Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dr. Kildare Movies on TCM right now

It's a little late to post this, but maybe some of you will be able to jump on Turner Classic Movies right now and catch the series of Dr. Kildare movies they're running right now. For those of you new to the pulp world, Dr. Kildare (who later made a very handsome Richard Chamberlain a TV star) was created by none other than the very prolific pulp writer Frederick Faust under his pen name Max Brand. These movies, from the late 30s and early 40s, starred Lew Ayres.

I need to work right now, but I'm recording them to watch later.

Any of you historians want to expand on the Dr. Kildare story?



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5 comments:

Barry Traylor said...

my favorite Lew Ayres film has to be "All Quiet On The Westren Front".

Ed Hulse said...

Brand created Kildare in a 1936 short story, "Internes Can't Take Money," which was published in COSMOPOLITAN. Paramount bought the screen rights and made a 1937 film version of the story under its original title. Joel McCrea played Kildare. The movie was only a middling success and no sequel was forthcoming.

Over the next couple years Brand sold to pulps and slicks alike. In 1938, M-G-M bought rights to the Kildare character and commissioned Brand to write original stories for a series of films to star Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. The studio's staff screenwriters fashioned scripts from Brand's originals, occasionally making significant changes in the bargain.

Brand cannily insisted on retaining prose rights to the Kildare stories -- even though Metro paid him handsomely -- and thus expanded them into novels that were serialized in magazines and later published in hard covers. (A few appeared as novelettes.) "Young Dr. Kildare," first of the M-G-M-commissioned yarns, appeared in ARGOSY during December 1938. "Calling Dr. Kildare" followed in the same magazine in March and April of 1939, but COSMO published "The Secret of Dr. Kildare" in its September 1939 issue. The remaining Kildare yarns -- novels and novelettes alike -- were split between ARGOSY and COSMOPOLITAN.

I haven't read all the Kildare stories, and it's been many years since I saw most of the films, but my recollection is that a lot of the "business" featuring supporting characters in the Kildare saga was the invention of Metro's screenwriters. Brand made a small fortune off the character but reportedly considered both the screen originals and their prose counterparts among his weaker works.

Oscar said...

I remember seeing one of the Kildare movies and thought it was boring, never saw any more. I would probably have a change of heart now.

Laurie Powers said...

I've only been looking intermittently at the movies today, but I think the high spots for most of the movies is Lionel Barrymore, who plays Dr. Gillespe. He's a hoot.

Thanks for the info Ed!

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

I've read "Internes Can't Take Money", and I've been meaning to get my hands on a copy of Calling Dr. Kildare ever since I read an excerpt in a miscellaneous collection of Brand's (mostly non-western) work. I haven't seen any of the film or TV versions, but from reading about them they seem mostly very different from the original stories.