Saturday, November 17, 2012

30th Anniversary Slideshow at Yahoo!

A slideshow featuring twenty fun facts about St. Elsewhere with large photos.
Drs. Ehrlich (Ed Begley, Jr.) and Axelrod (Stephen
Furst) attempt to cheer up an injured Dr. Wayne
Fiscus (Howie Mandel) with a gag Ehrlich saw on TV.

Saw this one, "'St. Elsewhere' 30th Anniversary: Fun Facts", the day it came out (October 26), but I forgot about it until today. That's not a comment on the quality of this slideshow by any means; it has good, large photos, and I enjoy lists of trivia. These tidbits are a good selection of behind-the-scenes information and things they did on the show to make it awesome.

If you don't want the contents of this slideshow spoiled, go read it now in a new window (and then return here, of course). Otherwise, the fun facts about St. Elsewhere assembled by Amy and Nancy Harrington are summarized here, for those who enjoy words without the distraction of striking photography.
  1. The role of Dr. Donald Westphall (Ed Flanders) was offered to Hal Linden, who had just completed Barney Miller, but he wanted a break from TV.
  2. Norman Lloyd was only hired for four episodes, and Daniel Auschlander was supposed to succumb to his liver cancer. But they liked him, so they wrote in three years (fictional time, six years real time) of remission.
  3. William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett, who played Dr. Mark Craig and his wife Ellen, have been married in real life for 61 years.
  4. The building used in the opening credits is the Franklin Square House, located at 11 East Newton Street in Boston, was built in 1868.
  5. Before Byron Stewart played orderly Warren Coolidge on St. Elsewhere, he played high school basketball star Warren Coolidge on The White Shadow. Warren went to college at B.C., but injured his knee, ending his career.
  6. The fourth season episode "Close Encounters" featured psych patient Elliott Carlin (Jack Riley), who was Dr. Bob Hartley's most frequent patient on The Bob Newhart Show from 1972 to 1978.
  7. Also on "Close Encounters", Betty White's character, Captain Gloria Neal, gets mistaken for her character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Sue Ann Nivens, by psych patient John Doe #6 (Oliver Clark), who believes he is Mary Richards.
  8. In season five's "Once Upon a Mattress", Wayne Fiscus (Howie Mandel) is recovering from a near-fatal gunshot wound when Elliott (Stephen Furst) and Victor (Ed Begley, Jr.) attempt to cheer him up by putting surgical gloves over their heads and inflating them with their noses. When Mandel did stand-up, this was one of his trademark gags. It fails to make Wayne laugh.
  9. In season five (somewhere, I'll have to find it), Mark and Ellen Craig visit their alma mater, Penn. William Daniels famously played John Adams in the Broadway and film versions of the musical 1776. He quotes a line from the song "Sit Down, John" when he comments on the weather: "It's hot as hell in Philadelphia." He also recalls that he was considered "obnoxious and disliked" in med school, the same words used to describe his character in 1776.
  10. Mark Harmon's Dr. Bobby Caldwell was the first character on a network TV series to contract AIDS.
  11. Cheers and St. Elsewhere crossed over twice.
  12. The series finale--the whole thing was dreamed up by Tommy Westphall, staring into the snowglobe. When you factor in the crossovers, it creates the Tommy Westphall Universe phenomenon.
  13. MTM's trademark mascot Mimsie the Cat appeared in surgical scrubs in the MTM production card at the end of St. Elsewhere's credits. In the series finale, the kitty becomes the show's last kill-off.
  14. The finale also saw the doctors reenact The Mary Tyler Moore Show's final episode group hug, with the shuffle to the box of tissues. The finale is loaded with other references as well.
  15. Family and friends were used as the names paged on the hospital's loudspeaker, including the young daughter of executive producer Bruce Paltrow, Gwyneth.
  16. St. Elsewhere launched the careers of Howie Mandel, David Morse and Denzel Washington. The show's guest stars included early performances by Tim Robbins, Helen Hunt, Patricia Wettig and Jane Kaczmarek.
  17. Ed Begley, Jr. has gone on to play doctors more than twenty times since his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich, including his current role on Grey's Anatomy.
  18. St. Elsewhere received 62 Emmy nominations and won 13 of them.
  19. The crossovers continued after St. Elsewhere left the air, including appearances by Dr. Roxanne Turner (Alfre Woodard) and Dr. Victor Ehrlich on Tom Fontana's Homicide: Life in the Street.
  20. NBC celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2002 with a series of classic TV crossovers. While not a strict crossover, William Daniels, Ed Begley Jr., Stephen Furst, and Eric Laneuville played doctors who fell ill at a convention, causing them to be admitted to Sacred Heart hospital on Scrubs.

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