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The Eleventh Hour is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer medical drama about psychiatry starring Wendell Corey, Jack Ging, and Ralph Bellamy, which aired sixty-two new episodes plus selected rebroadcasts on NBC from October 3, 1962, to September 9, 1964.

Series premise

The unusual television series, loosely comparable to the 1961 NBC hit Dr. Kildare, starring Richard Chamberlain and Raymond Massey, reveals the human stories of people who come to the psychiatrist either through private practice, a hospital, or a court of law. In 1963, the series shared a two-part crossover episode with Dr. Kildare; both programs used the theme of wise teacher and young intern.

The term "eleventh hour" refers to a time of last resort in an aggrieved person's life, as he faces a potential nervous breakdown. Ging appeared in both seasons as Dr. Paul Graham, a clinical psychologist to Corey's first-season character of the psychiatrist Dr. Theodore Bassett, advisor to the Department of Corrections. The first season hence offered episodes about the mental health of criminals. In the second season, which ended new episodes on April 22, 1964, Bellamy replaced Corey in the role of Dr. Richard Starke, a psychiatrist engaged in private practice. The executive producer was Norman Felton; Sam Rolfe was the producer.

Guest stars

Among the many well-known guest stars on The Eleventh Hour, Joan Tompkins appeared three times as Aggie Britt. The following each appeared twice as the same characters: Philip Abbott as Bill Fields, Neile Adams as Mrs. Bering, Herschel Bernardi as Bernie Miller, Paul Burke as Reverend Hank McKenzie, Veronica Cartwright as Jan Ellendale, Kim Darby as Gina Fields, Virginia Gregg as Arlene Montebello, Harry Guardino as Dave Porter, Cheryl Holdridge as Judy Gormley, Noah Keen as Fred Williams, Jayne Meadows as Mrs. Bredan, Vera Miles as Ann Costigan, Leonard Nimoy as Bert Pelco, Ruth Roman as Clara Porter, Maxine Stuart s Mrs. Henderson, and Robert Vaughn as Peter Warren.

The large number of one-time guests included Eddie Albert, Lola Albright, Frank Aletter, Richard Anderson, Edward Andrews, Edward Asner, Frankie Avalon, Martin Balsam, Joanna Barnes, Charles Bickford, Bill Bixby, Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Lloyd Bochner, Richard Bull, Red Buttons, James T. Callahan, Joseph Campanella, Mary Grace Canfield, Diahann Carroll, Linden Chiles, James Coburn, Michael Constantine, Noreen Corcoran, Patricia Crowley, Colleen Dewhurst, Bradford Dillman, Elinor Donahue, Tony Dow, Howard Duff, Dan Duryea, Andrew Duggan, Keir Dullea, Linda Evans, Shelley Fabares, Fabian, Norman Fell, Anne Francis, James Franciscus, Beverly Garland, Harold Gould, Don Gordon, Don Grady, Dabbs Greer, James Gregory, Eileen Heckart, Anne Helm, Peter Helm (brother of Anne), Celeste Holm, Ron Howard, Kim Hunter, Diana Hyland, David Janssen, Henry Jones, Katy Jurado, Shirley Knight, Ted Knight, Harvey Korman, Bert Lahr, Elsa Lanchester, Robert Lansing, Angela Lansbury, Piper Laurie, Bethel Leslie, Joanne Linville, Robert Loggia, Julie London, Lynn Loring, James MacArthur, Roddy McDowall, John McGiver, Barbara McNair, Scott Marlowe, Marilyn Mason, Walter Matthau, Burgess Meredith, Dina Merrill, Elizabeth Montgomery, Bill Mumy, Ed Nelson, Lois Nettleton, Jeanette Nolan, Edmond O'Brien, Carroll O'Connor, Jerry Paris, Eleanor Parker, Michael Parks, Roger Perry, Cliff Robertson, Marion Ross, Barbara Rush, Kurt Russell, Robert Ryan, Albert Salmi, Telly Savalas, George C. Scott, Jacqueline Scott, Sylvia Sidney, Tom Simcox, Jean Stapleton, Inger Stevens, Dean Stockwell, Karl Swenson, Roy Thinnes, Franchot Tone, Rip Torn, Harry Townes, Robert Wagner, Tuesday Weld, Faye Wray, and Keenan Wynn.

Selected episode titles

Befitting a series out of the television norm, The Eleventh Hour had unusual, even bizarre, episode titles, including the series premiere "Ann Costigan: A Duel on a Field of White" (with Vera Miles in the title role). Other episodes are: "There Are Dragons in the Forest", "Like a Diamond in the Sky", "Advice to Lovelorn and Shopworn", "Why Am I Grown So Cold?", "A Tumble from a High White House", "My Name Is Judith, I'm Lost, You See", "Hooray, Hooray, the Circus Is Coming to Town", "Of Roses and Nightingales and Other Lovely Things", "The Seventh Day of Creation", "Cold Hands, Warm Heart", "There Should Be an Outfit Called 'Families Anonymous!'", "My Door Is Locked and Bolted", "Who Chopped Down the Cherry Tree?", "Does My Mother Have to Know?", "A Pattern of Sundays", and the closing episode, "The Color of Sunset."

Other program notes

The Eleventh Hour aired on Wednesday evenings following Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall and Espionage. In its first season, The Eleventh Hour was placed opposite the alternating anthology series, Armstrong Circle Theatre and The United States Steel Hour on CBS and the last season of Paul Burke's Naked City on ABC. In the second season, The Eleventh Hour faced The Danny Kaye Show variety program on CBS and Channing on ABC, the story of faculty and students at fictitious Channing College starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones. ABC offered a similar series on psychiatry, Breaking Point starrng Paul Richards, in the 1963-1964 season. The terms "eleventh hour" and "breaking point" are nearly synonymous.

Wendell Corey, a Massachusetts native, was the son of an actor. He appeared in The Nanette Fabray Show and made guest appearances in dozens of other television series. He was also interested in politics, having lost a Republican primary election bid for the United States House of Representatives from Californiamarker in 1966. He was a member of the Santa Monica City Council. Veteran actor Ralph Bellamy was perhaps best known for his portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the film Sunrise at Campobello. Ging, an Oklahomamarker native, is retired from acting and resides in the Los Angelesmarker area.


  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penquin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 255
  2. 1962-1963; 1963-1964 American network television schedule; from appendix of Total Television

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