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August 06, 2009


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Tim Zinnecker

Courtesy of Michigan law prof Jessica Litman, I am told that the first season of St. Elsewhere is now available on DVD. Netflix, here I come! Oh, my cup runneth over!

Richard Badger

The public television station in Chicago, WTTW, was the PBS organizer of the episodes on that network. I was Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Law School at the time and WTTW contacted me about the series. Since they did not have commercials, they needed to fill up that extra time with something else. They decided to arrange discussions between current law students and people who had been involved with the series, including Houseman.

They wanted to film these discussions in the Law School library. Unfortunately, when they came down to look at the library they decided it did not "look" like a law school library. We then spent some time visiting several other locations on campus trying to locate the look they wanted. They evetually selected an older building built in the early 1900's and they brought in their own props!


Since my husband teaches first year contracts, we ordered this last spring and watched the whole first season. So gloriously cheesy! Plus, we noted that kingsfield not only is the uber-prof in teaching, but also chaired all the important committees, litigated cases, wrote books each year, lunched with justices, helped rebuild the university, and had faculty parties at his mansion. Just like the rest of us, right?

Tim Zinnecker

Laura -- I bet your husband treats his secretary a bit differently than Kingsfield did Mrs. Nottingham!

Kelly Anders

From one law and popular culture buff to another, great post, Tim. I plan to order a copy. Since the post-Generation X's version of "The Paper Chase" is "Legally Blonde," I wonder whether that film will become a television show. Holland Taylor, who played the tough prof who banished Elle from her class on the first day for being unprepared (and who also played a judge on "The Practice"), could reprise her role, and perhaps an episode could be devoted to the infamous "bend and snap" scene. ;-)


Tim, if I had a secretary, I certainly would treat her with kindness! My secretary from a previous life remains a dear friend.

I will, however, be adding a futile Treasure Hunt to the curriculum this year. Our small liberal arts university would love that.

Mike Dimino

Fearing that I'm falling into a deliberately set trap for law-geeks, I'll nevertheless point out that Herrmann wasn't Bell, but rather the "robot pimp" who allocated precisely equal amounts of study time to each of his subjects. He later appeared in several other films and TV shows, as well as commercials (notably ones for Dodge).


I was the composer for the series from CBS to Showtime. I loved working on it.John Houseman was my friend.

Stephen Seretan
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