5 Reasons to Watch 'The Doctors' on Retro TV

Daytime soap opera The Doctors ran on NBC from 1963 to 1982. In September, the show returned in reruns on digital channel Retro TV, starting with the December 4, 1967 episode. As of Friday, we are up to January 29, 1968, and The Doctors ("in living color") has been a pure delight. There are many reasons to love it, including Rita Lakin's smart and funny scripts that allow stories to be told about educated, intelligent characters who just happen to be very flawed. Viewers also get to see the original NBC logo and tags (including "stay tuned to Another World, next in color"). Below are five more reasons to watch back-to-back episodes of The Doctors weekdays from 12-1 p.m. ET on Retro TV:

5. Dr. John Rice's relationship with Polly Merriweather.

Polly Merriweather (Betty Walker) is a terminal patient at Hope Memorial being treated by Dr. John Rice (Terry Kiser). Over time the two have formed a close bond as she talks about her nieces, that have not visited her, and who she should leave her fortune to after she's gone. John has grown to really care Polly beyond the typical doctor-patient relationship. Their sweet exchanges always warm viewers hearts. If only there was a way to save Polly.

4. Nurse Carolee Simpson.

Carolee Campbell sparkles as Carolee Simpson, R.N. Whether Nurse Simpson is trying to convince Liz Wilson (Pamela Toll) not to kill herself, joking around with Dr. John Rice or flirting with Dr. Steve Aldrich (David O'Brien), Carolee's warmth and charisma always shine through. Her dark side only comes out when the phones at the nurse's station ring too much.

3. Bethel Leslie's Reactions as Dr. Maggie Powers.

Most fans of The Doctors think of Lydia Bruce when the character of Dr. Maggie Powers comes to mind but Bethel Leslie has been a pure joy to watch. Her reactions to all the drama that goes on around her, including in her own home, are priceless. Leslie's time on the soap will be coming to an end soon so watch her while you can. Her side eye, especially when it comes to Dr. Karen Werner (Laryssa Lauret), who is smitten with Maggie's husband, is worth the price of admission alone.

2. Emmy winner James Pritchett as Dr. Matt Powers, the man in charge at Hope Memorial Hospital.

James Pritchett's Dr. Matt Powers is calm, cool and mostly collected as he runs Hope Memorial and deals with a eclectic group of doctors and nurses, as well as the stuffy board of directors. If Pritchett's compelling performances aren't enough reason to tune in, his regular use of props, especially Matt's pipe, is always mesmerizing. Yes, characters at the hospital regular smoke. Pritchett was named Outstanding Actor at the Daytime Emmys in 1978 for his work on the show.

1. Emmy winner Elizabeth Hubbard shines in the role of Dr. Althea Davis.

Elizabeth Hubbard was named Outstanding Actress at the very first Daytime Emmy Awards in 1974 for her work as Dr. Althea Davis in The Doctors, and was nominated nine times as Lucinda Walsh in As the World Turns. She is considered by fans of daytime drama to be one of the best actresses of all-time and yet she is still a revelation in the 1967/1968 episodes of The Doctors. Althea's relationship with Dr. Nick Bellini (Gerald Gordon) is pure magic. Gordon and Hubbard have explosive onscreen chemistry that makes them one of the best pairings in soap opera history. When Althea was about to be dismissed from her job for being pregnant and unmarried, thanks to a morals clause in her contract, she immediately called Matt out on the double standard of her being fired but not Nick, the baby's father. "He's not pregnant," Matt explained. Althea fumed. Dynamic, powerful, intelligent, vulnerable, Dr. Althea Davis is the best character on Daytime TV once again.

For a list of Retro TV affiliates, visit myretrotv.com.

* 'Serial Scoop Now' talks with Elizabeth Hubbard about 'The Doctors'
* James Pritchett Remembered, Emmy-Winning Actor Was Born 92 Years Ago Today


Pantherfan said...

This is the best thing Retro TV has ever done, I don't know about everyone else but as far as I am concerned as long as Retro TV continues to air "The Doctors" it is number one in my book.

Roger Newcomb said...

The quality of the episodes is magnificent too. I'd been talking to SFM since 2008 about The Doctors reruns but I always assumed they would be from later in the show's run. I'm over the moon to know this footage exists, looks amazing, and we get to watch it thanks to Retro TV. The only thing that would make me happier is if we really got to see Another World "next in color".

Unknown said...

I agree with all 5 reasons. I hate that Bethel Leslie's run is about to end because she is excellent as Maggie Powers. The character driven episodes are what make this show so wonderful and make it such a great example of a soap. Elizabeth Hubbard is absolutely delightful as Althea Davis. I watched this show in the early-mid 70's when I was rather young but don't remember many of the plots. Carolee Campbell's flirtatious ways are absolutely endearing and David O'Brien, Terry Kiser, and Gerald Gordon are on top of things. Fabulous soap. Love it!

Pantherfan said...

Roger, I couldn't agree with you more. I think we are made from the same mold. You could come over for lunch and we could watch "The Doctor's" and then "Another World". :)

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