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.