Rescue 8

Rescue 8 is a syndicated American action drama series about Los Angeles County Fire Department Rescue Squad 8. It premiered in 1958 and originally ran for two seasons with syndicated reruns continuing for almost a decade thereafter. It starred Jim Davis as fireman Wes Cameron (much later cast as Jock Ewing on CBS's Dallas), and Lang Jeffries as the fireman Skip Johnson. Nancy Rennick and Mary K. Cleary each appeared in twenty-four episodes as Patty Johnson and Susan Johnson, the wife and daughter, respectively of Skip Johnson. The series was produced by Screen Gems, with directors Dann Cahn and William Witney. Rescue 8 produced seventy-four half-hour episodes. The first season ran on Tuesday evenings, and the second season on Wednesdays.

Rescue 8
Created byRobert G. Walker and Herbert B. Leonard
Written byCy Chermak
Loren Dayle
George Draine
Jesse Lasky, Jr.
Arthur Rowe
Jerry Thomas
Directed byWilliam Beaudine
Dann Cahn
Robert G. Walker
William Witney
StarringJim Davis
Lang Jeffries
Nancy Rennick
Mary K. Cleary
Country of origin United States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes74
Executive producer(s)Herbert B. Leonard
Producer(s)Robert G. Walker & Leroy Smith
Production location(s)Los Angeles, California
Running time30 mins.
Production company(s)Cinefilm
Wilbert Productions
DistributorScreen Gems
Original networkSyndicated
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatmono
Original releaseSeptember 23, 1958 
May 12, 1960

Selected episodes

In the series premiere, "The Ferris Wheel" (September 23, 1958), the firemen must devise a plan to retrieve a woman, who was recently released from a mental institution (Jeanne Bates), and her young daughter (Gina Gillespie) from the top of a Ferris wheel on which they are trapped. Rand Brooks guest stars in the first of his two appearances as Tom Hickey.[1]

In "Subterranean City" (October 14, 1958), rescuers Wes and Skip search for a lost girl in the sewer tunnels and encounter three criminals hiding out underground, one of whom is Skip's nephew, Pete, played by Warren Oates. Pete breaks with his companions and joins the firemen in finding the child.[2]

In "The Cave-In" (December 2, 1958), Will Wright played an elderly man who attempts with shovel and bucket to build a backyard swimming pool for his grandchildren with disastrous results because of the lack of proper shoring.[3]

In "The Bells of Fear" (December 9, 1958), an elderly clockmaker who is trying to repair the chimes in a church clock is trapped inside the instrument just before Christmas Eve. Joe Flynn and Russell Johnson appear in this episode.[4] In "Calamity Coach" (December 30, 1958), Wes Cameron and Skip Johnson seek to rescue three actors on location when a stagecoach tumbles down a mountain, Douglas Kennedy guest stars.[5]

In "The Secret of the Mission" (January 6, 1959), J. Pat O'Malley plays a priest who is trapped with a would-be thief named Carlos (Rafael Campos) under the roof of a collapsed church.[6]

In "Disaster Town" (February 17, 1959), Gail Kobe plays Ellen Mason, a mother looking for her son, Jimmy, in a ghost town. Some six months before the premiere of his CBS situation comedy, Dennis the Menace, Jay North was cast as the missing son. Craig Hill, the co-star of Whirlybirds, played the father, Chuck Mason. The rescue team is called when the woman is trapped after falling through the floor of an abandoned building.[7]

In "A Handful of Vengeance" (February 24, 1959), Pete Brocco played Stephano, a deranged pyromaniac, who threatens the lives of a warden, his wife, and their two children and then turns on the rescuers as well.[8]

In "International Incident" (March 17, 1959), Robert Cabal plays a foreign prince, Raj Tamal, who is trapped in an automobile accident and is also the target of an assassin, portrayed by Vito Scotti. Denver Pyle guest stars as Sergeant Frank Hogan.[9]

In "The Third Strike" (December 2, 1959), John Beradino, a professional baseball player-turned-actor, was cast in the role of a baseball player who loses consciousness when struck by a wild pitch. He soon awakes with short-term amnesia.[10]

On January 6, 1960, Jay Silverheels of The Lone Ranger played an American Indian fireman fighting a forest fire in the episode "Leap of Life".[11]

In "Breakdown" (March 31, 1960), one of the last episodes of Rescue 8, Robert Redford plays Danny Tilford, a mentally-disturbed young man trapped in the wreckage of his family garage.[12]

Other guest stars

Lee Aaker, John Archer, Malcolm Atterbury, Roy Barcroft, Charles Bateman, James Best, Patricia Blair, Walter Burke, John Carradine, Wally Cassell, Richard Chamberlain, Virginia Christine, Mike Connors, Ellen Corby, Robert O. Cornthwaite, Walter Coy, Joel Crothers, Michael Dante, Douglas Dick, Don Durant, Ross Elliott, Frank Ferguson, Dabbs Greer, James Griffith, Gloria Henry, Tommy Ivo, Francine York

Continued: Brad Johnson, Robert Karnes, Brett King, Ruta Lee, Suzanne Lloyd, Ann McCrea, Tyler McVey, Dennis Moore, James Philbrook, William Phipps, John M. Pickard, Robert Redford, Richard Rust, Walter Sande, Johnny Seven, Hal Smith, Quintin Sondergaard, Harry Dean Stanton, Naomi Stevens, Hope Summers, Jack Weston, and Robert Warwick.[13]


The real Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 8 is at 7643 West Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, California. Station 8 was also depicted as "Station 10" in the opening scenes of the pilot movie for Emergency! in 1972.

The Rescue 8 truck depicted in the series was a 1958 GMC Suburban equipped with classic, front-bumper General Motors "dagmars". According to several Internet sources, the real Rescue 8 squad of the series timeframe employed the use of a 1956 Chevrolet panel-van truck (a somewhat less robust version of the nearly identical GMC truck).

Rescue 8 shows more physically oriented rescues than the later television series Emergency!, which also featured the Los Angeles County Fire Department's rescue squads. The latter show focused on both physically oriented rescues and emergency medical rescues. This is because rescue firemen were not then trained as paramedics at the time Rescue 8 aired but acquired this expanded role with the passage of the Wedsworth-Townsend Pilot Paramedic Act in 1970, just prior to the premiere of Emergency!.


  1. "The Ferris Wheel on Rescue 8, September 23, 1958". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  2. "Subterranean City on Rescue 8, October 14, 1958". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  3. "The Cave-In" on Rescue 8, December 2, 1958". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  4. "The Bells of Fear on Rescue 8, December 9, 1958". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  5. "Calamity Coach on Rescue 8, December 31, 1958". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  6. "The Secret of the Mission on Rescue 8, January 6, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  7. "Disaster Town on Rescue 8, February 17, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  8. "A Handful of Vengeance on Rescue 8, February 24, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  9. "International Incident, Rescue 8, March 17, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  10. "The Third Strike, Rescue 8, December 2, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  11. "Leap of Life, Rescue 8, January 6, 1960". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  12. "Breakdown, Rescue 8, March 31, 1960". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  13. "Full Cast and Crew for Rescue 8". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
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