Monday, May 3, 2010
127. Coloring Book: BEN CASEY
Before Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, there's Ben Casey--a medical drama series on TV that ran from 1961-66. Its main star, the heartthrob Vince Edwards played the role of the young, hunky doctor Ben Casey, a surgeon at County General Hospital. He was mentored by Dr. David Zorba (played by Sam Jaffe). The show found stiff competition from Dr. Kildare, also a medical drama series from NBC, which starred the equally cool and handsome Richard Chamberlain as the intern James Kildare. Both Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare even hit the airwaves on the same year. The audience was divided between the suave Dr. Kildare and the smoldering Dr. Casey, who was more intense, more brooding, more gritty--and more hairy! (blame it on Vince Edwards' Italian genes) . And, in the early ratings game, Ben Casey dominated its time slot. Both shows however generated a lot of merchandise like comic books, dolls, game boards, LP records and authorized edition coloring books--one example of which is shown above. The book, published in 1963, had pages to color of the doctor in action at the hospital.
Eventually, after 5 years, both shows were cancelled. Vince Edwards continued to act in Film and on TV (he made a TV movie in 1988, The Return of Ben Casey) until he died of cancer in 1996.