New Spotlight: Struck By Lightning

This month’s spotlight is on short-lived CBS sitcom Struck By Lightning, which premiered in September 1979 and was effectively cancelled three weeks later along with another new sitcom called The Last Resort. The two were replaced initially by movies and specials and later by Young Maverick. CBS refused to officially call either series cancelled and The Last Resort did return to the air in December. Struck By Lightning, however, never did.

The series starred Jack Elam as Frank, aka Frankenstein’s Monster (without any makeup to make him look more monstrous). Jeffrey Kramer co-starred as Ted Stein, a science teacher who inherited the ancient inn where Frank served as character, complete with a basement laboratory. Ted was shocked to learn he was descended from Dr. Frankenstein and expected by Frank to produce the special serum that had been keeping him alive for centuries. The opening credits to the series have been uploaded to YouTube:

Critics didn’t like the series itself but loved Elam’s portrayal of Frank. Viewers didn’t seem to care one way or the other and the series ranked at the bottom of the Nielsen chart during its brief run.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how many episodes were produced, at least online. Some websites list six while others state there were 11. There were in fact 13 episodes in all, ten of which never aired on CBS. I’ve confirmed this using a number of contemporary articles as well as records registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. At least some of these episodes were broadcast internationally.

Read the full spotlight here.

5 Replies to “New Spotlight: Struck By Lightning”

  1. Is it my imagination, or did the 1979-1980 television season have an unusually high number of programs that did not make it past 13 episodes? Looking at the schedule for the season on Wikipedia, and looking up some of the shows on IMDB, it seems to me to be one of the most overall obscure seasons ever. And even the quality of the shows that were successful does not seem very good.

  2. “You’re afraid of fire?”
    “You would be too, if you’d been chased by hundreds of angry villagers carrying pitchforks and torches.”
    “When did that happen?”
    “When _didn’t_ it happen?”

  3. Strange…since they apparently have no intention of re-airing this show directly they should just release it to the public rather than just leaving the works unviewed in a vault somewhere.

  4. I have to tell you, that intro is really bizarre with the theme music chosen for it…that alone could have made people decide to tune it out “what is this????” LOL. Maybe if it were to be released the rights to the theme song itself would not be allowed and a different them dubbed over…might make the show more successful than when it was first aired.

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