|Created by||Larry Cohen|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Herbert Brodkin|
|Running time||60 min.|
|Production company(s)||Plautus Productions and CBS Productions|
|Distributor||Viacom Enterprises (until 1994)
Paramount Domestic Television (1994-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (May 2006-August 2007)
CBS Television Distribution (current since 2007)
|Original run||May 29, 1967 – September 4, 1967|
It starred Frank Converse as Michael Alden, an amnesiac in search of his identity, with Brian Bedford his co-star. The show's 13 episodes were filmed in 1965 and were originally intended to be shown during the 1965-66 television season, but CBS put the show on hiatus when they reversed an earlier decision to cancel the drama Slattery's People. The network had plans to show Coronet Blue the following year, with CBS head of programming Michael Dann saying that, "there still is enormous enthusiasm" for it, but it would take another full year until the network aired it as a summer replacement. It proved moderately popular and developed a cult following. According to Converse, CBS wanted to renew it but by then Converse had signed to do another series for ABC, N.Y.P.D., which premiered the day after the last airing of Coronet Blue. Due to a number of pre-emptions, only 11 of the 13 episodes were shown during the initial run. The theme song was performed by R&B singer Lenny Welch.
Frank Converse's character (called "Gigot" or "Chico" in the first episode), is told by a woman and two men that they know what he is up to, after which they drug him and dump him in the river. He manages to pull himself ashore and the only words he says are "Coronet Blue". Suffering from amnesia due to the effects of the drug, he soon discovers that he has been targeted for assassination by the same, mysterious group of killers. He adopts the name "Michael Alden," a combination of the name of his doctor and the name of the hospital where he was taken to recover. Over the remaining episodes he attempts to discover his identity and the identities of his assailants, whom he refers to as "Greybeards". The series ended before the solution to these mysteries was revealed, but series creator Larry Cohen later told his biographer:
"The actual secret is that Converse was not really an American at all. He was a Russian who had been trained to appear like an American and was sent to the U.S. as a spy. He belonged to a spy unit called 'Coronet Blue.' He decided to defect, so the Russians tried to kill him before he can give away the identities of the other Soviet agents. And nobody can really identify him because he doesn't exist as an American. Coronet Blue was actually an outgrowth of 'The Traitor' episode of The Defenders."
The series is related to an earlier series entitled The Nurses, which was set at a fictional hospital named "Alden". In the Coronet Blue pilot, the Frank Converse character is taken to Alden hospital, and even takes the name of the hospital for his own last name.
Episodes in Production Order
Episode 1 – A Time to Be Born
Originally aired: May 29, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 001
Writer: Albert Ruben • Director: Paul Bogart • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier). Guests: Susan Hampshire (Alix Frame), Donald Woods (Paul Frame), Bernice Marsi (Margaret), Chester Morris (Dr. Michael Wilson), Jon Cypher (Ewan McBurney), James Nobel (Lt. Stevens), Robert Burr (Vincent), Louise Troy (Joyce), Jane Holzer(Herself).
A man called “Gigot” by an assailant is pulled from a river, but has no memory of his past except two words--"Coronet Blue". He is rehabilitated and gives himself the name "Michael Alden and begins his trek to "find his past" but soon realizes he is targeted for assassination.
Episode #2 - Where You From and What You Done?
Originally scheduled to air: June 5, 1967 Production Code: 002
Writer: Edward DeBlasio • Director: Sam Wanamaker • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier). Guests: Laura Devon (Ava Lou Springer), Haila Stoddard (Mrs. Winters), Vincent Gardenia (The Man), Martha Greenhouse (Phillie Woman), Tanya Elliot (Sis), Joe Bennett (Stanley).
Alden meets a strange young woman who swears she knows who he is but he suspects that she is not all she appears to be.
Episode #3 - A Dozen Demons
Originally aired: July 3, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 003
Writer: Robert Crean • Director: David Greene • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier), Brian Bedford (Brother Anthony). Guests: Lynda Day George (Jenny Straigh), Donald Moffat (The Rector), John Beal (Maurice Straigh), House Jameson (Manitee).
Brother Anthony is a young monk who may hold a clue to Michael Alden's real identity after he sees Alden's likeness in a painting.
Episode #4 - Faces
Originally aired: July 10, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 004
Director: Robert Stevens • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden). Guests: Hal Holbrook (Carey Thomas), Martin Huston (George Thomas), Mitchell Ryan (Oscar Davis), Phyllis Thaxter (Mrs. Barclay), Cec Linder (Vincent Schuster), Mart Hulswit (Carlton Hobbs), Michael Walker (Cooper), Joanna Roos (Mrs. Hope).
Alden is drawn to a town where it is certain he knew a young woman who was killed two years ago.
Episode #5 - Six Months to Mars
Originally aired: August 14, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 005
Writer: Stanley R. Greenberg • Director: David Greene • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden). Guests: Alan Alda (Clay), Patrick O'Neal (Perkins), Walter Moulder (Ross), Barbara Blake (Susan), Jock Gaynor, Billy Dee Williams (2nd technician), Dennis Patrick (Jackson).
Alden attempts to help an astronaut during an experimental project.
Episode #6 - The Assassins
Originally aired: June 12, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 006
Writer: Albert Ruben • Director: Lamont Johnson • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier). Guests: Signe Hasso (Lucille Seller), Janet Margolin (Riva), Edward Binns (Lyle Seller), Cal Bellini (Omeran), John Vernon (Ali), Fred Scollay (Gunther).
Alden is reunited with people who claim to be his parents. But when certain things do not add up, he begins to wonder if they "really are" who they say they are.
Episode #7 - Tomoyo
Originally Scheduled to Air: June 26, 1967 Production Code: 007
Writer: Waldo Salt • Director: David Greene • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier). Guests: Keye Luke (Yaslito Omeko), Dan Tranavty (Raffie), Cely Carrillo (Tomoyo).
Alden becomes caught up in a karate group with links to the Mafia when he recognizes a young Asian woman.
Episode #8 - Man Running
Originally aired: July 17, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 008
Writer: Art Wallace • Director: Sam Wanamaker • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier). Guests: Juliet Mills (Margaret Crowell), Denholm Elliott (Roger Crowell, Imposter), Bramwell Fletcher (Roger Crowell), Carlos Montalbán (Raul Estrada), Rene Enriquez (Sanchez), Alan Ansara (Gomez), Ralph Thomas (Detective), Colleen Kelly (Waitress).
Alden unwittingly gets caught up in a plot to kill a political figure and his daughter.
Episode #9 - A Charade for Murder
Originally aired: July 24, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 009
Director: David Pressman • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier), Brian Bedford (Anthony). Guests: Jack Cassidy (Spangler/Demier), Bernice Massi (Margaret), Brenda Vaccaro (Julie), Robert Burr (Vincent), Robert F. Lyons (Carl), Roy Scheider (Building Manager), Paul Sparer (Frisch), Richard Bright (Harry).
Anthony gets set up for murder when he is mistaken for Alden.
Episode #10 - The Flip Side of Timmy Devon
Originally aired: September 4, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 010
Writer: Albert Ruben • Director: David Greene • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier), Brian Bedford (Brother Anthony). Guests: Murray Kauffman (Big Hart), Dick Clark (Brunswick), Peter Duchin (Perry), Sally Kellerman (Polly), Bruce Scott (Devon), Pamela Toll (Paula), Gene Bua (First Figure).
Alden feels he may have a key to his identity when he knows the words to a song that has only just been released.
Episode #11 - The Rebels
Originally aired: June 19, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 011
Writer: Robert Van Scoyk • Director: Sam Wanamaker • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden). Guests: Jon Voight (Peter Wicklow), Richard Kiley (Dr. Courtland), David Carradine (Walter Arnold), Candice Bergen (Enid Toler), Addison Powell (President Marshall), Ray Middleton (Chief Loomis), Anita Sheer (Myra Kingsley).
Alden gets between a revolutionary and the reaction.
Episode #12 - Saturday
Originally aired: July 31, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 012
Writer: Alvin Sargent • Director: David Greene • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier). Guests: Doug Chapin (Walter), Miles Chapin (Lonny), Arthur Sussex (Sharp), Neva Patterson (Aunt Maggie), Charles Randall (the man), David Hartman (the waiter), Mark Kearney (Benjy). Alden spends a Saturday with a boy who is facing the responsibilities of life.
Episode #13 - Presence of Evil
Originally aired: August 7, 1967 on CBS Production Code: 013
Writer: Robert Crean • Director: Sam Wanamaker • Regulars: Frank Converse (Michael Alden), Joe Silver (Max Spier), Brian Bedford (Brother Anthony). Guests: Joseph Wiseman (Nateseh), Viveca Lindfors (Kyra), Susan Tarr (Angele), Judi West (Nedda).
Alden and Anthony are drawn into a psychic's strange plot to kill Alden.
In airdate order:
|May 29, 1967||A Time to Be Born|
|June 5, 1967||Where You From and What You Done? (Pre-empted)|
|June 12, 1967||The Assassins|
|June 19, 1967||The Rebels|
|June 26, 1967||Tomoyo (Pre-empted)|
|July 3, 1967||A Dozen Demons|
|July 10, 1967||Faces|
|July 17, 1967||Man Running|
|July 24, 1967||A Charade for Murder|
|July 31, 1967||Saturday|
|August 7, 1967||Presence of Evil|
|August 14, 1967||Six Months to Mars|
|August 21, 1967||Where You From and What You Done? (Pre-empted again)|
|August 28, 1967||Tomoyo (Pre-empted again)|
|September 4, 1967||The Flip Side of Timmy Devon|
- Williams, Tony: Larry Cohen: The Radical Allegories of an Independent Filmmaker. McFarland, 1997.