Monday, May 27, 2013

What Might've Been: A Man Called Sloane (1979)

The last first-run network series produced by Quinn Martin's production company also marked the beginning of the end for the studio.

QM Productions had been acquired by Taft Broadcasting, which at the time was Hanna-Barbera's parent company. The end result was a spiffy, flashy new company logo, which debuted with the launch of A Man Called Sloane.

At the time, Robert Conrad was one of the busiest men in Hollywood, as he seemed to be a near-permanent fixture in primetime. Sloane arrived just a year or two after his last series, Black Sheep Squadron, which, like Sloane, aired on NBC, had ended. This time around, Conrad played a secret agent, Thomas Remington (T. R.) Sloane, who, as the commercials told us, supposedly out-Bonded James Bond. Oh? If that was really the case, Sloane would've made it past Christmas.

As memory serves, Sloane aired on Saturday nights, and was as close to a TV version of James Bond as we'd get for a while. Sloane had a partner, Torque (Ji-Tu Cumbuka), whose prosthetic hand was a portable arsenal all by itself. Hmmmm. Aside from The Director (Dan O'Herlihy), Sloane got his orders from a computer named Effie (voiced by Michele Carey). If that was supposed to attract the teenage boys, well, that didn't work.

Following is a sample episode, "The Venus Microbe", with guest stars Morgan Fairchild & Monte Markham. One other thing you'll note is that the new QM did away with the voice-over announcer and the familiar QM format that we knew so well (Act 1, Act 2, etc.).

I wanted to like this show. Unfortunately, airing at 10 PM (ET), even on a Saturday night, was a little too taxing for a teenager.......

Rating: B-.

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