Ben Casey is an American medical drama series which ran on ABC
from 1961 to 1966. The show was known for its opening titles, which consisted of a hand drawing the symbols "?, ?,
*, †, 8" on a chalkboard, as cast member Sam Jaffe intoned, "Man, woman, birth, death, infinity."
The series stars Vince Edwards as medical doctor Ben Casey, a
young, intense but idealistic surgeon at County General Hospital. His mentor was Doctor David Zorba, played by Sam
Jaffe. At the beginning of the 1965 season, Jaffe left the show and Franchot Tone replaced Zorba as new Chief of
Surgery, Doctor Daniel Niles Freeland. The show began running multi-episode stories and Casey developed a romantic
relationship with Jane Hancock (Stella Stevens), who had just emerged from a coma after thirteen years.
n its early run, Ben Casey dominated its time slot. In the
1962-1963 season, it swamped Loretta Young's return to weekly television in her family sitcom The New Loretta Young
Show on CBS. In 1963, it moved to Wednesdays as the preceding program for ABC's drama about college life,
However, due to the combination of CBS' The Beverly Hillbillies
and The Dick Van Dyke Show, Ben Casey returned to its original Monday night time slot in the fall of 1964,
remaining there until its cancellation in March 1966. Daytime repeats of the series also aired on ABC's weekday
schedule from 1965 through 1967.