Dr. Kildare

"An Island Like a Peacock"

Season 2 Episode 31 (Airdate: May 16, 1963 on NBC)


Gina's estranged father feels the end is near and he has to teach his blind daughter a lesson.



Gina Beemis (Kathryn Hays) is paid an unannounced and unwelcome visit from her father who abandoned his wife and daughter 20 years ago to live an adventurous life in Africa. He's come to rescue her from her self imposed life as a recluse and the dump she calls her home. Blind since she was 7 years old and used to and proud of taking care of herself, she brusquely refuses his help or money. The situation escalates into a fight as her father seems unused to not getting his mind. Harry (Leonard Nimoy), Gina's best friend who has an unacknowledged crush on her, has been hovering close by comes to her help. Suddenly her father collapses.

In hospital, Max Beemis (Forrest Tucker) finds it his most urgent goal to leave the institution as fast as possible. Dr. Kildare (Richard Chamberlain) advises him strongly to have his heart condition treated. His patient relents, stating that since he'll be charged for the day anyway, he can stay as well. Using his serious condition as leverage, he manipulates Kildare into seeking Gina out to give her the check she had refused without fail from him. Also, he wants to know how she reacts to the news of his condition.

Gina stubbornly keeps refusing help and sends Kildare away without taking the money from her father. Harry, who sees the doctor leaving, asks to talk to him. He's concerned for Gina because of her self imposed isolation. He takes her to and back from work, other than that she rarely leaves the house.

Kildare wants to show her ways out of her dependency on other people and arranges a visit to the Braille institute where the blind learn how to get around on their own. She goes with him, but without any real intention of accepting the future offered.

She has been disappointed enough to last her a lifetime and her philosophy is to not expect anything from life anymore. She has cornea dystrophy and already gone through four transplants. At first they worked, but then the tissue clouded over. Kildare realizes she has some vision left and becomes intent on getting her to try once more, as there have been medical advances since she last was operated on.

Gina's father collapses again trying to leave the hospital. Her visit at his bedside turns into another confrontation as he has nothing but contempt for the weak. She rather hides, he accuses her, than take life by the horns and bend it her way. His attempt to bully her into agreeing to a fifth transplant only adds to her embitterment. At night Max Beemis steals out of the hospital and waits for Gina's shift to end. As always, Harry who works the same shift, takes her home. Her father sends him away under the pretense that he's come to apologize for his earlier behavior and with the promise that he will take care of her. Instead, he leads her to an abandoned building to rub in her utter helplessness and lack of dreams. There he collapses again. Back at the hospital she forgives him his drastic treatment of her and knowing his end is at hand, he wills his corneas to her.