Q & A: Man from Atlantis; Invitation to Hell; Wizards and Warriors

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

Please give me a name or some information about a series during the seventies with an aquatic (as in part fish!) main character who was a rescuer of sorts. He had this strange undulating “stroke” which wasn’t really a swimming a stroke, more like a dolphin?? I think there was one season only.
Katie

That would be Man From Atlantis, an hour-long NBC series that starred Patrick Duffy. He played a mysterious man who was supposedly the sole survivor of Atlantis, although his identity was never revealed during ithe show’s short run. Given the name Mark Harris, the man had webbed hands and feet, could see and breath under water, and had a very unique way of swimming.

Four made-for-TV movies were broadcast in March, May and June 1977 to test the waters. The first was called Man from Atlantis and was broadcast on March 4th. It ranked 46th for the week [1]. The second, The Death Scouts, aired on May 7th; the third, Killer Spores, following a few weeks later on May 17th. The fourth and final telefilm, The Disappearances, aired on June 20th and ranked 1st for the week [2].

A weekly version of Man from Atlantis premiered on Thursday, September 22nd, 1977. The show as pulled after only nine of thirteen produced episodes had been aired. The remaining four episodes were burned off in April, May and June 1978. Other members of the cast included Belinda Montgomery (as Dr. Elizabeth Merrill, the love interest) and Victor Buono (as Mr. Shubert, the villain).

Man from Atlantis joined the history books when, in October 1979, it became the first television series made in the United States to be sold into syndication in the People’s Republic of China. The four made-for-TV movies and thirteen hour-long episodes were sold to the Chinese Central Television Station of Peking by Taft H-B International Inc. to be shown three times during four years [3].

Four novelizations were published by Dell between 1977 and 1978. Marvel Comics published a short-lived comic book in 1978. Warner Archive released the first telefilm on DVD in October 2009. All four telefilms and the weekly series were issued as separeate DVD collections in July 2011.

There was a TV show -or- made for TV movie about a family who moves to a neighborhood and in the middle of the neighborhood is a health club, which everyone is a member of…The Husband is either a NASA scientist or a former Astronaut, he has a wife and two kids. He comes to find out that once you join this health club (like his wife and kids eventually do) the people from the health club separate their souls from their bodies and their souls go to hell…but they don’t realize it- as in hell, the neighborhood is the same and the TV Show when they show Hell- is all filmed in red light…The husband investigates the club, finds out about what happened to his family, gets some experimental space suit from NASA and is able to go to hell, get his family’s souls and returns them home…I think at the end of the TV show, the health club burns down…and his family is safe.

Ring any kind of bells??? I was a young kid watching this, around the age of 9 to 11, so it would have to be 1979 to 1981-ish..I thought I was nuts about other shows I remembered that no one else did…and I found those in the last two days- The Secret Empire on NBC (1979) and Otherworld on CBS (1985)…So I know this show I am looking for the name of was real.
Kyle

It was a made-for-TV movie called Invitation to Hell starring Robert Urich and Susan Lucci. It aired on ABC on Thursday, May 24th, 1984 as part of the network’s May sweeps programming. The telefilm ranked 13th for the week [4]. It was released on DVD in August 2003.

can you tell me the name of a television show from the 1980’s it was set in medieval times and the hero ‘s name was greystone. he was always rescuing a princess in trouble. the show had magic and unicorns and i remember that how the show would end would be the scene frozen and end up in a fairy tail book. kind of like the beginning of shrek. please help i loved the show and i cannot remember the name of it. i was maybe 6 or 7 at the time. please help!!!
Heather

The show you are thinking of is called Wizards and Warriors and ran for just eight episodes from February to May 1983 on CBS. Tom Shales of The Washington Post had this to say about the series: “Children with nothing better to do may have fun with “Wizards and Warriors,” […] but to be blunt, children should have something better to do” [5]. The premiere tied for 55th in the Nielsen rankings and the show disappeared quickly [6].

Warner Archive released the complete series on DVD in July 2014.

Works Cited:

1 “’50s Sitcoms Keep ABC Atop Nielsens.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Mar. 1977: F18.
2 “‘The Man From Atlantis’ Swims to Top in NIelsen.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Jun. 1977: H18.
3 Associated Press. 4 Oct. 1979: AM Cycle.
4 “Neighbor Helps ABC Win the Ratings Race.” Globe and Mail. 1 Jun. 1984: E.11.
5 Shales, Tom. “‘Wizards,’ Nonmagic.” Washington Post. 26 Feb. 1983: C4.
6 Carmody, John. “The TV Column.” Washington Post. 2 Mar. 1983: B12.

2 Comments

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    “WIZARDS AND WARRIORS”, produced by Warner Bros. Television, indeed lasted 8 episodes, and was “buried” on CBS’ Saturday night schedule (it replaced “WALT DISNEY” at 8pm). Genie Francis was originally offered one of the lead roles {Princess Ariel}, but held out until her 1982 CBS/Warner Bros. mini-series “BARE ESSENCE” became a weekly version on NBC [though short-lived] in 1983. Julia Duffy got the part, and moved on to bigger success on “NEWHART” the following season.

  • Susan Macdonald says:

    Obviously, someone at Disney Studios liked “Wizards & Warriors,” as when they made their adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” they named the prince Erik and the princess Ariel … just like in W&W.

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