Medic: Walk with Lions – 1955 / Director: Ted Post

And so we come to that glorious moment in The John Saxon Project – the very first credited role for our main man John Saxon, WAY back in 1955 as lead actor in James E. Moser‘s super authentic hospital teledrama, Medic. This earnest episode, Walk with Lions, was directed by none other than Ted Magnum Force Post and tells the story of young Danny Ortega (Saxon), a prize fighting, movie ushering illustrator forced to live an impoverished orphaned life with his diminutive sister and oafish brother in law, Nesdon Booth. Poor thing.

Following several dizzy spells, weight loss and an unquenchable thirst, poor Danny collapses whilst his sister is away and is rushed to hospital where the talented medic, Dr Burrows, determines that he has diabetes, caused by a lack of insulin. With no-one around to take care of him, it’s his boxing coach George E. Stone who performs the bedside vigil – an act met with soppish gratitude by Saxon when he finally awakes from his coma…

Unlike the contemporary soap opera of stuff like ER and Casualty, Medic eagerly draws upon the medical supervision of the Los Angeles County Medical Association: describing the symptons and the treatments of Danny’s condition through Richard Boone‘s public service-esque, straight laced narration. As a result, Saxon doesn’t really have to do too much in the acting department besides looking faint and young. Incredibly young, in fact, at the tender age of just 19 years.

Saxon’s boyish good looks and evident comfort in front of the camera are plain for all to see, as are his subtle “Noo Yoik” Brooklyn tones in a voice only barely broke.