Operation Heartbeat was the pilot movie for the TV series Medical Center. The seven-season Medical Center would tie Marcus Welby, M.D. as the longest-running medical drama in TV history until the 15-season-run of ER took the crown.
Edward G. Robinson heads an all-star cast in the life-and-death medical drama Operation Heartbeat, co-starring Kim Stanley, Maurice Evans, Kevin McCarthy and Shelley Fabares. Lawsuits fly when a widow (Stanley) believes a gifted surgeon (Richard Bradford) allowed her husband to die so his heart could be transplanted into the doctor's ailing mentor and friend (Robinson).
Operation Heartbeat was the pilot movie for the TV series "Medical Center." And while James Daly would continue as chief of staff Dr. Paul Lochner, Chad Everett would replace Bradford as UMC's brilliant professor of surgery Dr. Joe Gannon. The seven-season "Medical Center" would tie "Marcus Welby, M.D." as the longest-running medical drama in TV history until the 15-season-run of "ER" took the crown.
The initials stand for University Medical Center, where this TV movie was set (the University was actually UCLA, though not so named). The heads of the institution are Dr. Joseph Gannon (Richard Bradford), and Gannon's mentor and best friend Dr. Lee Forestman (Edward G. Robinson). Gannon performs a heart transplant on Forestman, a procedure that lands him in court. The plaintiff is the heart donor's widow, who claims that Gannon allowed her husband to die to save Forestman. When U.M.C. developed into the long-running weekly series MEDICAL CENTER, Edward G. Robinson was busy elsewhere, Chad Everett replaced Richard Bradford as Gannon, and James Daly, third-billed in U.M.C., had been appointed the med center's chief of staff.
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