Tuesdays With Mary: Sibling Assignment #89

"Think about a television show you watched growing up while you lived at home. Write about what you enjoyed about that television show, and how that show may have influenced you in your adult life."

Silver Valley Girl gave the sibling assignment this week. Raymond Pert's recap of television history in our childhood house and a reflection on soaps is here and Silver Valley Girl's post and videos of another show I almost chose, "The Carol Burnett Show"is here.

From 1969 until I left home in August 1973 to attend college I spent every Tuesday night at 10:00 in the living room with my mom watching "Marcus Welby, M. D. " I grew up with a love for medical shows beginning with the likes of Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey, then branching out to Dr. Gannon, Dr. Welby, Dr. Kiley and those doctors on the soaps, but "Marcus Welby, M.D." was an institution in our house. First of all it is amazing that a show ever stayed on the same time for it's whole run ( until 1976).

Everyone wanted a compassionate doctor like Dr. Welby that had time in his busy day to listen to you describe your symptoms, share your personal problems, and show photos of your children. He was familiar to us from "Father Knows Best" so we trusted him plus he had that handsome sidekick named Dr. Kiley ( James Brolin) that drove a motorcycle. Or course then there was warm, caring Consuelo that provided that female touch to the otherwise male practice. Mom would be on the couch correcting the last of her papers for the evening. I would be in the chair after finishing homework , learning lines for a play, or curling my hair as we would wait eagerly for the opening credits every week. Dad had bowling that night so we didn't have to compete with him over another show on our one television set. Silver Valley Girl must have already been in bed and Raymond Pert was probably more interested in listening to the stereo upstairs than watching Marcus Welby.

Mom has always loved anything medical. She still enjoys poring over medical books when she hears the symptoms someone may have and loves to engage in any conversation that revolves around hospitals, illness, and/or medication. This show was right up her alley. I think Mom would have also been a good nurse.

Marcus Welby dealt with serious illnesses and every week we were exposed to the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses that included autism, MS, brain cancer, blindness, diabetes, and leukemia. We made our own guesses of the disease during the first commercial and perhaps what might happen by the end of the show. Happy endings didn't always happen with Marcus Welby. There was a natural tension between old and young with Welby and Kiley and Dr. Kiley always seemed to be falling in love with a patient with sometimes sad consequences. I remember when an old girlfriend played by Stephanie Power has an illness and Dr. Kiley wanted to keep it a secret. I remember Dr. Welby dealing with illness with his own daughter and a love interest also. Whatever the illness or episode, it was always memorable.

The show was dramatic, warm, educational, and entertaining. I am surprised I didn't go into the medical field myself after working with Mom and these two doctors all those years on Tuesday nights. It influenced me as I watched my teacher mom diligently do her schoolwork earlier in the evening so she could take a break to watch the show. I must of felt later in life it was okay to quit working on school work in the evening and give myself a treat by watching "LA Law", "Cheers", "Dallas", " Cagney and Lacey", or " The Mary Tyler Moore Show".

We watched a lot of television in our house, but this show engaged us in more conversations. We cared about the stars of the show and the patients they encountered. As you will see from this clip, there were many other shows that were popular during this time., but this one sticks out for me. When I saw James Brolin sitting behind his wife Barbra Streisand at the Kennedy Center Awards I didn't think of him as anything else by Dr. Kiley. I would love to see him as the older doctor today with that striking white hair riding in on a Harley.

I had a few stays in the hospital in my adult life. I think I was comforted by the busyness of Mom asking questions, getting the scoop on other patients, and replaying the drama that was happening outside of my own room. She played this role with other family members when they were hospitalized also, plus when she had surgery and hip replacement surgery I could cheer her up by telling her the daily news from the ward of the hospital.

Now Mom and I don't have a Tuesday night ritual, but when I am there staying I know the soaps are the afternoon ritual, Jeopardy is at 7:00, and Meet the Press is Sunday mornings. When you watch this clip it will remind you of even more great shows during that time. No wonder I watched television so much back then.


  1. I sure don't remember that promo -- and try as I will, I don't remember many of the DR Welby plots. I know I watched it -- my mom was a diehard fan!

  2. Anonymous2.2.09

    I loved Dr Welby, he reminded me of the small town doc I knew growing up... we have lost that close personal touch in medicine. Too bad. Thanks foe the memories!!

  3. Oh, I loved this post. Marcus Welby, M.D. was one of my favorites. I also kept that Tuesday night appointment. Sometimes Grandma watched with me. She had a soft spot for old Dr. Welby, and I was in love with Dr. Kiley...
    You brought back a lot of memories. Loved the promo too!

  4. I don't remember that promo at all, but I've replayed this video about 10 times just for the SONG! I LOVE that song!! I wonder if it was taken from a real song? It is so typical '70's! I LOVE IT!

  5. Yes, that was a great show! The promo brought back good memories of some great shows.
    I'm afraid I've given up watching TV these days. We don't have cable or a dish, we get just one channel well, and it seems to me there's nothing on worth watching. Most reality shows make me shudder.


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