Saturday, May 14, 2016

What Might've Been: Man From Atlantis (1977)

NBC thought they had something special to combat ABC's 1-2 punch of Happy Days & Laverne & Shirley. What they had was a passing fad.

Man From Atlantis was introduced in a quartet of made-for-TV movies that aired between March & June of 1977, then moved to a weekly series format in September of that year. Ah, what a difference three months can make for a show, can it?? Certainly.

The plot was simplistic. An amnesiac man with webbed hands & feet washes ashore, uncertain of who he really is. A team of government scientists believes him to be the last survivor of the lost city of Atlantis, hence the show's title. Christened Mark Harris by the scientists, our hero (Patrick Duffy) becomes a special operative for the government, and runs afoul of a mad scientist named Schubert (Victor Buono) and assorted other no-good-niks in the course of the 4 movies and 13 hour-long episodes.

Producer Herbert F. Solow had previously been with Desilu-Paramount and MGM, having had a hand in developing shows like Star Trek, Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Then Came Bronson, & The Courtship of Eddie's Father before launching his own production company, which was part of Taft Entertainment's empire, making it a sister company at that time to Saturday morning giant Hanna-Barbera. Solow co-created Man From Atlantis, but, regrettably, this ended up being his last major television project. Slotted against Happy Days & Laverne & Shirley was a losing battle in and of itself. The movies, if memory serves, had aired on a different night, and network suits, looking for something to put a dent in ABC's ratings, thought they had their Man. Nope.

Never saw the show, so we'll leave you with the intro:

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