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Dr. Kildare

Dr. Kildare

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Dr. James Kildare is a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

, the primary character in a series of American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 theatrical film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s in the late 1930s and early 1940s, an early 1950s radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 series, a 1960s television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 series of the same name and a comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 based on the TV show, and a short-lived 1970s television series. The character was created by the author Frederick Schiller Faust
Max Brand
Frederick Faust, aka Max Brand|thumb|rightFrederick Schiller Faust was an American author known primarily for his thoughtful and literary Westerns. Faust wrote mostly under pen names, but today is primarily known by only one, Max Brand...

, under the pen name Max Brand.


The character begins the film series as a medical intern; after becoming a doctor
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

, he is mentored by an older physician, Dr. Leonard Gillespie. After the first ten films, the series eliminated the character of Kildare and focused instead on Gillespie. Lew Ayres
Lew Ayres
Lew Ayres was an American actor, best known for starring as Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front and for playing Dr...

, who had played the young doctor beginning in the second movie, was a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 and then a Medical Corpsman serving during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was replaced in the series by Van Johnson
Van Johnson
Van Johnson was an American film and television actor and dancer who was a major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios during and after World War II....

 and Keye Luke
Keye Luke
Keye Luke was a Chinese-born American actor. He was the first Chinese-American contract player signed with RKO, Universal and, later, MGM and is generally acknowledged as the leading Asian-American actor of this era of American cinema.-Background:...

, portraying young interns. Previously, Luke had become well known as Number One Son in the Fox Film Corporation Charlie Chan
Charlie Chan
Charlie Chan is a fictional Chinese-American detective created by Earl Derr Biggers in 1919. Loosely based on Honolulu detective Chang Apana, Biggers conceived of the benevolent and heroic Chan as an alternative to Yellow Peril stereotypes, such as villains like Fu Manchu...

 series, and he later became known for the role of Master Po in the TV series Kung Fu
Kung Fu (TV series)
Kung Fu is an American television series that starred David Carradine. It was created by Ed Spielman, directed and produced by Jerry Thorpe, and developed by Herman Miller, who was also a writer for, and co-producer of, the series...

  • Internes Can't Take Money
    Internes Can't Take Money
    Internes Can't Take Money released in the UK as You Can't Take Money, is a drama film starring Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea, and released by Paramount Pictures. McCrea portrayed Dr. Kildare in the character's first screen appearance....

    1937 in film
    The year 1937 in film involved some significant events, including the Walt Disney production of the first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.- Events :*April 16 - Way Out West premieres in the US....

    ), starring Joel McCrea
    Joel McCrea
    Joel Albert McCrea was an American actor whose career spanned 50 years and appearances in over 90 films.-Early life:...

     as Kildare
  • Young Dr. Kildare
    Young Dr. Kildare
    Young Dr. Kildare is a 1938 film starring Lew Ayres as an idealistic but somewhat immature young medical doctor, who benefits greatly from the wise counsel of his mentor, Dr. Gillespie, a seasoned older physician. This was the second of a total of ten Dr...

    1938 in film
    The year 1938 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*January — MGM announces that Judy Garland would be cast in the role of "Dorothy" in the upcoming Wizard of Oz motion picture. Ray Bolger is cast as the "Tinman" and Buddy Ebsen is cast as the "Scarecrow". At Bolger's insistence,...

    ), which introduced Lew Ayres in the Kildare role, and Lionel Barrymore
    Lionel Barrymore
    Lionel Barrymore was an American actor of stage, screen and radio. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul...

     as Dr. Gillespie
  • Calling Dr. Kildare (1939)
  • The Secret of Dr. Kildare
    The Secret of Dr. Kildare
    - Cast :*Lew Ayres as Dr. James "Jimmy" Kildare*Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Leonard Barry Gillespie*Lionel Atwill as Paul Messenger*Helen Gilbert as Nancy Messenger*Nat Pendleton as Joe Wayman*Laraine Day as Nurse Mary Lamont*Sara Haden as Nora...

  • Dr. Kildare's Strange Case
    Dr. Kildare's Strange Case
    - Cast :*Lew Ayres as Dr. Kildare*Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Leonard Gillespie*Laraine Day as Nurse Mary Lamont*Shepperd Strudwick as Dr. Gregory 'Greg' Lane*Samuel S. Hinds as Dr. Stephen Kildare*Emma Dunn as Mrs. Martha Kildare...

  • Dr. Kildare Goes Home
    Dr. Kildare Goes Home
    Dr. Kildare Goes Home is a 1940 drama film directed by Harold S. Bucquet, starring Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. This was the second in a series of nine Dr. Kildare, from 1938-1942 starring Lew Ayres as Dr, Kildare.-Plot summary:...

  • Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940)
  • The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941)
  • Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941)
  • Dr. Kildare's Victory
    Dr. Kildare's Victory
    Dr. Kildare's Victory is a 1942 film directed by W. S. Van Dyke. It stars Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore.-Cast:*Lew Ayres as Dr. Kildare*Lionel Barrymore as Dr. Leonard Gillespie*Ann Ayars as Cynthia Cookie Charles...


Later films without Kildare

  • Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942)
  • Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (1942), which introduced Gillespie's assistants Dr. Randall Adams (Van Johnson
    Van Johnson
    Van Johnson was an American film and television actor and dancer who was a major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios during and after World War II....

    ) and Dr. Lee Wong How (Keye Luke
    Keye Luke
    Keye Luke was a Chinese-born American actor. He was the first Chinese-American contract player signed with RKO, Universal and, later, MGM and is generally acknowledged as the leading Asian-American actor of this era of American cinema.-Background:...

  • Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943)
  • Three Men in White (1944)
  • Between Two Women (1945)
  • Dark Delusion (1947), without Johnson


Novels tied to the films were published at the time of the film releases, and subsequently reprinted in later decades, not as movie tie-ins.
  • The Secret of Dr. Kildare, Max Brand. Dodd, Mead, 1939. reprinted 1962, Dell Books


Lionel Barrymore and Lew Ayres performed a scene from their soon-to-be-released film, "Young Dr. Kildare," on MGM's "Good News of 1939" program, October 13, 1938.

In the summer of 1949, MGM reunited Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore to record the radio series, The Story of Dr. Kildare, scripted by Les Crutchfield, Jean Holloway and others. After broadcasts on WMGM New York from February 1, 1950 to August 3, 1951, the series was syndicated to other stations during the 1950s. The supporting cast included Ted Osborne as hospital administrator Dr. Carough, Jane Webb as nurse Mary Lamont and Virginia Gregg as Nurse Parker, labeled "Nosy Parker" by Gillespie, with appearances by William Conrad, Stacy Harris, Jay Novello, Isabel Jewell and Jack Webb.


Dr. Kildare is an NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 medical drama
Medical drama
A medical drama is a television program, in which events center upon a hospital, an ambulance staff, or any medical environment.In the United States, most medical episodes are one hour long and, more often than not, are set in a hospital. Most current medical Dramatic programming go beyond the...

 television series which ran from September 27, 1961 until April 5, 1966, encompassing a total of 190 episodes. The show, which premiered at the same time as an ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 medical drama, Ben Casey
Ben Casey
Ben Casey is an American medical drama series which ran on ABC from 1961 to 1966. The show was known for its opening titles, which consisted of a hand drawing the symbols "♂, ♀, *, †, ∞" on a chalkboard, as cast member Sam Jaffe intoned, "Man, woman, birth, death, infinity." Neurosurgeon Joseph...

, quickly achieved success and helped spark a number of new shows dealing with the medical field.

Kildare told the story of a young intern, Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain
Richard Chamberlain
George Richard Chamberlain is an American actor of stage and screen who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare .-Early life:...

), working in a fictional large metropolitan hospital (Blair General) while trying to learn his profession, dealing with the problems of the patients, and winning the respect of the senior doctor, Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Raymond Massey
Raymond Massey
Raymond Hart Massey was a Canadian/American actor.-Early life:Massey was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Anna , who was born in Illinois, and Chester Daniel Massey, the wealthy owner of the Massey-Ferguson Tractor Company. Massey's family could trace their ancestry back to the American...


In the series' first episode, Gillespie tells the earnest Kildare, "Our job is to keep people alive, not to tell them how to live." Kildare ignores the advice, which provides the basis for stories over the next four seasons, many with a soap opera
Soap opera
A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

 touch. The series was largely responsible for making Chamberlain, who beat 35 other contenders for the role, a teen idol in the 1960s. He also recorded a song, "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight," with the music from the show's familiar opening theme. In 2006 Chamberlain reprised the role in a parody of Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy is an American medical drama television series created by Shonda Rhimes. The series premiered on March 27, 2005 on ABC; since then, seven seasons have aired. The series follows the lives of interns, residents and their mentors in the fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital in...

(along with other famous TV doctors from Julia
Julia (TV series)
Julia is an American sitcom notable for being one of the first weekly series to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. Previous television series featured African American lead characters, but the characters were usually servants. The show starred actress and singer Diahann...

, St. Elsewhere
St. Elsewhere
St. Elsewhere is an American medical drama television series that originally ran on NBC from October 26, 1982 to May 25, 1988. The series is set at fictional St. Eligius, a decaying urban teaching hospital in Boston's South End neighborhood...

, M*A*S*H and The Love Boat
The Love Boat
The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24,1977, until May 24,1986.The show starred Gavin MacLeod as the ship's captain...

) on the 2006 TV Land Awards
TV Land Awards
The TV Land Awards is an American television awards ceremony that generally commemorates shows now off the air, rather than in current production as with awards such as the Emmys. It is presented in a manner that spoofs other entertainment award ceremonies...


A second television series, titled Young Dr. Kildare, premiered in first-run syndication in 1972. Starring Mark Jenkins
Mark Jenkins (actor)
Mark Jenkins is an American actor. He portrayed the title character in the short-lived 1972 television series Young Dr. Kildare. One of his film portrayals was that of Lt...

 as Dr. Kildare and Gary Merrill
Gary Merrill
Gary Fred Merrill was an American film and television character actor whose credits included more than fifty feature films, a half-dozen mostly short-lived TV series, and dozens of television guest appearances....

 as Dr. Gillespie, it lasted for only one season of 24 episodes.


Dell Comics
Dell Comics
Dell Comics was the comic book publishing arm of Dell Publishing, which got its start in pulp magazines. It published comics from 1929 to 1973. At its peak, it was the most prominent and successful American company in the medium...

' short-lived comic book based on the television show lasted nine issues from 1962 to 1965. The first two issues were part of the Four Color Comics
Four Color
Four Color, also known as Four Color Comics and One Shots, was a long-running American comic book anthology series published by Dell Comics between 1939 and 1962...

line. Ken Bald
Ken Bald
Kenneth Bruce Bald is an American illustrator and comic book artist best known for the Judd Saxon, Dr. Kildare and Dark Shadows newspaper comic strips. Due to contractual obligations, he is credited as "K...

drew the Dr. Kildare comic strip for 21 years (1962-1983).