Breaking Point (1963 TV series)

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Breaking Point
Paul Richards Breaking Point 1963.JPG
Paul Richards as McKinley Thompson.
GenreMedical drama
Created byMeta Rosenberg
Directed byRobert Ellis Miller
StarringPaul Richards
Eduard Franz
Theme music composerDavid Raksin
Composer(s)John Carisi
Walter Scharf
Richard Markowitz
John Williams
Morton Stevens
Jerry Goldsmith
George Duning
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes30
Executive producer(s)John E. Pommer
George Lefferts (1964)
Producer(s)George Lefferts
Richard Collins
Morton Fine
David Friedkin
CinematographyRobert Hauser
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Bing Crosby Productions (produced at the studios of Desilu)
DistributorABC Films (1964-1973)
Worldvision Enterprises (1973-1999)
Paramount Television (1999-2006)
CBS Television Distribution (current distributor)
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 16, 1963 (1963-09-16) –
April 27, 1964 (1964-04-27)
Related showsBen Casey
The Eleventh Hour

Breaking Point is an American medical drama that aired on ABC from September 16, 1963, to April 27, 1964, continuing in rebroadcasts until September 7. The series, which was a spinoff of Ben Casey, stars Paul Richards and Eduard Franz; the series was created by Meta Rosenberg.


Richards stars as Dr. McKinley Thompson, the chief resident in psychiatry at York Hospital, a fictitious hospital in Los Angeles. Eduard Franz co-starred as Dr. Edward Raymer, the hospital's psychiatric clinic director. McKinley was called Dr. Mac by everyone on the staff, and the stories focused on the people who came to the psychiatric clinic for their help. Like Ben Casey, which along with Marcus Welby, M.D. was one of the two most successful medical series aired on ABC, Breaking Point originated at Bing Crosby Productions, filmed through Desilu Studios. In the fourth episode entitled "Bird and Snake", Robert Redford appeared as Roger Morton, along with Jack Weston as Sam Keller; this turned out to have been one of Redford's last television roles before he focused exclusively on his film career.[1]


Title Original air date
1"Solo for B-Flat Clarinet"September 16, 1963 (1963-09-16)
A musician (Scott Marlowe) is disturbed by the conflict between himself and his cruelly authoritarian father (Oscar Homolka). A continuation of a two-part story that began on the Ben Casey episode "For This Relief, Much Thanks" (September 9, 1963); also guest starring Vincent Edwards as Ben Casey, Russell Johnson, Dabney Coleman, Millie Perkins, and Sheree North.
2"Last Summer We Didn't Go Away"September 23, 1963 (1963-09-23)
A psychiatric patient (Anthony Franciosa) tries to keep his treatment secret when he returns to teaching. Also guest starring Ed Asner and Brenda Scott.
3"Fire and Ice"September 30, 1963 (1963-09-30)
An unhinged executive's wife (Janice Rule) seeks psychiatric help due to an avalanche of problems, including an disengaging husband and oppressive mother-in-law. Also guest starring Kevin McCarthy, Irene Tedrow.
4"Bird and Snake"October 7, 1963 (1963-10-07)
A disruptive group therapy patient preys on the group to vent his hostility toward others. Guest starring Robert Redford, Jack Weston, and Marisa Pavan.
5"There Are the Hip, and There Are the Square"October 14, 1963 (1963-10-14)
A young couple (John Cassavetes and Carol Lawrence) express their rebellion through a suicide pact. Also guest starring J. Pat O'Malley, Virginia Gregg, Woodrow Parfrey, and Gilbert Green.
6"The Bull Roarer"October 21, 1963 (1963-10-21)
A shy, young construction worker (Lou Antonio) is troubled by his inability to engage in "manly" activities, and fears he may be a homosexual. Also starring Ralph Meeker, Mariette Hartley, Cece Whitney, and Carmen Phillips.
7"Crack in an Image"October 28, 1963 (1963-10-28)
A senatorial candidate's (Mark Richman) chances for higher office are threatened by the emotional breakdown of his wife (Kim Hunter). Also starring Paul Stewart and Holly McIntire.
8"A Pelican in the Wilderness"November 4, 1963 (1963-11-04)
A rabbi (Martin Balsam) loses his faith following the accidental death of his only son. Also guest starring Akim Tamiroff, Noam Pitlik, Barbara Turner, Virginia Capers, and Zolya Talma.
9"And James Was a Very Small Snail"November 11, 1963 (1963-11-11)
An autistic child (Donald Losby) is aided by a therapist (Martine Bartlett) who seeks the key to communicating with him. Also guest starring Harold J. Stone, Marsha Hunt, Michael Fox, Marcia Dealy, and Eddie Rosson.
10"Whatsoever Things I Hear"November 18, 1963 (1963-11-18)
A frustrated salesman (Shelley Berman) is accused of attempted assault and Dr. Thompson goes on trial for refusing to release his case history to the court; also starring Joe Maross, Malachi Throne, Sarah Marshall, Joanna Frank, Harry Bartell, Hari Rhodes, Suzy Carnell, and Doreen Lang.
11"Who Is Mimi, What Is She?"December 2, 1963 (1963-12-02)
A fan club founder attempts to live vicariously through a fading film star (Ruth Roman). Also starring Terry Becker, Sondra Blake, Hunt Powers, Sylvia Lewis.
12"Millions of Faces"December 9, 1963 (1963-12-09)
A psychiatric ward attendant (Rip Torn) who is impersonating a doctor, seeks the help of Dr. Thompson after he makes an enemy of a veteran nurse (Jan Sterling).
13"The Gnu, Now Almost Extinct"December 16, 1963 (1963-12-16)
An aging actress (Lillian Gish) refuses to accept the death of her witty, non-conformist husband (Walter Pidgeon). Also starring Vito Scotti and Clint Howard.
14"Heart of Marble, Body of Stone"December 23, 1963 (1963-12-23)
A narcissistic model (Gena Rowlands) sees her marriage collapse due to her possessive father (Burgess Meredith), who tries to manage both her career and life. Also starring John Milford, Mary Gregory, Gloria Calomee, and Russ Bender.
15"Don't Cry, Baby, Don't Cry"December 30, 1963 (1963-12-30)
A prison inmate (Sheree North) participates as a substitute mother to a difficult child in one of Dr. Thompson's rehabilitation experiments; also starring Robert Ellenstein, Cece Whitney, Doris Dowling, and Maidie Norman.
16"A Little Anger Is a Good Thing"January 6, 1964 (1964-01-06)
A retired barber (Arthur O'Connell) needs a reason to live and a warm-hearted widow (Rosemary De Camp) gives him such a reason. Also starring Dean Harens, Helen Kleeb, Richard Bull, and Ralph Manza.
17"And If Thy Hand Offend Thee"January 13, 1964 (1964-01-13)
A World War II veteran (James Daly) involved in the bombing of Hiroshima who married a Japanese woman from the city is plagued by guilt over his past actions, Also starring Irene Tsu, Nobu McCarthy, Richard Webb, and Yasuko.
18"Better Than a Dead Lion"January 20, 1964 (1964-01-20)
An author (Robert Ryan) with writer's block develops an imaginary physical paralysis, causing his wife (Bettye Ackerman) to fear he will attempt suicide. Also starring John Larkin.
19"A Land More Cruel"January 27, 1964 (1964-01-27)
A fashion designer (Eleanor Parker) compulsively seeks out liaisons with strange men, then sets her sights on seducing Dr. Thompson! Also starring Robert Brubaker and Barry Livingston.
20"No Squares in My Family Circle"February 10, 1964 (1964-02-10)
An Italian baker (Jack Warden) suffers guilt from his early days as an immigrant affiliated with gangsters. Also starring Johnny Seven and Mariette Hartley.
21"So Many Pretty Girls, So Little Time"February 17, 1964 (1964-02-17)
A philandering publisher (Cliff Robertson) runs into trouble with his boss and attempts to reconnect with his long-suffering wife. Also starring Alan Napier, Ilse Taurins, Mari Blanchard, Bobby Byles, and Barbara Wilkin.
22"A Child of the Center Ring"February 24, 1964 (1964-02-24)
A young trapeze artist (Susan Strasberg) is mysteriously unable to walk following her famous father's accidental plunge to his death. Also starring Cesare Danova, Fabrizio Mioni, and James Callahan.
23"Tide of Darkness"March 2, 1964 (1964-03-02)
A widower's (Edmond O'Brien) only child (Lori Martin) goes into shock after being attacked by an intruder. Also starring Regina Gleason, Herb Armstrong, Patricia Newby, Don Kennedy, and Edward Platt.
24"The Summer House"March 9, 1964 (1964-03-09)
A patient (Piper Laurie) becomes catatonic after a shattering experience brings all her childhood fears into focus. Also starring Robert Loggia, Pamelyn Ferdin, and Phyllis Love.
25"Shadow of a Starless Night"March 16, 1964 (1964-03-16)
A doctor (Bradford Dillman) who is blinded in an automobile accident is determined to resume his career with the aid of a guide dog. Also starring Dianne Foster, Charles Robinson, Don Hanmer, and Dan Tobin.
26"Glass Flowers Never Drop Petals"March 23, 1964 (1964-03-23)
A perfectionist (Jessica Tandy) attempts suicide due to mid-life anxieties, which belie her seemingly ideal marriage. Also starring James Gregory.
27"Never Trouble Trouble, Till Trouble Troubles You"March 30, 1964 (1964-03-30)
A boxer (Terry Carter) insists he was knocked out by a hard punch despite the evidence of the boxing commission that he threw the fight. Also starring Frederick O'Neal, Paul Birch, Joel Fluellen, Diana Sands, Rex Ingram, and S. John Launer.
28"Confounding Her Astronomers"April 6, 1964 (1964-04-06)
An extremely bright, but unadoptable child (Jennifer Gillespie) shares secrets with an imaginary "Gypsy Man," which piques the interest of her co-therapist (Kathleen Nolan). Also starring Peter Leeds, Richard Devon, Virginia Gregg, Dennis Rush, Alice Backes, and Grace Lenard.
29"I, the Dancer"April 20, 1964 (1964-04-20)
A jazz ballet star (Joey Heatherton) and the head of a dance school David Winters find their marriage threatened by a false philosophy. Also starring Michael Callan.
30"My Hands Are Clean"April 27, 1964 (1964-04-27)
A loan shark (Telly Savalas) is suddenly marked by stigmata to the consternation of his priest. Also starring Henry Silva, Arline Sax, and Marian Seldes.

Guest stars[edit]

Notable guest stars include:

Production notes[edit]

The series' producer, George Lefferts, had served in a United States Army psychiatric ward during World War II. Like Ben Casey, The Eleventh Hour, and Dr. Kildare on NBC (as well as the non-medical shows Slattery's People, The Lieutenant, and Mr. Novak), Breaking Point featured an older, experienced doctor and his younger understudy.[2]

Breaking Point followed Wagon Train, which expanded to ninety minutes on ABC only for the 1963–1964 season; the program aired at 10 p.m. Monday opposite East Side, West Side and Mitch Miller's Sing Along with Mitch on NBC.

Award nomination[edit]

Breaking Point writer Allan Sloane was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama." The series also received an "Eddie" nomination as the "Best Edited Television Program" and a DGA Award nomination for director Robert Ellis Miller. All three nominations were for the episode "And James Was a Very Small Snail" broadcast on November 11, 1963, starring Harold J. Stone and Marsha Hunt as Joseph and Fran Babcock, respectively.[3]


  1. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 117
  2. ^ "Breaking Point: Summary".
  3. ^ "Breaking Point Awards". imdb.con.

External links[edit]