8 Things You Didn’t Know About St. Elsewhere
Before ER and Grey’s Anatomy there was St. Elsewhere, a medical drama comedy series about a financially strapped Boston hospital, St. Eligius, and its beleaguered staff, that ran from October 26, 1982 to May 25, 1988. The show starred Ed Flanders, Norman Lloyd and William Daniels and was produced by none other than Gwyneth Paltrow’s father, Bruce Paltrow. It’s been almost 30 years since the show went off the air, so we’ve collected these things 8 things about television’s pioneer medical series:
8. Rough Beginnings
NBC wouldn’t agree to let St. Elsewhere begin production until the network saw 10 scripts for the show. Production started on the show while Paltrow was finishing work on the movie A Little Sex, so actor-director Lou Antonio was at the helm for the first episode. When Paltrow returned from filming, he didn’t like what the show was becoming and production was shut down. “When (Paltrow) got back and he saw the rushes, he didn’t like the look of the show at all, so he closed down. He fired the cinematographer. He put in a ceiling on the show so it wouldn’t look like Dr. Kildare – a sparkling hospital. We had to go to MTM to get permission to do that because they took quite a hit financially,” William Daniels, who played chief of surgery Mark Craig, told Indie Wire. Those weren’t the only changes that Paltrow made. Director Lou Antonio was replaced with Thomas Carter, and Josef Sommer and David Paymer’s roles were recast as well.
7. Potential Cast Shake Up
During the production shutdown, many of the younger performers were terrified that they were going to be fired. “I worked one day because I had one scene and then we shut down. I remember I heard there was going to be a shakeup in the cast. I was afraid I was going to get a call from Bruce Paltrow saying they were going to find somebody else for my role. I sat around for a couple of weeks, wondering what was going to happen and then my phone rings one night about 8:30 and the voice says, ‘This is Bruce Paltrow.’ I said, ‘Please Mr. Paltrow, don’t fire me. Give me a chance. I’ll get better.’ He just started laughing. ‘No no no. You’re fine. I just wanted to let you know we’re going back into production in another week.’ I started crying I was so relieved,” Terence Knox, who portrayed resident Peter White, told Indie Wire.