Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Classic TV: The Doctors (1963)

Before the current syndicated talk show, The Doctors had been a daytime drama that lasted nearly 20 years (1963-82) on NBC.

It wasn't your typical soap opera at first. Instead, NBC and Colgate-Palmolive decided to experiment with an anthology format, but when that didn't bring the desired results, the program gradually began to morph into the traditional soap format.

The majority of the series was set at fictional Hope Memorial Hospital, whose chief of staff, Dr. Matt Powers (James Pritchett), was the moral center for storylines. What I remember most is the traditional Christmas party episode, which would end with Pritchett stepping out of character to wish viewers a Merry Christmas.

Future stars such as Paul Michael Glaser and Brooke Shields made their earliest appearances on The Doctors before moving on to greater things.

Unfortunately, all good things eventually come to an end, and in the late 70's, NBC found itself finding greater favor with Procter & Gamble, one of Colgate's biggest rivals. P & G packaged the long running Another World and its various spin-offs, but when given a chance to add a 2nd entry to the Doctors tree, if you will, NBC turned Colgate down flat. Flailing ratings and shuffling timeslots, mostly to accomodate P & G, culminating with the P & G-packaged Search For Tomorrow shifting to NBC from CBS, led to The Doctors ending its run in 1982 after nearly 20 years.

Fortunately for soap fans, all is not lost. Retro TV (no longer available in upstate NY, but check your listings) acquired The Doctors a year ago. If there was ever a reason for Retro to return to Time Warner Cable in the home district, this would be it.

Following is a sample open, complete with the NBC Peacock.

I'm digging the new Retro logo. Pruf, a C-P product showcased above, isn't around anymore. I wonder why.

Rating: B.

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