Friday, June 26, 2015

Ray Charles on St. Elsewhere

Music legend Ray Charles made a guest appearance as a blind homeless man on a fifth-season episode of St. Elsewhere.

Ever wondered what Ray Charles looked like without
his shades on?
The sixteenth episode of season five of St. Elsewhere, "Jose, Can You See?", is the "eye" episode. Dr. Jacqueline Wade (Sagan Lewis) suffers abrasions on her corneas from her new contact lenses; Dr. Elliott Axelrod (Stephen Furst), Dr. Daniel Auschlander (Norman Lloyd), and Dr. Donald Westphall (Ed Flanders) try on each other's glasses during an elevator ride; Daniel Auschlander's long lost love Margaret Ryan (Geraldine Fitzgerald) is admitted to St. Eligius with a eye-related ailment; and Dr. Carol Novino (Cindy Pickett) and Dr. Philip Chandler (Denzel Washington) clashing over blind, homeless patient Arthur Tibbetts, played by music legend Ray Charles.

Arthur Tibbetts is "minding his own P's and Q's" in an alley when a pair of thugs begin harassing him. After stealing his hat, they assault him, stabbing him in the abdomen and breaking a bottle over his head. He enters St. Eligius's ER, where he is treated by Drs. Novino and Chandler.

X-rays reveal that Tibbetts is sufficiently well to be released. Novino is moved by his plight, and wants to admit Tibbetts to get him off the street for the night. Chandler, a stickler for policy, and mindful of the hospital's budget crisis, insists that the patient be released. Novino then takes it upon herself to play "musical beds" until Chandler goes over her head to Westphall.

Before he is released, Tibbetts has a nice moment in the hospital lounge with fellow patient Margaret Ryan, reminiscing about the past. Naturally, you can't have Ray Charles on your show without having him play the piano, so he performs a rendition of the Carole King classic, "You've Got a Friend".

Check out Ray Charles on St. Elsewhere:


Guest appearances by famous musicians seemed to be all the rage at the time. Three weeks after this episode aired, Frank Sinatra guest-starred as a retired cop on Magnum, P.I.. A year earlier, Frank Zappa appeared on an episode of Miami Vice as a drug lord.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

More Nudity on St. Elsewhere

In the episode "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", St. Elsewhere producers slipped a scantily-clad extra passed the network censors.

St. Elsewhere pushed the envelope on September 30, 1987 when Dr. Donald Westphall tendered his resignation by mooning boss, Dr. John Gideon (Ronny Cox), and actor Ed Flanders bared his backside for the most flagrant display of nudity on network television to that date. But it turns out that this was not their first foray into exposed buttocks.

Thank you to a sharp-eyed anonymous commenter who spotted this cheeky detail thrown into the third season's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", originally aired November 28, 1984. At about eight and a half minutes in, Dr. Mark Craig (William Daniels) is engaged in another conflict with Assistant to the Chief of Services Joan Halloran (Nancy Stafford) when a female extra emerges from a room into the hallway.

Her hospital gown isn't quite fastened all the way, and for a few frames, her bare butt can be seen, tan lines and all:

About five minutes later, bone marrow donor Herschel Millstein (Bill Macy) is explaining to visiting specialist Dr. Christine Holtz (Caroline McWilliams) why there's such bad blood between him and his brother when the brazen blonde makes another appearance:

As the actors exit screen right, the young woman's assets are still on display:

Indeed, girls just want to have fun, sometimes by letting it all hang out.

Here are the clips:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

R.I.P. Edward Herrmann, St. Elsewhere's Father McCabe

TMZ reports that actor Edward Herrmann has passed away from cancer at age 71.

In St. Elsewhere's finest episode(s), the fourth season two-parter "Time Heals", we meet the hospital's founder, an Irish Catholic priest from Southie named Father Joseph McCabe, played by Edward Herrmann. McCabe re-appeared in the fifth season opener, "Where There's Hope, There's Crosby", returning from Arizona (with Herrmann in old-age makeup) suffering from ALS. For that appearance, Herrmann was nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Performance by a Guest Actor.

According to a report from TMZ, Herrmann had been battling brain cancer and had been in the ICU for the past three and half weeks. He was taken off life support and passed away this morning at the age of 71.

Herrmann was more recently known for his role on Gilmore Girls, and he assembled a long list of credits dating back to the early seventies. To 80s kids like me, he was the King of the Vampires in The Lost Boys.

Follow this link to a YouTube playlist to enjoy Edward Herrmann's performance in "Time Heals".

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday, Norman Lloyd!

Hollywood legend and St. Elsewhere star Norman Lloyd celebrates his 100th birthday today, and tributes have been pouring in.

The St. Elsewhere Experience wishes Norman Lloyd, who played Dr. Daniel Auschlander for six seasons of St. Elsewhere, a happy 100th birthday. In honor of this occasion, today has been declared "Norman Lloyd Day" in the city of Los Angeles.

Check out the accolades Lloyd has received from around the web, and learn more about the living legend who is one of Hollywood's greatest storytellers. Lloyd has slowed down a bit at the century mark: he has only one film due out for release at the moment, and only plays tennis twice a week.

The first article was written by Jim Longworth, who produced On Call: The St. Elsewhere Appreciation Club Newsletter in the nineties.

YES! Weekly - Happy 100th to Norman Lloyd: The Ultimate Pro

Variety - Norman Lloyd at 100: Hollywood's Living Memory

ABC 7 Los Angeles - Veteran Actor Norman Lloyd Celebrated by Los Angeles City Council

The Hollywood Reporter - Norman Lloyd at 100: THR's Todd McCarthy on a Legend's Staying Power

Fishbowl NY - Peter Bart Pays Norman Lloyd the Highest Hollywood Compliment

Birthday wishes also go out to Alfre Woodard, who turns 62 today.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On Call, Vol. 3, No. 1 - From the Hospital Security Camera Department: The Photography of St. Elsewhere "The Amazing Gunters"

From On Call: The Official Newsletter of the St. Elsewhere Appreciation Club, volume 3, number 1, June, 1999.

Marvin, Rick - 1983
Go back and watch re-runs of most TV shows produced prior to 1982 and you'll notice something missing...camera movement. It was the great irony of television, a medium designed to replace radio with "moving images", became reliant on and complacent with generally static images edited together, or scenes switched live using a series of static cameras. To a large extent, St. Elsewhere helped to change all of that, and pave the way for the now expected, continuous handheld shot sequences, such as we see on ER. The story of how this change evolved is due in no small part to one particular family.

* * * * *

Rick Gunter served as the camera operator on St. Elsewhere from the very beginning, and continued in one capacity or another throughout the entire run of the series. At first he worked under Director of Photography, John McPherson. McPherson brought years of experience to the set, and worked well with the young Rick.

On Call, Vol. 3, No. 1 - News of Cast and Crew

From On Call: The Official Newsletter of the St. Elsewhere Appreciation Club, volume 3, number 1, June, 1999.

ED BEGLEY just completed a run of two new David Mamet plays in L.A., and several appearances on the WB's Seventh Heaven.

BILL & BONNIE DANIELS' characters tied the know on the season finale of Boy Meets World, and will return to the ABC show this Fall.

Fontana, ON CALL publisher Longworth 
TOM FONTANA along with partner Barry Levinson is bringing two new series to television: Hardwood, a basketball drama for Showtime, and The Beat, for the UPN. Tom also participated in a seminar at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York in May. Joining him on the panel were Dick Wolf, Steven Bochco, David Kelley, Marshall Herskovitz, and Edward Zwick. ON CALL publisher Jim Longworth was also on hand to do research for his new book which will include chapters on the six participants. Many thanks to MTR president Robert Batscha and David Bushman for an historic two days.

STEPHEN FURST is performing voice-overs for Disney including for The Little Mermaid, Part 2. He is also set to direct a sci-fi film Yogsuth. Stephen's son Nathan just completed scoring the film Baby Huey.

SAGAN LEWIS ... ends her Arizona sabbatical where she has been raising her son, and is returning to L.A. to be available for acting work. Welcome back!

ELLEN BRY MASIUS, a supermom herself, just participated in the 600 mile California Aids Ride which last year raised $10 million. FYI - John Tinker's wife Lori Mezullo also participated in the charity event. Ellen is also ready to dedicate some of her time to more acting duties.

JOHN MASIUS's new hit NBC show Providence is a shoe-in for an Emmy nomination.

DAVID MORSE will appear with Tom Hanks in Stephen King's thriller The Green Mile, slated for release this Fall.

CHRISTINA PICKLES has landed a spot on Fox's new family drama Get Real, in which she plays her favorite role - a Mom! The new series is getting great notices from early previews.

JOHN TINKER and his staff participated in an historic event. Earlier this year, Chicago Hope became the first CBS drama to shoot an episode in HDTV.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Howie Mandel recalls St. Elsewhere on David Letterman

Video of Howie Mandel, a.k.a. Dr. Wayne Fiscus, discussing St. Elsewhere on a recent episode of The Late Show with David Letterman.

Check it out--on Howie Mandel's recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman (I didn't see it, but from the date of the video, it was probably Monday night), Dave brings up how Howie broke through as a television actor. After guessing "Hill House Blues", Howie reminds him that the show was St. Elsewhere, and that he played a doctor, not a cop. He mentions how Denzel Washington got his start on the program, and then launches into an impressive recollection of the E.R. treatment for a gunshot wound to the chest:



Thursday, August 7, 2014

On Call, Vol. 3, No. 1 - Personnel Profile: Howie Mandel - "Prankster and Pathfinder"


From On Call: The Official Newsletter of the St. Elsewhere Appreciation Club, volume 3, number 1, June, 1999.

"YUCK, YUCK, CANUCK"

Canadian Ham Mandel
In baseball jargon, a "triple threat" is someone who can run, throw, and hit. In the entertainment world that would be anyone who excels on stage, in films, and on television (hats off to Rita Moreno). But there's no catchphrase to describe Howie Mandel. He's a stand-up comic, a comedic film actor, a dramatic television actor, a producer, a voice-over talent, a writer, and, he's been a talk show host. In fact, the only show biz gig he hasn't done is Opera, and if asked, he could probably do that too. Yet with all of this talent, don't look for one, defining moment in his early life at which point he knew what path to take. Mandel's is a life full of quirky twists and turns - each of them leading him down a multi-faceted career path and us to discover why he is truly one of the most gifted performers of his generation.

Howie Mandel was born in Toronto, Canada to Albert and Evy Mandel. His father, now deceased, was a lighting salesman and his mom a real estate agent. He has a brother Steve who is three years his junior.

HOWIE MANDEL ... "I had a great upbringing, a normal, middle-class, Canadian suburban upbringing. Once a year we would drive down to Florida and I would sit for three days of driving, and my parents would sit things between me and my brother so we wouldn't smack each other. And that was the extent of our family outings."

Unfortunately, Howie's parents couldn't monitor his actions 24 hours a day, and, as a result, his career as a student turned prankster was legendary, with his having attended (and subsequently been asked to leave) a myriad of schools, including Don Mills Collegiate, North View Heights, and York Mills Collegiate where he once hired a contractor over the phone to build an addition onto the school library. The contractor showed up and commenced work until halted by an irate Principal.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

St. Elsewhere featured in PBS's Pioneers of TV: Doctors and Nurses

St. Elsewhere gets a nod in a PBS retrospective on medical dramas airing Tuesday, April 22.

Richard Chamberlain on the set of Dr. Kildare.
Fans of classic TV medical dramas are in for a treat this week. PBS.org's page on the upcoming program Doctors and Nurses includes a few paragraphs on St. Elsewhere. Check it out!

There's a video preview there as well, but I have to assume that it is only viewable in the United States (where I do not live). If it contains any bits on St. Elsewhere, feel free to remark upon it in the comments thread.