Thursday, October 01, 2015

Geek TV: Gemini Man!


gemini_man-showConcept: Secret Agent Sam Casey is exposed to radiation that makes him invisible. He is able to control this power with a special wristwatch called a "DNA Stabilizer," but if he uses it to become invisible for more than 15 minutes per day, he will die. He uses this power to continue his secret agent work.

Total Episodes: 11, 12 if you count the 2-hour pilot. Not all episodes produced made it on the air.

Original Air Dates: September 23, 1976 - October 28, 1976

Original Network: NBC


Sam Casey (Ben Murphy): Laidback, denim-clad, and riding a motorsycle, Sam doesn't seem the type to be a secret agent, but especially with the addition of his powers, he's an effective one!

Dr. Abbey Lawrence (Katherine Crawford): Inventor of the "DNA Stabilizer" that enables Sam to be visible except when needed; she seems to alternate between love interest and damsel in distress.

Leonard Driscoll (Richard Dysart in the pilot, William Sylvester in the series): Casey's boss at INTERSECT (International Security Techniques).

Geek Pedigree:

Alan J. Levi directed five episodes of the series, more than anyone else. He'd had experience directed invisibility-based TV shows before, having directed six episodes of the previous season's The Invisible Man! He later directed two episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, 13 for The Bionic Woman, 2 for Battlestar Galactica, three for The Incredible Hulk, one for Tales of the Gold Monkey, two for Voyagers!, the TV-movie The Invisible Woman (there's that invisibility thing again), one Misfits of Science, the tv-movie Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, six episodes of Quantum Leap, two episodes of RoboCop (1994), six episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, an episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all of which I'd reckon were better than any episode of this show!

Michael Caffey directed two episodes, and he'd previously directed three episodes of The Wild Wild West, one episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and would later direct single episodes of Logan's Run (1977) and The Amazing Spider-Man (1978), three episodes of Wonder Woman, and an episode each of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and M.A.N.T.I.S.  Alan Crosland Jr., who passed away in 2001, directed one episode, and he'd previously directed two episodes of Men Into Space, 16 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, four episodes of the original Twilight Zone, two of The Outer Limits, one each of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Gilligan's Island, two of T.H.E. Cat, 11 episodes of Wild Wild West, and later directed ten episodes of The Bionic Woman.

Paul Crasny also directed one episode, and he'd previously directed 14 episodes of Mission: Impossible and an episode of The Magician, later directing three episodes of Logan's Run, one episode each of The Man From Atlantis, Police Squad!, and The Powers of Matthew Star, the TV series Wizards and Warriors, and two episodes of V. Don McDougall also directed one episode, and he'd previously directed 22 episodes of Jungle Jim, two episodes of T.H.E. Cat, the classic Star Trek episode "The Squire of Gothos," a Mission: Impossible, the TV movie the Mark of Zorro, three episodes of Planet of the Apes, and two episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He later directed two episodes of The Bionic Woman, three of The Six Million Dollar Man, the TV movie Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge, an episode of Wonder Woman, and three episodes of The Amazing Spider-Man.

Charles R. Rondeau also directed but one episode, he had previously directed an episode of The Munsters, four episodes of Batman (a Riddler two-parter and a King Tut two-parter), 19 episodes of F Troop, three episodes of Captain Nice, an episode of The Man From UNCLE, three Voyage of the Bottom of the Sea, four The Wild Wild West, four Get Smart, six Mission: Impossible, one episode of The Girl With Something Extra, and six of The Partridge Family, later directing six episodes of Tabitha, and an episode of Bigfoot and Wildboy. Paul Stanley had earlier directed three episodes of The Outer Limits, an episode of Lost in Space, three episodes of Tarzan, an episode each of The Time Tunnel and T.H.E. Cat, seven episodes of Mission: Impossible, an episode of The Wild Wild West, an episode of It Takes a Thief, and an episode of The Magician before directing his single episode of The Gemini Man. He later directed single episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man and Beyond Westworld, two each of Knight Rider and Voyagers!, and four of The Fall Guy.

Harve Benett was the executive producer of this series, and had the same role on The Invisible Man and later on many episodes of The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man, as well as on Salvage 1. He also exec produced the second through fifth Star Trek movies, produced The Powers of Matthew star, and exec produced the TV series Time Trax and Invasion America. He had also written or provided stories for all of those shows and movies, and was the creator of Gemini Man and developed The Invisible Man.

Robert Bloch wrote one episode, he had writing credits on 10 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents as well as 10 on Thriller, wrote the novel on which Psycho was based, wrote the 1962 version of The Cabinet of Calgary, had writing credits on seven episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, wrote an episode each of I Spy and The Girl From UNCLE, wrote the screenplay for The Deadly Bees, wrote three episodes of Star Trek ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Catspaw," and "Wolf in the Fold"), two episodes of Journey to the Unknown, the movie The House that Dripped Blood, and many other movies and TV episodes, later writing episodes of Darkroom and Tales of the Unexpected, and three episodes of Monsters.

Steven Bochco was a co-creator of the show, with four episodes to his credit. He'd previously co-developed The Invisible Man. He's better known these days for his non-geek TV show work.

Series star Ben Murphy is probably better remembered for playing Joe Sample in The Name of the Game or Jed "Kid" Curry on Alias Smith and Jones. You may remember William Sylvester best for playing Dr. Heywood Floyd in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Geek Guests:

This is an odd one, but guest-star Quinn K. Redecker later appeared in the TV movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt playing Vincent Price! Alan Oppenheimer, the voice of Skeleton on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, appeared in one episode, as did Lauren Spang, probably better known to you as Cassiopeia in Battlestar Galactica; Henry Darrow, who played Don Diego/Don Alejandro de la Vega in several incarnations of Zorro; Herbert Jefferson, who played Boomer in Battlestar Galactica; Ross Martin, who is best known for playing Artemus Gordon on The Wild Wild West; and Jane Wyatt, who played Amanda in the Star Trek episode "The Way to Eden" and reprised that role in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

DVD Release: The entire series was released in France in November 2013 two French and English language tracks; the series is often able to be found on YouTube.

Website: None that I could find... although a few photos are available on one fan's Pinterest page. 

Notes: While short-lived, this show did gain some more exposure when two episodes were edited together into a "movie" (similar to what was done with some episodes of The Planet of the Apes), and this movie ended up as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The show had greater success in the UK, with a hardcover annual based on the show being published. Power Records did a Gemini Man album with original stories, and none of the original cast, probably expecting the show to do better than it did! I have no memory of ever watching the show, even though I'd watched its predecessor The Invisible Man faithfully. You will, of course, recall I did a "Comics They Never Made" faked-up cover for a Gemini Man comic book. 

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