70s Doctor Shows: How Gen X Heals Up

By the 1970s, television audiences and network executives had agreed on one thing: everyone loved medical dramas … and even comedies! The 70s doctor shows that sprang to life in this environment are some of the best shows — period! — of all time and still resonate with kids of the era who learned how to pound a chest and whisper about “possible brain damage” from our small-screen medical heroes.

Marcus Welby, M.D.

Dr. Marcus Welby was a kindhearted family physician who dispensed thoughtful advice to the troubled patients who walked into his Los Angeles practice with their problems … and he didn’t hesitate to get personally involved in their lives outside of the office either! The series featured many young actors and actresses who would go on to fame in later years, including Lee Majors (who starred as the Six Million Dollar Man), David Cassidy, Linda Gray (Dallas’ Sue Ellen Ewing) and Dayle Haddon.

Quincy, M.E

In the 70s, Jack Klugman starred as a hardworking and dedicated medical examiner who often had to get his hands dirty with 70s crime in order to solve cases during this series’ seven-year run. Quincy was assisted by lab tech Sam Fujiyama(played by Robert Ito).

The show was set mostly at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office where Quincy could be found hard at work solving 70s crimes that often had a medical slant.


This 70s show followed the lives of two paramedic firemen (Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto) who worked in a fictional Los Angeles County Fire Department.

This medical drama dealt with emergencies, rescues, car crashes, industrial fires etc., but also featured plenty of humor.

Notable actors include Kevin Tighe, Julie London and Bobby Troup.

The show ran from 1972 to 1977 for 122 episodes.

Doctor Kildare

This 70s series followed the life of Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain) as he went about his job at a New York City hospital where he was mentored by gruff but kind Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Eddie Albert).

This medical drama also dealt with a variety of hospital emergencies, but in contrast to EMERGENCY! it had more time for character development and offered romantic subplots as well.

Trapper John, M.D.

Starring Pernell Roberts as the titular character, Trapper John M.D. followed the adventures of a surgeon working in a stateside hospital in the years after returning from the Korean War.

This 70s medical drama followed Trapper John (Pernell Roberts), who was very good at his job, but also didn’t mind breaking rules to help those less fortunate than himself.

Like the classic M*A*S*H sitcom from the 1970s and 1980s, Trapper John, M.D. was a spinoff of the 1970 M*A*S*H movie.

The Interns

Starring Broderick Crawford as chief of surgery Dr. Peter Goldstone and Mike Farrell as Dr. Sam Marsh, The Interns is based on the 1962 movie of the same name.

The series focuses on Crawford and a group of interns at L.A.’s New North Hospital, as they learn the ins and outs of big-time medicine.

The Interns frequently took on social issues, including racism, sexism, and alcoholism.

Medical Center

Medical Center is an hour-long, dramatic series that aired from 1969 to 1976.

This show followed the lives of interns at a large hospital in Los Angeles and featured Chad Everett as Dr. Joe Gannon and James Daly as Dr. Paul Lochner in a university-based hospital in Los Angeles.

Notable for stepping outside the purely medical nature of its setting, Medical Center delved into the life and problems of the doctors, nurses, and their patients.

Also notable was a familiar face from the past — Jayne Meadows, who took on the role of Nurse Chambers.

Meadows, of course, built a name in Hollywood during the 1950s and 1960s with roles in feature films like Undercurrent and Song of the Thin Man.

(Like 70s Doctor Shows? Then you might like our article on Famous 70s Couples, click here.)

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