Saturday, November 12, 2016

What Might've Been: The Protectors (1972)

One of the hallmarks of ITC's programs, especially in the 70's, was using American stars already familiar to audiences here, the better to sell new series to American syndicators or networks.

After Shirley's World (Shirley McLaine) and The Persuaders! (Tony Curtis, paired with The Saint's Roger Moore) had bombed on ABC the previous season, ITC opted for syndication for their next entry, The Protectors, which lasted two seasons (1972-4), although I only can recall the first season airing here. The series served as a comeback vehicle for Robert Vaughn (ex-The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). Vaughn was cast as Harry Rule, an investigator for a different kind of covert operations unit.

As memory serves, The Protectors aired locally on what is now the NBC affiliate here, but, as noted before, said affiliate may have dropped the show after the first season. ITC would have its greatest syndicated success, of course, with The Muppet Show, just a few years later.

Co-star Tony Amholt would later resurface on Space: 1999, which, like The Protectors, came from the pen of Gerry Anderson, who at the time was better known for his puppet shows for children (i.e. Thunderbirds, Stingray).

Right now, let's take a look at the episode, "Brother Hood", with guest star Patrick Troughton (ex-Doctor Who):



The Tom Jones soundalike performing the theme song at the end of the show is Tony Christie, who landed on the British Top 40 with "Avenues & Alleyways", peaking at #37. I don't think Christie charted here in the US.

This is dedicated to the memory of Robert Vaughn, who passed away overnight at 83.

Rating: B.

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