Robert Young plays Dr. Marcus Welby, a dedicated family physician who made house calls a priority in life. From week to week Welby was tasked with some of the most devastating disorders and serious situations an M.D. can face, but confronted them with a fierce honesty and dedicated compassion that made him a virtual superhero with a stethoscope. But he could not do it alone.
Enter Dr. Steven Kiley, portrayed by the strapping and very new James Brolin in his first regular television role. As any doctor will tell you, looks can be deceiving. The show mixed up the common formula, with the older and wiser Welby embracing the unorthodox treatments while the young gun, Kiley, had the straitlaced approach. The chemistry was electric, and the results were positively award-winning, as both actors earned Emmys for their roles.
Marcus Welby, M.D. ran for seven seasons on ABC from 1969 1976, earning it a top spot in the medical drama lexicon and paving the way for such hits as House, M.D.
* Original 2-Hour Pilot Movie: A Matter Of Humanities: Dr. Marcus Welby enlists the help of a young Doctor Steven Kiley to help run his Santa Monica practice. Airing on March 26, 1969, this two-hour made-for-TV movie set the stage for the one-hour series that would be viewed regularly in about one of every four American homes that year.
In its first season, the series tackled such hot-button issues as abortion, substance abuse, and autism. No matter what life or medical crisis befell his patients, Welby responded in a reassuring, nonjudgmental manner. In the episode "Go Get 'Em, Tiger," he compels a school board to hire Kiley's former benefactor (guest star Jack Albertson), who is now a reforming heroin addict. In "Enid" he pleads for understanding in the case of a compassionate teacher who is addicted to prescription drugs. Welby could get radical. In "Dance to No Music," he stages a public confrontation to break through to a man convinced he has a crippling genetic disorder. Marcus Welby, M.D. earned an Emmy for Best Dramatic Series. Young and Brolin were also honored. The humanistic scripts are exceptional, and guest stars--veteran character actors and future stars (including a pre-Partridge Family David Cassidy)--rose to the occasion. Joe Campenella is a standout in "Dance to the Music" as the man who fears he has Huntington's disease. This seven-disc set includes the original pilot movie, A Matter of Humanities, in which Welby, felled by a heart attack, hires Kiley to help him run his suburban practice, which he operates out of his Santa Monica home. Marcus Welby, M.D. has rarely made the rounds in syndication. For fans of the series, this is the ultimate house call. --Donald Liebenson