BEN CASEY: I REMEMBER A LEMON TREE (TV)

Summary

One in this medical drama series about a resident physician named Ben Casey. In this episode, Casey assists on an operation for a subdural hematoma alongside the gruff and arrogant Dr. Karl Anders. Anders has only stern words for Nick, who wishes him a happy birthday, and Casey talks to him about the "chip on his shoulder" and offers his friendship, but Anders dismisses him and gets on with the surgery. Afterwards, Zorba congratulations him on a job well done and attempts to distract him while the others set up his surprise party, where Casey chats with Phyllis, Anders' wife, who reveals that she is pregnant, though Anders does not yet know. Zorba arrives at the party without Anders, saying he went off somewhere alone, and Anders privately injects himself with morphine. Zorba summons him and asks him about his job and if he enjoys being a doctor, suggesting that he is neglecting his personal life because of his commitment to medicine, but Anders stonewalls him, saying that he dislikes wasting his time on trivial matters. He then learns that Casey sent one of his patients to surgery and, upon finding out that the patient died on the table, blows up at Casey and Hoffman, nearly becoming violent. Hoffman suggests that Casey order Anders to take some time off, but Casey admits that they need his expertise.

Phyllis attempts to talk to her husband, but he evades her and nearly passes out before reaching his stash and injecting himself again. He draws up a fake prescription with Dr. Graham's signature, and when it is discovered, Casey defends Graham to Cain, saying that it is a forgery and an addict has taken the missing drugs, but Cain threatens that Graham's career is in danger if the culprit is not found. Phyllis finally confronts Anders and says she no longer knows him and they are growing apart, but he claims he is busy with work and tersely demands a divorce. She reveals her pregnancy, but he states that it does not make a difference, though he promises to provide for her and the child. Zorba then informs Anders that he has been given for a prestigious new position, having been selected from a large pool and highly recommended, but Anders evasively says that he cannot accept the job, much to Zorba's frustration. Casey then catches him shooting up and Anders tries to justify it, saying he is leaving soon anyway and asking for Casey's silence, but Casey demands that he tell the truth and absolve Graham of the accusations. Anders storms into Zorba's office with a file and leaves, and in reading it, Casey and Zorba learn that he is suffering from terminal leukemia and was using the morphine to cope without telling anyone. Casey chases after him, and when he returns, Anders says that Phyllis does not know and he does not want pity, asking instead for any job at the hospital. Zorba is forced to refuse, and Anders broods on the insignificance of one life.

Casey calls Phyllis and reveals the truth, and Graham attempts to comfort her, saying that nothing seems "natural" during pregnancy. Anders accepts a room at the hospital and as he lays dying, he shares a loving moment with his wife and asks that his body be donated to science and she agrees, though she refuses to let their child become a doctor. She goes into labor and Graham takes her away, and Casey administers a final dose of morphine as Anders expresses regrets about his relationships with his wife. Casey tells a story of a lemon tree he planted as a youth and its stubborn reluctance to blossom except when left alone, comparing its enduring nature to Anders'. Casey holds his hand, and Anders dies just as his child is born. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: ABC
  • DATE: October 23, 1961 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:50:06
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: B:15533
  • GENRE: Drama, medical
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, medical
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV series, 1961-1966
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

      James E. Moser........ Executive Producer
    • Matthew Rapf........ Producer
    • Alex March........ Director
    • Jack Laird........ Writer
    • Marcus W. Demian........ Based on the story by
    • David Raskin........ Theme Music by
    • Vincent Edwards........ Cast
    • Sam Jaffe........ Cast
    • Harry Landers........ Cast
    • Bettye Ackerman........ Cast
    • Nick Dennis........ Cast
    • Jeanne Bates........ Cast
    • George C. Scott........ Cast
    • Colleen Dewhurst........ Cast
    • John Zaremba........ Cast
    • Barton Heyman........ Cast
    • Alice Rodriguez........ Cast

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