Friday, September 25, 2015

The Interns, "An Afternoon In The Fall"

“An Afternoon in the Fall”
October 9, 1970
Stars Broderick Crawford, Stephen Brooks, Christopher Stone, Hal Frederick, Elaine Giftos, Mike Farrell, Sandra Smith
Guest-starring William Devane, Albert Salmi, Brooke Bundy, Peggy McCay, Tom Hallick, Charles Shull, Richard Krisher, Jack Garner, Kathy Shawn, Joe Renteria
Music by Shorty Rogers
Executive-produced by Bob Claver
Produced by Charles Larson
Written by Mark Rodgers
Directed by Daniel Petrie

THE INTERNS was based on the 1963 film of the same title, a soapy Columbia release about young physicians that starred Cliff Robertson (CHARLY), Michael Callan (MYSTERIOUS ISLAND), James MacArthur (HAWAII FIVE-O), Stefanie Powers (HART TO HART), Buddy Ebsen (BARNABY JONES), and Telly Savalas (KOJAK). See if you can guess who plays the interns and who plays their concerned mentors.

THE INTERNS was followed in 1964 by THE NEW INTERNS (with some of the same cast) and in 1970 by this CBS series. Stephen Brooks, formerly of THE FBI, took top billing as Dr. Greg Pettit. Also starring were Christopher Stone (THE HOWLING) as Pooch, Hal Frederick as Cal (the lone black intern), Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H) and Elaine Giftos (THE STUDENT NURSES) as married Sam and Bobbe Marsh, Sandra Smith (STAR TREK’s “Turnabout Intruder”) as Lydia, and gruff Broderick Crawford (HIGHWAY PATROL) as Dr. Peter Goldstone, the benevolent god who looks over the interns.

The series lasted just one season of 24 episodes on Fridays opposite THE HIGH CHAPARRAL and THE BRADY BUNCH/NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR, likely, at least in part, because there was little audiences hadn’t seen before in THE INTERNS. Also, viewers may have gotten burned out on the whole “good-looking young professionals with crusty mentors” scene during a fall season that also saw THE YOUNG LAWYERS and THE YOUNG REBELS debut, no doubt thanks to the success of THE MOD SQUAD.

“An Afternoon in the Fall” is interesting for at least one reason: a guest-starring turn by 30-year-old William Devane, who had hardly anything on his Hollywood resume outside of some N.Y.P.D. guest shots. Devane would become one of the decade’s busiest and most notable actors in films like ROLLING THUNDER, MARATHON MAN, and FAMILY PLOT. He earned Emmy nominations for THE MISSILES OF OCTOBER and FEAR ON TRIAL.

This INTERNS episode casts Devane as the dangerous William Hauser, whose fixation on his night-school teacher, Alice Vaughn (Peggy McCay), culminates in him shooting her twice. Sam saves her life in the operating table (a radio news report calling him “Simon Marsh” instigates a lot of good-natured kidding in the doctors’ lounge), but Osland (Albert Salmi), the cop on the case, is convinced Hauser will try to get to Alice in the hospital. Brooks, who worked with producer Charles Larson on THE FBI, gets the B-story, striking up a romance with a new nurse (Brooke Bundy) who moves into the Marshes’ apartment building.

The main plot by writer Mark Rodgers (POLICE STORY) is typical cop/hostage/psycho-killer machinations. By focusing on the suspense and potential violence, THE INTERNS and director Daniel Petrie (FORT APACHE THE BRONX) fail to deliver on the promise of the love story. Bundy’s Joy reveals a lot about herself in relatively little screen time. She’s new in Los Angeles, she seems uninterested in pursuing any romantic relationships, she’s divorced with a son that her ex-husband has full custody of. Just when it seems the character is beginning to go somewhere, the episode is over with Joy announcing she’s leaving town and the hospital, never to be seen on THE INTERNS again.

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