The Practice (1976 TV series)

This article is about the 1976-1977 American situation comedy. For the 1985 British medical drama, see The Practice (1985 TV series). For the 1990s-2000s American legal drama, see The Practice.
The Practice

Title card for The Practice, showing Danny Thomas as Dr. Jules Bedford.
Genre Situation comedy
Created by Steve Gordon
Starring Danny 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 origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 27 (2 unaired)
Executive producer(s) Danny Thomas
Producer(s) Tony Thomas (supervising producer)
Paul Junger Witt (producer)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Danny Thomas Productions
Distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television
Original network NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original release January 30, 1976 (1976-01-30) – January 26, 1977 (1977-01-26)

The Practice is a 1976-1977 United States comedic television series 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]



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' 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 history

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 # Episode # Title Plot/Notes Original air date
Season One
1 1 "The Practice" The pilot for the series. David diagnoses Jules' longtime friend Arthur Jarvis 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. Jules insists that he get a second opinion - which leads to a more favorable diagnosis and a happy ending. J. Pat O'Malley guest-stars as Arthur Jarvis. Robert Lussier and Dean Santoro also guest-star. January 30, 1976
1 2 "Love and Death" Jules treats a patient named Barbara Simms 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. Marge Redmond guest-stars as Barbara, and Ruth Manning also guest-stars. February 6, 1976
1 3 "The Vote" 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 a brilliant and visionary physician who is also unkempt and absent-minded. Jules chooses Chisholm, much to David's dismay. Severn Darden guest-stars as Dr. Chisholm, and Ken Olfson also guest-stars. February 13, 1976
1 4 "Molly and Jim" Molly falls in love with one of Jules' patients. James T. Callahan guest-stars. February 20, 1976
1 5 "The Choice" When Frankie Nyles, 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. He decides to treat Nyles, albeit with considerable distaste. Vic Tayback guest-stars as Frankie Nyles. Joseph R. Sicari and Robert Miller Driscoll also guest-star. February 27, 1976
1 6 "The Unsinkable Molly Gibbons" Molly might have cancer. March 12, 1976
1 7 "The Down Payment" 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 but by then David has decided that he no longer wants to loan money to Jules. March 19, 1976
1 8 "Jules' Vacation" An overworked Jules grudgingly agrees to take a vacation in Florida, but he can't resist practicing medicine while he is there. Dave Shelley, Penny Santon, and Naomi Stevens guest-star. April 2, 1976
1 9 "The Nose" Jules keeps meddling in David's practice. Titos Vandis guest-stars. April 9, 1976
1 10 "Molly's Mistake" Molly makes a grave mistake and loses confidence in herself. April 16, 1976
1 11 "Jenny's Despair" Jenny accuses Jules of meddling in how she and David are raising Paul and Tony April 23, 1976
1 12 "Jules and Eddie" Eddie, 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. Bryan Scott, Richard Venture, and Mary Betten guest-star. April 30, 1976
1 13 "Jules and the Bum" 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. Victor Buono and Mary Wilcox guest-star. May 7, 1976
1 14 "Jules' Investment" Jules invests his life savings into one of David's real-estate schemes. William Cort and Raymond Serra guest-star. May 14, 1976
Season Two
2 1 "The Dream" An eccentric psychic named Matilda Morrison 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. Lucille Ball guest-stars as Matilda. October 13, 1976
2 2 "Helen's Beau" Jules arranges a date for Helen with a young medical intern, Dr. Byron Fisk. She thinks Byron is her new boyfriend but is the last to realize that Byron is homosexual. Barry Gordon stars as Byron Fisk. Lila Teigh also guest-stars. October 20, 1976
2 3 "Judy Sinclair" A tough and stubborn patient named Judy Sinclair 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. Danny Thomas's real-life daughter Marlo Thomas guest-stars as Judy Sinclair. Matthew Laborteaux also guest-stars. October 27, 1976
2 4 "It's All in the Head" David hires a sexy woman named Rhonda Curtis 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. Caren Kaye guest-stars as Rhonda Curtis. Carol Worthington also guest-stars. November 3, 1976
2 5 "Jules and Lenny" Jules wants Lenny 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. Ysabel MacCloskey, Paula Sills, and Michael Danahy guest-star. November 17, 1976
2 6 "Mulligan" 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. November 24, 1976
2 6 "The Snow Job" 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. Yvonne Wilder, William Cort, Art Metrano, Jayne Meadows, and Ivor Francis guest-star. December 1, 1976
2 7 "A Doctor's Doctor" 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. Bill Dana guest-stars as Jules' hospital roommate, Mr. Murphy. Sarina C. Grant, Harry Gold, and Robert Miller Driscoll also guest-star. December 8, 1976
2 8 "Carlotta" An old flame tries to tempt Jules into marriage by promising a large donation to the hospital. Edie Adams guest-stars. December 22, 1976
2 10 "Jules Takes a Partner" Jules takes his friend Dr. Michael Harrigan into his practice to keep him from retiring and then regrets it. David Huddleston guest-stars as Dr. Harrigan. Ralph Manza also guest-stars. December 29, 1976
2 11 "Oh, Brother" Jules' deadbeat, money-grubbing, ne'er-do-well brother Harry, 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. Jan Murray guest-stars as Harry. Robert Lussier also guest-stars. January 26, 1977
2 12 "Jules in Jail" ? never
2 13 "Molly and Jules" ? never


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 670.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 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. 1 2 3 4 The Classic TV Archive: The Practice (1976–77)
  4. The Practice: Episodes
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