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This article lists characters of the television series Emergency!.
Roy DeSoto was portrayed by actor Kevin Tighe. DeSoto worked with partner John Gage as a firefighter/paramedic for the Los Angeles County Fire Department at Station 51. He first met Gage when he was recruiting personnel for the newly designated paramedic program, of which he was in the first group of six graduates. He assisted the physicians with instruction during Gage's class at Rampart General Hospital. He was married, and had a son (Chris) and a daughter (often called "Jennifer" by fans, but never canonically named), though only his wife, Joanne, appeared in the pilot of the series. His family also has a dog.
While his single partner was often portrayed as intense and impulsive, DeSoto was more quiet and often served to keep Gage under control. The relationship (and physical appearance) between the two was purposely made similar to that of the main characters of another successful Jack Webb production, Adam-12, where the older, even though Tighe is only about a year older than Mantooth, more experienced character of Officer Pete Malloy served as a brake on the sometimes impulsive rookie Jim Reed. As with his partner, very little is discussed about DeSoto's life prior to the fire service, other than he spent some time in the military (Tighe himself was in the U.S. Army) during the 1960s.
During the third season, DeSoto is offered a promotion to engineer, which he eventually turns down in order to remain a paramedic. However, in the last episode ("Greatest Rescues of Emergency!"), he and Gage are promoted to captain, and they are each assigned to new stations.
Not much is known about what Roy does on his days off, except when he, Chet, and Johnny take long trips together, either fishing, or camping trips (mostly in Johnny's beat up white Land Rover).
John Roderick Gage (aka Johnny Gage) was portrayed by actor Randolph Mantooth. Gage worked with slightly senior partner Roy DeSoto as a firefighter/paramedic for the Los Angeles County Fire Department and usually rode "shotgun" in Squad 51. Prior to working as a paramedic he worked for the rescue squad at Station 10. Initially against the suggestion to qualify as a paramedic, he decided to pursue it after a couple of incidents when he realized he could have done more with the specialized medical training. He met DeSoto when applying for the new program (see The Wedsworth-Townsend Act) and after graduation decided to partner with him at the newly built Station 51. He and DeSoto would remain partners until the last episode ("Greatest Rescues of Emergency!"), when both would be promoted to captain. Gage, like DeSoto, then had to give up the Paramedics, and was assigned his own station.
Little is mentioned in the series about Gage's life prior to the fire department. In the episode "Peace Pipe" it was brought up that Gage was Native American and grew up on an Indian reservation, though no particular tribe is mentioned (Mantooth himself is half-Seminole). He also states in another episode ("Saddled"), that he was raised on a ranch; again, no location is given. It is also stated that he has an aunt.
Gage was single throughout the series, and often dated (or chased after) the E/R nurses at Rampart General Hospital. Intense and professional on the job, Gage's good looks and his impulsive charm away from the job made him a perfect dramatic foil to his more low-key partner. He was also the butt of many of fellow firefighter Chet Kelly's jokes, and often attempted, with varying degrees of success, to get even. (One time Gage bought a box of chocolates and injected them with pure garlic extract—and, at the end of the episode, wound up sampling his own chocolates, to his shock and embarrassment, and twice, on different occasions, he was able to get even with Chet by placing a CPR dummy in the trunk of his car.)
Gage was somewhat accident prone (at least compared to his partner), and on few occasions each season he wound up a patient at Rampart General Hospital. One of these occasions ensued from a hit-and-run collision (a car hit him in the street and then sped away), and Johnny, spending the rest of the episode in the fracture ward at Rampart General, is treated to emotional abuse by the nurse in the ward (Carole Cook). In the episode Virus, he contracted a potentially fatal strain of Asian flu, which killed another firefighter. In another instance he is bitten by a rattlesnake while on a rescue mission and after treating himself, is rushed to the hospital by his squad mates (some of the reason for this was Mantooth directed the episodes in which his character had been injured.)
For most of the show, Gage turned down promotions until the final episode, (Greatest Rescues of Emergency!), where he and his partner, Roy DeSoto, both accepted and were promoted to the rank of captain. They were given new station assignments separate from each other (effectively ending the series.)
Henry "Hank" Stanley, captain of Los Angeles County Fire Station 51, was portrayed by actor / screenwriter Michael Norell. Stanley replaced Captain Dick Hammer in the beginning of the second season and remained 51's commanding officer throughout the remainder of the series.
Little is discussed in the series about Stanley outside the fire department, though one episode mentions he is married, has children, and that his wife drives an Edsel. Often addressed as "Cap" by the other firefighters on the A-shift, he is very competent and relatively easy-going, and has a good sense of humor. In the Season 6 episode Onward And Upward Stanley begins studying to become a chief, but when he finds out his old station captain, now Battalion Chief McConnike, is on the review board, Stanley becomes paranoid. He convinces himself that McConnike still holds a grudge for an incident in which Stanley deliberately set McConnike's dress uniform hat on fire.
In the sixth season episode Fair Fight, a basset hound suddenly appears in the station when the crew returns from a call. The crew decides to keep him as the station's new mascot and John Gage names him "Henry". The captain initially rejects the name but finally allows it as long as "no one ever calls him 'Hank'."
During the show, Stanley is seen as a competent leader, and he can also be forceful if he needs to be, though he rarely is, he is also quick witted, intelligent, and very observant. He is also known to come off with some snappy comebacks when needed.
Not as prone to injury as Johnny, or Chet can be, Stanley still has his famous faux pas. One of them being during the episode 'The Great Crash Diet', when his bare hands come into contact with a car that is touching a live power line. This, of course, results in him getting a severe electrical shock, and having involuntary muscle contractions, until he reaches the hospital.
Captain Stanley usually gives Johnny and Roy a hand in the field, be it with getting vitals on a victim, manning the biophone, or general help when needed.
Mike Stoker, played by Mike Stoker who used his real name for the series, is a firefighter specialist (engineer), and also drives Engine 51. Both the character and the actor operated the pump unit at his real station, LACoFD Fire Station 69 in Topanga Canyon.
Mike is the quiet one on the show, generally spouting two or three lines throughout an episode, or often remaining silent the entire episode. He is shown to be very easygoing and even-tempered, rarely becoming irritated with his crew mates, and on occasion, has been shown acting as a peacemaker (or trying to). He is essentially the exact opposite of the impulsive, talkative Chet Kelly. As the engineer, Mike is second-in-command to the captain. However we rarely see him pull rank, an exception being in 'The Great Crash Diet', when Captain Stanley is injured during a rescue and Mike briefly takes over command.
In the show's first season, Mike hardly ever talked, generally only speaking when he had to, and often remaining in the background. As the show progressed, he began to talk and interact with his crewmates a little more, often participating in their schemes and jokes. He apparently doesn't show much loyalty when it comes to prank playing, as shown in "Messin' Around", when he is seen acting as Chet's lookout while Chet sets a water bomb, then realizes at the end of the episode that Chet is about to walk into his own trap, but makes no move to stop him. It is established among the fans that Mike never said more than three sentences at a time. Although meant as a joke, this is, in fact, consistent with most of the show. This pattern was broken only once (that we know of), in 'The Great Crash Diet'. It has also been noted that he tends to talk a little bit more when he's excited or worried, such as when he showed excitement about the station getting a new fire engine, or when he displayed concern for Conway, an injured fireman from another station (apparently a friend of his).
Mike is shown to be intelligent and observant, and it's also apparent that he enjoys reading quite a bit, as he is often seen reading at the station. We don't know too much about what he does in his downtime, since he doesn't talk much about it, as compared to the others (namely Johnny and Chet), who tend to go on and on about what they did on their days off. Mike does mention in one episode that he has a dune buggy, so it's likely that he goes to the beach a lot.
Mike displays a variety of talents throughout the series, including cooking (he makes great spaghetti and fried chicken), singing (he mentions in 'Firehouse Four' that he sang in a glee club once), and a quick wit, which we see at various times when he occasionally spouts a one liner, sometimes no more than two words.
It is not known for sure if Mike is married or not. A fellow firefighter says in one episode "He's a great guy. I don't care what his wife says." but this could be meant as a joke. He was also asked on his advice on mothers-in-law, but this could also have been meant to poke fun at him, but Johnny Gage appeared serious when he asked the question. It was never said definitively yes or no if he was married.
Stoker has helped Johnny and Roy out in the field, usually handling the oxygen, attempting to calm a victim, or helping to get vitals on more than one victim.
Occasionally, Stoker has come off as a middle of the road kind of person, but, when help is needed, or a friend is hurt, he is right there; for instance, when Johnny was struck by a hit-and-run driver, Mike, Roy, and Chet were the first three to arrive and administer aid.
In the end, Stoker was promoted to Captain before he retired in 1992.
Chester B. "Chet" Kelly served as a firefighter assigned to Engine 51 with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He was portrayed by actor Tim Donnelly, who acted in other series produced by Webb, such as the 1967–1970 incarnation of Dragnet, in which he played varying roles (including a young marijuana addict whose infant child accidentally drowns in a bathtub, and in another episode, a troubled 23 year old who steals superhero movie posters).
Chet's full name in Emergency! was Chester B. Kelly, which was revealed during the third season episode "The Promotion", where he took the test to become an engineer and placed only 74th on the list. He once mentioned that his grandfather had been a New York City Subway motorman.
Chet was often portrayed as a sometimes arrogant and wisecracking clown with a penchant for tomfoolery; he often made paramedic Johnny Gage the butt of his practical jokes, such as a series of showering water bombs (an example highly prevalent in the 1974 episode Messin' Around), and tricking John into thinking that his current girlfriend was telling him secrets about their dates. The practical joker-Chet's alter ego-is known as "The Phantom" around the station. On lesser occasions the tables were turned, case in point when Johnny planted a CPR dummy in the trunk of Chet's car and waited for him to scream loudly when he found it, there have also been moments when his own pranks have backfired on him, case in point, 'Messin' Around', when Chet gets showered with his own water bomb (to which Johnny states 'Well, it do look like The Phantom got caught'.)
There are times when Chet tends to talk too much, and this sometimes got him in more trouble then he would've been in if he'd just remained quiet, one time was when he ended up sharing a room with Roy after dislocating his shoulder on a call (Roy had gone into the hospital to have his tonsils removed, and ended up sharing a room with the ever-talkative Chet), Johnny had showed up with ice cream for Roy, but you could see that Roy wanted to leave the room through his facial expressions. Another example of Chet talking too much was when Captain Stanley went on vacation, and the crew drew an old-fashioned Captain, that was also a hero within the department. Chet's constant talking didn't endear him to the older Captain.
But Chet's competency as a firefighter was unquestioned when the alarm rang; his compassion also showed through at times as well. This was prevalent in Messin' Around: Johnny and Roy had just returned to the station from taking a poisoned child to E/R; the boy later died. At the station, Johnny is unknowingly about to open a booby-trapped cabinet door, but Chet stops him saying, "The Phantom doesn't like to strike at times like this; he knows how much you two tried to do for that kid." John gratefully got the message.
Prior to becoming a firefighter, Chet, who was in the Army, also worked as a heavy equipment operator, and even during his time as a fireman, operated heavy equipment that was handy, he even once operated a train engine to move a burning boxcar away from a tanker loaded with ammonium nitrate.
Although Chet tends to make Johnny the target for his practical jokes, there is a kind of brotherly bond between them, several examples include when Johnny was bitten by a rattlesnake, Chet helped treat Johnny on the way to the hospital, another was when Johnny was struck by a hit and run driver, he waited at the hospital for any news, and another when Chet was trapped in an old, and unstable hospital building, and had dislocated his shoulder, Johnny was the one that got him out, and treated him.
When Johnny and Roy need an extra hand, Chet is one out of three that usually help out, the other two being Captain Stanley, and Marco, usually, Chet mans the biophone when Johnny and Roy are too busy to do so, he has also, on several occasions, along with Marco, driven the Squad to the hospital.
Marco Lopez, played by Marco Lopez who, like Stoker, used his real name for the series. Lopez, of Mexican-American ancestry, spoke with a slight Spanish accent; the actor, then sometimes billed as Marco Antonio, did likewise in episodes of Dragnet, and Adam-12. He sometimes lapses into Spanish (including in one episode in which the firemen found a huge pile of money and Lopez counted it in Spanish), but his Spanish was not exactly proper (using cambiarse in the episode "Fools" to refer to a family that had moved, instead of the proper mudarse or trasladarse, for example).
Like Stoker, we do not know much of what Lopez does on his time off, as he rarely discusses it, we do know that he is a member of a semi-pro soccer team and likes to ski. He also expresses an interest in animals, and mentions owning at least one cat.
Marco is very cool, and calm in even the tensest of situations, and rarely loses his patience with anyone, except maybe with Johnny on occasion, once, he chased after Johnny with a hangman's noose in hand, when Johnny had been talking about gaining extra money by competing in the local rodeo circuit, and he, along with Roy and Johnny, threatened to ram a steak down Chet's mouth when the latter made a sauce out of health food ingredients.
Lopez is often seen cooking throughout the series. In one episode, Battalion Chief McConnike visits the station and is impressed with Lopez's Irish stew. He has also made chili on more than on occasion. In real life, Lopez cooked for the actors and crew on the set, and has published a cookbook.
On more than one occasion, Marco has helped Johnny and Roy, usually by being an extra hand in the field, or by driving the squad to the hospital when Johnny and Roy are unable to.
Kelly Brackett, M.D. / F.A.C.S., was portrayed by Robert Fuller, better known prior to this role as an actor in Westerns. Dr. Brackett was the leading character of the show who was also dedicated and fairly no-nonsense senior ER physician at Rampart General Hospital. Brackett and ER head nurse Dixie McCall were romantically involved with each other in the early days of the series, but were only close friends during the series run (as both Fuller & London were in real-life). In the pilot episode, The Wedsworth-Townsend Act, it was revealed that Brackett went to Johns Hopkins and took residency at the Mayo Clinic.
Brackett, along with neurologist Dr. Joe Early and nurse McCall, trained the first two classes of paramedics for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Initially Brackett was opposed to the newly designated program, but would eventually change his opinion after an accident involving E/R nurse McCall and her subsequent emergency medical treatment initiated by firefighter/paramedics John Gage and Roy DeSoto. In a surprise trip to Sacramento he put his support behind the passage of a state bill that would fully authorize the paramedic program ("The Wedsworth-Townsend Act"), by stating that he was not a big fan of the bill, but that he would back it, until something better came along. As the series progressed he would become very supportive of the paramedics themselves, and even defended them when Paramedic DeSoto was severely criticized for his actions in the field by another Rampart physician (who suddenly ducked away when Brackett approached and demanded an explanation).
In the pilot episode, Brackett was firmly cautious in his work, fully aware that emergency medicine was by no means an exact science. His personality borderlined on hard-nosed, and he rebuked those around him when they overstepped the boundary of their own capabilities (or authority). But when Emergency! became a series, Brackett began to show a penchant for flying by the seat of his pants, at times going with gut instinct on limited information. For example, in Season 1 when a patient began to suffer respiratory paralysis and double vision, Brackett speculated the condition might be botulism. Thorough investigation later proved his theory right.
On more than one occasion, Brackett traveled into the field to assist the paramedics with difficult emergencies. In Season 3, he and Dr. Morton performed field surgery on a man who had a live grenade lodged in his abdomen. In Season 5, he rode along with the crew of an LACoFD helicopter and responded to a vehicle accident. In one episode, he and Dixie responded to an incident where a patient's arm became entangled in a piece of machinery. In the interest of the patient's life, they prepared to amputate. Luckily, that was not necessary as both Johnny and Roy extricated the patient.
In another episode, Brackett became a patient himself when he was involved in a traffic crash; his car was broadsided by a reckless drunk driver who was killed at the accident scene; the drunk's daughter, a backseat passenger, survived with only a broken foot. Though witnesses at the scene proved Brackett's innocence, he still blamed himself for the death of the girl's father until she later explained the situation to the good Doctor when he visited her in her hospital room - she was also a patient at Rampart.
Long before Emergency! started, Robert Fuller had been best friends with fellow co-stars, London & Troup, and their family, in real-life, since the early 1960s.
Dixie McCall, R.N., was portrayed by Julie London, better known prior to this role as a singer in popular music, and as an occasional actress. Nurse McCall, another principal character of the series, who also served as an army nurse during the Korean War; she was the chief nurse of the emergency room of Rampart General Hospital and was involved in the very beginning of the paramedic program, who became a mother figure to both Gage and DeSoto. She argued the skills and qualifications of paramedics to the dismissive Dr. Kelly Brackett, who used to date each other, but have been best friends (as both London & Fuller were in real-life), crediting the medics with whom she served in Korea for saving countless lives that would have otherwise been lost. She in turn, also helped Dr. Joe Early in the emergency room for all ages. She assisted in training and running calls with the newly designated paramedic squads, John Gage and Roy DeSoto of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, until the passing of a state bill authorizing paramedics to work on their own in the field. In the pilot episode, she was knocked unconscious at an accident scene while running a call with Squad 51 paramedics, Gage and DeSoto, in ("The Wedsworth-Townsend Act"). Gage and DeSoto went beyond their authorizations to cover for and help her. This incident led Dr. Kelly Brackett to change his opinion and fully support the program.
McCall's exceptional beauty was matched only by her determination—she was dedicated, skilled, unflappable, and tenacious. In an episode in which a hospitalized man has come in with a son (played by Poindexter Yothers), who has nowhere else to go, Gage and DeSoto care for the kid—but he shows himself to be unruly. At the end of the episode, he sits quietly in a corner of the room—and speaks politely when Dixie calls him. Roy asks, "How did you do that?" Without batting an eye, Dixie says, "The same way I handle Joe and Kel." She also helps a klutzy student nurse (played by Jack Webb stock actress Patricia Mickey) overcome her awkwardness "by explaining Brackett to her." Right away, the young nurse, no longer fumbling, has also assumed Dixie's mannerisms, when she gives Brackett one of Dixie's familiar enigmatic smiles. A popular actor (played by Robert Alda) who was McCall's boyfriend, who was admitted to the hospital for his own syndrome.
Nearly in the same situation as Gage and DeSoto, she too was also occasionally known to be accident-prone at times. In addition to being knocked unconscious, in one episode of Season 2, Dixie injured her toe, from the scene of her car accident, by an irrepressible rascal, before getting an x-ray. In one episode of Season 3, her hand got caught in the vending machine in the lounge. In one episode of Season 4, as the entire Rampart staff threw Nurse McCall's birthday, while shopping at the supermarket, her plans changed when she broke her ankle. While recovering, in the same dilemma of Nurse McCall's, John Gage, who, after his partner, DeSoto was rescuing an elderly patient, as the apartment was exploded by a gas leak, Gage broke his left leg, therefore, staying in the hospital, as Drs. Brackett and Early gave him a tape recorder to listen to music, on Dixie's birthday. In one episode of Season 6, while the two men were fixing a leak in the basement, McCall went downstairs to ask one of the plumbers about this, while she fell down on the floor, injured her face, after the entire hospital was exploded with fire, hence, both Gage and DeSoto rescued her.
In another episode of Season 6, while McCall and Early were both trying to offer help from Gage and DeSoto, over the phone, about a middle-aged man, who had suffered severe chest pains, at Station 51, with a female psychiatrist, the electricity went out at both Rampart and Station 51, so the only way for McCall to help both Gage and DeSoto to deliver the patient at Rampart, is when they both rode the helicopter with him, fortunately, the man had arrived safely.
During the series McCall turned down a "desk job" offer to become Rampart's nurse supervisor.
In real-life, London was married to fellow Emergency! co-star Bobby Troup; she died after a massive stroke in 2000. London was also the first wife of Mark VII Limited owner Jack Webb; she remained friends with Webb after divorcing him in the 1950s, to the point of husband Troup appearing periodically during the 1967-70 version of Dragnet, she was also instrumental in getting Troup the role of Dr. Early, after she had signed aboard for Emergency!, after Webb eventually chose her, and was the first and only choice for Dixie McCall. Like her husband and long before Emergency! started, Julie London was also the best friend of fellow co-star, Robert Fuller, since the 1960s.
Joe Early, M.D., F.A.C.S., was portrayed by actor Bobby Troup, better known prior to his role as a singer-songwriter. Early worked at Rampart General Hospital as a neurosurgeon, but often assisted Dr. Kelly Brackett and nurse Dixie McCall in the emergency room, alongside firefighters Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto. Early is another principal character of the series.
In direct contrast to the more dynamic, quick-tempered Kelly Brackett, Joe Early was more low-key, avuncular and certainly more tactful: when a hotheaded, powerful tycoon (played by Gene Raymond) threatened to take Brackett to court because of Brackett’s treatment of the tycoon’s son, Joe Early spoke to the father and successfully placated him. Early also apparently choked back tears and anger when talking to a man (played by Cliff Norton) whose wife was severely burned by a fire resulting from improperly stored gasoline (hoarded by the man in the midst of the 1970s "gas crisis"). And he gave a severe lecture to one man who had given another a “precordial thump in the rib cage"—after “learning” CPR from watching television. Dr. Early snapped, “I don’t know whether your friend is having a heart attack or not, but your ‘miracle cure’ may have caved in his rib cage!”
Early is shown to be gentle and knowledgeable when it comes to pediatric patients, and is often called upon by Brackett when injured children present themselves at Rampart.
In Season 3, Early undergoes heart surgery, much to the worry of all of the other characters. It is in this same episode that he takes a liking to Captain Stanley's clam chowder. This prompts the crew of Station 51 to present him with a thermos containing clam chowder during his recovery.
Troup was a successful jazz pianist and songwriter, writing songs performed by Glenn Miller, the Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra, and Tommy Dorsey. In 1946 Troup composed the hit song "Route 66", performed in that year by Nat King Cole, and over the years covered by many artists.
Bobby Troup was married to fellow Emergency! cast member Julie London, and was a close friend of her first husband, Jack Webb, the packager of the show, who was London's first and only choice for Dixie McCall, that she eventually won the role. Troup died of a massive heart attack in 1999, before his widow died late in 2000. Long before Emergency! started, Bobby Troup was also the best friend of fellow co-star, Robert Fuller, since the 1960s.
Dr. Mike Morton, played by Ron Pinkard was a bespectacled young intern of African ancestry who had served in the U.S. Navy. Unlike Brackett or Early, Morton usually wore an older-style physician's uniform tunic with a buttoned neck or the standard green surgical "scrubs." Dixie commented on the relationship between Morton and the paramedics "our high-ego intern gave our low-threshold paramedics a bad time"; indeed, early on Morton often flaunted his status over that of Johnny and Roy, and was initially portrayed as uptight and somewhat cynical. However, with mentoring from Brackett the character softened during the run of the series and he became more friendly with the paramedics, and was ultimately shown to be a caring and competent but sometimes hard-nosed physician. Little is known about his past, although he hints in "Camera Bug" that he may have grown up in a ghetto.
Although extremely cool under pressure, Morton does, at times, inadvertently cause others to think, or overreact. In one episode, gossip circulates that Morton is in severe debt; it is later discovered that he wants to take out a loan, and most of the calls he receives are routed to the hospital, rather than his home. In another episode, he inadvertently sends Chet on a health food kick that extends to the station. Morton would later correct the problem by having a deep discussion with Chet.
In the series pilot, he was identified as "Dr. Tom Gray".