00s | 90s

15 Facts About ER That Won't Cut Off Your Arm With A Helicopter Blade

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ER was the original medical drama. Forget Grey's Anatomy and their over-dramatic, unbelievable storylines. ER made everything feel real. It was an in-depth look into the world of medicine...and okay, yes it was super dramatic but in a much better way.

There are some things you might not know about the show, however. And don't worry, your arm won't get cut off by a helicopter blade while you reach to read them (RIP in literal pieces, Dr. Romano.)

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1. It was going to be a movie.

Michael Crichton originally wrote the script as a 180-page movie script, with more than 100 characters. Steven Spielberg was set to produce the feature, as NBC only optioned it for a two-hour movie. However, Spielberg and Crichton were coming off a hot run with Jurassic Park, so the network decided to take a chance on an entire series.

2. George Clooney begged to audition.

"George Clooney begged me for a part," said executive producer John Wells. "George was the first person to audition. He came after me for it. Our second day in the office, George showed up and wouldn't leave until I'd let him audition ... George got his hands on the material and was like a dog with a bone."

Clooney hadn't yet found his big break, and I guess he could sense this would be it.

3. Eriq La Salle dressed to impress.

La Salle, who plays Dr. Benton, had played a doctor on The Human Factor two years prior. He kept his scrubs from the show and actually wore them to his audition for ER.

4. Carol Hathaway was going to die.

The original script had Carol Hathaway dying after her suicide attempt in the pilot. However, audiences liked Margulies and her chemistry with Clooney way too much, so they decided to keep her.

5. The set was haunted.

The first episode of the series was shot at the former Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles, but it was built in the early 1900s and almost definitely haunted. There was a paranormal documentary set in the hospital, and the crew says they heard voices and were "grabbed and scratched." The rest of the show was filmed on a set in Burbank.

6. Quarterly Chicago trips were mandatory.

The show was filmed in Los Angeles, but it was set in Chicago. Four times a year, the cast and crew flew to the Windy City to shoot any exteriors. This meant, however, that sometimes scripts weren't finished so the actors had no idea what was happening. In Love's Labor Lost, Mark Greene breaks down on the L train, but the actor didn't really know why. All he was told was "you're going to feel like you killed a mother." Yikes.

7. Noah Wyle didn't let mono stop him.

In Love's Labor Lost, Noah Wyle, who plays John Carter, had a fever of 104. He was suffering from mono and was hallucinating. The medical tech on set gave him an IV, and Wyle performed his scenes with a bag of saline in his pocket.

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