29 October 2016 | AlsExGal
This is a great little precode with an unlikely setting...
that being a county hospital and the ambulances that bring in the patients. It starts out ordinarily enough, with Joe (Bill Boyd), a new doctor, telling Dr. Averill,his future father-in-law and director of the hospital, that he wants to start out as an ambulance doctor, that he doesn't want to miss anything, that he wants no special favors. At first the other doctors are cool to him, and his ambulance driver (William Gargan as Steve Brennan) practically hazes him with fast and reckless driving on their first call. But when that first call turns out to be a crazy man with a knife who doesn't seem fazed by having furniture broken over his head, Joe and Steve become good friends with Joe earning Steve's respect.
The hospital has problems though. They have ambulance chasers that seem to know which patients have good cases and get them to sign papers making them their legal representative and giving them all cash verdicts but a pittance, they have people stepping off of curbs and into the paths of wealthy people, taking up bed space in the hospital while they settle their phoney cases, and worst of all the hospital is buying substandard equipment, and more than they need of it. It turns out that Dr. Averill is the reluctant partner of racketeer and grafter Tom O'Rourke, and he'd like to get out from under his thumb but can't figure out how.
When Steve tells Joe his future father-in-law is in bed with these grafters, it at first almost ends their friendship. But then Joe learns the truth and decides to stay and fight the graft. Joe's interference begins to get in the way of O'Rourke's hospital rackets- and you know how racketeers usually like to deal with inconvenient people. Also, the hospital has just bought a bunch of ether from O'Rourke - ether that was condemned by the army as unfit for humans. As a side plot, Steve only has eyes for a certain nurse (Wynne Gibson), but she only has eyes for millionaire patients, trying to get them to propose when they are sick and dependent, she says.
All of these strands of the plot - the graft, O'Rourke vs. Joe, the materialistic nurse, and Averill summoning the last bit of courage he has - and it's not much - lead to an exciting conclusion. It also leads to a precode ending in which a (technical) wrong doer is allowed to get away with murder. I'm being purposefully cryptic here in hopes you'll watch it if it ever comes you way. It starts out slow and humorously but the ending will have you on the edge of your seat. Highly recommended.