Sunday, June 15, 2014

What Might've Been: Maya (1967)

Maybe this is how India's Bollywood got started.

Maya, a 1-season entry for NBC in 1967, was spun off from a feature film of the same name, released a year earlier, and marked the return of Jay North (ex-Dennis The Menace) to primetime television. Both the movie and the series were filmed entirely on location in India, produced by independent producer Frank King in conjunction with MGM. Coupled with Tarzan, which entered its 2nd and final season, and I Spy (3rd season), NBC now had three series filming overseas. Unfortunately, the cost was too great, and, as it turned out, all three were cancelled after the season was over.

I barely remember seeing the show myself, just a hazy memory of watching it, trying to stay awake one Saturday night at my aunt's house, as memory serves, so there won't be a rating.

Anyway, the series' plot was a familiar device. Terry Bowen (North) is searching for his father, who has gone missing and is presumed dead. A year earlier, Clint Walker (ex-Cheyenne) was cast as the father in the feature film. Apparently, the King brothers couldn't get Walker to commit to doing the series, so they used this device to fuel the series.

This ended up being North's last live-action series. Two years later, he'd move on to cartoons before entering the Navy.

Here's the open. Mind the video quality.

Indian teen star Sajid Khan didn't do much else in the US, and with the show being filmed in India, local talent was used, saving on the expense of bringing in additional American actors. I think what the Kings and MGM were going for was the same kind of chemistry demonstrated between an American and an Indian in the animated Jonny Quest.


Hal Horn said...

MAYA is also streaming at Warner Archive Instant, along with the much more successful DAKTARI from the same era. It was a mid-season cancellation, running a distant third in its time slot on Saturday nights; at mid-season it had a 14.5 average rating, with JACKIE GLEASON winning the time slot handily with a 24.5 and ABC's game show combo of DATING GAME/NEWLYWED GAME at 15.5 and 17.2 respectively.

hobbyfan said...

You think maybe if they toned it down, it could've been a morning show for NBC on Saturdays?