Monday, July 14, 2014

What Might've Been: Police Surgeon (aka Dr. Simon Locke)(1971)

There was a time when we were getting shows not just from England, but also Canada. That was good news. The bad news was that some shows had all the production value of a cancelled postage stamp.

Police Surgeon was one of those shows. The series lasted three years in Canada (1971-4), slightly less, if memory serves, here in the US. Funded by the folks at Colgate-Palmolive, which sponsored the NBC soap, The Doctors, Surgeon starred Sam Groom (Another World) as Dr. Simon Locke. During the first season, Jack Albertson ("Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory") played Locke's boss,  but quit after the first season because the Canadian producers were el scrimpo when it came to accomodations.

For the final two seasons, Larry D. Mann replaced Albertson. Not much difference, really.

Here's a sample clip:

Somewhere along the way, the show's title was changed to Dr. Simon Locke, after Groom's character, but that didn't help matters, either. My memory is hazy, but it did air on, I believe, Monday nights in my area, on the same channel that was the NBC affiliate at the time.

No rating.


Michael Doran said...

1971 was the year that the Prime Time Access Rule took effect.
Dr. Simon Locke was one of the first shows to go on that fall. It was a Marcus Welby knock-off that had nothing to do with police.
Jack Albertson quit after the first season, and the show was reworked as Police Surgeon.
It attracted notice back then because Larry D. Mann, who's been added as the boss cop, had taken off an enormous amount of weight; he'd been well-known as a fat character man, and his newly-found svelteness got the reconstituted Police Surgeon quite a bit of newspaper space.
Police Surgeon also inaugurated a name guest star policy that year, which Simon Locke hadn't had.
When Police Surgeon returned for a final season, Larry D. Mann had regained most of his lost weight, which probably didn't help the show's ratings too much.

hobbyfan said...

Oh. I had it backwards then. I guess it might be because it was Police Surgeon I'd seen first here, and then the Locke episodes.

Thanks for clarifying, Michael.

Linda said...

I was a big fan of LOCKE and a lesser fan of the police ones. There were so many cop and medical shows on TV at that time that another cop show (even one about a doctor) was just overload. Anyway, RetroTV is rerunning both series under the blanket title POLICE SURGEON, and the cop episodes are pretty bleak. All that was bad about the 70s wrapped up into one half hour show. LOCKE, for all its chintzy production values, comes off better because the storyline was at least something different; apparently the idea came from an article the producers saw about rural communities having to advertise for doctors because no one wanted to practice medicine out in the sticks--they preferred the hospitals where they'd earn more. It's like ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL with human patients rather than animals.

hobbyfan said...

Unfortunately, Retro is no longer available in my neck of the woods, as we lost it a couple of years back. Thanks for writing.