illegally.
2727"The Payoff"Henry S. KeslerStuart JeromeApril 1, 1957 (1957-04-01)
An man has been unjustly imprisoned years for a robbery he didn't commit. Upon release he retrieves the loot after learning its location. Dr. Christian tries to convince him to turn over the stolen cash.
2828"Plane Crash"Henry S. KeslerJack RockApril 8, 1957 (1957-04-08)
Judy is a patient of Christian's who is expecting her first baby. Husband Andy is a pilot and when he disappears after his plane crashes the doctor must endeavor to save Judy and her unborn infant's lives.
2929"Amnesia"Felix E. FeistIrving H. CooperApril 15, 1957 (1957-04-15)
Ruth Belford loses her memory after an auto accident rigged by her husband, and Dr. Christian is brought in to help her overcome the experience.
3030"Mark! Danger!"Henry S. KeslerStuart Jerome & P.K. PalmerApril 22, 1957 (1957-04-22)
A series of mysterious accidents threatens to halt work on a top-secret project.
3131"Fear"Eddie DavisLee BergApril 29, 1957 (1957-04-29)
Dr. Christian is stranded in a mountain lodge with a murderer.
3232"Typhoid"Paul GuilfoyleJoel RappMay 6, 1957 (1957-05-06)
Dr. Christian learns of a typhoid outbreak and the focus turns to youthful Danny Martin, who fears that he, like his mother, is a typhoid carrier.
3333"Poison Control"Eddie DavisGeorge CallahanMay 13, 1957 (1957-05-13)
A desperate secretary takes some poison and is admitted to the hospital. As Dr. Christian's patient he must figure out how to save her life as the toxin has no antidote.
3434"The Philanthropist"Paul GuilfoyleGene Roddenberry & Stuart JeromeMay 20, 1957 (1957-05-20)
Dr. Christian is left a large sum of money in someone's will. He is baffled as he has no recollection of the person as a former patient.
3535"The Secret"Eddie DavisLeonard Heideman & Stuart JeromeMay 27, 1957 (1957-05-27)
A man with just one year left to live decides to do everything he's ever dreamed of doing.
3636"Champion"Eddie DavisJack LairdJune 3, 1957 (1957-06-03)
A boxer, after working hard for his big chance, is about to fight for a championship belt. Dr. Christian learns from an examination that the pugilist will likely go blind from a blow to the head.
3737"Blackmail"Eddie DavisJack LairdJune 10, 1957 (1957-06-10)
Dr. Christian trusts his nurse Betty implicitly and when she's accused of blackmailing patients he's outraged. Christian works diligently to clear Betty's name.
3838"Question Of Suicide"UnknownUnknownJune 17, 1957 (1957-06-17)
Dr. Christian tells a man he is perfectly healthy and then faces a major problem when the man suddenly dies, is it murder or suicide?
3939"Rabies"Lew LandersLee BergJune 24, 1957 (1957-06-24)
Dr. Christian invites controversy when one of his older patients is bitten by a rabid dog. The physician feels the man's weak heart will fail with given the shots and he proposes an alternative solution
4040"Old Man"Henry S. KeslerJack Laird1957 (1957)
Dr. Christian has a delicate task as an older man is having difficulty adjusting to moving in with one of his children.

Listen to[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 202-203. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2014). From Radio to the Big Screen: Hollywood Films Featuring Broadcast Personalities and Programs. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-1558-5. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  3. ^ The Honeymooners - Season Two, Episode One. https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B075SHTQG7/ref=atv_dp

External links[edit]