Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Might've Been: The Sixth Sense (1972)

Perhaps it's safe to say that The Sixth Sense was ahead of its time.

Sense, which bowed as a midseason replacement on ABC in January 1972, never made it to the next calendar year, cancelled in December due to declining ratings. Not only that, but, to borrow the title of one of the shows it aired opposite, achieving long-term ratings success for this show was in truth, dare I say it.......Mission: Impossible.

Gary Collins (ex-Iron Horse) starred as Dr. Michael Rhodes, a professor in parapsychology, who specialized in the study of extra sensory perception (ESP), which was a growing phenomenon in itself at the time. Otherwise, Sixth Sense, which was spun from an ABC Movie of the Week, "Sweet, Sweet Rachel", was a standard mystery series. Just a couple of years later, ABC & Universal would try again, opting instead for a horror of the week format in Kolchak: The Night Stalker, which developed a cult following despite lasting just one season, something Sense was unable to achieve. In later years, the series was folded into Night Gallery's syndication package, with each 1 hour episode split into two parts.

In season 2, movie legend Joan Crawford made her final acting appearance on Sense. In a change of format, just for this episode, Collins appeared as himself as host, interviewing Crawford in a separate segment at the end of the show, and didn't appear as Dr. Rhodes. Perhaps the producers were testing the waters for a permanent format change that would never come to fruition, but for Collins, this would be a harbinger of things to come, as he would resurrect his career in the 80's as a talk show host (Hour Magazine), after one more starring role (Born Free, 1976) led to failure.

Ed Rigby provides the open & close. Pay close attention to the narrator during the open. You will be surprised as to who it is........

I did not realize this at first myself, but as someone commented in response to Mr. Rigby, the voiceover belongs to game show host Bob Eubanks (The Newlywed Game). Until I read that, I wouldn't have even suspected. I'd have thought Collins himself did the narrative.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

I have caught the eps as part of the Night Gallery package on Me-TV and they weren't bad. I did get confused when Collins' character went from professor of ESP, to someone who HAD ESP.

Bob Eubanks? Really??

hobbyfan said...

Yeah, I found it hard to believe myself. IIRC, Eubanks started his career in radio before Chuck Barris hired him for the Newlywed Game, so this was natural for him.

Nems said...

"...the series was folded into Night Gallery's syndication package, with each 1 hour episode split into two parts."
Actually each 1 hour episode was butchered down to a single half-hour.

hobbyfan said...

And you know this......how?