Dr. Cook's Garden
|Dr Cook's Garden|
|Written by||Ira Levin|
|Date premiered||September 18, 1967|
|Place premiered||New York|
James Tennyson is a young and idealistic doctor who returns to his hometown of Greenfield to work with Doctor Leonard Cook, his mentor who is a father figure to him. Tennyson's own father was an abusive brute who broke his arm in a drunken rage. Doctor Cook seems to be a positive role model to Tennyson and a pillar of the community who welcomes his young protégé home. Cook's housekeeper Dora tells Tennyson of Doctor Cook's heart troubles and how he needs an assistant. Upon his homecoming, Tennyson is also reunited with Jamey Roush, his childhood sweetheart, and in the process begins to become suspicious of Doctor Cook's activities. He discovers that many of his patients have died suddenly and mysteriously. He also discovers in the doctor's medicine cabinet a large supply of poisons. The town constable tells Tennyson that he feels that the Lord has blessed the town because the "nice" people have lived to a ripe old age and the mean ones have died off. He begins to look through the doctor's files and finds a mysterious code "R", which he notices is also in the doctor's garden, and he interprets it to mean removal of those that the doctor considers unworthy people. Tennyson confronts his mentor, who freely admits to euthanizing those that he considers unworthy. He tells him of killing his abusive father and considers his actions to be of community service, using his beautiful garden as a metaphor. Cook attempts to poison Tennyson and they wage a battle to the death, which ends in Cook suffering a heart attack and dying after Tennyson refuses to bring him his medicine in a perverse act of final mercy.
|Dr. Cook's Garden|
|Based on||Dr. Cook's Garden play by Ira Levin|
|Written by||Art Wallace|
|Directed by||Ted Post|
|Music by||Robert Drasnin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||75 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Paramount Television|
|Original release||January 19, 1971|
The play was adapted for television in 1971 with Bing Crosby in the title role and Frank Converse as his young colleague, Dr. Tennyson. It was well received with Variety magazine commenting, inter alia: "‘Doctor Cook's Garden’ was an unusually satisfying entry in ABC's ‘Movie of the Week’ series . . . For Bing Crosby, the title role was an acting triumph. In his long list of films, ‘Garden’ was only his second straight acting role (the other was The Country Girl in 1955) and he has indeed come a long way since his first ‘doctor’ film - ‘Doctor Rhythm’ in 1938. Playing a part that easily could have been hammed-up, Crosby let the fictive character take over—no small trick for a star with a forty-year identity as a singer and light comedy artist."