DAVID BIANCULLI

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1966: 'Ben Casey' Retires from ABC
March 21, 2017  | By TV WW
 
"Man... Woman... Birth... Death... Infinity." With those words, uttered by Sam Jaffe as the wise, grizzled Dr. Zorba, Ben Casey launched each week into its somber theme music — and into another drama exploring medical diseases, cures, ethics, and dilemmas.

Today, the name "Ben Casey," like those of Dr. Kildare and "Marcus Welby, M.D.," carries the connotation of the perfect, caring physician — the Perry Mason of doctors. However, Casey, as played by Vince Edwards, was a lot more ruggedly handsome than Robert Young's paternal Dr. Welby.

On this day in 1966, Ben Casey ended its six-season run on ABC. In 1988, twenty-two years after Ben Casey went off the air, a more paternal-looking Edwards starred in a telemovie called The Return of Ben Casey. By then, though, the image of the "perfect doctor" had long been pronounced dead by the fascinatingly flawed folks of St. Elsewhere.
 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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