Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gemini Man Episode 6 - Escape Hatch

Not aired on the network. DVD only
Directed by Paul Stanley (The other Paul Stanley)
Written by Leslie Stevens

The saga of Sam Casey continues. At least, it does on DVD. The show is no longer on the network at this point in its run. It's been replaced by a show called The Fantastic Journey, which no one watched also. Thursday night from 8-9 was a bad time to be NBC. Up against The Waltons, Welcome Back, Kotter and Barney Miller. Maybe the network was throwing away Gemini Man for whatever reason. Who can say? (Well, I can't.) So, regardless, with the magic of the DVD set, we can watch the six episodes that did not air in the U.S. That is a good thing. But, is Escape Hatch a good episode? Yes. Yes, it is.

Be cool! I haven't disappeared from your lives yet

Jane Wyatt plays the oddly coiffed Ms. Carlisle who owns a huge number of ships, for cruising and for defense. In the middle of an exotic cruise, her crew kidnaps her. Soon after that, the government receives a video featuring Miss Carlisle announcing that she is selling all of her very valuable ships to a foreign power. Well, this can't happen. I know it, you know it. Intersect definitely knows it. So, Sam Casey is sent with Abby to the cruise ship to find out what the heck is going on. It involves turning invisible a lot, chicanery with early video technology, Abby in a tube top and all sorts of fun times.

Go Team Intersect! 
(Oh...  and Hi Sam!)

Selling out your country...  what would Robert Young say about that?

This episode is written by Leslie Stevens, the show's creator. This is the first episode with his name on it as writer since the TV movie. So, I would imagine this is some sort of Mission Statement for where Stevens thought the show was going to go. But, the credits also state that Steven Bocho and Harve Bennett were co-creators. Their names are not on the TV movie so the network must have brought them in later on. I'd love to know what the changes made were. The addition of that 10 second failsafe thing, probably. Although, that becomes a big part of this episode so maybe Stevens did have something to do with that. At the end of the day, Stevens' name on it means it's probably going to be a good time. It is.

All Invisible Action!

Abby and Sam make a great team together. This one mixes in Pamela Franklin as the extremely cute cruise employee, Daphne. She helps our good guys out when Miss Carlisle is in the most trouble. Sam gets to be invisible a lot here. He manipulates one of those spinning wheel things in a casino to get Abby a seat at the captain's table. There is also an awesome Deck B, which is off limits with guards on the elevator and a secret recording studio where they are manipulating video to make Miss Carlisle seem like a traitor. One should get used to the portion of the set with the elevator. That will appear a lot.

(I noticed that this is the third episode of Gemini Man that gives a character a very defining characteristic so it can be used for something important later on. A blind woman on a train, a deaf Christian woman and now Miss Carlisle's odd wig.)

I would have watched The Love Boat more if she had been on it

The whole adventure has not one, but two, time deadlines on it. Sam is going to run out of his 15 minutes. Plus, at 10PM, the deals will go through and the ships will be transferred to the bad guys. The tension builds as the episode goes along. Daphne and Abby are stuck in a cabin. Sam is running out of time trying to get Jane Wyatt out to prove to the Navy that she is under duress. Things arc up and up. It's never Hitchcock level suspense but it's good stuff. Stevens has worked out the plotting. The slow reveal of how the video was manipulated, with an early discovery of sound not syncing to the lips, is cool. Maybe a touch far-fetched. But, when you have Sam Casey turning invisible with the help of an atomic watch, Far-Fetched is not even part of the equation.

Faux-Jane Wyatts!

It's too bad that America didn't get to see this episode. It's a good one. It's fun, loaded with suspense, clever and it has lots of Sam and Abby doing what they do best: saving people. Leslie Stevens did a fine job of making The Invisible man a la James Bond via a surfer. However, things are about to get tricky. With the next episode, the format of the show would begin to change slightly. The next episode doesn't do it in a bad way but doesn't bode well for the future of the show. A future, technically, that the show didn't actually have. Things will begin to go off the rails soon...  That's too bad.

Action Ahoy!

But, I will not go out on a down note! Enjoy these screenshots of the sequence where Abby flags down the cruise ship. There is a surprise at the end...

One continuous shot...

Around the boat... Sam is hiding...

Still moving around the boat...

Insert of Sam turning himself invisible...

But...  upon cutting back to the same shot...
Yes, on the far right, lower corner...
That is Sam's hunky (visible) shoulder.
Ducking down one second late.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Christmas TV Party 2015

As I diligently work on the post-network episodes of Gemini Man, please click on this link:

Christmas TV Party

It's a good time.

Be sure to check out all the other entries for the month-long party. Then, spend some time over there. Joanna's site is awesome. She is a true expert on the topic of TV-related Christmas stuff. (I own her book Tis The Season TV. It's in constant rotation throughout my house. Great book.)

Everyone stay cool! And stay calm! Sam Casey is Alive & Well...  he's invisible in Greenland now. He married Abby. Leonard runs their estate.

Friday, August 7, 2015


From Issue 118
August 1974

This Happy Days parody would have come out at the end of the show's first season. It was a very different animal from the show picked on in Happy Daze, the previous Weekly Cracked.

It's actually a funny satire of the show itself and the mid-1970s fascination with the perceived innocence and near-perfection of the 1950s.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gemini Man Episode 5 - Run Sam, Run

Originally aired on October 28, 1976
Directed by: Charles Rondeau
Written by: Frank Telford

If one knows the history of Gemini Man, a certain pallor can tarnish this episode. I will give the history at the end of the review...  feel free to skip to the end...  but for now let me just say: Run Sam, Run is another very good/ excellent episode in the Adventures of Sam Casey. It's got action, some humor, a decent mystery at the start and a lovely deaf Christian woman who gets involved in a rather crazy car chase. Plus, of course, a lot of Sam Casey and a decent amount of Abby and Leonard this time. Although, the jerky side of Leonard does come out a bit here.

Leonard, the Jerk?

Sam wakes up in a seedy motel. He doesn't remember how he got there and he doesn't know why he feels so terrible. When he gets to Intersect, Leonard has Sam arrested for murdering Willie Henderson. Henderson was thrown out of Intersect by Leonard. (See previous reviews for Intersect Personnel issues.) Sam doesn't remember killing anyone but they have video footage. Sam enters a hotel room and shoots this guy. Leonard seems a touch unreasonable here (and also a little forgetful about how quick Sam can turn invisible). Abby doesn't believe a word of it. Sam has to go On The Run. Luckily, he meets Maggie, a really cute Christian woman who is willing to break a few laws to help him out. (Ladies, wouldn't you do the same?)

Did I kill someone last night? 

Hobo Sam & The Nice Lady

The episode opens with Sam in a deeply confused state and things get worse from there. There are two very shady guys who have rigged some technological trickery to frame Sam. But, Maggie is a real charmer. She has a Mission that Sam wanders into. She conducts a band out on the sidewalk. All that good Christian stuff and she's deaf. Which is a strange moment...  the previous episode had a blind woman, who didn't need to be blind. This episode has a deaf woman, who didn't really need to be deaf. Except for the fact that both of their handicaps actually save Sam's hide by the end of the episode. So, the handicaps make the characters more interesting, more nuanced, but they're also plot points. This doesn't happen again in the show so it must have been a coincidence. I wonder if anyone noticed that when it originally aired.

Sam is in both of these screenshots. (Invisible)

One note: My DVD has a glitch in it. So, there's about five minutes in the middle that I'm unable to watch. Which is too bad. But, it adds a little more mystery because I have to infer some shenanigans.
I do like a car chase

So does she...

However, despite the glitch, I did get to watch the car chase and it's fantastic! It's not one that has frenetic camerawork and lightning editing. It's one of those where the camera sits as the stuntmen drive in a crazy fashion by the camera. I'm not sure where they are in Los Angeles exactly. But, they tear down some streets and through a vacant lot. They smash up a fire hydrant and soak a street. Bad guy car, followed by Maggie (driving) with Sam, followed by dopey cops. It's several minutes of very good action. You should see it.



I'm running out of stuff to say about Gemini Man. This is another good/ great episode of the show. It's nicely paced. It's exciting. Sam is charming. And so forth...  I may have said all that before. But, it's true. From the pilot movie to this one, the show has been consistently entertaining. I wish there was more Abby. (That wish will come true in the next episode.) But, I just don't have a lot of complaints. Apparently, however, the American Public either had troubles with the show or just didn't care.

A videotape in Sam's hand (top left, invisible)

There's Sam!

This is the final episode of Gemini Man that aired on NBC. The remaining six episodes are only on the DVD set. Apparently, the show also aired in France, as the DVD is French. And, apparently, it aired in England because I have a 1977 Gemini Man Annual from the UK. Plus, there's a Gemini Man Power Record out there too. But, in America, the series ends with a close-up of Sam playing the trombone. That's how everyone saw Sam Casey last (unless they caught Riding With Death).

 The final moments America saw...  Good bye, Sam & Pals

But, we're going to see more...  and we're going to see the show take an odd turn. Stay Tuned!

Hey, they're watching Gemini Man on Gemini Man!