Adam-12 had a crossover with Emergency! and the very idea was a huge plot hole
To Emergency!'s Gage and DeSoto, Adam-12's characters went from fantasy to reality. Let us explain.
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In "Hang-Up," an early episode of Emergency!, the hugely influential rescue-and-medical drama that literally helped popularize EMT services in America, the firefighters at Station 51 are watching TV. The crew just so happens to be watching Adam-12. Johnny Gage (Randolph Mantooth) ends up missing the end of the Adam-12 episode, as he has to go rescue a guy stuck in an air-conditioning duct. Such was the life of a firefighter in the pre-VCR days.
Throughout the episode, Gage tries to find out what happened at the climax of that Adam-12!
But here's the thing. Gage didn't need to watch Adam-12. He was in the world of Adam-12 himself. Confused? It seems the writers were, as well.
Let's go back to the pilot movie of Emergency!, "The Wedsworth-Townsend Act," which aired at the start of 1972. In that exciting debut, L.A. County Firefighters Roy DeSoto (Kevin Tighe) and John Gage meet LAPD officers Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and Jim Reed (Kent McCord). You know them as the main characters of Adam-12.
So, it was immediately established that Gage, DeSoto, Malloy and Reed all existed in the same universe. They were fellow public servants.
Which is why it was weird when, months later, Gage and DeSoto were suddenly watching Mallow and Reed on television. Was it supposed to be reality television to the Emergency! firefighters?
Now here is where it gets even wackier.
Not long after "Hang-Up," Gage and DeSoto appeared as characters on Adam-12!
"Lost and Found" aired early in the fifth season of the police procedural, in October of 1972. Malloy and Reed interact more with Dr. Kelly Brackett (Robert Fuller) from Emergency! but Gage and DeSoto are in the episode.
Yep. That means that Gage went for being a loyal viewer of Adam-12… to being a character on Adam-12. It's just another weird, meta, bloopery layer to a classic TV crossover!
Oh, and here's where it gets even kookier. That Adam-12 episode that Gage was watching in "Hang-Up"? Well, if Johnny had gotten to see the full show, he would have seen actor Marco Lopez as a cop. The same Marco Lopez who played fireman Marco Lopez on Emergency! The fake Marco Lopez was watching the real Marco Lopez play another fake character.
Who knew crossovers could be so confusing?