21 December 2009 | rcj5365
Marcus Welby,MD: A Television Staple 40 years ago
Actor Robert Young was one of the few actors on television history to be closely identified with two highly successful and long-running roles. For one,he was kindly family Jim Anderson on the situation family comedy series "Father Knows Best"(1954-1960),during the mid-1950's,that ran for eight seasons,and his other successful role was that of the kindly and passionate Dr. Marcus Welby on the medical drama "Marcus Welby,MD"(1969-1976),that ran for seven seasons. After "Father Knows Best" ended its run in 1960,Actor Robert Young came out of a seven year retirement to originate the role of Welby.
"Marcus Welby,MD",premiered on ABC-TV on September 23,1969,and it was a Tuesday night staple for the seven years that it was on the air. Created and Produced by David Victor,who served as also the executive producer,was a brilliant series that portrayed the cases of a veteran general practitioner in Santa Monica,California,and also at the hospital where he was the chief medical adviser,at Lang Memorial Hospital,where the thoroughness and dedication involve him in the lives of all sorts of patients. Assisting him was his eager and young apprentice,Dr. Steven Kiley(James Brolin). During Season One,Kiley was contracted to work with Welby for one year before his training as a neurologist(he stayed). Thus the inevitable tension between youth and experience was established,but in this case,Welby tended to be more unorthodox of the two,often confounding the dedicated but textbook-oriented Kiley with his psychiatric approach to medicine. Welby treated the whole patient,his temperament,fears,and family environment,as well as his physical ailments.
The ailments were certainly varied for a suburban GP;during the first season alone there were subjects that were never discussed or mention for television,a first when this show came around in 1969...the subject matter of tumors,autistic children,strokes,pernicious anemia, blindness,emphysema,LSD side effects and other dangerous drugs,lukemia, diabetes,Huntington's Chorea,alcoholism,dope addiction,breast cancer, dope addiction,racism,an being overweight. Other subjects were even controversial included one episode that dealt with abortion and so much more. Its no wonder this show rack up some many Emmys during its seven year-run. Out of the actors that were on this program,only actors Robert Young,James Brolin,and Elena Verdugo remained throughout its entire run. 169 episodes were produced for this series until its final episode on May 11,1976. Highly endorsed by the American Medical Association.
When "Marcus Welby,MD" premiered in 1969,it became one of the biggest hits in the history of the ABC network,and was the first ABC series ever to rank at number one among all TV programs for a full season during the 1969-1970 season and also for the 1970-1971 season as well. Within its first year,the show was second to "Laugh-In" and "Gunsmoke" in the Nielsen ratings. The guest stars for this show made it successful too from Leslie Nielsen to Heather Menzies,Arthur Hill,and Norman Fell.