“I’m Not a Doctor, But I Play One on TV”


A lot of pop culture milestones came out of the smash hit success of General Hospital in the 1980s: the “Luke and Laura” phenomenon, musical careers for stars Rick Springfield and Jack Wagner…and one of the most memorable (and so serious to be silly) lines in TV commercial history. The first ad to ever feature someone saying “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV” aired in 1984. A spot for Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup, it sort of gave doctor’s approval without giving doctor’s approval, because the doctor in the ad was Dr. Rick Webber, or rather Chris Robinson, who played Dr. Rick Webber on General Hospital.

But good luck finding a clip of that. The ad was quickly pulled when Robinson got into some legal trouble, for tax evasion. Vicks found another TV doctor from a TV soap: Peter Bergman, or Dr. Cliff Warner from All My Children.

Brian Boone

From the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Northwest, I contribute to the Retroist, write for trivia publications, and blog about music in a humorous fashion. I feel about "Back to the Future" the way you feel about "Star Wars." Also, I'm married and have a child (sorry ladies, orphans).

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