Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, "In Dreams They Run"

“In Dreams They Run”
December 13, 1970
Starring E.G. Marshall, David Hartman, John Saxon
Guest-Starring Joanne Linville, Arch Johnson, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Ella Edwards, Jason Karpf, Robbie MacDonald, Del Moore, Anne Whitfield, Kathleen Freeman, Eve Brent, Cecile Ozorio, Alyscia Maxwell, Christine Nelson
Theme: Dave Grusin
Executive Producer: Cy Chermak
Producer: Joel Rogosin
Associate Producer: Jay Benson
Creators: Richard Landau, Paul Mason, and Steven Bochco
Teleplay: Don Tait and Sandy Stern
Story: Don Tait
Director: Jerry Lewis

THE BOLD ONES was something of a bold innovation in network television when it debuted on NBC in 1969. It was actually three separate drama series that rotated in the same timeslot: THE NEW DOCTORS, THE LAWYERS, and THE PROTECTORS, all broadcast under the umbrella title of THE BOLD ONES. The Universal production was successful with viewers (though THE PROTECTORS lasted just one season and was replaced by the brilliant THE SENATOR, the most critically acclaimed of all the BOLD ONES shows), and spawned imitations, such as FOUR-IN-ONE, THE MEN, and most famously THE NBC SUNDAY MYSTERY MOVIE.

THE NEW DOCTORS was the only BOLD ONES series to last all four seasons; in fact, it was the only BOLD ONES series in its fourth season. It starred E.G. Marshall (THE DEFENDERS) as Dr. David Craig, the owner and administrator of the state-of-the-art David Craig Institute of New Medicine located in Southern California. Co-starring with Marshall were lanky David Hartman, who was coming off one season on THE VIRGINIAN, as Dr. Paul Hunter and busy film and television actor John Saxon in his first and only regular series role as Dr. Ted Stuart, Craig’s chief surgeon.

“In Dreams They Run,” the fifth of eight episodes aired during THE NEW DOCTORS’ second season, is significant because it was directed by Jerry Lewis. It was only the second time Lewis had directed a television episode and the first one in which he didn’t appear (Lewis guest-starred in and directed a 1965 BEN CASEY). It comes as no surprise the plot of “In Dreams They Run” involves muscular dystrophy, a disease Lewis had been passionate about since the 1950s (the first national telethon was in 1966).

As you might expect, Lewis pours on the schmaltz in certain scenes, particularly one in which two boys with MS agree to be friends with each other after sharing the physical feats they can no longer do. The boy, Davey Sorenson (Jason Karpf, presumably a real victim of MS), is the son of blue-collar parents played by Arch Johnson and Joanne Linville, who are having trouble coming to grips with their son’s disease. A parallel plot finds Gil Dodds (Lincoln Kilpatrick), a golf pro friend of Stuart’s, afflicted with a muscular ailment that could keep him from competing in the Masters.

Written by veteran television writer Don Tait (THE VIRGINIAN) and neophyte Sandy Stern (IRONSIDE) with some sensitivity, the episode concentrates on its guest stars with Saxon, Hartman, and Marshall as supporting actors in their own show. Which is as it should be, since the drama is about how Dodds’ and Davey’s bodies are failing them, not how it affects their doctors. Lewis does a masterful job coaxing strong performances from everyone, even the young, inexperienced ones.

1 comment:

Gary R. Peterson said...

Excellent review! I just bought the New Doctors DVD and have thus far watched only the first episode--a Pat Hingle tour de force. I'll be looking forward to reaching this one, especially knowing Joanne Linville will be guest starring.