At the conclusion of the series, Jim Page offered Randolph Mantooth the opportunity to train and become a Firefighter with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He turned it down, but only after much reflection.
This show was truly a family affair because Julie London was at the time married to Bobby Troup and had been hired by her previous husband Jack Webb, who was the series' creator and producer.
John Gage was based on Battalion Chief Jim Page, who helped create the firefighter/paramedic program for LACoFD. Executive Producer Jack Webb wanted to name the character after Page, but he declined. Jim Page died on Saturday, September 4, 2004, and Randolph Mantooth was one of the speakers at his memorial.
The series originated when Producer Robert A. Cinader was in the Los Angeles area researching for a new medical drama series. There, he learned of the fledgling paramedic program being tested in the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Upon learning the full details of the program and the nature of their dispatches, Cinader immediately concluded the adventures of such a team of special firefighters would be excellent material for a television series.
Paramedics Gage and DeSoto sometimes crossed paths with officers Reed and Malloy from Adam-12 (1968), another Jack Webb show, at Rampart Hospital. In Emergency!: Hang-Up (1972), the firefighters are watching Adam-12: Ambush (1971) when they're dispatched to a call. Throughout the rest of the show, the firemen are on the phone to anyone, trying to find out what they missed.
The radio call sign KMG365, which is said whenever Station 51 is responding to a call, is still a valid FCC call sign licensed to the LACoFD. It appears on the station patches for the crew at Station 127, which was used as the filming location for Station 51.
During the show's run, it was credited with actually saving lives. There were many news reports over the years of children and adults saving people using techniques demonstrated in the series. However, in later seasons, the series posted a disclaimer in the credits noting that the medical techniques demonstrated should only be performed by people with proper formal training in them. To further illustrate the need for proper training, one story, "Grateful", had the main characters dealing with a patient whose serious medical condition was aggravated by an injury accidentally inflicted by an amateur incorrectly applying a medical technique called a precordial thump and reprimanding him for the error.
Julie London was surprised when she was asked to do the series. She was also Jack Webb's first choice for the female lead role as Nurse Dixie McCall, R.N. (despite the fact that they were previously married and then divorced). She was happy to take the role, alongside her real-life husband, Bobby Troup as Dr. Joe Early.
The role of the dispatcher was "played" by real-life LACoFD dispatcher Sam Lanier who had over eighteen years' service to the department. Although only credited with fifty-six episodes (presumably those in which he is shown, although usually only from the rear in stock footage) his voice "appeared" in all one hundred twenty-nine episodes. He died on Saturday, May 21, 1997.
The series is popularly credited for encouraging the widespread adoption of paramedic programs across North America.
Fire Station 51 is, in real-life, Los Angeles County Fire Station 127 located at 2049 E. 223rd Street in Carson, California. Furthermore, although the actual station crew has never included a paramedic unit, Harbor UCLA Medical Center, the actual hospital that is portrayed as Rampart, is the closest hospital to it, so it would be the regular medical facility with which Station 127 would deal. The station is still in service with little change. The second Engine 51 used in the show is now retired and on display with the Los Angeles County Fire Museum.
The military bracelet that Dr. Brackett wears is for U.S. Air Force Pilot Colonel James Robinson Risner who was shot down in Vietnam and captured as a Prisoner of War.
The Harbor UCLA Medical Center served as Rampart Emergency Hospital in the series. The hospital is located in Torrance, California. 1000 West Carson Street. This is appropriate, as this hospital (then known as Harbor General) served as the initial training facility for the Los Angeles County Paramedic Training Program.
Julie London and Bobby Troup had been best friends with Robert Fuller for many years before the show began.
Long before the show started, Randolph Mantooth was an avid, lifelong Julie London fan, by listening to her music. As of 2016, he has both of his acting mentor's compilations.
Mike Stoker, who drove the engine, wasn't so much an actor qualified to drive a fire engine, as a firefighter with a SAG card. This was a desirable fact considering that Engine he drove was an actual fire truck (The second one being donated by the Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation as product placement) as opposed to the Squad 51 paramedic truck which constructed by the studio, and the producers wanted it driven by a qualified professional for insurance purposes.
Randolph Mantooth was the producers' first choice for Johnny Gage, but politely turned it down. Webb then talked him into playing the role.
Squad 51, the Dodge utility truck, was on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California but is now housed at the Los Angeles County Fire Department museum.
In various water rescues in which Johnny, Roy, or any other rescuer has to enter the water wearing their uniforms, each character can be seen wearing specialized and or water-resistant shoes made to look like department issued black leather chukka boots which they would be normally wearing at the time. In some cases, Converse Chuck Taylor shoes are colored all black and worn or some other type of shoe. This practice started at or around season three and on as to save money or time on the leather boots being soaked and/or ruined.
On CHiPs (1977), the fictitious Engine and Squad 51 respond to a motor vehicle accident, in the episode titled "MAIT Game"; moreover, it isn't just two pieces of apparatus with the same number - it is the Ward-LaFrance Engine and Dodge Utility body, even shown pulling out of the 51 Stationhouse. However, the crew is not shown because this show had already gone off the air.
Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe became close friends with Julie London and Bobby Troup, after the series' cancellation, both had kept in touch with them, before Troup's passing early in 1999, and London's passing late in 2000, in-fact, the three all visited London in the hospital, after suffering a stroke in 1995.
The portable radio phone that the paramedic team uses to communicate with Rampart Hospital in the field is a Biophone 3502 radio.
Fire Station 127, which was used as Fire Station 51 for the show, has been named the "Robert A. Cinader Memorial Fire Station" in honor of Robert A. Cinader, Executive Producer of the show.
Like earlier sister shows Dragnet (1951) and Adam-12 (1968), rescue scenarios were depicted on the series were based on log book reports submitted by real-life paramedic squads.
Marco Lopez (who later played Station 51's Fireman Marco López) was one of the FF-PM trainees who graduated with Roy and Johnny at the Rampart Hospital twelve- week training. At the graduation, he stood at the far left of the line of graduates.
At the conclusion of the series, Jack Webb was going to promote Julie London into becoming an executive producer of some possible series. She turned it down, and has retired from the entertainment business to spend more time with her family.
For the first five seasons, Dixie McCall, R.N., frequently wore a nurses' cap with either a dress or a uniform, in the final season, she took off her cap and wore only a uniform.
During his recurring role on Emergency! (1972), the character Officer Vince (Vince Howard) rotated from being a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to a generic police department after Jack Webb had an argument with the L.A.S.D.
The original Ward La France Fire Truck of Station 51 can be seen in a short scene in The China Syndrome (1979).
In Emergency!: The Mouse (1975), real Los Angeles County Fire Department(LACoFD) Firefighters can be seen during the structure fire scenes at the apartment complex in Pasadena. Some of the Fireman featured are Fire Captain David Boucher of Engine 12, Fire Captain James Roberts of Engine 19, Firefighter Specialist RM Branch of Truck 82 and Firefighter Richard Zimmer of Engine 82. Retired Fire Captain Dave Boucher is also the LACoFD Historian and has published many books on the department's history and apparatus.
Some references were made to John being part Native American as Randolph Mantooth is in real-life.
The Badges worn by cast members were actual Los Angeles County Fire Department Badges. The Badges were held and maintained Fire Department personnel who would distribute and collect them back each day of filming.
When producer Jack Webb approached Robert Fuller, for his first choice to play Dr. Kelly Brackett, he politely turned it down, to look for Westerns (on which he'd been playing for most of his life), but Webb strongly insisted Fuller play the role.
In a couple of episodes, Dixie visited Fire Station 127 on occasion. In the premiere episode, she only rode Squad 51's truck, twice, in rescuing victimized patients with Johnny and Roy, before being victimized herself.
During his time on the series, Randolph Mantooth came to be an advocate and spokes person relating to real-life Fire Fighting/Paramedic/EMS programs. Mantooth has continued with such work well after the series ended.
Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth came to be close friends while working on the series, and have remained so since the show's ending. Tighe, in fact, served as Best Man for Mantooth's wedding in 2002.
Prior to the series, Bobby Troup had long hair and a ponytail before Producer Jack Webb ordered him to cut it off.
In preparation for their roles, Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe actually went through paramedic training. They never took the final test that would certify them as full paramedics.
When the LACoFD had a station built to cover Universal Studios in Universal City, California, The new station was named Station 51, as a tribute to this show. A Quint, an engine, a paramedic unit, and a patrol unit are assigned there.
In preparation for their roles, Robert Fuller, Julie London, and Bobby Troup, all grabbed the medical dictionary to pronounce these medical terms.
The Netflix version of "The Wedsworth-Townsend Act" is a scrambled remake of the original where the opening and closing scenes of the pilot were filmed later and try to depict a flashback. In the opening flashback prelude, Johnny erroneously refers to his old Station as "the 8s", when it is patently obvious from the actual show Gage's old Station was 10s. He suggests a shortcut past the 10s during the show to save time in a run, further calling attention to the error.
In many scenes of this show, in which the audience sees footage of Squad 51 responding with the camera's POV from the front seat facing out the front windshield, the driver can be seen wearing a Squad 18 helmet reflecting in the rear view mirror. In the book Emergency! Behind the Scene, Los Angeles County Fireman/Paramedic Bob Hoff stated that Squad 18 was used for this stock footage with the Cinematographer sitting in the middle with a small hand held camera.
The rings that Dixie McCall and Joe Early wears throughout the series run are the ones that Julie London and Bobby Troup both wore, in real-life, which were wedding rings.
The writers wanted to make Brackett and McCall a couple, but it just didn't work out.
Despite good ratings, the show was put on hiatus in 1977, after the sixth season, but came back for six movie specials, before cancelling it for good in 1979. The six television movies are considered season seven.
When Julie London was the producers' first choice for Dixie McCall, R.N., she had a three week singing commitment in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Bobby Troup, prior to filming the pilot.
Netflix wrongly labels the run of the show as "1976" when it actually ran from 1972-1979; the final year was comprised less of regular episodes and more one or two part special films that did not always contain all of the core cast.
During the first season of this show, Captain Hammer was played by two different people. The first was by Dick Hammer who was a real Captain for the LACoFD. The second was by actor John Smith.
Throughout the show's run, Dixie behaves like a surrogate mother to Johnny and Roy, as did Julie London to Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe in real-life. In separate interviews, Mantooth said London was like a surrogate mother and a mentor to him, and Tighe said both she and Troup were very special to the cast and crew and they became good friends and that it hurt deeply when they died.
Julie London, Bobby Troup, Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe, are the only actors to appear in every episode of the series.
In several episodes, the Leave It to Beaver (1957) house, is featured. The house was located on the Universal Studios lot when Emergency! was in production. It was also often featured on the Universal Studio Tour Tram at least through the mid 1980's. Interiors used on the show were often redressed sets from other shows in production or incorporated pieces from previous sets.
During the last two seasons of this show, Robert Fuller's on-screen appearances had been reduced, due to the direction the show was going, which would be special episodes losing momentum, after he was feuding with one of the producers, off-camera, at the same time he was also looking for Westerns.
John Smith, who played Captain Hammer in two episodes of the first season, co-starred with Robert Fuller in the western series Laramie (1959), which ran from 1959 to 1963. Julie London guest-starred in one episode and shared a kiss with Fuller at the end of the episode.
More often than not, the same police officer, Vince Howard, assists the paramedics when a cop is needed.
Most of the equipment and clothing used during the show, was actually used by the LACoFD.
In Emergency!: The Firehouse Four (1974), character, Fred Gibson, portrayed by Lennie Weinrib, was rescued the most in one program: three times.
Apparently, there are only three emergency room doctors at Rampart: Dr. Brackett, Dr. Early, and Dr. Morton, and one head nurse, Dixie, despite whatever time of day or night Johnny and Roy arrive at the hospital.
Julie London and Bobby Troup were not the only actor and actress to have been singers, prior to starring on this show, others actors who were singers were: John Travolta, Robert Alda, and Bobby Sherman, all appeared on the show.
All of the main characters referred to Dixie McCall as "Dix", which was her nickname for the entire series.
No matter how many units are called to the scene, Engine and Squad 51 usually get there first.
The shift Captain, played by Mike Norrell, was named Captain Stanley. Station 8, located on Santa Monica Boulevard, is at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and North Stanley Avenue.
In Germany, the show was "Notruf California" ("Notruf" = "emergency call"). California was added, because there was already a "Notruf" on RTL when it was first aired in 1993.
The series was syndicated to local television markets while it was still in production, and new episodes airing on NBC. To avoid confusion, the syndicated version was retitled "Emergency One".
For some reason, especially in later seasons, Captain Stanley frequently refers to his crew as "pal" or "buddy" instead of their names.
In many episodes, the same turnout coats are reused/recycled for the different actors playing the firemen. For example, in the episode School Days, the Paramedic Trainee's last name is Hanks, which is stamped on the back of his turnout coat, along with distinctive stains. This same turnout coat can also be seen in The Nuisance and Survival on Charter #220. Another turnout coat used repeatedly has the last name of Stone.
Emergency!: Camera Bug (1974), was the sixty-fifth episode of one hundred twenty-nine. There are sixty-four episodes before and sixty-four episodes after.
The only inside joke was made about singing was the fact that Julie London was a singer in real-life.
In an interview with EmmyTVLegends.com, Randolph Mantooth once admitted that he never had a crush on Julie London, before the series started.
Frequently when communicating with Rampart, Johnny prefixes his conversations with "Um" or "Uh", and for some reason it is kept in the episode. It happens less frequently with Roy.
In later seasons, infinite variations of "going to the rescue music" are heard when Squad and Engine 51 are racing to the scene. The same stock shots from the cab are also seen repeatedly.
There wasn't much of an opportunity for Julie London to do any stunts, the closest thing came in the two part pilot Emergency!: The Wedsworth-Townsend Act (1972) when she supposedly was trapped under the car. If you look closely at the difficult shots, that is Betty Buckley, an actress and stunt performer, and not Julie.
Years after the show ended, Robert Fuller guest-starred alongside Randolph Mantooth on an episode of Diagnosis Murder (1993), which was used as a reference of the show. Fuller played a land developer, in a project aimed at expanding the community, and Mantooth played the Mayor and owner of a general store.
The Emergency klaxon used in every episode was later used in Monk: Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing (2006)(#5.4).
In order for Julie London and Bobby Troup to familiarize themselves with hospital procedures and to make their characters more realistic, she and Troup were both sent to Harbor General Hospital in Los Angeles, California, to observe procedures in the mobile intensive care unit.
Understanding Robert Fuller wanted to do another Western series, had he refused to play Dr. Kelly Brackett, both Jack Webb and Julie London (to whom Webb was married at the time) would've both been very disappointed in him. He reluctantly took on the role, because Webb asked him to and because of his lifelong friendship with London.
Julie London spent much of her acting career playing sexy, seductive roles before being cast as Dixie.
In season six, there were scenes that show what happened that required a rescue from Squad and/or Station 51.