Wednesday, July 11, 2012

19 Favorite Sixties Television Characters: Dr. Richard Kimble

Character: Dr. Richard Kimble
Actor: David Janssen
Show: The Fugitive

The lonely doctor on the run...

First of all, that's a complete lie. The guy has more friends (90% of which are female oddly enough) on the run than he had back in Illinois. He also has better hair. (I sincerely hope that he continued to dye his hair after being acquitted.) Anyway, Dr. Richard Kimble is a perfect person. He's on the run from the law after being falsely convicted of murdering his wife, making him basically the only roaming television hero who REALLY NEEDED TO ROAM. He's also a genius, super-kind, quietly witty, and enjoys flashing a rare twitchy, little smirk.

What He Does Best: Being a heart-breaker (seriously. the guy has women stashed all over the country -- just waiting for him to be proven innocent), being a victim of blind justice, getting people to implicitly trust him, rescuing whole busloads of children, every manual labor job ever invented, sleeping on buses, risking his life for others, hand-to-hand combat, taking the Hippocratic Oath very seriously, being adorable while staring at people with his sad eyes (I think I'm gonna stop now)

Why He's Awesome: He's this Midwestern pediatrician, yet he manages to evade capture FOR YEARS. And, it's not like the police gave up after two months or assigned some stupid detective to the job. No. The twitchy, little smirk has after him a super-genius of a cop (in one episode it is shown that Gerard is more accurate THAN A STINKIN' COMPUTER at guessing Kimble's actions) who also happens to be unhealthily obsessed with his capture. Even so, Dr. Richard Kimble is always ahead of him.

Again, he is this gentle, Midwestern pediatrician -- who just happens to be highly skilled at hand-to-hand combat. I mean, I guess we can blame that on his service in the Korean War (as a medic). But, I prefer to just assume that the good doctor is perfect at everything.

He basically can just look at a person and they immediately trust him with their lives. Strangely enough, this works especially well on females. By the fourth season, Lt. Gerard shows up at a "Kimble sighting" place and immediately begins interrogating the nearest attractive female -- he knows who the most likely Kimble ally is.

Dr. Richard Kimble saves EVERYONE'S LIVES. It doesn't matter if they are bad guys, it doesn't matter if he is definitely gonna get caught and sent back to death row, it doesn't matter if it's stinkin' Lt. Gerard. In fact, Kimble saves Gerard's life multiple times. He also saves Gerard's wife's life. And Gerard's kid's life. He also saves Gerard's dog's life (I think).

The twitchy, little smirk. I really cannot emphasize it enough. It's a work of art.

Favorite Moments: Oh, so many. But, I'm just gonna go with three random moments to ensure that this post can be mostly read in one sitting.

In "Smoke Screen," he's working as a crop-picker down near the border with a lot of evidently illegal workers. A forest fire breaks out, one thing leads to another, and he's stuck in the middle of a ring of fire with a lady in labor. There's a nurse on the scene, but of course this pregnant lady needs a c-section. He can perform the operation, but it will kinda blow his cover as a migrant worker. A similar Hippocratic Oath causing dilemma happens again and again in many episodes. This was one of the first. It's absolutely brilliant because every time the viewer knows that he's gonna eventually help the person (OF COURSE HE WILL!), but also maybe he won't. David Janssen was such a perfect actor that he portrays this crazy struggle between duty and survival so wonderfully.

In "See Hollywood and Die," Kimble has to downplay his convicted wife-murdererness to one person and overplay his hardened criminal on the run status to two other people -- AT THE SAME TIME. It's kinda awesome.

In "The Last Oasis," he gets shot in the leg. He then proceeds to instruct Hope Lange on how to remove the bullet, how to miss important arteries, etc -- all while sitting there, watching.

^Dr. Richard Kimble was MADE to fangirl over.

In conclusion, Dr. Richard Kimble is one of The Millie's absolute favorite '60s TV characters because he is not a simple hero. He's actually a very conflicted convicted murderer on the run from the law, but not society. Unlike many super-cool '60s loners, he doesn't roam because that's just what he does. In fact, he would much prefer his boring life as a gentle, Midwestern pediatrician. And, at the end of the series, all indications point to him returning to that life. (Craziness. And, by the way, the final female is stinkin' dull.) This is why he is awesome and fascinating.

He also has a twitchy, little smirk.


Next up: A crime-fighting female with a pet ocelot named Bruce. Oh yes.


Anonymous said...

"Dr. Richard Kimble was MADE to fangirl over." This is a true statement.

Can you imagine how heartbroken all the women of America were when he was acquitted and they had to read it in their newspapers instead of sharing the moment with him?! AND THERE WAS WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH.

Alyson said...
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