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 even decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to pull out a few e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to enjoy. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.
Was there a TV show about a man with special blood properties (allowing him to live forever) who was being chased by government or syndicate authorities? Circa late 1960s or early 1970s.
The Immortal was sort of The Fugitive with a sci fi twist. Christopher George starred as Ben Richards, a man who discovers he’s immune to all diseases and the effects of aging after donating blood. Despite the title of the show, Ben wasn’t totally immortal. Although he didn’t get sick, healed almost instantaneously, and aged at a very slow rate, he could be injured physically–in a car crash or a fall from a great height, for example.
A pilot telefilm aired on ABC on September 30th, 1969. In it, an elderly billionaire named Jordan Braddock (played by Barry Sullivan) received a transfusion of Ben’s blood and was temporarily rejuvenated. He then became obsessed with Ben and his miracle blood. Braddock tried to keep Ben a prisoner so he could continue to receive regular transfusions. Ben escaped but was forced to go on the run, leaving his fiancee and life behind.
The weekly series premiered in September 1970. Braddock was no longer in the picture but another billionaire wanted to use Ben’s blood to stay young and healthy. He sent a hired gun named Fletcher (played by Don Knight) to chase Ben. Fletcher cared only about money and capturing Ben was his only goal. Ben, in addition to staying one step ahead of Fletcher, was also trying to find his long-lost brother Jason, who might have the same incredible blood.
Copyright © TV Guide, 1970
The Immortal ran for just 15 episodes before ABC cancelled it due to low ratings. It couldn’t compete with The CBS Thursday Night Movies and NBC’s The Dean Martin Show. The network aired repeats during the summer of 1971.
The series was loosely based on a novelette titled “New Blood” by James E. Gunn, originally published in 1955. In 1962, it was collected in an anthology titled The Immortals. Gunn later wrote a novelization of the pilot telefilm for Bantam Books that was published in October 1970.
Sci Fi Channel aired episodes of The Immortal sporadically in 1995 and 1996 as part of its Sci-Fi Series Collection. Earlier this month, Visual Entertainment, Inc. (VEI) announced plans to release The Immortal on DVD at some point.
This show is from the late 70’s or early 80’s. I can’t remember much about it except that it deals with some who were lost in the Bermuda Triangle. They met a man who had a hand held device that could do different tasks.
Despite lasting just ten episodes, The Fantastic Journey saw more than its fair share of cast turnover. The pilot episode saw a group of scientists on a boat encountering a strange cloud in the Bermuda Triangle and being shipwrecked on a strange island. They’re soon captured by a group of pirates and later meet a man who claims to be from the 23rd century.
Three members of the main cast from the pilot episode were dropped before the second episode, leaving Jared Martin as Varian, the man from the 23rd century, Carl Franklin as Fred Walters, a young doctor, and Ike Eisenmann as teenager Scott Jordan. Katie Saylor joined the show in the second episode as Liana, a half-Atlantean, half-alien woman with incredible strength and telepathic abilities. In the third episode, Roddy McDowall was introduced as the enigmatic scientist Willoway, who wasn’t entirely trustworthy.
NBC debuted The Fantastic Journey on February 3rd, 1977. It aired weekly for about a month, was pre-empted twice in March and April, and went off the air for all of May, returning after seven weeks off the air. The group searched the island for a way to return to their own time, visiting different time spheres each week where they encountered new and unusual groups of people. The tenth and final episode aired on June 16th.
The Sci-Fi Channel aired repeats of The Fantastic Journey occasionally between 1994 and 1996 as part of its Sci-Fi Series Collection.