Saturday, December 30, 2017

Guest Who: Call for "The Doctors"

We catch all sorts of heat at work for daring to watch vintage television during our sole 20-minute break. Flipping between The Doctors (a daytime drama that aired from 1963-1982), Ray Combs installments of Family Feud, The Big Valley and The Ed Sullivan Show, we have to endure endless comments from passersby such as, "What the hell are you watching??" or "Is this some old show or what..." There are joys though, too, such as when I am watching The Doctors and spy something interesting or unusual.

Take, for example, this episode. Thanks to a complicated (it is a soap opera after all!) story line that I won't bore you with, one of the primary doctors and his doctor wife find themselves in need of a psychologist for their young daughter. They fretfully consult with a young doctor on staff at the hospital over how to best proceed with the situation.
The doctor turns out to be none other than a young Ted Danson! This is an uncredited appearance that cannot be found at It aired in February, 1975 and is very likely his first time acting on national television in a speaking role. He was twenty-eight.

Later that year, he won a regular role on another soap opera, Somerset, and stayed for close to two years. Then in 1977, he returned to The Doctors as an entirely different, regular character.

We love having the ability to unearth these early bits of work by people who later became famous for something else (in Danson's case, a long run on Cheers and a variety of movies such as Three Men and a Baby among a multitude of other projects continuing up to the present.)

Of course, we also enjoy The Doctors because it gives us a chance to watch the early work of one Gil Gerard, best known for playing Buck Rogers in the 25th Century from 1979 to 1981. He wasn't a guest, but played a regular character for about two years. He's seen here during a marriage ceremony.

After the ceremony, the lovebirds head off on their honeymoon and ol' Gil starts to strip down (as far as 1975 daytime TV would allow.)
He and his newlywed bride enjoy some champagne and a few soulful kisses until the hit song "The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)" comes on and they embark on their primary honeymoon task (which, for them, truly was "the first time!")

This wasn't Gerard's acting debut. He'd been in countless TV commercials and had a couple of small film roles before this. His run on the show was getting close to an end, though it wasn't long before he was cast in Airport '77, the place we first experienced him. He was thirty-two at the time. If our keen eyes spot anyone else of note, you'll be the first to hear about it!


angelman66 said...

Wow, I remember The Doctors and Somerset - they were NBC, I believe, like my favorite soap at the time Another World.
Gil Gerard, be still my heart, and Ted Danson was quite the hunk as well!
I can always count on you, Poseidon, for stimulating nostalgia! Happy New Year!,

Martin said...

My, my, my - a shirtless Gil Gerard is always a welcome sight!

Rick Gould said...

...I get the NBC soaps mixed up sometimes... Wasn't Kathleen Turner on The Doctors? I remember she played Nola Dancy, can't forget a name like that! We all thought she had that Lauren Bacall thing going! And am I crazy, or was Alec Baldwin on the same soap?

Our house was NBC soaps all the way, though we loved checking out "All My Children," mainly to watch Ruth Warrick ham it up as drunken rich bitch Phoebe and to see Susan Lucci work on her Elizabeth Taylor impersonation as high-pitched hissy fit throwing Erica Kane!

Cheers, Rick

Gingerguy said...

I came a little late to the Soap world. I thought of them as boring when friends Moms' watched. General Hospital hooked me in 1979-80 for Luke and Laura. I definitely get it now. Gil was really handsome and I guess was a Pilot in Airport 77? I think seeing someone before they hit it big is a thrill that goes back to reading the opening credits in movies and seeing a future big name in the "with" categories.

Poseidon3 said...

Angelman, yes, all three soaps were NBC. I never saw a frame of "Somerset" but my mother liked "Another World," especially Beverly McKinsey's Iris. She never warmed to the "new" Rachel, Victoria Wyndham, who stayed on the show for eons! I personally always thought that Ada was a hoot. Check out this fierce rant:

Martin, I'm happy that you liked this set of pics with G.G.!

Rick, yes, Kathleen was Nola Dancy (I believe eventually Aldrich? Not sure.) When it comes to soaps, I was sort of an era skipper depending on my lifestyle and friends. As a kid it was all Luke & Laura on "General Hospital" with occasional glimpses of "All My Children." As a teen in was Patch & Kayla and Bo & Hope on "Days of Our Lives." Then as a young man it was Stephanie Forrester on "The Bold and the Beautiful" with "As the World Turns" becoming my life from 1989 until just about 2000. Now I watch none of them. And, in fact, the channel that was bringing me vintage "The Doctors" has suddenly evaporated from the airwaves in my area!!! Replaced by a channel of infomercials... :::sigh:::

Gingerguy, Gil was Lee Grant's illicit lover in "Airport '77!" It's a smallish role, but he has a nice scene or so. I LOVE finding future stars in early projects. I still get a little charge out of finding the elusive Roger Herren in an uncredited appearance on "Emergency!" I was later able to have it added to :-)

Forever1267 said...

Gil Gerard was a good lookin' man, in and out of those "Buck Rogers" spandex!

Ted Dansen is currently on "The Good Place" which I highly, highly recommend, but ONLY if you start from the beginning, and DON'T spoil yourself! It's very clever fun!

Gil was pre - "Dynasty" Pamela Bellwood's ... boyfriend? or bodyguard? She was Jimmy Stewart's daughter in "Airport '77". Such a fun movie!