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10+ 'ER' Behind-The-Scenes Secrets Fans Didn't Know

Jordan Claes 17 Sep 2020

ER was ahead of its time. This nitty gritty hospital drama shone a light on the turbulent, often ugly reality of first responders and hospital caregivers.

It's been more than 25 years since ER first hit the airwaves. Help us celebrate this incredible milestone by checking out these 10+ ER behind-the-scenes secrets that fans didn't know!

1. Eriq La Salle was striving for authenticity in his audition.

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Eriq showed up to his audition wearing scrubs! Lucky for him, he had an extra pair from his time spent on The Human Factor.

Clearly the producers thought it was a nice touch because Eriq nailed it!

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2. The Pilot episode was filmed in a haunted hospital!

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Some reports claim that Linda Vista Community Hospital is the most haunted place in all of Los Angeles.

Over the years, several films and TV shows have shot scenes there, including HBO's True Blood as well as the movie End of Days.

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3. Noah Wyle picked up a few tricks of the trade while on set.

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While Noah was on location in Africa, one of the on-site medics became severely dehydrated and passed out.

Noah sprang into action and hooked him up to an I.V. with saline solution. He would have to do it four more times that day.

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4. ER was originally intended to be a movie!

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At the time, no studio was interested in the then two-hour-long hospital drama. The pitch was re-worked from a film into a thirteen-episode-series but still, no studio was interested.

The final offer was for six episodes.

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5. The whole cast and crew had a pretty dark sense of humor.

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Anthony Edwards had a penchant for pranks. It was one of his favorite things to do to help pass the time.

Supposedly during a tense birthing/surgical scene, Edwards birthed a prop alien baby!

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6. The crew took four trips a year to Chicago.

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Since ER is set in the Windy City, the crew needed to ensure that the exteriors, as well as the weather, looked the part.

During these trips, the stories would be drawn up but the scripts hadn't been written.

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7. The premiere of season 4 was performed live!

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The cast did it twice, once for the east coast audience and again for the west coast.

Surprisingly everything went off without a hitch. The only mistake was during the second performance when an actor accidentally dropped a syringe.

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8. Michael Crichton wrote the script based on his own experiences from Harvard Medical School.

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He also wrote the script 20 years before he began shopping it around to networks! It needed a lot of work.

In case you were curious, John Carter is Crichton's avatar. Supposedly he too couldn't do so much as start an I.V.

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9. Eriq La Salle and Alex Kingston were one of TV's first interracial couples.

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Unbeknownst to Alex, Eriq was growing more and more uncomfortable. He didn't like the message it was conveying, especially when all of his character's relationships with black women were so volatile.

In the end, he asked the producers and writers to end it.

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10. Julianna Margulies was supposed to die in the Pilot episode.

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In the premiere episode, Julianna's character (Carol Hathaway) attempts suicide. Only the script called for that to be her end.

Julianna was so well-received by the audience (and had such great chemistry with George Clooney) that she was written-in to the show!

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11. Noah Wyle almost had to be taken to the hospital in real-life while filming.

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While they were filming, Noah was also performing in a play in Hollywood and contracted mono.

When the time came to role the cameras on set, Noah had a fever of 104 degrees and he was hallucinating.

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12. George Clooney begged for a part on the show.

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According to Executive Producer, John Wells, George was relentless. The pair knew one another in-passing, so George didn't balk at being aggressive.

He also had a pretty ingenious way of gaining the inside lane with the studio executives...

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George used to woo all of their assistants!

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That's right, George would flirt, send flowers — anything necessary in the hopes of gaining just a piece of information to give him the cutting edge.

This just goes to show that persistence and consistency breed results. That and smoldering good looks.

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13. Noah Wyle was a doctor for a seriously long time.

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Noah was a TV doctor longer than any other cast member on ER. Wyle played Dr. John Carter for an incredible 254 episodes.

It's no wonder he was able to hook up an I.V. while in Africa on the fly!

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14. The show burned through an insane amount of scrubs.

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ER is one of the longest running dramas in TV history. Over the span of its near fifteen-year-run, production claims to have gone through over 130,000 sets of hospital scrubs.

Can you imagine the laundry bills?

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