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Emergency!: Season One [4 Discs] [DVD]

Release Date:05/09/2017
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Hastily assembled by executive producers Jack Webb and R.A. Cinader to fill the Saturday-night schedule gap left by the abrupt cancellation of the NBC sitcoms The Partners and The Good Life, the hour-long drama Emergency! premiered in January of 1972, in a Saturday-night "suicide" slot opposite CBS' All in the Family. Inspired by a paramedics program that had been inaugurated by Los Angeles country only two years earlier, the series focuses on Squad 51, a team of paramedics operating out of the L.A. County Fire Department and nearby Rampart General Hospital. The premiere episode sets the tone for all to come: several different "incidents," tied together with a basic plotline. In the opener, the doctors at Ramparts treat a girl with respiratory problems and a drunk who isn't a drunk, while the paramedics rescue an imperiled hunter and a party-goer whose chest pains are at first treated as a joke by his friends. Weaving in and out of the proceedings is the story of a man and his dog, namely paramedic John Gage (Randolph Mantooth), who has been enlisted to look after the pet dog of a woman injured in a car accident. Later episodes deal with such crises as botulism, a boy trapped in a condemned building, the birth of a cyanotic baby, a deadly brushfire, an ailing hippie who may or may not be on drugs, the consequences of cryogenic freezing, and on a lighter note, the perils of public adulation when one of the paramedics is lionized in the press for his heroics. Although Emergency! ran a distant second in the ratings to All in the Family during its first season, it emerged as the most popular prime-time program amongst younger viewers, specifically those under the age of eleven.~Hal Erickson