Thursday, April 28, 2016

4/28/1962 The Defenders courts controversy

April 28, 1962.  Perhaps I should not be including this here, because the producers of the The Defenders proudly proclaimed that this was the first TV law show that was not a mystery.  They meant that it was not a whodunit.  Instead the question was usually: was it really a crime, or did the person deserve to go to jail?  And the father-and-son law partners (E.G. Marshall and Rex Reed) argued with each other as much as they did with the prosecutors.  In short, The Defenders was the first modern lawyer series.

And it was not afraid of controversy.  The episode that appeared on this night was "The Benefactor," and it was about a physician who admitted performing 1,500 illegal abortions (while turning down 8,000 women whose reasons he considered insufficient).

Not surprisingly, sponsors ran away from this subject.  But Speidel Watches jumped in where Kimberley-Clark, Lever Brothers, and Brown & Williamson fled, and the show went on, to an audience of 28 million.

Fortunately the Supreme Court settled the abortion issue in 1973 and we have never had to worry about it again. 

1 comment:

  1. "Mad Men" did an episode about the controversy about "The Benefactor." And I got to see several "Defenders" episodes a while back. Excellent!