Half-hour medical drama Janet Dean, Registered Nurse premiered 60 years ago this month in syndication. Because it didn’t air on a network there wasn’t a set premiere date. Instead, it debuted in cities across the country starting in March 1954. In New York City, for example, the series had its premiere on Tuesday, March 23rd at 7PM on NBC affiliate WNBT. In other cities, it didn’t start airing until April 1954 or perhaps even later.
Ella Raines starred as the title character, a private duty nurse who worked wherever she was needed, filling in at hospitals and doctors’ offices. It is believed to be the first television series to feature a nurse as the lead character.
A total of 39 episodes were produced and they continued to be aired in repeats into the early 1960s. After that, the series was pretty much forgotten. At least five episodes circulate among private collectors but the rest have seemingly disappeared. Hopefully they’re out there somewhere, waiting to be rediscovered.
Read all about Janet Dean, Registered Nurse here.