The Practice (1976 TV series)

The Practice is an American sitcom starring Danny Thomas which centers on a father and son who are both doctors in New York City. The show aired from January 30, 1976, to January 26, 1977.[1][2]

The Practice
The Practice (1976) title card.jpg
Title card for The Practice, showing Danny Thomas as Dr. Jules Bedford.
GenreSituation comedy
Created bySteve Gordon
StarringDanny Thomas
Dena Dietrich
Shelley Fabares
David Spielberg
Didi Conn
Allen Price
Damon Raskin
John Byner
Sam Laws
Mike Evans
Composer(s)David Shire
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes27 (2 unaired)
Executive producer(s)Danny Thomas
Producer(s)Tony Thomas (supervising producer)
Paul Junger Witt (producer)
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Danny Thomas Productions
DistributorMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television
Warner Bros. Television Distribution (currently)
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseJanuary 30, 1976 (1976-01-30) –
January 26, 1977 (1977-01-26)



Jules Bedford is a crusty, sometimes grumpy, and somewhat absent-minded old-school doctor with a genuine concern for people; he is idealistic about the practice of medicine, caring for people even when there is no money to be made. His office is in a middle-class area on Manhattan's West Side, where Molly Gibbons is the nurse who has been with him for years and has a crush on him. Helen is his young and slightly crazy receptionist and office manager.[1][2]

Jules's son David is also a doctor, but is less idealistic: His practice is on exclusive Park Avenue and he is more interested in making money than his father. David is always trying to get Jules to move his practice in with David's and share office space. Jenny is David's wife, and they are the parents of two young boys, Paul and Tony.[1][2]

Dr. Roland Caine is Jules' associate during the first season in the spring of 1976; a medical intern named Lenny is with him during the second season in the autumn of 1976.[1][2]


Steve Gordon created The Practice and Danny Thomas was its executive producer. Gordon wrote some of the episodes, and other episode writers included Jack Ainob, John Boni, Sam Denoff, Bernie Kahn, Bruce Kane, Dale McRaven, Rick Mittleman, Jim Rogers, Bruce Selitz, Arnold Somkin, Norman Stiles, and Mark Tuttle.[3]

Episode directors included Richard Kinon, Tony Mordente, Bill Persky, and Noam Pitlik.[3]

During the first season, classical music played during The Practice's opening credits. While the visuals for the opening credits remained unchanged for the second season, the music changed to a new ragtime theme.[3]

Broadcast historyEdit

During its first season, The Practice aired on NBC on Fridays at 8:30 p.m., from January 30 to May 14, 1976. It returned for a second season, airing from October 13 through November 1976 on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. and shifting to Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. from December 1976 through the end of its run. Its last original episode aired on January 26, 1977. Two additional episodes were never broadcast.[1][2]



Season 1 (1976)Edit

Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
11"The Practice"Lee PhilipsSteve GordonJanuary 30, 1976 (1976-01-30)

The pilot for the series. David diagnoses Jules' longtime friend Arthur Jarvis (J. Pat O'Malley) with a brain tumor and tells him he is terminally ill. While Jules and David feud over the diagnosis, Arthur resigns himself to his fate; but Jules does not want him to give up.

Guest stars: Robert Lussier and Dean Santoro
22"Love and Death"Noam PitlikSteve GordonFebruary 6, 1976 (1976-02-06)

Jules treats a patient named Barbara Simms (Marge Redmond) for a thyroid condition and finds that she is suicidal because her husband has left her for another woman. He is sympathetic, but Barbara interprets his sympathy as a romantic interest in her. Pondering how to tell her that he is not interested in romance without making her become suicidal again, he decides upon an unorthodox treatment.

Guest star: Ruth Manning
33"The Vote"Richard KinonT : Steve Gordon;
S/T : James Ritz
February 13, 1976 (1976-02-13)

When it comes time to vote for a new chief of internal medicine for the hospital, Jules is forced to choose between David and Dr. Herb Chisholm (Severn Darden) – a brilliant and visionary physician who is also unkempt and absent-minded. Jules chooses Chisholm, much to David's dismay.

Guest star: Ken Olfson
44"Molly and Jim"Bill PerskyS : Tom Dunsmuir,
Dan Wilcox;
T : Steve Gordon
February 20, 1976 (1976-02-20)

Molly falls in love with one of Jules' patients.

Guest star: James T. Callahan
55"The Choice"Richard KinonSteve Gordon,
John Boni,
Norman Stiles
February 27, 1976 (1976-02-27)

When Frankie Nyles (Vic Tayback) a known drug dealer, sees Jules for treatment of recurring bad headaches, Jules determines that he needs an operation. Jules does not want to treat a drug dealer, but his conscience won't let him turn Nyles away.

Guest stars: Joseph R. Sicari & Robert Miller Driscoll
66"The Unsinkable Molly Gibbons"Bill PerskyAnn Gibbs,
Joel Kimmel
March 12, 1976 (1976-03-12)
Molly fakes a series of dental work to cover for the fact that she's seeing David as a patient.
77"The Down Payment"Bill PerskyS : Bruce Kane;
T : Steve Gordon,
Arnold Somkin
March 19, 1976 (1976-03-19)
Burglars break into Jules' office, ransack it, and steal his medical supplies. David offers to loan him the money he needs to put his office back in order. At first Jules does not want the loan, but he later gives in and says he will accept it – when David no longer wants to loan the money.
88"Jules' Vacation"Noam PitlikSimon MuntnerApril 2, 1976 (1976-04-02)

An overworked Jules grudgingly agrees to take a vacation in Florida, but he can't resist practicing medicine while he is there.

Guest stars: Dave Shelley, Penny Santon and Naomi Stevens
99"The Nose"Bill PerskyBud WiserApril 9, 1976 (1976-04-09)

Jules promises an old friend to talk one of David's patients out of getting cosmetic surgery.

Guest star: Titos Vandis
1010"Molly's Mistake"Noam PitlikMichael TurnerApril 16, 1976 (1976-04-16)
Molly makes a grave mistake and loses confidence in herself.
1111"Jenny's Despair"Bill PerskyWarren MurphyApril 23, 1976 (1976-04-23)
Jenny accuses Jules of meddling in how she and David are raising Paul and Tony.
1212"Jules & Eddie"Noam PitlikJack Ainob,
Bruce Selitz
April 30, 1976 (1976-04-30)

Eddie (Bryan Scott), a recently orphaned boy who is one of Jules' patients, gets along very well with Jules and wants Jules to adopt him. Jules, however, thinks that his long working hours would be bad for Eddie's upbringing and instead looks for a set of great parents who will adopt Eddie – much to Eddie's disappointment.

Guest stars: Richard Venture and Mary Betten
1313"Jules and the Bum"Bill PerskySteve Gordon,
Arnold Somkin
May 7, 1976 (1976-05-07)

Although Jules thinks it is a bad idea, David takes in a once-acclaimed novelist who is one of his boyhood idols and has fallen on hard times – and discovers that even though the man has impeccable manners and courtly charm, he also drinks too much and engages in fraud.

Guest stars: Victor Bruno and Mary Wilcox
1414"Jules' Investment"Bill PerskySteve Gordon,
Arnold Somkin,
Bruce Kane
May 14, 1976 (1976-05-14)

Jules invests his life savings into one of David's real-estate schemes.

Guest stars: William Cort and Raymond Serra

Season 2 (1976–77)Edit

Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
151"The Dream"Noam PitlikSteve Gordon,
Sam Denoff,
Dale McRaven
October 13, 1976 (1976-10-13)
An eccentric psychic named Matilda Morrison (Lucille Ball) sees Jules because she is having headaches and visions that foretell her death in three weeks. Jules at first thinks that he should refer her to a psychiatrist, but then discovers that her visions turn out to be correct 80 percent of the time.
162"Helen's Beau"Tony MordenteSam Denoff,
Dale McRaven
October 22, 1976 (1976-10-22)

Jules arranges a date for Helen with a young medical intern, Dr. Byron Fisk (Barry Gordon). She thinks Byron is her new boyfriend – but is the last to realize that Byron is homosexual.

Guest star: Lila Teigh
173"Judy Sinclair"Noam PitlikSteve GordonOctober 27, 1976 (1976-10-27)

A tough and stubborn patient named Judy Sinclair (Marlo Thomas) needs an operation. The single mother of a little mentally disabled boy, she is determined not to undergo the procedure because of her fear of leaving her son alone. In the end, the Bedfords take care of the boy and Judy has her operation.

Guest star: Matthew Laborteaux
184"It's All in the Head"Tony MordenteBernie KahnNovember 3, 1976 (1976-11-03)

David hires a sexy woman named Rhonda Curtis (Caren Kaye) as his new secretary. He is attracted to her and has trouble resisting temptation when she makes advances toward him. They take a business trip together, infuriating Jules, but in the end, Jules' meddling saves David from committing adultery.

Guest star: Carol Worthington
195"The Snow Job"George TyneJerome ChodorovDecember 1, 1976 (1976-12-01)

A blizzard hits New York City, and David's apartment loses power – and then a pregnant woman in labor and her husband arrive at his door in need of medical help.

Guest stars: Yvonne Wilder, William Cort, Art Metrano, Jayne Meadows and Ivor Francis
206"A Doctor's Doctor"Tony MordenteMark TuttleDecember 8, 1976 (1976-12-08)

Jules ends up in the hospital with painful cramps and is told he needs a gall bladder operation, but he does not want David to perform it.

Guest stars: Bill Dana, Sarina C. Grant, Harry Gold and Robert Miller Driscoll
217"Carlotta"Noam PitlikGeorge YanokDecember 22, 1976 (1976-12-22)

An old flame tries to tempt Jules into marriage by promising a large donation to the hospital.

Guest star: Edie Adams
228"Jules Takes a Partner"Bill PerskyS : Emma Fligg;
T : Frank Tarloff
December 29, 1976 (1976-12-29)

Jules takes his friend Dr. Michael Harrigan (David Huddleston) into his practice to keep him from retiring – and then regrets it.

Guest star: Ralph Manza
239"Oh, Brother"Noam PitlikRick MittlemanJanuary 26, 1977 (1977-01-26)

Jules' deadbeat, money-grubbing, ne'er-do-well brother Harry (Jan Murray), from whom he has been estranged for many years, comes to visit, and David and Jenny arrange a surprise meeting between them. The two stubborn brothers fight at first, but after Jules learns that Harry may be dying, they become cordial – until the check that Harry writes to Jules to pay back the money he owes him bounces.

Guest star: Robert Lussier
2410"Jules & Lenny"Noam PitlikBernie Kahn,
Rick Mittleman

Jules wants Lenny (Mike Evans) to pass his medical exams and lets Lenny stay with him so he can study without the distractions of home – but Jules' meddling in Lenny's studying turns out to be a big distraction.

Guest stars: Ysabel MacCloskey, Paula Sills and Michael Danahy
2511"Mulligan"Noam PitlikJim RogersN/A
Jules' best friend, a police officer named Mulligan, dies while pursuing a purse-snatcher. Left alone in the room where Mulligan's sheet-covered body lies, Jules holds a lengthy one-sided conversation with the deceased man in which he reminisces at length about their friendship.
2612"Jules in Jail"Noam PitlikRichard BaerN/A
Jules is arrested while making a very unusual house call.
2713"Molly & Jules"Bill PerksyBernie KahnN/A
Molly is fed up with being taken for granted both professionally and personally; it's up to Jules to change things or let her go.


  1. ^ a b c d e McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 670.
  2. ^ a b c d e Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present, Sixth Edition, New York: Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN 0-345-39736-3, pp. 833–834.
  3. ^ a b c d The Classic TV Archive: The Practice (1976–77)
  4. ^ The Practice: Episodes

External linksEdit