Life or Death

Life or Death

    This 1977 Video classic highlights the need for a professional  Emergency Medical Service, by comparing the "skills" of the part time, gas station based  "Economy Ambulance Service", and a neighboring community with a modern EMS system.

     Making cameo a appearance is a Ward LaFrance Engine which the Museum erroneously had been told was a renumbered Engine 51 from the TV show EMERGENCY. See the comments submitted below from Richard Yokley, author of Emergency: Behind The Scenes, The First Responders of Television, and  TV Firefighters.

     The fire truck was a reserve engine from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, but not the former E51. E51 never had this number livery, never had the County decal on the door or the 1776/1976 emblem on the window all the time the vehicle was stationed on the studio grounds fire station 60. LACo had over 40 Ward LaFrance apparatus; several were still front line, some in reserve and 4 at the Training Division.

When the modular ambulance crosses the bridge while responding to the traffic accident, that is the Woodrow Wilson Rd bridge over the Hollywood Freeway just south of Barham Blvd, and about a mile away from the back lot of Universal Studios. That road actually becomes Mulholland Drive. That area hasn't changed in 50 years. The accident scene for the EMTs was on Mulholland Highway, which overlooks the city of Los Angeles. 

     The accident scene for the "Economy Ambulance Service" was located on Chandler Blvd. just west of Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood. This street was approximately two blocks away from the production company, whose address on Weddington was one block south of Chandler Blvd. If you look across the street from the accident, you can clearly see Phil's Diner. A few years ago, Phil's moved from Chandler Blvd to a new location on Lankershim Blvd., just a few blocks away from their original location.

     The old Cadillac was owned by Picture Vehicles Unlimited, a film rental company, which was located three doors down from the production company on Weddington. Believe it or not, the old Cadillac was purchased by Picture Vehicles Unlimited from Snyder Ambulance Service who often leased out ambulances to film and TV productions such as Emergency!, CHiPs, Adam-12 and many others.

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