A TV series known as ‘Emergency!’ ran from 1972-1979. The show revolved around two paramedic/firefighters as they responded to frequent and varying calls to 911. The show was groundbreaking as it demonstrated real to life, completely accurate techniques and procedures one would expect to see from the newly created field of paramedicine.
After the sixth season the show was renewed. Shortly there after six made for TV movies revolving around the two paramedics, Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto, aired with spectacular ratings.
I was a fan of watching the reruns as a little girl, and as an adult I purchased the entire series on DVD. After watching every episode and movie that ever aired I still wanted to see more.
I went to the internet to see if there were any unaired pilot episodes or even banned episodes that I could locate and watch but found nothing new. I happened upon a chat forum where fans of the show were discussing their favorite episodes, I joined in on the conversation and spent hours reminiscing on this forgotten classic.
When I mentioned my hunt for more episodes one of the members of the forum with the handle ‘Station51isDead’ claimed to have been a writer for the show during the final two seasons and sent me a private link to an obscure, unreleased movie that was aired only once in 1981.
I was ecstatic to finally have something to show for my search and I eagerly downloaded the link onto my laptop. Before logging off ‘Station51isDead’ warned me that the movie was shown only once for good reason and that video quality was very poor. I didn’t care, I had a new episode to watch.
I loaded the episode to play and the video had some static and clearly the episode was from an old VHS tape. The episode began but the introduction was uncharacteristically silent, the opening theme song was not playing. A title card flashed on screen which read ‘Code-F’, which seemed odd as well, but I didn’t pay too much attention to the little details.
The movie started off normally. It started where the final movie ended, both Johnny and Roy had been promoted to Captain and assigned their own stations to command. As the Captain’s were getting familiar with their new crews the Klaxon alarms ring out and dispatch sent out the call for a mine explosion on the outskirts of the city. In the original pilot episode Johnny and Roy responded to a mine collapse so the plot seemed typical.
A static filled and poorly edited cut jumped from the stations to the scene of the explosion. Death, injury, blood, fire and explosions were not uncommon aesthetics for the show’s episodes but what I saw was not typical story scenery.
There were dead bodies in various forms of mangled destruction littering the ground outside the mine. The bodies were scorched and bleeding, some were twitching as they laid on the ground. Halfhearted, painful groans from the victims began to wail grotesquely and the poor sound quality only made their cries of anguish worse. Scattered around the mine and dead bodies were limbs and flesh that had been torn from the bodies during the explosion. Thick black smoke filled the sky above the mine and cast a dreary shadow over the first responders.
The first engine to arrive belonged to Roy. As his crew approached the scene the camera zoomed in Roy’s voice to reveal and expression of absolute shock, he didn’t move even as the victims called for help.
Shortly after Johnny arrived on scene and he immediately began wiping tears from his eyes. He saw his former partner standing near one of the mangled bodies and stood by his side.
Another poor editing cut jumped to a scene inside the mine were Johnny and Roy were trying to look for survivors who were trapped inside the mine. They were crawling over the disfigured corpses of the dead miners, a sickening crunch of bone and slosh of spilled blood turned my stomach.
As they proceeded deeper into the mine the bodies become more abundant and damaged far beyond recognition. The camera would pan to each dead face as Johnny and Roy crawled deeper into the mine. The faces were charred and bloody, their eyes wide open in fear, surprise and pain.
The screen suddenly filled with static and a loud crashing sound. When the image returned it showed both Johnny and Roy pinned under fallen rocks and debris, both were critically injured and bleeding. Roy was staring blankly at the ceiling of the mine, a trickle of blood running from his mouth and he didn’t seem to be breathing. Johnny was desperately reaching for his radio that was just out of reach of his broken, mangled hand.
A second loud crash filled the air and were accompanied by hideous screams of pain and fear as blackness covered the screen.
The scene then jumped abruptly to the outside of the mine. There were more engines outside and it was evening. Walking out of the mine were eight firemen, four were each carrying a stretcher with a white, bloodied sheet draped over two bodies.
Hank Stanley, who had been the Captain for Johnny and Roy before they had been promoted, lifted both sheets and nodded sadly before reporting to dispatch two confirmed ‘Code-F’s.
Another poor jump cut showed a scene at a cemetery as a funeral with two bodies began taking place. The episode suddenly stops and the credits roll in silence with the image of two caskets being left on the screen.
The series had ended with the deaths of its heroes. ‘Code-F’ means fatality.