Dr. Kildare was produced for syndication in 1949 at WMGM, New York. It was based on the popular Dr. Kildare movies of the late 1930's and early 1940's, and brought to the microphone the stars of that series, Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. Ayres played the young, idealistic Dr. James Kildare; Barrymore, ever in character, was the crusty, loveable diagnostician, Dr. Leonard Gillespie. The men worked at Blair General Hospital, "one of the great citadels of American medicine -- a clump of gray-white buildings planted deep in the heart of New York -- where life begins, where life ends, where life goes on."
Kildare really believed that oath, and that's what this series was all about. His battle with hospital administration, stupid patients, and stupid parents made this the Marcus Welby of the 1940's. The chief problem, both for Kildare and the listener, was that Blair Hospital was peopled by too many eccentrics. Gillespie, played to the limit by Barrymore, was enough for any show. But Dr. Carew, head of hospital administration, was a nut of the first order. Nurse Parker was a totally unbelievable old maid. Ted Osborne did what he could with Carew, and Virginia Gragg's fine talent was hopelessly lost in the chattering role of Parker. In the end, Ayres and Barrymore saved this series, providing some solid stories, especially when they ventured into the real world and got away from the dummies at Blair. Writing and directing were done on a freelance basis; music was by Walter Schumann. Actors contributing to Dr. Kildare included Stacy Harris, Isabel Jewell, Jay Novello, George Ellis, Paul Frees, Raymond Burr, and Jack Webb.
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