|Also known as||'Emergency One!'|
|Created by||Robert A. Cinader
Harold Jack Bloom
|Theme music composer||Nelson Riddle|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||129 (including 6 TV movies) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jack Webb
Robert A. Cinader
Hannah Louise Shearer
|Producer(s)||Robert A. Cinader
|Editor(s)||Richard Belding supervisor
|Running time||approx. 50 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Mark VII Limited
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution (current)|
|Original release||January 15, 1972 –
May 28, 1977
Emergency! is an American television series that combines the medical drama and action-adventure genres. It was a joint production of Mark VII Limited and Universal Television. It debuted on NBC as a midseason replacement on January 15, 1972, replacing the two short-lived series The Partners and The Good Life, and ran until May 28, 1977, with six additional two-hour television films during the next two years.
Emergency! was created and produced by Jack Webb and Robert A. Cinader, who were also responsible for the police dramas Adam-12 and Dragnet. Harold Jack Bloom is also credited as a creator; Webb does not receive screen credit as a creator. In the show's original TV-movie pilot, Webb was credited only as its director.
The series stars Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe as two specially trained firefighters, who formed Squad 51, part of the then innovative field of paramedics, who were authorized to provide initial emergency medical care to victims of accidents, fires, and other incidents in the field in order to stabilize them for transport to medical facilities. The plot of the initial pilot film described the passing of state legislation, eventually signed by then State Governor Ronald Reagan, and was called “The Wedsworth-Townsend Act.” It authorized paramedic units to operate in the field without conventional medical personnel on site, albeit in radio contact with an assigned hospital. Squad 51 worked in concert with the fictional Rampart General Hospital medical staff (portrayed by Robert Fuller, Julie London, and Bobby Troup), who took over each patient's case from the paramedics who worked in the field.
Nearly 30 years after Emergency! debuted, the Smithsonian Institution accepted Emergency! memorabilia into its National Museum of American History's public-service section, including the firefighters' helmets, turnouts, biophone, and defibrillator. The vehicles of Station 51 are a part of the collection of the Los Angeles County Fire Museum.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Guest stars
- 3 Series format
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Fire apparatus, equipment, stations and personnel
- 6 Legacy
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The show had an ensemble cast, where the series follows the early years of the paramedic program in the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) with the focus on young firefighters/paramedics John Roderick "Johnny" Gage (Randolph Mantooth) and Roy DeSoto (Kevin Tighe), of Fire Station 51. The paramedics coordinate with the Emergency Room (ER) staff of Rampart General Hospital: head physician Dr. Kelly Brackett (Robert Fuller), head nurse Dixie McCall (Julie London), neurosurgeon Dr. Joe Early (played by London's real-life husband Bobby Troup), and young intern Dr. Michael "Mike" Morton (Ron Pinkard, who, in the earliest installments, also acted out another intern, Dr. Thomas Gray).
To train for their parts, the actors, Mantooth and Tighe, "...sat in on paramedic classes" (although they never actually took any written exams) "and rode out on extensive ride-alongs with LACoFD." In an interview with Tom Blixa of WTVN, Mantooth said that the producer wanted them to train so that they would at least know the fundamentals and look like they knew what they were doing on camera. Mantooth mentioned that you needed to take the written course to be a paramedic, and went on to admit that "if anyone has a heart attack, I'll call 911 with the best of them."
Mantooth (firefighter/paramedic John Gage) became an advocate for firefighters and paramedics after the series ended. He continued, as of late October 2014, to give speeches and make appearances all over the country at special events.
Supporting characters were the crew of Station 51's "A" shift, some of whom were played by professional firefighters. These characters included Chester B. "Chet" Kelly (Tim Donnelly), Marco Lopez (Marco Lopez), Mike Stoker (LACoFD firefighter Mike Stoker as himself), Captain Dick Hammer (LACoFD Captain Richard Hammer as himself - first season/episodes 1-9; later, John Smith - first season/episodes 10 & 11), and Captain Hank Stanley (Michael Norell, during the remaining seasons; Station 51's "C" shift Captain, Gene "Captain Hook" Hookrader, also led "A" shift in a couple of later episodes). LACoFD Dispatcher Samuel Lanier portrayed himself in an uncredited voice role (over the radio) throughout the series, and he is also occasionally shown in a brief clip at the dispatch office just before a dispatch is heard in later seasons. Lanier, an actual LACoFD Dispatcher, retired from the department shortly after Emergency! finished. Lopez spoke Spanish, and occasionally translated for the crew when a victim or onlooker spoke Spanish but no English.
Other recurring characters included Battalion Chiefs Conrad (Art Balinger), Sorensen (Art Gilmore), Miller, and McConnike (William Boyett), Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy/Carson Police Officer/Sergeant Vince (Vince Howard), and recurring ambulance attendants Albert "Al" (Angelo DeMeo) and his assistant, George (George Orrison). Boyett was also a regular on Adam-12, playing Sergeant MacDonald.
- Robert Fuller as Kelly Brackett, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.C.E.P.
- Julie London as Dixie McCall, R.N.
- Bobby Troup as Joe Early, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.C.E.P.
- Ron Pinkard as Mike Morton, M.D. (identified in the cast of the pilot as "Dr. Tom Gray," also an intern—the two characters never appeared together).
- Randolph Mantooth as Firefighter Paramedic John Roderick "Johnny" Gage, L.A. County FD Squad 51
- Kevin Tighe as Firefighter Paramedic Roy DeSoto, L.A. County FD Squad 51
- Tim Donnelly as Firefighter Chester B. "Chet" Kelly, L.A. County FD Engine 51
- Marco Lopez as Firefighter Marco Lopez, L.A. County FD Engine 51
- Mike Stoker as Firefighter Specialist Mike Stoker, L.A. County FD Engine 51
- Dick Hammer as Captain Dick Hammer (First Season Only), L.A. County FD Engine 51
- John Smith as Captain Hammer in episode "Hang-Up" 1st season, as Captain in episode "Crash" 1st season, L.A. County FD Engine 51 (The back of this actor's turnout coat reads "Van Orden," but he is never called by name on the show; he is simply referred to as "Captain.")
- Michael Norell as Captain Henry "Hank" Stanley, L.A. County FD Engine 51
- James McEachin as Detective Lieutenant Ronald Crockett LAPD.
- Vince Howard as L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Vince Howard/Carson Police Officer/Sergeant Vince Howard.
- Sam Lanier (uncredited) as, and providing the voice of, the LACoFD dispatcher.
The role of Dixie McCall was originally written as a love interest for Fuller's character, Dr. Kelly Brackett, though the on-screen romance between Brackett and McCall was gradually downplayed and eventually ignored over the course of the series; this was explained by Brackett's and McCall's romance not having worked out.
A partial list of guest stars includes Vic Tayback, Richard Jaeckel, Marion Ross, Mark Harmon, Jackie Coogan, Anne Lockhart, Dabbs Greer, John Carradine, Nick Nolte, Jeanette Nolan, Robert Alda, Mariette Hartley, Jamie Farr, Bruno Kirby, Jock Mahoney, Melissa Gilbert, John Travolta, Ruth Buzzi, Jack Carter, Sharon Gless, and Deidre Hall.
Then-current Adam-12 stars Martin Milner and Kent McCord made a guest appearance on the pilot of a two-part episode, while sports figures Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Mark Spitz made cameo appearances in separate episodes. Future Kojak stars Mark Russell and Kevin Dobson were featured as well. Relatives and friends of the cast of Emergency! made guest appearances on various episodes, including those of London's and Troup's children, Ronne and Kelly, while Cynnie Troup was script supervisor. Mantooth's brother, Donald, and Fuller's ex-Laramie co-star, John Smith, each made a guest appearance on separate episodes early in the second season.
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While Webb's Dragnet and Adam-12 followed a pair of detectives and patrolmen respectively, Emergency! followed the firemen and paramedics of Station 51, and the emergency room staff of Rampart General Hospital.
Typical episodes begin with the firemen and paramedics at the station going through such routines as cooking, cleaning equipment, or sleeping until a call comes from the dispatcher describing the emergency and its location. The call prompts the crew to immediately stop their routine and respond with organized precision. The firemen and paramedics respond to the scene of the emergency, where the paramedics almost always contact Rampart General Hospital to report their patient assessment and receive medical direction and treatment authorization, which often includes IV drug therapy . Many times the plot follows the accident victims and paramedics to Rampart.
Other plot lines end at the scene. When an event has ended, the crew return to Station 51 and resume their routines until another call is dispatched. Often, firemen DeSoto and Gage, who are best friends, engage in playful banter, or good-naturedly irritate one another when an emergency call forces them to become serious-minded and immediately leave the station's living area to focus on the job at hand.
When the show first started, the creator & Executive Producer, Robert A. Cinader, asked the writers to get all the rescues that were to be portrayed on the show from a fire station's logbook. He told them it didn’t have to come from just LAcoFD or Los Angeles or even California, but it did have to come from someone’s logbook. Along the same line, the show was technically accurate as every script was fact-checked and approved by the show’s technical consultants, Dr. Michael Criley (the man who had initially created the LAcoFD Paramedic program) and LAcoFD Battalion Chief, James O. Page. There were always real paramedics serving as technical advisors on set every day for further technical advice.
Because of the greater scope of its format, Emergency! was a full-hour series, whereas both Dragnet and Adam-12 were half-hour shows. Actual local disasters were worked into some story lines, such as the 1971 Sylmar earthquake which destroyed the newly completed Olive View Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley; and the 1973 "Crenshaw Fire" brush fire on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Fire apparatus, equipment, stations and personnel
The creators of Emergency! tried to accurately portray the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) by using apparatus and equipment in current use. Although a few key items were fictionalized, such as the identification of Station 51 and its equipment, many of the locations and apparatus reflected the operating reality of locations used in some filming. The extensive cooperation of the LACoFD is repeatedly apparent in the program.
The exterior fire station scenes were shot at Station 127 in Carson and the hospital exterior scenes were shot at Harbor General Hospital (now Harbor-UCLA Medical Center). The interior scenes, for both hospital and fire, were shot on Universal’s sound stages.
Nearly 30 years after Emergency! debuted, the Smithsonian Institution accepted Emergency! memorabilia into its National History Museum, public-service section, including their helmets, turnouts, biophone, and defibrillator.
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The vehicle which represented Squad 51 was constructed by Universal crews and was an accurate replica of the units built in-house on stock truck chassis by LACoFD at the time. The LACoFD shops were unable to fulfill a request from Universal to build a unit for the show within the short deadline the studio asked, but did provide the blueprints to Universal crews so the studio could build its own unit on a 1972 Dodge D300 "dualie" (two rear tires on each side, on one axle) chassis. (This conversion was subsequently completed on a 1973 and 1974 Dodge D300 chassis as well.)
The replica's accuracy is evident that the white light atop the Federal Signal Twinsonic lightbar was part of the blueprint, but never installed by LAcoFD on its departmental units. This light was supposed to differentiate paramedic units from regular rescue units. After the filming of the show, the studio donated the unit to LACoFD in 1978, which pressed it into occasional service as a reserve unit before it was eventually retired from service.
The original Engine 51 was a 1965 open-cab Crown Firecoach, and was represented by LACoFD Engine 127's 1965 Crown in stock footage at the fire station (in reality LACoFD Station 127), and by LACoFD Engine 60's 1965 Crown (the unit assigned to Universal Studios) for filming on the grounds of the studio. In a few instances in the first and second seasons, the regular apparatus borrowed from LACoFD and used for filming appear to have been unavailable as some scenes show a slightly different vintage Crown Firecoach pumper, most evident by the different style of emergency lights on the cab's roof. The mixing of stock station and response footage with footage filmed for specific storylines created continuity errors by mixing these apparatus.
Early in the third season, Engine 51 was represented by a 1973 closed-cab Ward LaFrance P80 Ambassador triple-combination pumper. LACoFD was purchasing numerous P80s at the time, and Ward LaFrance donated a P80 unit to Universal Studios specifically for use in the show. The Ward LaFrance Engine 51 was thus not a disguised unit and did not require the use of LACoFD resources for filming.
Engine 127's 1965 Crown, one of the two originally used for the show, was later refitted with a closed cab. Eventually it was placed into reserve status when Station 127 received a new engine. In its reserve capacity, it was serving temporarily as Engine 95 when it was involved in a collision. Damaged beyond repair in the collision, it was salvaged for parts and sold as scrap. The County of Los Angeles Fire Museum Association now owns and has restored the 1965 Crown which formerly served as Engine 60 at Universal Studios and appeared most often as the Crown version of Engine 51.
The Ward LaFrance P80 Ambassador that represented Engine 51, owned by the studio outright, made its final Emergency! appearance in the movie The Steel Inferno, but it was marked as Engine 110. The Ward remained at Universal Studios as a prop following the conclusion of the show, and made brief appearances such as in the 1979 film The China Syndrome and a short educational film produced by the National Fire Protection Association in 1984. Eventually, the Ward was pressed into active duty at Yosemite National Park, as MCA Recreation Services (Universal's then-owner/operator) was under contract to provide visitor services at the park at the time, and it remained with YNP Fire after MCARS's involvement at the Park ended.
As the fire department for the concession area was private (not state or federal), the engine had the California personalized (vanity) license plate YCS E51. It served continuously as YNP Fire's Engine 7 until it was retired and replaced in July 2008. Per terms of a previous agreement between the Park and the County of Los Angeles Fire Museum Association, the museum assumed ownership of the Ward and added it to the museum collection. In 2012, the museum finished a complete restoration of the Ward to its original appearance in the show.
Antique Dennis Fire Engine
An antique fire engine was the part of three episodes of the show. In the third season, episode 2, entitled, "The Old Engine", Gage and DeSoto see a derelict fire engine in a scrap yard during a fire. They purchase the vehicle for $80 according to the script and attempt to renovate it. The script says it is a 1932 Dennis fire engine, but the vehicle is a Dennis Ace model, that was manufactured from 1934–39 and sold to the British market including Australia, New Zealand, and India. Records indicate this model was not sold in the US.
In Season 4, Episode 13, "The Parade", the two paramedics finish their restoration of the Dennis Ace fire engine for the California Firefighters Parade while wearing antique uniforms as well. En route to the parade the two spot an apartment fire and respond in the antique engine using it and its antiquated equipment to fight the blaze. The Dennis Ace is heavily damaged when the structure collapses onto it. In Season 5, Episode 2, "The Old Engine Cram" the main characters are informed by Nurse McCall that a man is looking to buy that same model of fire engine. Unfortunately, the engine is mistakenly referred to in the script as a 1923 Paige when it is actually a Dennis.
Station 51 was represented by LACoFD Fire Station 127, located at 2049 East 223rd Street (between Wilmington Ave and Alameda St, with the 405 freeway visible in the background in wide shots) in Carson, California ( - Maps Street View), The Station closed in 2017.
Universal was permitted to use the station number of "51" for the program because at that time there was no existing Station 51 since the closing of LACoFD Station 51, which had been located near the intersection of Arlington and Atlantic Avenues, and closed in the late 1960s due to the area being annexed by the city of Lynwood.
Station 127 was chosen for its natural lighting by series co-creator Robert A. Cinader, and the station was eventually named in his honor. A plaque honoring Robert A. Cinader is now mounted on the station next to the office front door. At the time of filming Station 127 housed Engine 127 and Truck 127, but it has never actually fielded its own paramedic unit.
For filming on location, Truck 127 was moved off-site and replaced with Universal's Squad 51, while Engine 127 was disguised as Engine 51. After Universal obtained the 1972 Ward LaFrance for Engine 51, both of Station 127's companies would be replaced by Universal's Engine 51 and Squad 51 for filming on location. While some filming of scenes set at Station 51 were done on sets at the studio, these sets accurately recreated the interior of Station 127.
Despite being "kicked out" of their own station for filming, Truck 127 still appeared in numerous episodes under its own callsign. The Carson location of Station 127 was directly referenced in one episode where a phone call was traced to a house "in Carson" that Engine 51 and Squad 51 eventually responded to.
"KMG365", which is said by the crewmember acknowledging a call for a unit at Station 51, is a real FCC call sign used by LACoFD assigned to Fire Station 98 in Bellflower, and it appears on the Station Patch for Station 127, which today still houses Engine 127 and Truck 127 (now known as Light Force 127).
In a nod to the show, LACoFD officially changed the designation of the fire station on the grounds of Universal Studios from Station 60 to Station 51 in 1994, more than 20 years after the debut of Emergency! The companies at Station 60 were also changed so that this station is now indeed the home of Engine 51 and Squad 51 as well as Patrol 51.
Rampart General Hospital
In the pilot episode, Rampart General Hospital is shown (in a letter to Dr. Brackett) to be located in Carson, California. At the time of filming, Rampart General Hospital was represented by Harbor General Hospital, located in Torrance, California at 1000 West Carson Street, the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Carson Street ( ). The pairing of Station 127 and Harbor General as "Station 51" and "Rampart" was accurate, since if a squad had actually been quartered at Station 127, it would likely have operated from Harbor General Hospital, since they are only 2.1 miles (3.4 km) apart. Not accurate was the response area of Station 51. Many examples exist. As seen in season 6 episode 5, where they responded to 4000 N. Riverton Ave. Universal City, Truck 127 appeared in one episode where a rescue event occurred at Rampart (Harbor General), as the hospital really is in Truck 127's "first-due" district.
In an episode near the end of the series, one character, an aged jazz musician, hearing the name Rampart General, says, "My grandaddy used to play on Rampart Street in New Orleans!" The name Rampart actually comes from the show Adam-12 and is the real name of a division of the LAPD.
Los Angeles County Fire Dispatch
Footage of a dispatcher used during the show appears to have been filmed at the LACoFD Keith E. Klinger dispatch center in East Los Angeles. The screen he looked at to see the street maps is a rear projection from a Kodak Carousel projector built into the console. The man was actual LACoFD dispatcher Sam Lanier, who also lent his voice as the dispatcher for the show's entire run.
The familiar tones that called Station 51 into service were initiated by dispatch using a Motorola Quik Call I unit, a radio listening on a common paging frequency for a pair of special audio tones assigned to that station. For a large incident, one could often hear many sets of tones calling many stations, but only a specific pair would sound the buzzer for Station 51.
A long scene showing the sequence of microfiche reader address lookup to quik-call dispatch appears in the season six episode "Family Ties."
During a portion of the first season, real-life LACoFD Captain Richard Hammer portrayed himself as a Station 51 captain. Hammer died of cancer in 1999.
Another real-life LACoFD firefighter, Mike Stoker, appeared as himself throughout the entire run of the series as the driver/engineer of Engine 51. Since Stoker possessed a Screen Actors Guild card, it was helpful to Universal to have an actor who was also fully trained and qualified to actually drive and operate Engine 51. (Cinader had refused to have an actor who did NOT work for the LACoFD drive Engine 51, since fire engines then cost approximately $100,000 and would have been too expensive to insure in that case.) Stoker retired from the LACoFD as a Captain in 1996.
LACoFD Dispatcher Sam Lanier, although rarely seen on camera, portrayed himself as a dispatcher in virtually every episode. Despite being the recognizable voice over the radio sending Station 51 and other LACoFD crews to all sorts of emergencies, he was never listed in the show's credits. Lanier retired shortly after the show ended in 1977. He died of a massive heart attack in 1997, while attempting to assist at an automobile crash outside of his home.
Numerous uncredited LACoFD personnel were used throughout the course of the series when other actual LACoFD units were used during filming.
The character "John Gage" was named for James O. Page, a LACoFD battalion chief in charge of development of the paramedic rescue squads who was a technical advisor to Webb and Cinader. Page went on to become a lawyer and publisher of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. Originally, Cinader requested that Randolph Mantooth's character be named after Page, but he turned it down.
The orange radio Gage and DeSoto used was a model 3502 Biocom Biophone. It came in an orange fiberglass case and was fully portable. It could transmit EKG and voice simultaneously, could be charged in 15 minutes, and had one hour of talking time. The radio had eight duplex UHF channels and a total of 12 watts of transmitting power. There were two Biophones used on the show, one smaller than the other.
In "Survival on Charter #220", Gage and DeSoto are briefly seen using a Motorola Apcor, with Dr. Early and Nurse McCall using a Motorola base station back at Rampart.
The electrocardiograph (ECG or EKG) machine used in the show was a Datascope Model 850 Dual Trace Physiological Monitor. This model came out in 1971 and was the first portable, battery rechargeable unit of its kind. Its original price was $2,000. In the middle of Season 4, the show switched to a Datascope MD/2, which was a combined monitor and defibrillator that allowed the monitor unit to slide out. The paramedics also carried some medical equipment in a black model "PF-3300" Old Pal tackle box, commonly used by the fire department at the time. There were instances when the actors encountered difficulty in pronouncing medical terms correctly, so some scenes show the characters from the back or behind a mask, which allowed them to dub in the correct pronunciations at a later time.
The protective clothing ("turn-out gear") that the firefighters wore, including the MSA Topgard helmets, as well as nearly all other equipment such as insignia, were standard fire department issue at the time.
The badges used in the series were authentic fire department badges. At the end of filming each day, they were collected, stored for safekeeping and then reissued the next day.
Spin-offs and crossovers
Emergency! was a third-generation spin-off, having been spawned from Adam-12, which itself was spun off from Jack Webb's Dragnet. All three series take place in the same universe and depict different aspects of the public safety infrastructure of Los Angeles, California.
Characters from Emergency! and Adam-12 "crossed over" twice. The police officers appeared briefly in the pilot episode of Emergency!, and the firefighter/paramedics appeared in the Adam-12 episode titled "Lost and Found." Unusually, in the Emergency! episode titled "Hang-Up", there was a subplot in which the crew of Station 51 watched the television show Adam-12, despite supposedly sharing a fictional universe with those characters.
Emergency! spun off an animated version called Emergency +4 which ran on NBC Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1976, and featured four youngsters and their three pets who participated in rescue adventures with firefighter/paramedics DeSoto and Gage.
Mantooth's Gage and Tighe's DeSoto appeared in the tenth episode of Sierra, another Webb/Cinader production centered around a pair of National Park Service rangers, which appeared for only a partial season in 1974. In that episode, "The Urban Ranger", the two paramedics participate in mountain rescue training and get involved in many of the episode's subplots. Following recurring themes from Emergency!, Gage continues to fail in his attempts to get a date, while DeSoto briefly considers changing careers to become a park ranger.
The "905-Wild" episode of Emergency!, broadcast during the closing of its Season 4 on Saturday March 1, 1975, was intended to be the pilot for a new show created and produced by Jack Webb. The series was to have been about the adventures of two Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control officers, and the staff of a county animal shelter. The episode featured Albert Popwell and Mark Harmon as the officers and David Huddleston and Gary Crosby in their supporting roles. It failed to sell, however, and the follow-up show was never produced.
Squad 51 briefly appeared in the CHiPs episode "Cry Wolf" (ep. 18 season 1), where it can be seen responding from the station to a false accident report. Further in the episode "MAIT Team" (ep. 15 season 2), Engine 51 and Squad 51 can be seen responding from the station to a traffic accident. Again in the episode "Hot Wheels" (ep. 8 season 3) Squad 51 arrives on the scene of a traffic accident. It has a major role in the episode "E.M.T" when it responds to aid a young boy trapped in his clubhouse under a busy freeway, where Ponch and Jon retrieve equipment from the squad to aid in the rescue of the boy.
The episode "Cover Up" of Quincy, M.E. featured a paramedic team from Squad 44 contacting Rampart General Hospital while tending a heart attack patient, although the patient is directed to a closer hospital. When Dr. Quincy later visits Station 44 to question the paramedics concerning the patient's death, stock footage of the exterior of Station 51 is used. This episode was written by R.A. Cinader. Earlier, in the season 1 episode "Has Anyone Seen Quincy?" Harbor General Hospital is used as the filming location of the unnamed hospital seen throughout the episode. Rampart is again contacted in season 7's "The Golden Hour", but the patient is directed to a closer hospital, and Engine 51 responds to a hotel fire in the same season's episode "Smoke Screen".
Station 51 appears in the 1990 TV movie The Great Los Angeles Earthquake, in a segment where all Los Angeles police and fire personnel are deployed to prepare for a massive Southern California earthquake.
From 1978 through 1979, the show returned as a series of "Movies of the Week". The TV movies premiered in this order:
The Steel Inferno: A fire breaks out in a skyscraper and the members of Squad 51 along with other LACoFD members help rescue those who are trapped. Personnel from Rampart General Hospital set up a triage area at the scene to care for the injured awaiting to be transported to the hospital. A Coast Guard helicopter helps firefighters with rooftop evacuations. This television movie was similar to Irwin Allen's The Towering Inferno of 1974.
Survival on Charter #220: While Squad 51 is on a call, two planes collide with one landing in a Los Angeles subdivision, trapping Gage and DeSoto. A resident of the subdivision which was the site of the crash was the girlfriend of one of Squad 51's other paramedics from another shift. The on and off-duty firefighters make multiple rescues and the injured girl Squad 51 was originally dispatched to help turns out to be all right. During the rescue, however, an engine from one of the planes lands on the squad, rendering it out of commission due to the heavy damage it sustained.
Most Deadly Passage: The paramedics from Squad 51 travel to Seattle to watch how their paramedics treat patients and respond to calls for help. The most notable incident in the movie is the ferry that catches fire in the middle of a trip.
What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing?: Gage and DeSoto travel to San Francisco to observe some female paramedics work. A worker is rescued from the Golden Gate Bridge, an ambulance gets into an accident that ends up killing the patient being transported to the hospital, an epileptic in a coffee shop is treated along with someone having a heart attack at a dance bar. A pier at the Embarcadero catches on fire.
Greatest Rescues of "Emergency!": Gage and DeSoto are both promoted to the rank of Captain. They think back to their time on Squad 51 and some of the rescues they carried out. Robert A. Cinader wrote and directed the framing story, which included clips from other such installments as the pilot, on whose writing Harold Jack Bloom had collaborated with Cinader.
The Convention: John and Roy are back in San Francisco for a paramedic convention and they ride along with the San Francisco Fire Department’s paramedics.
The book Emergency!: Behind the Scenes by Richard Yokely and Rozane Sutherland was published in 2008.
Charlton Comics out of Derby, Connecticut published several issues of an Emergency! comic book in the mid-1970s, geared towards youth readers. One of the issues contains some of the earliest published work of John Byrne. Charlton also published four issues of an illustrated black-and-white magazine geared more towards adult readers featuring art by Neal Adams and others, these projects were overseen by publisher Steve Kahn, in parallel with similar books for The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.
The show was first syndicated in 1976, after the fifth season. Local stations mainly aired it between 4:30 and 6 p.m. Eastern (3:30 to 5:00 Central) for the same viewers that were its most loyal audience on NBC, elementary school-aged children. Emergency!, however, was not nearly as successful in reruns as Dragnet 1967-70 and Adam-12 were. When the program was first syndicated, it went by the title Emergency One! (the stock title "Emergency!" appeared with the word "One" fading in beneath) to avoid confusion with the new episodes still airing Saturday nights on NBC and continued to be called that when the TV movies aired as well. The syndicated episodes would revert to the original title, Emergency!, in 1979. Renaming programs for syndication was commonplace until the 1980s. Although in the early 2000s it had a brief run on TV Land, Emergency! had been rarely seen in recent times because the series had come under the ownership of the Jack Webb Estate.
Emergency! seasons 1 - 6 are now available on Netflix on Demand in high definition (though several episodes are missing due to rights issues), having been restored and rescanned from the original film negatives. The series ran on MeTV from September 2013 to December 2016, an over-the-air service mainly seen on digital subchannels of local television stations. Starting in January 2017, the series moves to the NBC Universal owned digital broadcast network Cozi TV.
On July 12, 2016, Universal released Emergency!- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 32-disc set contains all 125 episodes of the series as well as the 6 post-series tele-films.
Note: Seasons 1 & 2 in the complete series set were released on single sided discs; they were originally released on double sided discs in the individual season sets.
|Season One||12||August 23, 2005|
|Season Two||21||February 7, 2006|
|Season Three||22||February 13, 2007|
|Season Four||22||January 29, 2008|
|Season Five||24||January 20, 2009|
|Season Six||24||April 13, 2010|
|The Final Rescues||6||March 29, 2011|
|The Complete Series||135||July 12, 2016|
Impact on emergency medical services
Yokley and Sutherland argue that the TV show led many municipalities to create paramedic units of their own. When the show premiered in 1972, there were only 12 such units in North America; by 1982, more than half of all Americans were within ten minutes of a paramedic rescue or ambulance unit.
The program introduced many viewers to the concepts of pre-hospital care, fire prevention and CPR. The program was also credited for demonstrating first aid techniques that enabled some viewers to save lives in real medical emergencies. When the medical community saw that the general public were learning these techniques from the show, they started teaching programs for CPR in every state. The show later added a disclaimer that the first aid techniques demonstrated should only be performed by trained individuals. Furthermore, to illustrate the perils of performing first aid when not adequately trained, the episode "Grateful" has a civilian character causing a chest injury when he incorrectly performs a precordial thump, a procedure sometimes performed by Gage or DeSoto, and is severely reprimanded by Dr. Early for the mistake.
Station 51 becomes a reality
When a Los Angeles County Fire Department station was built to cover Universal Studios in Universal City, California, as a tribute to Emergency! which filmed at Universal the new station was named Station 51. An engine, a paramedic unit, and a patrol unit are assigned there. It is part of LACoFD Division VII.
- "Virtual Museum EMS History." 1969-Los Angeles Area Paramedic Programs. Np, 31 July 2011. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.
- Reiner, Jonathan (15 May 2000). "Emergency! at the Smithsonian". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
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