Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Classic Reborn: Return of the Saint (1978)

Nearly a decade after the original series had ended production and entered international syndication, ITC brought Leslie Charteris' legendary hero, The Saint, back to television. Sad to say, while Ian Oglivy made a suitable successor to original star Roger Moore, and was being considered to succeed Moore again, this time as James Bond in movies, Return of the Saint lasted just 1 season (the original lasted 7 years).

Not long after production ended, Return was imported to the US and aired not on NBC, which had the original series in its final years, but rather CBS, which ran it as part of an anthology package under the CBS Late Movie heading. Oddly, after Return was cancelled by CBS, it had sparked so much interest in the original series, such that CBS picked up The Saint. I remember falling asleep on many a Thursday night trying to watch the show before going to school the next morning. I am not making that up. Unfortunately, Return didn't follow the original series into syndication, and thus has been lost.

Here's the intro, which updates a bit of Charteris' original theme composition:

So what went wrong? Oglivy didn't look enough like Moore to get himself into a bit of a pickle with fans, but with Moore still active and making the Bond movies every couple of years, the comparisions, though unwarranted, were inevitable and unfortunately too negative to ignore.

Rating: B.


Hoppy Uniatz said...

Actually what went wrong was Lew Grade's film ambitions. He opted to stop financing TV shows and make movies instead. He made "Raise the Titanic". In hindsight his comment was "It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic"...

hobbyfan said...

Grade didn't make too many movies, did he now? Seems to me he overestimated himself at the wrong time.

Thanks for writing in.