The Story of Dr. Kildare
"Whatsoever house I enter...there I go for the benefit of the sick..."
The year was 1937, and Paramount Studios released a B-picture film entitled "Interns Can't Take Money," starring Barbara Stanwyck as an ex-con frantically searching for her missing child and Joel McCrea as idealistic young Dr. James Kildare, an intern who lends his assistance to the frazzled Babs. The screenplay was based on characters created by author Max Brand and, like much of the film industry's B-product of that time, the movie itself wasn't particularly special or memorable...but rival Metro Goldwyn Mayer -- "the Tiffany of movie studios" -- took the idea and ran with it, churning out a wildly popular "Dr. Kildare" film series from 1938 to 1947.
With the release of "Young Dr. Kildare" to theater screens in 1938, there were a few casting changes instituted by MGM. Actor Lew Ayres, famed for his starring role as the inexperienced soldier in "All Quiet on the Western Front," was deemed perfect for the role of the rookie medico, with crotchety character actor Lionel Barrymore chosen to play his grizzled mentor, Dr. Leonard Gillespie. The actors made a formidable team, supported by a stellar cast of capable character actors such as Samuel S. Hinds, Emma Dunn, Nat Pendleton, and Alma Kruger, and up-and-coming contract players, including Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Red Skelton, and Donna Reed. In 1942, the studio dropped Ayres, whose conscientious objector status during World War II was said to be hurting the series' take at the box-office, and soldiered on with Barrymore in six more Kildare vehicles featuring actors like Van Johnson and Keye Luke vying to be Gillespie's new fair-haired boy. The series drew to a close in 1947, with the release of "Dark Delusion."
Two years later, MGM made the decision to branch out into syndicated radio production, turning successful properties like the "Maisie" and "Andy Hardy" series and the "Crime Does Not Pay" shorts into half-hour radio series. Kildare got the nod as well; entitled "The Story of Dr. Kildare", the program reunited Ayres and Barrymore in the roles that they made immortal on-screen. Securing their cooperation took the lion's share of the show's budget, but the studio compensated for this by utilizing the talents of many "Radio Row" professionals, including Jack Kruschen, Isabel Jewell, Will Wright, Lurene Tuttle, Larry Dobkin, and William Conrad. Other radio veterans were prominently featured in the program's supporting cast, including Virginia Gregg as gossipy Nurse "Nosy" Parker, Ted Osborne as sniffy administrator Dr. Walter Carew, and Jane Webb as Kildare's love interest, Nurse Molly Lamont. (If you're familiar with the movie series, the decision to include Nurse Lamont, played in the films by Larraine Day, may seem a bit unusual; it's likely that the creative minds behind the radio series felt the same way, as they soon chose to introduce a new character to the series, Nurse Diana Verner, played by a young Georgia Ellis.)
What set "The Story of Dr. Kildare" apart from MGM's other syndicated offerings was the surprisingly high quality of its scripts, contributed by experienced scribes like Jean Holloway ("Romance," "Mr. President") and Les Crutchfield ("Escape," "Gunsmoke"). With superb direction by William P. Rousseau, original music by composer Walter Schumann, and the announcing chores overseen by Dick Joy, "Kildare" demonstrated that, even on a limited budget, it could deliver top-notch entertainment and avoid the 'canned' quality of most post-war transcribed radio series.
"The Story of Dr. Kildare" came and went on radio within a year-and-a-half but, because the series was recorded, it thrived in syndication and proved to be a financial boon for Metro Goldwin Mayer. As radio historian Elizabeth McLeod has noted previously, the radio program provided "an effective precursor to the Dr. Kildare television series, which would revive interest in the franchise during the 1960s."
Following the success of an earlier release of Dr. Kildare broadcasts, this second Radio Archives collection features another twenty full length episodes, taken from original MGM Radio Attractions pressings and meticulously restored for your listening enjoyment.
#29 Buffalo Barney McClure
Thursday, August 10, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#30 Operation at Sea
Thursday, August 17, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#33 Medical Examiner Mix-Up
Thursday, September 7, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#34 Marion Lewis, Teenage Alcoholic
Thursday, September 14, 1950 – 30:00 - MGM Syndication
#35 Sam Lubinski, Spinal Paralysis
Thursday, September 21, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#36 The Mumpkins’ First Baby
Thursday, September 28, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#39 Eddie Jenkins and the Arsonist
Friday, October 20, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#40 Mr. Ling Refuses Leg Surgery
Friday, October 27, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#45 Lady Donabee’s Annual Visit
Friday, December 1, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#46 Arthur Morgan, Brain Surgery
Friday, December 8, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#49 David Norton, Pneumonia
Friday, December 29, 1950 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#50 Kidnapped Nurse
Friday, January 5, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#51 Dr. Gillespie’s Testimonial Dinner
Friday, January 12, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#52 Dr. Conlon, Quack
Friday, January 19, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#53 Joe Finley’s Ulcer
Friday, January 26, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#54 Oliver Van Meter, Allergies
Friday, February 2, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#55 Anthrax Infection
Friday, February 9, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#56 Pete Coslov, Mental Illness
Friday, February 16, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#57 Buck Huston, Cowboy Star
Friday, February 23, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication
#58 David Cooper, Burn Victim
Friday, March 2, 1951 – 30:00 – MGM Syndication