When I was a kid, I watched a lot of television. Too much, probably. One show that was clean and square and, by today’s standards, unwatchably predictable, was Emergency!, a show about the burgeoning paramedic program in Los Angeles.

[stextbox id=”alert” caption=”Emergency! Opening Credits Dialog…”]

Dispatcher: Squad 51, informant reports toxic chemicals in the tanker, use caution.

Dr. Kelly Brackett: Squad 51, this is Rampart. Can you send us some EKG?

John Gage: Ten-four, we’re transmitting EKG. We’re sending you a strip. Vitals to follow. Pulse is 160, the victim is in extreme pain, Rampart. V-fib!

Paramedic Roy DeSoto: Patient is in V-fib! Rampart, we have lost the victim’s pulse, beginning CPR. We’re defibrilatinging victim, Rampart. Rampart, we have defibrilated victim, he has sinus rhythm.

Joe Early: Administer two amps sodium bicarb. Insert an airway. Start an IV, 51 – lactate ringer’s.

Dixie McCall: Squad 51, continue to monitor patient and transport immediately.

John Gage: We’re on our way, Rampart.


The hour-long show was so structured that you could set your watch by the formula: their first couple of calls were to heart attack victims so they could show off their life-saving skills, followed by some whacky rescue of a man with his head in a blender or a cat in an air duct for comic relief, followed in the last 15 minutes of the show by a big fire, usually at a warehouse downtown or in the mountains above the Los Angeles basin.

I don’t know who or what you wanted to be as you were growing up, but I when I wasn’t pretending to fly the starship Enterprise, I was driving Squad 51, talking on that suitcase radio to the doctors at Rampart General, or defibrillating pretty much everyone. I wanted to be on Squad 51.

I tell you this because today I turned 51.


    2. I used to watch Emergency and in fact had some kind of Emergency board game as a kid.
    3. My middle name is, in fact, Rampart. So that’s what you can call me. Rampart.

  2. I loved that show. I could make a siren noise with my mouth that was so realistic the neighbors would come out onto their porches to see what all the commotion was about. My grandmother sweet talked the paramedics in Stroud, OK into letting me just sit in the back of the ambulance when they weren’t using it. After going home I would arrange the dining room tables and a sheet to create a makeshift ambulance so I could play Emergency! every day. I didn’t care about rescuing people–I just loved the ambulance and the gear! Happy B-day!

  3. Happy Birthday, over half a century of physical presence.

    The real question is when do recognize the anniversary of sentience?

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