Emergency! (or what I’ve learned about firefighting in LA County) — 3 Comments

  1. Great post. I like the idea of liking a piece of entertainment while fully acknowledging its clichés and contrivances. (In Naked City, one precinct covers crime all over Manhattan.) I’ve seen Emergency only a handful of times (TV on, late afternoon, sometime before dinner) and always enjoy the back-and-forth with the doctor about what to do next. This show must have meant steady work for lots of stunt people, no?

  2. I’m glad you asked. Here’s how Randy Mantooth answered that.

    I read elsewhere that Tighe’s fear of heights was sudden onset. One day, he froze.

    Some other interesting tidbits:

    Mike Stoker drove the truck because he was the only one who could (as a firefighter). He’s not seen as much as the others for that reason — he was off working as a firefighter.

    Station 51 still exists, but it’s Station 127. The refinery is gone. Here it is on Google Maps:,-118.2405866,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x80dd34f7b4105ad3:0x7974fe740e1f4576!8m2!3d33.8246205!4d-118.2383979

    The station has a Facebook page too.

    Christian Nyby II directed many episodes of Emergency! His father, Christian I, directed many episodes of Perry Mason. I thought you’d appreciate that.

    Mantooth “is a spokesperson for both the International Association of Firefighters [IAFF] and the International Association of Fire Chiefs [IAFC] for fire fighter health and safety, and honored over the years with numerous awards and recognition.”

    Jack Webb and his production partner launched Emergency! as a spinoff of Adam-12. I believe that many of the scenarios are based on actual ones — almost like an early reality show. The California paramedic program was in its infancy, and the show was great PR for it.

    I finally saw the pilot, in which Brackett hates the ideas of some guys with a little training playing doctor. He finally admits, though, that there aren’t enough doctors to be first responders and that sometimes you have to treat things before the ambulance can get the victim to the doctors (ventricular fibrillation is a great example). Plus your average doctor or nurse isn’t going to be able to rappel into canyons and down buildings and such. On the flip side, DeSoto and Gage are often eager to alleviate suffering without knowing the full story. Brackett always demands full vitals first and any history if available. Of course this makes sense. Pain medication could be very bad for someone who’s not stable.

    There’s an episode in which someone turns down pain medication. Turns out he’s a recovering heroin addict.

    I can’t find it right now, but there’s a term for a show that doesn’t have a villain, or someone who isn’t a villain but adds antagonism. On Emergency!, it’s often Dr. Mike Morton, who’s prickly. He’s the one who wants victims with minor scratches to have an IV, although it clearly isn’t necessary. Brackett has to referee.

    There’s one scene in which Dixie’s seen in the background smoking. I think this was an accident (Julie London was a chain smoker), but one of the old-time TV fans on Twitter thinks it was intentional.

    There are a surprising number of fans and fan sites about Emergency!

    Aren’t you sorry you commented? 🙂

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