Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / Emergency!

Go To

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the episode "Firehouse Four" (4x11), Johnny asks Dixie if she knows anything about singing. Her response? "A little." The actress who plays Dixie, Julie London, was a successful vocalist in real life. Also in the pilot, when Dr. Joe Early, while playing piano at a party, greets Dr. Brackett with an impromptu song. Brackett jokingly responds, "You know for a doctor he plays . . pretty bad." Early was played by noted jazz singer/songwriter Bobby Troup, most famous in the music industry for Nat King Cole's hit song "Route 66."
    • Advertisement:
    • Chief Houtz visits the station in one episode and told John to cut his hair. This was probably a dig at Randolph Mantooth's preference at the time for long hair. He initially refused the role of John Gage because he'd have to cut it so he'd look like a regulation firefighter, and it was said the production staff had to tell him to get a haircut quite a few times.
  • Backed by the Pentagon:
  • Blooper:
    • In "The Nuisance", John is hit in the right side, but Brackett says his left leg bones are broken
    • Most episode entries here have at least one or two more. They include vehicle and uniform switches, actors changing locations,changes in the amount of daylight in scenes, a number of equipment and procedure gaffes, and actors' names getting used rather than the character names.
  • Cast the Expert:
    • In most of the large-scale incidents where units other than Engine/Squad 51 appear, the other firefighters are actually firefighters. Similarly, Engine 51's driver Mike Stoker was played by Los Angeles County firefighter Mike Stoker, Captain Dick Hammer in the first season was an LACoFD captain, and the uncredited dispatcher was really a county dispatcher. Bob Bellveau, a real life member of the original LACoFD paramedic class, appeared in a few episodes As Himself, though in the background.
    • Advertisement:
    • In Mike Stoker's case, it was because the fire department wasn't about to let an actor drive an expensive, complex fire engine and possibly damage it. Instead, they looked for a firefighter who had an actor's union card or was willing to get one and Stoker filled the bill.
  • The Cameo: Dozens of Hollywood stars, from undiscovered to well-known, played victims and patients throughout the series.
    • Adam West plays an actor that gets cornered by a bear ("The Bash").
    • Kareem-Abdul Jabbar played a victim trapped in his car ("Foreign Trade").
    • Dick Van Patten appeared twice. In "Women", he had his finger stuck in a garbage disposal, lampshaded in a Nick-at-Night promo. In "Grateful", he plays a grateful husband who along with his wife start imposing on Station 51 after the station rescues them.
    • Laurette Sprang was the wife of a Vietnam vet ("Kidding").
    • Jamie Farr was a patient at Rampart ("Boot").
    • Football star and actor Dick Butkus had one of his very first TV roles as a retired linebacker with a broken ankle ("The Hard Hours").
    • Larry Csonka appeared as a worker high on tetraethyl lead fumes, and he fights the paramedics before he's sedated ("The Screenwriter").
    • Sharon Gless appears in two separate episodes, as a police officer Gage pines for ("Fuzz Lady"), and later as an eccentric sculptor ("Election").
    • Wolfman Jack appeared as a TV producer trying to film a skydiving stunt that went wrong ("The Inspection").
    • The cast of Adam-12 appear in a few episodes ... even though one episode has characters watching the TV show! Kent McCord of Adam-12 also makes a cameo appearance in the Emergency! blooper reel.
  • The Danza: Firemen Marco Lopez, Mike Stoker and Capt. Dick Hammer, played by...Marco Lopez, Mike Stoker and Dick Hammer. The latter two were both Real Life firefighters, too. Hammer's character becomes The Other Darrin for at least one episode during season one. The real Hammer decided to go back into full-time firefighting and another actor, credited as "John Smith", took over the role. During the end credits of Smith's first episode, "Hang Up," he's billed as Captain Hammer. For the next episode, "Crash," Smith is credited simply as "Captain."
  • Dawson Casting: An unusual example of this trope being applied in a non-school scenario. In the original pilot movie (filmed in 1971), Nurse Dixie McCall is described as being approximately 30 years old. The actress, Julie London, was actually in her mid-40s at the time. Dixie is also said to be a Korean War veteran, which would make her 9-10 years old if she were 30 in 1971.
  • Defictionalization:
    • The Squad 51 rescue truck was built by the Universal props department to specs provided to them by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. They did such a good job that when the series was finished, the truck was donated to the LACoFD, where it put in another 20 years of service, before being retired to the Los Angeles County Fire Museum.
    • There was no Station 51 in the LACoFD at the time of the series, but in 1994 Station 60, which is located on the Universal Lot, was renamed Station 51.
    • Most people in the 70s hadn't even heard of the term "paramedic," but this show demonstrated what paramedics do and their value in real life, allowing the idea to propagate throughout jurisdictions in the United States. Modern prehospital medicine hence evolved from throwing a patient into an ambulance and hauling ass to the hospital (this is referred to in EMS parlance as a “rapid diesel bolus”), to treating the patient on scene and providing stabilizing treatment en route, ensuring patient survival. Compare that to a contemporary series, The Streets of San Francisco, where a critically wounded cop is rushed to the hospital and nothing is done for him en route beyond Lt. Mike Stone holding his hand sympathetically. As a result, it looks criminally negligent to modern viewers to see an emergency patient being transported like that without being treated along the way.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Randolph Mantooth directed 2 episodes; his character spent one of them in the hospital after being hit by a car in The Teaser, but he still had a lot of screen time. Kevin Tighe directed several episodes, writing another, and Michael Norell wrote 4.
  • Doing It for the Art:
    • The stars playing the paramedics, Tighe and Mantooth, took the regular paramedic training regime, and apart from skipping the final certification exam, were otherwise fully qualified as the real thing.
    • Despite being a recognizable actor in his own right, Randy Mantooth is still associated with his role as Johnny Gage to the point that he still speaks at fire service and EMS conferences, and rides along with the LAFD to this day. Also sometimes a bit of I Am Not Spock. He's said he likes to remember it as an important part of his life while still moving on to new roles.
  • Don't Try This at Home: In a manner of speaking. Apparently, there were instances of viewers injuring themselves or others, or worsening the condition of already injured people while trying to imitate what they saw onscreen. A voice-over disclaimer was added to each episode saying "you can't learn first aid from watching Emergency or any other television show" and encouraging viewers to take first aid classes from professionals.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Kevin Tighe's hair slowly darkens over the course of the first few seasons. He was required to dye it a lighter color at first in order to play up the show's Adam-12 parallel - a strawberry-blond veteran paired with a brunette rookie. As the show gained in popularity, Tighe's hair was allowed to return to its natural dark auburn color.
  • Enforced Method Acting: The snake in "Snakebite" was supposed to be defanged so it couldn't bite. However, it was not, which made pulling off the bite scene rather hairy for Mantooth.
  • Executive Meddling: The show was popular enough that it could have gotten an 8th season, and several of the cast were already signed. But NBC wanted to try a new program and wanted to get The Bionic Woman the third season that would ensure it go into syndication. As a result, the decision was made to switch from a weekly series to the recurring made-for-tv movies, and to see if one could spawn a spinoff.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: It's obvious that many of the scenes involving Gage and DeSoto working on a victim were simply the director setting up the scene and telling the actors to do what paramedics would do in that situation. This is especially noticeable when they're talking quietly and one reminds the other of an overlooked (or about to be overlooked) step in a procedure or requests assistance in doing something that needs an extra set of hands. Given that the actors actually underwent paramedic training for their roles, this adds realism to the sequences.
  • Life Imitates Art:
    • In "Fools", Bobby Sherman played an arrogant, young intern who rode with the Squad after a near-fatal diagnosis of a heart patient, and after seeing them in action, he considered becoming a paramedic. Shortly after this episode aired, Sherman left the public spotlight to become a police officer and EMT.
    • This video has Kevin and Randy discussing how they helped out in a Real Life incident very similar to the episode "The Stewardess", when they were on a plane shortly after the episode aired.
    • Randolph Mantooth suffered carbon monoxide poisoning sometime in the sixth season, due to a malfunctioning furnace at home. Someone went to check on him when he didn't show up for work and found him passed out. The police dismissed it as yet another Hollywood overdose, but the real life paramedics recognized his symptoms. The level of CO in his blood was said to be above what is usually fatal, leaving the doctors surprised he lived. One possibility is that his smoking habit might have made his body able to tolerate more CO than normal to begin with, letting him survive even with that much. Since then, Mantooth has been a strong supporter of carbon monoxide awareness and detection.
    • Randy also helped an actress who guest starred in one episode by doing an anti-choking maneuver when something got stuck in her throat.
    • Much more recently, Mantooth saw an accident and stopped to help, even helping the real paramedics a bit when they arrived.
  • Lost Episode: Kind of. "Richter Six" never got filmed due to a writer's strike. Summary of the script is here. At least one scene seems to have been recycled for later, as there's an episode where Chet gets trapped in debris and hurts his arm just as in the script. Other scrubbed episodes were "The Long Weekend" and "The High Rise", although "The High Rise" appears to have been rewritten as the movie "The Steel Inferno". Info on these episodes can be found in this episode guide.
  • Name's the Same: Mike Stoker has often been rumored to be trying to get into politics. This, however, is another Mike Stoker from California. Ditto with Tim Donnelly. The fan confusion isn't hard to understand.
  • Person as Verb: Brand new paramedics (and paramedic students) are sometimes still told not to "pull a Johnny Gage" or "Johnny & Roy" pre-loaded syringe caps, or flip them off with a thumb like John in the syndication opening. They risk shooting the thing into someone's face if they do it.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • A minor one. The original actor playing the recurring character Craig Brice could not appear in the "Greatest Rescues" movie due to another project, and a different actor played him when he was promoted to Captain along with Gage and Desoto. The odd thing was, the second actor was a black man.
    • Given that the vehicles used on this show were as much the stars as the humans (well, for young fans, anyway), over time many of the vehicles evolved into newer, more modern (for the 1970s) vehicles. The most obvious example is in "The Old Engine" when Station 51's engine is replaced with (in Gage's words) "a monster": a big state-of-the-art machine that becomes the station's workhorse for the rest of the series. About the only vehicle that does not suffer Squad 51, which proved to be so well-made it didn't need upgrading (see "Defictionalization" above).
  • The Red Stapler: The show is popularly thought to be the best advertisement about the merits of the paramedic program ever and lots of cities and counties started setting up their own. Pretty much lampshaded in one episode when Gage and DeSoto, after being involved in a rescue in a rural area outside their jurisdiction and which couldn't afford to run its own paramedics even after seeing their value, described a system of volunteer emergency medical responders such a region could set up to the local sherriff.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Randolph Mantooth's brother, Donald, shows up in a couple episodes playing a fellow firefighter.
    • Julie London and Bobby Troup were husband and wife. London was also married to producer Jack Webb before marrying Troupe.
    • Bobby Troupe's two daughters guest starred in separate episodes.
    • Tim Donnelly (Chet Kelly)'s brother Dennis directed about 18 episodes.
  • Romance on the Set: Of a minor sort. Mike Stoker met his wife while they were both working on the series
  • Science Marches On:
    • One of the pieces of equipment that gets hauled out from time to time is a fireproof asbestos blanket. With the greater knowledge of the dangers of material, these days it would be treated as a toxic hazard rather than rescue equipment.
    • All the doctors at Rampart are shown wearing neckties. Now, neckties are no longer allowed during hospital duty since a dangling piece of cloth that nobody ever thinks to wash is just asking for an infection risk for patients.
  • Society Marches On:
    • Paramedics are now allowed to operate under standing orders in the field, meaning they have protocols to follow but don't necessarily require a "mother may I" system to function. Modern paramedic training has expanded from "90-day Kildares" to an associate's degree-level of education. They can still call a doctor to receive further orders or to get permission to do something out of protocol.
    • Ambulance drivers have long since become more than glorified medical chauffeurs since it is now standard in most that paramedics drive the ambulances themselves. However, some agencies (including LA County Fire) still use ALS squads staffed by firefighter-medics in conjunction with private-contract transport ambulances, as this setup gives greater operational flexibilitynote . Many other fire departments run ALS engines, on which at least one of the crew is a firefighter-paramedic, with all of the necessary gear, since as the series demonstrated, fires and routine rescues can often present medical issues as well.
    • Frequently on the show you'd see the other fighters standing around while Roy and Johnny handled all the casualties, even the ones with minor injuries (although Chet gradually came to do more). These days every firefighter is expected to have enough first aid and emergency response training that they would be assisting with casualties as necessary. For some fire departments, a paramedic license is now a minimum requirement to even be accepted as a trainee or probationary firefighter.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • ECG telemetry is still used, but full 12-lead ECGs can now be transmitted to receiving hospitals to help pre-alert hospitals for possible heart attacks.
  • Unfinished Episode: Several. "Richter Six" got axed due to a writer's strike, but Chet breaking his shoulder during a rescue seems to have been used in another ep. "The Long Weekend" and "High Rise" are more. "High Rise" has a similar plot to "The Steel Inferno" movie but whether it was changed into the movie cannot be proven for sure.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Due to trying to be very state-of-the-art for its time.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Randolph Mantooth was not Jack Webb's first choice to play John Gage, although it is unknown who was.
    • Gage was originally going to be named James Page, after a real life paramedic and important supporter of the paramedic program, but Page and the department weren't happy with the plan. So, the character was named John Gage instead.
    • Webb first approached the Los Angeles Fire Department, hoping to use it as he had the police department already, but they turned him down. That's why Emergency! takes place with the county fire department-which serves the areas that the city fire department does not cover-instead.
    • Neither Randolph Mantooth nor Robert Fuller initially took the parts they were offered. Mantooth liked his hair long and knew he'd need to cut it for the role. He says his agent knew that it was a good opportunity and basically told him to "Sit and shut up" and take it. Fuller was a longtime western actor and still hoped they would make a comeback. He was told "You don't understand, Jack Webb wants you and no one else for this part", and eventually took it.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • In the Dragnet/Adam-12/Emergency! Shared Universe, Tim Donnelly appeared in 5 different roles in Dragnet and 2 roles in Adam-12 before landing his regular role as Firefighter Chet Kelly in Emergency.
    • Randolph Mantooth appeared as a ranch hand in an episode of Adam-12.
    • Bobby Troup appeared in several different roles on Dragnet and Adam-12.
    • A couple of other Mark VII regular performers showed up - most notably Adam-12's Sergeant MacDonald, William Boyett, in a few post-Adam-12 episodes as a Battalion Chief. And it would not be a Jack Webb show without Virginia Gregg showing up for a few appearances.
    • Another actor, Gary Crosby, was a part-time regular as Officer Ed Wells on Adam-12 and appeared three times. In "Brushfire" he was an injured firefighter rescued by Gage and DeSoto. In "Publicity Hound", he was a paramedic from Station 110 who had drawn a newspaper reporter's attention. Finally, in "905-Wild" (a Poorly Disguised Pilot), he was an Animal Control officer.
    • The actor who played paramedic Brice also appeared in Jack Webb's Sierra series - including one ep where Gage and DeSoto came to visit.
    • The actress who appeared briefly as Roy's wife in the pilot popped up in another role later on.
    • Don Mantooth, Randolph's brother, was a paramedic, a background firefighter, and a character of the week in various eps.
    • Art Ballinger, who had the recurring role of Captain Hugh Brown on Dragnet, played a Battalion Chief in the pilot movie and at least through the first season.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: