Kingdom Hospital is the strange tale of staff, patients, and spirits who inhabit a modern-day medical center, and the odd events that keep happening to them there. Written by Stephen King, it ran for just 13 episodes in 2004, and was based on the 1994 Danish series Riget by Lars Von Trier. There was a large cast of recurring characters along with a different patient admitted every week. The regulars included Peter, an artist who was left for dead after a hit-and-run accident; a ghost girl named Mary and her talking pet anteater (see? strange!), and Mrs Druse, a hypochondriac psychic in contact with the little girl.
In the 9th episode Butterfingers, as staff and patients are sitting around the radio listening to the final game of the World Series, ex-major league baseball player Earl Candleton is sitting at home listening too, only he's contemplating suicide with a gun at his head. He's had a rough time since he lost a crucial World Series game for his team in 1987. Heckled and harassed about the loss wherever he goes, finally he snaps. Candleton is rushed to the Hospital, and as he lies in a coma with doctors battling to save him, it soon becomes apparent that he needs to be saved from something else altogether.
Callum, of course, plays the tormented Earl Candleton.
The IMDB page: Kingdom Hospital: Butterfingers
Episode directed by Craig R. Baxley, stunt coordinator turned director who has a string of TV movies under his belt. He also worked on The A-Team back in the eighties. Teleplay by Stephen King, executive producers are Stephen King and Lars Von Trier.
The series also stars Andrew McCarthy, perhaps best known for being part of the Hollywood 'brat pack' during the eighties, Diane Ladd who has had a lengthy career in theatre, film and television dating back to the late fifties, and Bruce Davison, another actor with a lengthy career - 154 IMDb projects - which began in 1969. And what I remember him in the most is from watching the tv show Harry and the Hendersons when I was a kid. Ahem.
Episode Cast / Characters: (in no particular order)
Jodelle Micah Ferland
Callum Keith Rennie
Dr. Brenda Abelson
Dr. Lona Massingale
Dr. Elmer Traff
Dr. Sonny Gupta
Otto / Blondie (voice)
Paul / Antubis (voice)
Also Known As: Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital (USA) (complete title)
Original Air Date: 2004 (Season 1, episode 9)
Runtime: 40 mins approx. (582 mins for entire series)
IMDB rating: No rating for this episode, however the series rating overall is 6.4/10 (with 1,729 votes)
Genre: Drama / Fantasy / Horror / Mystery
Keywords: Ghost Story, Civil War, Hit and Run, Anteater, Car Accident, Stephen King, Hospital, Maine, Remake of Danish Film, Based on Book, Based on Novel
2004 Emmy Awards
Outstanding Main Title Design (nominated)
Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series (nominated)
2005 International Horror Guild Awards
Best Television (nominated)
2005 Visual Effects Society Awards
Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in a Live Act on Broadcast Program (won)
2005 Young Artist Awards
Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Young Actress Age Ten or Younger: Jodelle Ferland (nominated)
There are 72 user comments.
I enjoyed Kingdom hospital very much but i felt at times it was a bit slow and a few episodes were made up of unnecessary events, that weren't crucial to the plot, although some were enjoyable. The first episode was fantastic at the start but then dragged on for an extra 20 minutes too long and the first 4 episodes had a good atmosphere. Then the series got a bit boring although mostly enjoyable to watch. I loved the episode 'Butter fingers' and the last two episodes were excellent bar the unsatisfying ending. At times the show was quite scary and certainly creepy but there's nothing that will haunt you forever here. The effects were quite good especially on the creepy anteater that roams the old kingdom. I recommend it if you like the Craig r Baxley and Stephen King combination and if you enjoyed this or want to watch a enjoyable series by the pair but not one as long then i recommend 'Rose red', 'Storm of the century' and 'the shining (1997)'.Once again there is some cool atmospheric music from Gary Chang although lots of the music is just the same piece playing throughout the series. I found it entertaining because or the plot and the mystery once you watch one show you want to see the next! All in all kingdom hospital is good, when you've got the time for it.
You can find all the comments here.
Callum Quotient: 70%
The entire episode is up on youtube, available in 5 parts:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Callum has scenes throughout.
- Candleton: "Sure I've had some adversity in my life. I committed an error in a crucial game situation. But you know what? That's over. The question becomes: What do you do after?"
- (in the operating theatre, as Candleton lies in a coma)
Elmer: "Could you help me a little? I mean, if you don't mind?"
Sonny: "Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's 'Error' Candleton, man."
(Otto's dog Blondie has appeared at the door)
Blondie: "Give the guy a break."
- Hook: "Maybe you haven't made errors of your own yet, but you will. And when you do, you'll want mercy."
Sonny: "Hey, it’s just what everybody calls him."
Hook: "Not in front of me."
- Stegman: "Dr. Massingale, this is your authorisation to obtain functional scans of Mr Candleton's nut pending revocation of next of kin, which Mr Candleton does not seem to have."
Lona: "Thank you, doctor."
Mrs Druse: "You're going to lock him forever into whatever nightmare he's having!"
- Candleton: "I thought I was in hell before, but this is hell."
- At times referred to as 'the baseball episode', the fictitious New England Robins draw parallels with the real life Boston Red Sox; from being cursed to not winning a World Series since 1918 (which was true at the time this episode aired). Stephen King is a huge Red Sox fan, and often finds a way to incorporate the team into some of his work.
- Though set in Maine, Kingdom Hospital was filmed entirely in British Columbia at various locations around Vancouver, Britannia Beach and Richmond.
- This is good news for C6D watchers as there are quite a list of familiar faces: Bruce Davison has appeared on Battlestar Galactica; Julian Richings needs no introduction to Hard Core Logo fans; Suki Kaiser played Callum's wife in Trapped; Jodelle Ferland was also in Trapped (and in the upcoming Case 39, also with Callum); Kett Turton was in Falling Angels (and Blade: Trinity, Five People You Meet In Heaven); Sherry Miller has appeared on both Due South and Twitch City. Finally, Benjamin Ratner and Ty Olsson have appeared in BSG and Normal (again with Callum) respectively.
- But wait, there's more! In other episodes of the series, Alan Scarfe ('Warfield' on Due South) plays a doctor, and Janet Wright ('Sgt Thorn' from Mountie on the Bounty) is a nurse. There is also a notable appearance by Rebecca Jenkins (Wilby Wonderful, Whole New Thing) playing the furious mother of a brain damaged child.
- Candleton sitting at his table, with the gun. Oh yes, this has a bit of gun porn. And bare feet!
- The Robins 1987 game.
- The classroom scene. Ouch.
- Operating on Candleton's "nut".
- When Candleton finds Paul in the tank.
- Turning back time.
Do I want to show this to my parents / friends / co-workers?
Whee! It's fantastic!
It was interesting. I enjoyed it while it lasted.
It was unusual, but in a good way.
It was heart breaking.
I thought it was bad. Really bad.
It deals more with mild horror themes, really. Nothing I'd call violent.
Those baseballs were leathal weapons. Poor Earl...
Dude, all I see is dead people. And BRAAAAAAAINS.
It's horrific! Blood spatter everywhere.
Hee, yes, it's funny.
I giggled a couple of times.
I thought there were some unintentional laughs in there.
There's some dark humour, maybe not to everyone's tastes. Singing ghost boys, anyone?
It's not really funny at all.
Nothing to report.
Ok, so there were a couple of doctors kissing, but that's it.
Callum in a rather snug-fitting baseball uniform? Enough said.
*sigh* Did you see the way he stroked his glove?
Callum is all the sexual content I need. Gimme, gimme, gimme!
Really, there was none.
Ok, maybe there was a little.
There was some?
Too much for me to bear!
Earl Candleton - game winner or big loser?
What's Mr Candleton like?
He's the hero! Yay!
He's a good guy, but with some problems.
He's lost, and lonely, and needs a big hug.
He's a loser. Pfft.
He kicks puppies for FUN.
So how many people does he kill?
No one at all.
Alright, so there was this one time when the baseball bat flew out his hand... Oops.
Two or three, maybe.
I was too busy singing along with ghost boy to count.
His last name should be Killer, not Candleton.
Is Candleton Crazy?
The man was holding a gun. To his head. I'd say that qualifies.
Hey, you would be crazy too if people kept throwing baseballs at you whenever you went outside!
He's a bit... on the edge, shall we say?
No, he’s just had a hard time and needs a little help.
He's perfectly normal.
But is he hot?
YES! Oh GOD, YES.
He wears that uniform well. REALLY well.
He's not too bad in a shirt and tie either. *melts*
I can see his attractiveness through anything!
He looks really dirty. And not in a good way.
I detect a strong vibe of the queerness, yes.
Could be. A little bit.
I can't really tell, to be honest.
No. Just, no.
Does he die?
You really want to know? Are you sure? Really sure? Well, then. (highlight to read)
::It’s touch and go for Earl, but he survives. YAY!::
CHECKING INTO 'HOSPITAL'
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
By Michael Schneider.
Former Brat packer Andrew McCarthy and Academy Award nominees Diane Ladd and Bruce Davison have scrubbed into ABC's 15-hour series "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital".
The skein bows Thursday, Feb. 5 - the first night of sweeps - at 9 p.m. with a two-hour premiere. The hour long thriller, from Sony Pictures TV, will continue in that slot in subsequent weeks. King has already written all 15 hours of the series, which is based on the Danish miniseries "Riget" ("The Kingdom") from Lars von Trier. "Kingdom Hospital" revolves around a bizarre hospital where patients and staff have chosen to ignore telltale signs of mysticism and unseen powers. King describes the project as a cross between "ER" and his own "The Shining."
McCarthy ("Pretty in Pink") will take residency as Dr. Hook, a surgeon who lives in the hospital basement and collects medical equipment. Ladd ("Rambling Rose"), meanwhile, plays psychic hypochondriac Mrs. Druse, a regular in Kingdom Hospital's emergency room. Then there's Davison ("X2"), who will star as Dr. Stegman, an arrogant, inept physician.
ABC movies and minis topper Quinn Taylor called it a coup to land three such well-known names for "Kingdom Hospital". "When we saw the auditions of these three actors, we all got chills," Taylor said. "There were no other people for the part. Looking at their resumes, we're ecstatic."
Sony Pictures Television programming chief Russ Krasnoff said King has been involved in the casting process, attending casting sessions in New York. Exec said "Kingdom Hospital" was a good example of Sony's near-boutique style approach to network prime-time development. "This project is a great business for us," he said. "Stephen King's got a worldwide appeal. He's a brand unto himself." Krasnoff also said King and the other producers were treating "Kingdom Hospital" as a series and thus looked for actors who would get auds to return over the long haul. "So much of a TV series is creating a relationship between viewers and characters," he said. "We were focused on how we could really hit it out of the park (with casting)." And with the entire series' scripts in the can, the "Kingdom Hospital" thesps will also have the unusual luxury of learning where their characters are headed. All three thesps have options to return for a second season, ratings willings.
McCarthy, who's repped by Innovative, most recently appeared in USA's hit drama "Monk"; he'll also star in the upcoming feature "Anything but Love." Ladd, repped by Elizabeth Fowler and the Chasin Agency, appeared in "Primary Colors" and the Showtime telepic "Daddy and Them." Gersh-repped Davison will star in the upcoming "Runaway Jury"; his resume includes turns on films such as "Longtime Companion."
Production on "Kingdom Hospital" begins Aug. 11 in Vancouver. King and Mark Carliner executive produce, while Craig Baxley will direct.
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)
A HOSPITAL THAT'S A REAL HORROR SHOW
February 29, 2004
By BILL CARTER
At the start of Stephen King's new 13-part horror series, "Kingdom Hospital," a character named Peter Richman, an artist living in Maine, is taking a quiet walk on a peaceful road near his home when, from out of nowhere, he is struck by a speeding van.
The event is a parallel to the devastating accident in 1999 that almost took Mr. King's life and left his body and his psyche shattered. Mr. King has been writing about the accident in various forms ever since, apparently in search of some kind of catharsis. If he is ever to find it, it may be in "Kingdom Hospital," which, according to the show's executive producer, Mark Carliner, recreates every moment of Mr. King's frightening experience in exquisitely fine detail.
"This is frame for frame exactly what happened to Steve," Mr. Carliner said. The van is the same kind of Dodge camper that struck him (Mr. Carliner noted that Mr. King had himself bought - and still owns - that van, complete with broken windshield where it struck his head.) The driver character is a man with numerous personal problems who fights with his dog in the van, taking his eyes off the road just before the accident, exactly as was the case with the driver, Bryan Smith, who struck Mr. King.
Eerie is what Mr. King does, of course, as prolifically as any writer who ever lived, and he does plenty of that in "Kingdom Hospital." (The show begins on ABC Wednesday at 9 p.m and thereafter shifts to Wednesday nights at 10.) Its theme might have been borrowed from the Eagles' "Hotel California" - you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave. This is a hospital in which people die and then linger in a nether world between life and death. "It's great for actors," Mr. King said in a telephone interview from his home in Maine. "Their characters don't die off, we just make them ghosts."
For all of its resemblance to Mr. King's accident, "Kingdom Hospital" is actually an adaptation. He and Mr. Carliner first discovered the material while they were in Colorado making another film for ABC, a 1997 adaptation of one of Mr. King's most famous novels, "The Shining." (Mr. King never especially liked the Stanley Kubrick film version.) The author spent a bored afternoon in a video store rummaging through bins of obscure titles and found a five-hour Danish television movie called "Kingdom," written and directed by Lars von Trier.
Mr. King took the tapes back to his hotel room and was immediately captivated by what he watched. Seven years later, he has fused that material and the visceral experience of his accident into a work that he described as "the thing I like best out of all the things I've done." That takes in an awful lot of territory, with a writer of so many books and previous original works for television. But Mr. King said it in all seriousness, citing this as the first time he has written what amounts to a complete original novel for television - 15 hours' worth - and the first time he has adapted someone else's work rather than his own.
At the time they first stumbled on the material, Mr. King and Mr. Carliner tried to buy the rights to the Danish original, only to learn that Columbia Pictures had acquired them and intended to make a theatrical movie. It took five years of fruitless trying before Columbia concluded the work could not be adapted in two-hour form. In the meantime, Mr. King had his accident and the experience drew him all the more toward a story about dark doings in a hospital. Mr. Carliner described Mr. King as so obsessed with the story that he started writing an adaptation even before the rights became available again. In fact, he was so eager for those rights that he made a deal for them. "Columbia called my agents and said we'll give him `Kingdom Hospital' if he's willing to trade something for it," Mr. King said. "It was like swapping marbles." Mr. King sold Columbia the rights to a novella from the 1990 book "Four Past Midnight" called "Secret Window, Secret Garden." By chance, the film, which stars Johnny Depp, is scheduled for release not long after "Kingdom Hospital" goes on the air.
Mr. Carliner says the final work is much more King than Von Trier, with new layers of terrifying vision applied, as well as a roster of completely Americanized characters. One aspect Mr. King has retained from the original is its subtext of dark humor, with characters that snipe tartly at one another - "like people out of Noël Coward," in Mr. Carliner's description - when they are not fending off menacing spirits from beyond life. He added that the claim made on the video cover of the original is apt: "It's `E.R.' on acid."
Beyond the fright and the funny, Mr. King tried in "Kingdom Hospital" to push beyond his customary action-intense scenes toward more character-based drama, especially in scenes that involve his alter ego, Peter Richman. "By the grace of God, what happens to him did not ultimately happen to me," Mr. King said. He said he found writing the moment that the character's wife learns how badly her husband was injured "really wrenching for me." Mr. King said his wife had told him just a bit of what she went through that first day. "It was hard for my wife to watch the scene," he said. The character of the artist is unable to communicate in speech, just as Mr. King was, Mr. Carliner said. But he does communicate in drawings. The power of Mr. King's name enabled the production to induce the artist Jamie Wyeth, whose works often contain macabre images, to supply all the original drawings used in the show.
Mr. King conceded that the show would play on viewers' natural fears of hospitals. "We're hoping to make that a lot worse," he said. The hospital in this show adds to its unpleasant ambience by being located on the site of a factory that suffered a devastation loss of life in a fire.
ABC has already designated "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital" as a breakthrough in form for network television: a limited-run series that plays over consecutive weeks and comes back a year later and does the same thing. (HBO has made that kind of show its signature in everything from "The Sopranos" to "The Wire.") Mr. King is already committed to write the story line, should ABC decide to continue the series next year. The network is hoping that Mr. King delivers them another hit, something he has done consistently for ABC over the past decade, most recently with "Storm of the Century" in 1999 and "Rose Red" in 2002. But as to ABC's efforts to trumpet the series as some kind of breakthrough for the television form, Mr. King said, "I think they're pulling your chain a bit there." In truth, he said, the notion of doing a short-run network series came about because that was the only way Mr. King would do it.
It was he who saw the show as a network version of "The Sopranos." ABC wanted him and Mr. Carliner to fashion "Kingdom Hospital" just like another drama series. "They came to us and said do 22 episodes; we said no," Mr. King said. "I am not a series TV person," he said. "In series TV, it's beginning, then middle, middle, middle. Like the kid says in `Stand by Me,' about television, `They keep on "Wagon Training." ' I just don't watch series television. `E.R.' I have never watched. `Friends' I have never watched. I don't say that with pride because that's really my culture. `Seinfeld'? I've never seen an episode. It's always the same people doing the same things."
Kingdom Hospital on Skiffy.
Site of the "real" Kingdom Hospital of Maine.
Kingdom Hospital page about the whole series on Wikipedia.
Fansite for Andrew McCarthy.
The DVD box set is available in Region 1 and Region 2 format on most of the Amazon sites.
Butterfingers was one of the stand-alone episodes of the KH series; it doesn't really have anything to do with the main plot, though a couple of Candleton's "old Kingdom" scenes are repeated as a flashback in the two hour finale. Callum doesn't have a lot of lines in his episode, but even with such few words he does a really good job of getting Earl's plight across, and making you really feel for his character.
And that's pretty much it! If anyone has any other links to offer, that would be most appreciated.