'St. Elsewhere' Cast Reunion Includes Ed Begley Jr., Howie Mandel

Entertainment Weekly welcomes cast back together from classic TV show.
3:00 | 10/11/12

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Transcript for 'St. Elsewhere' Cast Reunion Includes Ed Begley Jr., Howie Mandel
Time for the all-star reunion blowout. Remember this classic theme song? Hard to believe it's been 30 years since the start of "st. Elsewhere." And we tead up with "entertainment weekly" to talk to the cast of "st. Elsewhere." And john quinones. And before we had doctors. We had "st. Elsewhere." I've been in e.R. Just as long as you have. I've been knocked around down there. I didn't go out and buy a gun. I'm scared. Reporter: It was critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged. Tell me when chaos landed? Reporter: For six seasons, devoted fans of "st. Elsewhere" followed the lives and loves inside a dingy south boston hospital. We spend all sorts of time in this place. When we gt a chance to celebrate new life, it becomes more cherished. More people died there than people in the history of television. But it was a real hospital. It was the first show, the stars of our show had a tendency to die off and get killed. Reporter: St. Eligius had a cast of thousands. They were just a part of the large, ever-changing ensemble. You give your patients the wrong antibiotics. You write the worst progress notes. You're pathetic. Reporter: This is a young and back then relatively unknown denzel washington. He will call me from the set and go, howie, how would you play this? Reporter: Denzel couldn't make it. But 30 years after it first went on the air, 12 of "st. Elsewhere's" cast gathered for a "entertainment weekly" cover shoot to celebrate the show. The show was special. It was unique. Reporter: Who was the class clown behind the scenes? Howie. Was it always? Yes. I went on vacation one time. And I came home and there was a for sale sign on my house. Wasn't going to take the first offer. Reporter: Was this the best thing that happened in your careers? It was one of the most extraordinary thing that happened in our careers. It was a show that changed television in a lot of ways. And to be part of something like that was certainly extraordinary. In order for me to be a good doctor, I have to separate my feelings from myself. Reporter: Mark, what did you learn from your acting on this show, that you draw upon now? That we have better words to say. Teachers in every direction. I was real thankful to be included in this group. People on the streets, would they come up to you and ask you medical advice? I opened a hospital in the midwest because I was a nurse on television. I would be giving dissenting advice all the time. And I wasn't far off. Reporter: William daniels played the surlily dr. Craig. And bonnie bartlett, played his tv wife. It was wonderful. We love to work together. Right, bill? Right, bill? Right? Well, give me a second, will you? What is it in my personality, that bugs people? You're closed, narrow-minded, judgemental human being. Reporter: How would you describe dr. Craig? He was mean. Reporter: Big ego. Self-centered? Let's not go toofar. Reporter: In everyone's hearts this day, bruce paltrow, gwyneth's father, who passed away in season two. He was aware of the fact that women and minorities were not in the ega. And he gave us opportunities before it was fashionable. Reporter: The writers never shied away from controversy. Main characters were written off in shocking ways. Bye, peter. Reporter: That included mark harmon's popular dr. Bobby caldwell. Reporter: Your character on the show contracted hiv. You were talking to writers. Yeah. Reporter: Up until then, that hasn't happened much on television. At all. At all. That was ground-breaking television. Reporter: Between all of the drama, there were a lot of laughs. We were irreverent. We were ironic. We were at times silly. What's his problem? He has a few bruised ribs and he needs a tuneup. Reporter: Today, the show is best remembered for two things. ♪ its evidently humble theme song. He sits there all day long in his own world, staring at that TOter: And having one of the most controversial finales ever. The last few minutes suggesting that the entire series had been the musics of an autistic boy, seen staring at a snow globe. I'm going to say this interview is not actually happening. It's happening in chad's head. Reporter: Chad allen played that little boy. Funny you should mention that. Reporter: Who knows what the writers really intended? In fact, maybe this interview is also merely a daydream. Maybe. "St. Elsewhere" lasted six seasons. And it never ranked more than 49th place. But it was the critics' darling, nominated for an astonishing 63 emmy awards. It's so great to see denzel, as well. And howie. I forgot about him. And really, the show made ensemble dramas work. They made them viable on television. The first time that that -- they had them follow and everybody was really featured. Now, mark harmon's on "csi." Yeah. They're all working. And you're right. "Ncis." One of the letters. One of them. A "c" is in there. Another one coming up

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