Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Might've Been: The Second Hundred Years (1967)

It can be argued that Screen Gems executive Harry Ackerman might've gone to the well one time too many with fantasy-based sitcoms in the 60's.

In 1967, Bewitched was entering its 4th season, and ABC was looking to Ackerman to provide them with another sitcom. He decided to go the fantasy route again, but this time grounded a little more in scientific improbability.

The Second Hundred Years told the story of turn-of-the-century prospector Luke Carpenter (Monte Markham), who had been awakened from more than six decades of suspended animation after an avalanche in Alaska uncovered his body. That's news to his son (Arthur O'Connell), especially when Luke is brought home via military escort, and finds that his grandson, Ken, is his exact lookalike (Markham in a dual role).

Viewers, unfortunately, voted by changing channels. Six months later, Years was moved to the Thursday 7:30 (ET) slot recently vacated by Batman as that series had ended a 2 year, 3 season run. Didn't help, as ABC pulled the plug a week later. O'Connell was consigned to character roles for the rest of his career. Ackerman turned to Markham again 18 months later to headline a series version of the movie, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Unfortunately, that, too, was cancelled.

Frank Pilato serves up this sample open/close, the latter taken from a USA Network broadcast in the 80's.

I remember seeing, I think, promos, but I don't recall seeing any episodes. No rating.

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