Welby was a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner, who was on a first name basis with many of his patients (and who also made house calls). Welby's unorthodox way of treating patients often conflicted with the more strait-laced methods of Kiley, but as the two worked together they learned something from each other. Many issues of the day were addressed, helping to make the show a major hit on ABC.
Elena Verdugo played Welby and Kiley's dedicated and loving nurse and office manager, Consuelo Lopez.
The series aired on ABC from 1969 to 1976 and was one of the top-rated series of the era, eventually helping to make the once-fledgling network the top-rated of the big three by the mid-'70s.
This series features examples of:
- Crossover: This show had two of them with Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law.note Both episodes were two-parters that started on Welby and concluded on Marshall.
- Drugs Are Bad: "Homecoming" is about someone having flashbacks after having been "addicted" to LSD.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: One episode deals with a promising young boxer who has to end his career due to epilepsy.
- "L" Is for "Dyslexia": One teenage patient of the week is being berated at the breakfast table for his bad report card. He becomes increasingly upset before finally yelling, "I'm sorry!" and running out the sliding glass door. Um, through the sliding glass door. He'd thought it opened the other way, and had cut himself badly on the glass. In taking him to the doctor for his injuries, guess what the family discovers he has.
- Sian Barbara Allen guest starred as Ellie, a "retarded" young woman, in an episode called "They Grow Up." Her older brother George, a college professor, blames himself for the accident that caused her brain injury and devotes his life to caring for her, becoming overprotective (and developing heart trouble) in the process. Welby discovers a note she left for George and realizes she is not "retarded". Guess what she has.
- Pilot Movie: "A Matter of Humanities"
- Reunion Show: The series had two reunion movies, in 1984 and 1988.