In honor of the 33rd Annual Mid Coast EMS Conference, in Rockport, Maine.
This is from the two-hour pilot. Notice the original Squad 51, and the rest of the classic vehicles. You'll also notice that Martin Milner and Kent McCord (Malloy and Reed from Adam-12) appear. Not surprising, as Emergency! was a spin-off of Adam-12, which in turn was spun off from Dragnet.
A potential spin-off from Emergency! that failed was called 905-Wild, about some LA County Animal Control officers. That one starred Mark Harmon, David Huddleston, and Gary Crosby (Bing's son).
When Emergency! debuted in 1972, the whole field of EMS was only a couple of years old. Previously, emergency medical care -- such as it was -- was provided by attendants with roughly 40 hours of Advanced First Aid, and maybe CPR. The vehicles were usually modified station wagons, operated by the local funeral homes (putting in the crews in an interesting situation - take the person to the hospital, or perhaps pick up the funeral?), or by civic groups like the American Legion, or Lions clubs.
Cadillac was the most popular make, but there were others like Pontiac, Chevrolet, Packard, and De Soto.
Some were barely-modified hearses:
Some very progressive services did use vans early on... here's a 1962 Chevy Corvair:
As the old wagons were being phased out, we started using vehicles like the Chevy Suburban or the International Travel-All:
Gawd, I'm starting to feel like Mustang Bobby with all the classic vehicle pix...