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Rescue 8

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Rescue 8
Created byRobert G. Walker and Herbert B. Leonard
Written byCy Chermak
Loren Dayle
George Draine
Jesse Lasky, Jr.
Arthur Rowe
Jerry Thomas
Directed byWilliam Beaudine
Dann Cahn
Robert G. Walker
William Witney
StarringJim Davis
Lang Jeffries
Nancy Rennick
Mary K. Cleary
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes73
Executive producerHerbert B. Leonard
ProducerRobert G. Walker & Leroy Smith
Production locationsLos Angeles, California
Running time30 mins.
Production companiesCinefilm
Wilbert Productions
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 23, 1958 (1958-09-23) –
May 12, 1960 (1960-05-12)

Rescue 8 is a syndicated American action adventure drama series about Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) Rescue Squad 8. It premiered in 1958 and originally ran for two seasons with syndicated reruns continuing for almost a decade thereafter.[1]

Premise, cast, and characters[edit]

Rescue 8, like 26 other rescue units with the LACFD, responded when people faced life-and-death situations. Attached to Fire House Station 8, the unit was headed by veteran rescueman Wes Cameron. Skip Johnson was his assistant.[2]

The show starred Jim Davis as Wes Cameron and Lang Jeffries as Skip Johnson.[3] Nancy Rennick portrayed Patty Johnson, and Mary K. Cleary portrayed Susan Johnson, the wife and daughter, respectively of Skip Johnson. Tom McKee played the chief.[2]


Created by George Draine and Paul Frees,[4] the series was produced by Screen Gems, with directors Dann Cahn and William Witney.[citation needed] Rescue 8 produced 73 half-hour episodes.[1] The first season ran on Tuesday evenings, and the second season on Wednesdays.[citation needed] Bert Leonard was the producer.[5]

Davis and Jeffries learned fire department procedures at a training school, and they did most stunts themselves.[5]

Selected episodes[edit]

In the series premiere, "The Ferris Wheel" (September 23, 1958), the firemen must devise a plan to retrieve a woman, who was recently released from a mental institution (Jeanne Bates), and her young daughter (Gina Gillespie) from the top of a Ferris wheel on which they are trapped. Rand Brooks guest stars in the first of his two appearances as Tom Hickey.

In "Subterranean City" (October 14, 1958), rescuers Wes and Skip search for a lost girl in the sewer tunnels and encounter three criminals hiding out underground, one of whom is Skip's nephew, Pete, played by Warren Oates. Pete breaks with his companions and joins the firemen in finding the child.

In "The Cave-In" (December 2, 1958), Will Wright played an elderly man who attempts with shovel and bucket to build a backyard swimming pool for his grandchildren with disastrous results because of the lack of proper shoring.

In "The Bells of Fear" (December 9, 1958), an elderly clockmaker who is trying to repair the chimes in a church clock is trapped inside the instrument just before Christmas Eve. Joe Flynn and Russell Johnson appear in this episode.

In "Calamity Coach" (December 30, 1958), Wes Cameron and Skip Johnson seek to rescue three actors on location when a stagecoach tumbles down a mountain, Douglas Kennedy guest stars.

In "The Secret of the Mission" (January 6, 1959), J. Pat O'Malley plays a priest who is trapped with a would-be thief named Carlos (Rafael Campos) under the roof of a collapsed church.

In "Disaster Town" (February 17, 1959), Gail Kobe plays Ellen Mason, a mother looking for her son, Jimmy, in a ghost town. Jay North, some six months before the premiere of his CBS situation comedy, Dennis the Menace, played the missing son. Craig Hill, the co-star of Whirlybirds, played the father, Chuck Mason. The rescue team is called when the woman is trapped after falling through the floor of an abandoned building.

In "A Handful of Vengeance" (February 24, 1959), Pete Brocco played Stephano, a deranged pyromaniac, who threatens the lives of a warden, his wife, and their two children and then turns on the rescuers as well.

In "International Incident" (March 17, 1959), Robert Cabal plays a foreign prince, Raj Tamal, who is trapped in an automobile accident and is also the target of an assassin, portrayed by Vito Scotti. Denver Pyle guest stars as Sergeant Frank Hogan.

In "The Third Strike" (December 2, 1959), John Beradino, a professional baseball player-turned-actor, was cast in the role of a baseball player who loses consciousness when struck by a wild pitch. He soon awakes with short-term amnesia.

On January 6, 1960, Jay Silverheels of The Lone Ranger played an American Indian fireman fighting a forest fire in the episode "Leap of Life".

In "Breakdown" (March 31, 1960), one of the last episodes of Rescue 8, Robert Redford plays Danny Tilford, a mentally-disturbed young man trapped in the wreckage of his family garage.

Other guest stars[edit]


The real Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 8 is at 7643 West Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, California. The real Station 8 was also depicted as "Station 10" in the opening scenes of the pilot movie for Emergency! in 1972.

The Rescue 8 truck depicted in the series was a 1958 GMC Suburban equipped with classic, front-bumper General Motors "dagmars". According to several Internet sources, the real Rescue 8 squad that existed during the 1958–60 timeframe of the series employed the use of a 1956 Chevrolet panel-van truck (a somewhat less robust version of the nearly identical GMC truck).

Rescue 8 shows more physically oriented rescues than seen 14 years later in the debut of the television series Emergency! (1972–77), which also featured the Los Angeles County Fire Department's rescue squads. The latter show had physically oriented rescues, but also included emergency medical rescues. This is because rescue firemen were not then trained as paramedics until 12 years after the premier of Rescue 8, acquiring this expanded role with the passage of the Wedsworth-Townsend Pilot Paramedic Act in 1970. The creation of Paramedic Act itself was the main plot theme of the pilot movie of Emergency!.


Season 1 (1958–59)[edit]

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"The Ferris Wheel"Robert G. WalkerStory by : George Draine
Teleplay by : Gene L. Coon & Stirling Silliphant
September 23, 1958 (1958-09-23)
22"102 to Bakersfield"Robert G. WalkerStirling SilliphantSeptember 30, 1958 (1958-09-30)
33"The Cliff"Robert G. WalkerHoward J. GreenOctober 7, 1958 (1958-10-07)
44"The Subterranean City"Robert G. WalkerJesse L. Lasky Jr.October 14, 1958 (1958-10-14)
55"The Cage"Robert G. WalkerJesse L. Lasky Jr.October 21, 1958 (1958-10-21)
66"The Crackup"Robert G. WalkerStory by : Arthur W. Rowe
Teleplay by : Wilton Schiller & Jack Laird
October 28, 1958 (1958-10-28)
77"The Ammonia Trap"UnknownUnknownNovember 4, 1958 (1958-11-04)
88"The Chasm"William J. Hole Jr.Jack GarissNovember 11, 1958 (1958-11-11)
99"The Steel Mountain"UnknownUnknownNovember 18, 1958 (1958-11-18)
1010"Find That Bomb!"UnknownUnknownNovember 25, 1958 (1958-11-25)
1111"The Cave-In"Robert G. WalkerJerry Thomas & Howard J. GreenDecember 2, 1958 (1958-12-02)
1212"The Bells of Fear"Robert G. WalkerStory by : George Draine
Teleplay by : Jesse L. Lasky Jr.
December 9, 1958 (1958-12-09)
1313"Danger! 20,000 Volts"Robert G. WalkerJerry ThomasDecember 16, 1958 (1958-12-16)
1414"The Scrap Iron Jungle"Robert G. WalkerJesse L. Lasky Jr.December 23, 1958 (1958-12-23)
1515"Calamity Coach"UnknownUnknownDecember 30, 1958 (1958-12-30)
1616"Secret of the Mission"UnknownUnknownJanuary 6, 1959 (1959-01-06)
1717"Trial by Fire"William BeaudineUnknownJanuary 13, 1959 (1959-01-13)
1818"High Hazard"UnknownUnknownJanuary 20, 1959 (1959-01-20)
1919"Rubber Gold"UnknownUnknownJanuary 27, 1959 (1959-01-27)
2020"Flash Flood"Lew LandersJesse L. Lasky Jr.February 3, 1959 (1959-02-03)
2121"Initiation to Danger"UnknownUnknownFebruary 10, 1959 (1959-02-10)
2222"Disaster Town"William BeaudineStory by : Gene Feldman
Teleplay by : Jesse L. Lasky Jr. & Jerry Thomas
February 17, 1959 (1959-02-17)
2323"A Handful of Vengeance"Robert G. WalkerJesse L. Lasky Jr.February 24, 1959 (1959-02-24)
2424"Forty Five Fathoms, Dead or Alive"Robert G. WalkerCy ChermakMarch 3, 1959 (1959-03-03)
2525"Children of the Sun"Robert G. WalkerStory by : Stanley H. Silverman
Teleplay by : Jerry Thomas
March 10, 1959 (1959-03-10)
2626"International Incident"UnknownJerry ThomasMarch 17, 1959 (1959-03-17)
2727"Nine Minutes to Live"UnknownUnknownMarch 24, 1959 (1959-03-24)
2828"No Trespassing"UnknownUnknownMarch 31, 1959 (1959-03-31)
2929"Three Men in a Vault"UnknownJesse L. Lasky Jr.April 7, 1959 (1959-04-07)
3030"The Walking Death"William BeaudineUnknownApril 14, 1959 (1959-04-14)
3131"Tower of Hate"UnknownArthur RoweApril 21, 1959 (1959-04-21)
3232"Danger in Paradise"UnknownJesse L. Lasky Jr.April 28, 1959 (1959-04-28)
3333"Hour of Rage"UnknownUnknownMay 5, 1959 (1959-05-05)
3434"If the Bough Breaks"William BeaudineJesse L. Lasky Jr.May 12, 1959 (1959-05-12)
3535"High Pressure"UnknownUnknownMay 19, 1959 (1959-05-19)
3636"One More Step"Robert G. WalkerJerry ThomasMay 26, 1959 (1959-05-26)
3737"Left Hook to Hades"Robert G. WalkerJerry ThomasJune 2, 1959 (1959-06-02)
3838"The Trap"William J. Hole Jr.Jack GarissJune 9, 1959 (1959-06-09)
3939"Death for Hire"William BeaudineArthur RoweJune 16, 1959 (1959-06-16)

Season 2 (1959–60)[edit]

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
401"Suitcase Fireman"Robert G. WalkerUnknownSeptember 23, 1959 (1959-09-23)
412"The Rock Prison"UnknownUnknownSeptember 30, 1959 (1959-09-30)
423"Fool's Gold"UnknownUnknownOctober 7, 1959 (1959-10-07)
434"Paid in Full"UnknownUnknownOctober 14, 1959 (1959-10-14)
445"Dangerous Salvage"Robert G. WalkerUnknownOctober 21, 1959 (1959-10-21)
456"3 Mile Bomb"UnknownUnknownOctober 28, 1959 (1959-10-28)
467"Not for Glory"UnknownUnknownNovember 4, 1959 (1959-11-04)
478"Forced Landing"UnknownUnknownNovember 11, 1959 (1959-11-11)
489"Smashout"UnknownUnknownNovember 18, 1959 (1959-11-18)
4910"Runaway"UnknownUnknownNovember 25, 1959 (1959-11-25)
5011"The Third Strike"UnknownUnknownDecember 2, 1959 (1959-12-02)
5112"Pitfall"UnknownUnknownDecember 9, 1959 (1959-12-09)
5213"Heat Wave"UnknownUnknownDecember 16, 1959 (1959-12-16)
5314"The Birdman"UnknownUnknownDecember 23, 1959 (1959-12-23)
5415"The Collision"UnknownUnknownDecember 30, 1959 (1959-12-30)
5516"Leap of Life"UnknownUnknownJanuary 6, 1960 (1960-01-06)
5617"The Squatters"UnknownUnknownJanuary 13, 1960 (1960-01-13)
5718"Backfire"UnknownUnknownJanuary 20, 1960 (1960-01-20)
5819"High Explosive"UnknownUnknownJanuary 27, 1960 (1960-01-27)
5920"Add a Pinch of Death"UnknownUnknownFebruary 3, 1960 (1960-02-03)
6021"Ten Minutes to Doomsday"UnknownUnknownFebruary 10, 1960 (1960-02-10)
6122"Square Triangle"UnknownUnknownFebruary 17, 1960 (1960-02-17)
6223"Ti-Ling"UnknownUnknownFebruary 24, 1960 (1960-02-24)
6324"Lifeline"UnknownUnknownMarch 3, 1960 (1960-03-03)
6425"High Lonely"UnknownUnknownMarch 10, 1960 (1960-03-10)
6526"Comeback"UnknownUnknownMarch 17, 1960 (1960-03-17)
6627"Quicksand"UnknownUnknownMarch 24, 1960 (1960-03-24)
6728"Breakdown"UnknownUnknownMarch 31, 1960 (1960-03-31)
6829"School for Violence"UnknownUnknownApril 7, 1960 (1960-04-07)
6930"The Devil's Cavern"UnknownUnknownApril 14, 1960 (1960-04-14)
7031"13 Stories Up"UnknownUnknownApril 21, 1960 (1960-04-21)
7132"Deep Danger"UnknownUnknownApril 28, 1960 (1960-04-28)
7233"I Don't Remember"UnknownUnknownMay 5, 1960 (1960-05-05)
7334"Second Team"UnknownUnknownMay 12, 1960 (1960-05-12)


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1999). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (7th ed.). New York: The Ballentine Publishing Group. p. 852. ISBN 0-345-42923-0.
  2. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 887. ISBN 978-0-7864-8641-0. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  3. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television: the Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present (4th ed.). New York, New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc. p. 692. ISBN 0-14-02-4916-8.
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (1989). Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947-1987'. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 40. ISBN 0-7864-1198-8.
  5. ^ a b Witbeck, Charles (August 9, 1959). "Stars of 'Rescue 8' Do Their Own Stunts". Hartford Courant. p. TV Week - 7. Retrieved March 13, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.

External links[edit]