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Richard Gordon (1) [1921–2017]

This page covers the author of Doctor in the House.

For other authors named Richard Gordon, see the disambiguation page.

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Richard Gordon has 1 media appearance.

A discussion of American POW's in World War II
Charlie Rose, Wednesday, May 24, 1995
Gavan Daws; Richard Gordon

Otto Schwartz, founder of the USS Houston Survivors Association, former prisoner of war Richard Gordon, and author Gavan Daws talk about World War II, American POWs, Japanese POW camps, and their book (timspalding)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
When Dr. Richard Ostlere qualified as an anesthetist at St. Bartholemew's Hospital, London, and went on to become a ship's surgeon, the world of humour unwittingly benefitted. Based on his own experiences - to an unknown degree - and writing under the pen name of Richard Gordon, Ostlere created a cast of characters which populated books, films and television series under the titles of "Doctor in....", the last word adapted to fit a variety of situations.
Following the mis-adventures of a group of medical students through med school, internship and into the wide worlds of medicine as varied as Ship's Surgeon, Relieving Locum Tenens, General Practitioner, and Surgeon Specialist, Gordon imbued his characters with a splendid measure of believable absurdity.
Lesser known, but equally well-crafted, are his medical histories in the form of novels. Very closely based on fact, they range amongst topics as diverse as the birth of pathology; the discovery of anesthesia; the life work of Louis Pasteur; and a particularly spine-chilling excursion into a London of gaslights, fog and dark alleys for an examination of the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
I was fortunate to snatch a few minutes of his time as he passed through Auckland en route for Christchurch to watch England versus New Zealand at cricket, a passion of his. I was delighted to find both a puckish sense of humour and a keen intelligence, worthy attributes for a man capable of creating such amusing characters and such in-depth examinations of medical history.

Richard Gordon

Richard Gordon, an English surgeon and anaesthetist, born Gordon Stanley Ostlere on September 15, 1921 known for his hilarious “Doctor” novel series easily qualifies for the eulogy of a second Wodehouse or “Wodehouse of the General Hospitals”!

Richard GordonIn addition to his ‘Doctor’ books, Richard Gordon is known for seven films and long-running television series inspired by his famous books. He worked as an anaesthetist, ship’s surgeon and then as an assistant editor of the British Medical Journal before leaving medical practice in 1952 to take up writing full time. Many of his books are based on his experiences in the medical profession and are all told with wry wit and candid humour that have become his hallmark. He is most famous for a long series of comic novels on a medical theme starting with Doctor in the House, and the subsequent film, television and stage adaptations. His The Alarming History of Medicine was published in 1993, and he followed this with The Alarming History of Sex.

Here are some choice nuggets from the novels of Richard Gordon:

… my profession, which grotesquely combines the servitude of a lackey with the authority of a saint, the tenderness of a bride with the steeliness of an assassin, scholarship with scholar, sorcery with science, and handicraft with hocus-pocus.
I have reached the age when my hairline can recede no further, but my waistline enjoys infinite possibilities of advancement.
He was Churchford’s most successful GP, and like successful people everywhere, was better at the politics of his occupation than its performance.
Several other Dr. Lonelyhearts share their raffish subculture of medicine, living more skittishly off printer’s ink than patients’ blood
Just like they buy slimming books and feel slim. People seldom read what they buy. Or buy what they read. They get it free from the public library.
That weekend I was called as GP to the Lonelyheart’s six-year-old son, who had bellyache. Like all medical parents they suspected appendicitis, peritonitis, or nasty abdominal conditions that were never seen outside examination papers.
The Watsons were young, active, unimaginatively comfortable, conventionally hedonistic, fastidiously genteel, unaffectedly tasteless and innocently smug.
Once a girl’s endocrine glands take off at puberty, they woosh like an airliner’s jets until landing on the sunset-flowing tarmac of the menopause, barring equally unfortunate accidents.
Cookery is part of the female erotic drive.
Oh, pooh pooh! There’s more to marriage than four bare legs in bed or two pairs of knives and forks on a table.
If none of us were sex objects on the appropriate occasion the human race would be extinct animals.
All this nonsense about chairpersons, watchpersons and God’s sublime achievement is person…”
I’d have imagined boobs as boringly commonplace to you (doctors) as udders to farmers.
One morning a colonel who commands an ammunition depot discovers only forty nine machine guns, not fifty. To spare himself unending trouble with the War Office, perhaps his pay stopped, possibly a court martial, the wily officer indents for the replacement of a broken machine-gun tripod, which is sent without question. The next month for the replacement of a gun sight, then ammunition feed, recoil plate, trigger assembly, until by his retirement from the army he had reconstructed the entire machine gun.
Like the respectable wife seduced from a good, decent, adoring husband by a glamorous lover who turns out to be a useless, unresponsive homosexual.
Doctors have to look up too many fundamental orifices.

~ From “Doctor on the Ball”

“…a couple of takeover bidders who developed a neurosis when they attempted to take over each other.”
“Up at six, starvation diet, cold bath, and readings from the classics in the evenings. It’s remarkable the change you can see in a managing director in a fortnight.”
“he would probably charge for the use of force of gravity as well.”
“She turned up her eyes to full candle power.”
“retired from service but still with a wife a nd government to support”
“Do you always obey orders?
Not when I don’t.”
“… whose moral stature I respect about as much as a second-hand car salesman’s, and whose earning capacity strikes me as rather inferior to a well-trained village idiot”
“You let people push you around quite unthinkingly like a revolving door”
“A beard doesn’t lend a man character. It expresses it.”

~ From “Doctor in The Swim”


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