Ben Casey

Ben Casey Cast

Series Description

The Ben Casey TV show was a 60 minute medical drama series on ABC which took place at County General Hospital. The main character on the show was Doctor Ben Casey who aggressively fought for his patients rights! If a patient's relative wasn't visiting, he'd "chew them out". If the hospital administration wouldn't provide an expensive treatment for a patient with no insurance, he'd remind them of their oath! He was kind of a "Doctor Kildare with an attitude"!

Ben Casey Broadcast History:

First Two Seasons: Monday Nights from 10:00 to 11:00 PM on ABC
Third Season: Wednesday Nights from 9:00 to 10:00 on ABC
Last Two Seasons: Monday Nights from 10:00 to 11:00 PM on ABC

Ben Casey Cast

Vince Edwards .... Doctor Ben Casey
Sam Jaffe .... Doctor David Zorba
Bettye Ackerman .... Doctor Maggie Graham
Harry Landers .... Doctor Ted Hoffman
Nick Dennis .... Nick Kanavaras
Jeanne Bates .... Nurse Wills

Ben Casey Trivia

Vince Edwards was discovered by Bing Crosby. Bing's production company produced the Ben Casey TV show.

Another medical series began in the same season as Ben Casey on rival network NBC. "Dr. Kildare (1961)" starring Richard Chamberlain was constantly being compared to Ben Casey for that reason. Once, when Vince Edwards (Ben Casey) heard rumors that he and Chamberlain really disliked each other, it really upset him. He stated, "A little success breeds a feud, or the feud is bred by a lot of loud mouths looking to put the knock on the two guys involved. Competition is good for a long healthy life. If you want to call Dick competition, that's alright with me, because knowing he's got a good TV show only makes me want to try harder to come up with one of my own that lives up to the Ben Casey seal of perfection."

Vince Edwards eventually began directing the Ben Casey show's episodes. The crew nicknamed him, "The Image". When executive producer Matthew Rapf asked about having Edwards also directing, he said, "Well, I'll tell you one thing, it's a sure way to get the star to cooperate with the director".

In reflecting on how he got the idea for Ben Casey, series creator James E. Moser said, "One day I was walking through Los Angeles General Hospital and I came upon a redheaded neurosurgeon. He was snapping into a telephone, 'Damn it. Stop having hysterics!' I knew that I had found a new type hero for a medical TV show."

In comparing television to movies, Vince Edwards once said, "There's a place to sell filet mignon and a place to sell hot dogs. Television is hot dogs."

As with most series, changes were made to Ben Casey in the final season to boost ratings and save the show. Doctor Zorba left the show and was replaced by Doctor Daniel Freeland as the Chief of Surgery. Ben Casey developed a love interest with Jane Hancock, a woman who recovered from a 13-year-long coma. Also, rather that each episode standing on its own, scripts were written to flow continuously from one episode to another, enticing viewers to tune in next week to find out what happened.

Opening Narrative

(Sam Jaffe's voice as Doctor David Zorba:)

"Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity."

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