Edward G. Robinson heads an all-star cast in the life-and-death medical drama Operation Heartbeat, co-starring Kim Stanley, Maurice Evans, Kevin McCarthy and Shelley Fabares. Lawsuits fly when a widow (Stanley) believes a gifted surgeon (Richard Bradford) allowed her husband to die so his heart could be transplanted into the doctor's ailing mentor and friend (Robinson).
Operation Heartbeat was the pilot movie for the TV series Medical Center. And while James Daly would continue as chief of staff Dr. Paul Lochner, Chad Everett would replace Bradford as UMC's brilliant professor of surgery Dr. Joe Gannon. The seven-season Medical Center would tie Marcus Welby, M.D. as the longest-running medical drama in TV history until the 15-season-run of ER took the crown.
April 1969 saw the CBS debut of a telefilm officially titled U.M.C.
, but which has since become better known as "Operation Heartbeat." This feature became the pilot of the long-running CBS drama Medical Center
, which began its regular run (which lasted 7 seasons) the following September. No portion of the show has had a DVD release, until yesterday, when Warner began selling the pilot telefilm through their manufacture-on-demand (MOD) Warner Archive program.
The Operation Heartbeat DVD
is now available to order, at a $19.95 pricetag. Running 97 minutes long, the video is in the original full frame, and audio in English mono. As with all MOD titles, order can only be shipped to United States destinations due to legal restrictions. Here's a look at the front cover art: