Today in TV History: “Dr. Kildare” Debuts (1961)
Television themes run in cycles: westerns, spy shows, sitcoms, lawyer shows, medical dramas, science fiction, etc. In 1961 it was all about the medical dramas starting to find their place routinely in the prime time lineup.
"Dr. Kildare" ran from 1961 to 1966 for a total of 191 episodes. The star was the eternally youthful and matinee-idol handsome Richard Chamberlain. His hospital superior, Dr. Gillespie, was played by Academy Award nominee Raymond Massey.
The show met its rival in the medical series "Ben Casey." The two stars of each show could not have been more different physically. Chamberlain was tall, thin, blonde and light skinned. Dr. Ben Casey, played by the great Vince Edwards, was short, stocky, dark, jet black hair, and intense. The two shows each had a large legion of fans and followers.
Did you know that the roles of Dr. Kildare was first offered to William Shatner of "Star Trek" fame?