memories of the `80s – St. Elsewhere

In the 1980s, medical drama had a new take on showing the world of a hospital with the debut of St. Elsewhere.

Created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, with Mark Tinker and John Masius, the ensemble drama was set in a Boston teaching hospital, with a strong reputation for producing highly skilled medical staff.

Led by Drs. Westphall, Craig and Aushlander, the numerous residents, interns and nurses were revealing themselves as much as their profession in the interwoven storylines of St. Eligius Hospital.

Many well-known actors were a part of this hospital drama, including Denzel Washington as Dr. Philip Chandler, Ed Begley Jr. as Dr. Victor Ehrlich, David Morse as Dr. Jack Morrison, Howie Mandel as Dr. Wayne Fiscus, Alfre Woodard as Dr. Roxanne Turner, Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Seth Griffin, Stephen Furst as Dr. Elliot Axelrod and Mark Harmon as Dr. Robert Caldwell.

Airing on Wednesday nights at 10pm on CBS, the drama, produced by MTM was often compared to its sister show Hill Street Blues, and gained numerous critics’ favour as well as awards, thanks to the cast as well as guest stars like Tim Robbins, Doris Roberts and James Coco.

Breaking ground as a drama, St. Elsewhere didn’t just focus on the basics or showing off the medical technology – it dealt with living in a big city and the problems of health insurance, aging, breast cancer, poverty, drug addiction, AIDS, prostitution and social issues.

Nominated for numerous awards, the series won seven Emmy Awards and left a legacy of influence for medical dramas in consequent decades.

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About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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