Sep 14, 2012

Randolph Mantooth

Randolph Mantooth has had the honor of being lambasted on both Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Talk Soup, due to his appearances in a few less-than-stellar movies.  I can still hear the fake horror in the voices of Joel and the bots as they yell "It stars Ran-dolph Man-tooth!"

But he has been a good sport, even, on occasion, joining in on the spoofing, because he know the jokes are latching onto the few rough patches in an otherwise stellar career.

Tall but not gawky, earnest without being cloying, Randolph Mantooth was born in 1945, a boomer kid of Seminole Indian ancestry.  He hit Hollywood in 1970, and played lots of earnest, taciturn characters in dramas and Westerns, before his big break.

In 1972 he was cast in the action-medical drama Emergency!, about the adventures of paramedics John Gage (Mantooth) and Roy DeSoto (Kevin Tighe).

The paramedic was a new profession -- in 1972 there were just 6 paramedic units in the U.S.  Emergency! was instrumental in popularizing its combination of medical drama and fire/police action.  By the time the show ended in 1979, everyone knew what a paramedic was, and thousands of kids had been inspired to study EMS (Emergency Medical Services).

Paramedics Gage and DeSoto performed their first aid so accurately that some viewers were able to save lives based on what they had learned on the show, and real-life hospitals started offering first aid and CPR programs.  Training in CPR is now commonplace for many helping professions.

With such a praiseworthy resume, Randolph Mantooth can probably take the ribbing over his few bad moves.

By the way, he also supports many gay causes.

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