A wonderfully exhaustive article on the short-lived 1977 CBS medical drama Rafferty, starring Patrick McGoohan, can be found at The Unmutual Website, dedicated to McGoohan’s more famous series, The Prisoner. An episode guide is also available. Written by Tom Mayer, the article would be right at home here at Television Obscurities but since someone else wrote it, I don’t have to. Mayer examines why the series failed:
The show was poised on a crucial cusp in the evolution of the medical drama. Gone were the years of Dr. Kildare and Marcus Welby, idealistic doctors who worked in conditions with hardly a trace of blood. Ahead lay the era of St. Elsewhere and ER — gritty medical shows that focused on everything that was wrong with the doctors as well as the patients. It was in this period of transition that Rafferty found itself, with an undeveloped, idiosyncratic lead, reacting his way through not-quite-yet unconventional storylines.
And includes a number of quotes from McGoohan, who apparently hated the series:
The first problem was weak scripts. Apparently, a stable of writers churned out stories that could have played unchanged on any other medical drama. “The scripts [were] monstrous pieces of garbage, [with] no time to rewrite them,” McGoohan recalled. “I couldn’t get any decent scripts, and I remember saying to one gentleman who was supposedly in charge — this is when I had a script delivered and couldn’t believe what I had read — ‘I will give half my salary to anyone who can find a writer.’ But that would be setting a precedent you know, this sort of attitude. So we were all delighted to part company.” At the very least, McGoohan recognized the importance of good stories, without which, makes it difficult to keep an audience or to ensure a programâ€™s survival.
It’s a great read and I suggest anyone who is a fan of McGoohan or the sort of obscure programs showcased here to take a look.
2 Replies to “Article on Patrick McGoohan’s Rafferty”
I remember watching ‘Rafferty’ in the late Seventies. McGoohan was good, but the soap opera scripts let him down..
Still fall in the floor laughing at the memory of this show. The best one ever is when Rafferty runs to save the day and stop the botulism that is growing in a food truck’s piccallilli! Rafferty must run to beat the band (literally) as the band kids are mowing across the football field to munch on some piccallilli! (Would you like botulism with that?)
The horrible music, the bad acting, the overblown “drama” all make for yuk-it-up laughs! Would love to see that episode again! Piccallilli- I am not making this up!