The “Emergency!” television series was a drama first introduced in a two-hour pilot movie. It then aired six seasons of 60-minute episodes from 1972 to 1977 on the NBC network. The show was followed by four two-hour movie sequels. Syndicated episodes followed under the name, “Emergency One!”. This articles provides a review of the show and describes its 'making of' process.
The Emergency TV series
“Emergency!” was an American television series about the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Station 51 team. The show focused on the paramedics and Rampart Hospital as they responded to emergencies. The pilot movie for the “Emergency” series portrayed the paramedic program before legislation allowed paramedics to work on their own. “Emergency!” the TV show was based on a Los Angeles program started in 1969 and funded by county and federal governments and involving a team of firemen-paramedics trained to operate rescue squads for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Several episodes were based on real events intended to educate the public on the topic in an amusing way. Behind the scenes Jack Webb directed and produced “Emergency!” and Robert Cinader was executive producer of the series. Webb filmed the series with the support of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the County Department of Hospitals. The Los Angeles County Fire Department promoted the paramedic program and the New Ward LaFrance engine in a 4000-mile tour from New York to West Coast studio while the TV show was filmed and aired. A touch of reality The “Emergency!” production company borrowed real equipment for fire-fighting and had a hot line connecting the sound stage with the fire department headquarters in case the equipment was needed for a real life emergency. Senator Alan Cranston noted that the “Emergency!” television series alerted the public to the value of paramedic for better emergency care.
Making the series
Filming Most of the episodes in the “Emergency!” television series were shot in the Los Angeles area, but the filming of the pilot and sequel movies took place in San Francisco and Seattle. “Emergency!” was filmed at Fire Station 127. Originally, the show was supposed to be filmed at station 106, but the fact that it faced North made for poor lighting. Episodes The “Emergency!” episodes were divided between rescue and hospital scenes to lower the cost of producing the show. Location Rampart Hospital’s exterior shown in the series was really Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. The paramedic characters Roy DeSoto and John Gage are featured throughout the series until they become captains. Interestingly, an Australian television series called “Emergency” existed in 1959. This series portrayed ambulance crews responding to emergencies and hospital staff treating the victims.