Blue Light (TV series)

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Blue Light
Blue Light title card
Genre Espionage drama
Created by Walter Grauman
Larry Cohen
Written by Larry Cohen
Merwin Bloch
Walter Brough
Dick Carr
Jamie Farr
Harold Livingston
H. Bud Otto
Brad Radnitz
Curtis Sanders
Donald S. Sanford
Roger Swaybill
Jack Turley
Dan Ullman
Directed by Robert Butler
James Goldstone
Walter Grauman
Gerd Oswald
Leo Penn
Starring Robert Goulet
Christine Carère
Theme music composer Lalo Schifrin
Composer(s) Lalo Schifrin
Dave Grusin
Joseph Mullendore
Pete Rugolo
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 17
Production
Producer(s) Buck Houghton
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Rogo Productions
Twentieth Century Fox Television
Release
Original network ABC
Audio format Monaural
Original release January 12 (1966-01-12) – May 18, 1966 (1966-05-18)

Blue Light is a 1966 United States espionage drama television series starring Robert Goulet and Christine Carère about the adventures of an American double agent in Nazi Germany during World War II. It aired from January 12 to May 18, 1966.[1][2]

A theatrical movie, I Deal in Danger, was created by editing Blue Light's first four episodes together into a continuous story. I Deal in Danger was released in 1966 after Blue Light's cancellation.[3][4][5]

Cast[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

Christine Carère as Suzanne Duchard and Robert Goulet as David March in Blue Light.

Prior to Nazi Germany's conquest of Europe, the United States places 18 sleeper agents – collectively forming an espionage organization called "Code: Blue Light" – inside Germany, assigned to penetrate the German high command during World War II. Journalist David March is one of them. He passes himself off to the Germans as a foreign correspondent who has officially renounced his American citizenship and come to Germany in order to support the Nazi cause. The Germans put him to work as a writer and broadcaster of Nazi propaganda – and occasionally as a spy for Germany. The Germans catch and execute the other 17 Blue Light agents, and as the lone survivor March must work hard to maintain his cover and avoid detection and arrest by German counterintelligence agents while secretly spying for the Allies. He is so deeply undercover that except for a few United States Government officials who know that he is a double agent loyal to the United States, the entire world believes him to be a pro-Nazi traitor – so much so that not only does he discover that a woman he loves has committed suicide because of his supposed support for Nazism, but he must also avoid capture or assassination by Allied intelligence agencies unaware that he secretly works for the Allies.[1][2][3][4]

March's confidante, assistant, and contact with the underground is Suzanne Duchard, also a double agent who poses as a French Gestapo agent who hates him. She knows that he is a Blue Light double agent, and secretly both supports his espionage activities against the Germans and falls in love with him.[1][2][3][4]

In his adventures, March sees a lot of action and faces many moral dilemmas, such as tough choices between carrying out his orders and protecting innocents. He often kills in order to maintain his cover or fulfill a mission.[4]

Production[edit]

Walter Grauman and Larry Cohen created Blue Light, and Buck Houghton produced it.[3] Episode directors included Grauman, Robert Butler, James Goldstone, Walter Graham, Gerd Oswald, and Leo Penn.[3] Writers included Cohen, Merwin Bloch, Walter Brough, Dick Carr, Jamie Farr, Harold Livingston, H. Bud Otto, Brad Radnitz, Curtis Sanders, Donald S. Sanford, Roger Swaybill, Jack Turley, and Dan Ullman.[3] Goulet's production company Rogo Productions produced the show in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television,[3] and Lalo Schifrin composed its theme music,[3] with Schifrin, Dave Grusin, Joseph Mullendore and Pete Rugolo writing episode scores. Except for its first episode, Blue Light was filmed entirely at Bavarian Studios in Munich, West Germany[3] – according to Goulet, the first American television show filmed in color in Europe.[4]

Following the cancellation of Blue Light, its first four episodes, which told a continuous story of David March's efforts targeting a German super-weapon facility at Grossmuchen, Germany, were edited together to create a movie. Entitled I Deal in Danger, it was released theatrically in the United States in December 1966 and in other countries in 1967 and 1968.[3][4][5]

Critical reception[edit]

Blue Light was violent by the standards of television in the mid-1960s; in situations where other television heroes knocked out guards and other opponents, March knifed them to death. It was credited for its gritty depiction of espionage in World War II and for the difficult moral choices it posed. Best known as a singer rather than an actor, Goulet received good reviews for his believable portrayal of March, and the show was fast-paced, with tight plots that kept moving. It also featured some of the best television character actors of the 1960s as its guest stars. Carère, however, was viewed as a liability for the show, especially in the romantic subplot between her character and Goulet's. The show's 30-minute format also worked against it, forcing episode writers to meet time constraints in part by making David March's opponents shallow as characters and too easy for him to outwit.[4]

Broadcast history[edit]

Blue Light premiered on ABC on January 12, 1966.[2] It was cancelled after the broadcast of its seventeenth episode on May 18, 1966.[3] Reruns of the show continued to air in its regular time slot until August 31, 1966.[1][2][3] It aired on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. throughout its run.[2]

Episodes[edit]

Sources[2][3][4][6][7]

Season # Episode # Title Plot/Notes Original air date
1 1 "The Last Man" The Germans have become aware of Blue Light and have captured and executed 17 of the 18 Blue Light spies operating in Germany. German Gestapo Captain Elm suspects that March is the last surviving Blue Light agent and sets out to expose him. The Allies, meanwhile, have discovered a new German super-weapon program located at Grossmuchen, Germany. March is the only Allied agent with a chance at gaining access to the new weapon, and Allied intelligence must counter Elm's efforts by convincing the Germans that March is a loyal Nazi. Eventually, the tables are turned, March frames Elm, and the Germans are convinced that Elm is the traitor. Werner Peters, Donald Harron, John van Dreelen, Christine Schmidtmer, Oscar Beregi, Jr., Terence Vliet, and John Alderson guest-star. January 12, 1966
1 2 "Target, David March" Although Elm is in prison, March still must convince some key Nazis that he is loyal to them before he can get access to the weapon program at Grossmuchen. Meanwhile, unaware that March is a double agent and believing him to be a traitor to the Allies, British intelligence sends three commandos into Germany to kill him. Eva Pflug, Hans Reiser, Margit Saad, Peter Capell, Geoffrey Frederick, Edward Binns, and Alan Cuthbertson guest-star. January 19, 1966
1 3 "The Fortress Below" March finally gets access to the weapon program at Grossmuchen, but the facility is 200 feet (61 meters) underground, difficult to sneak into and out of, and impossible for March to get weapons into. The Allies want a German scientist imprisoned in Berlin, Dr. Gretchen Hoffman, to be freed so that she can help March destroy the Grossmuchen facility, and March maps out a plan to get her out of prison. Eva Pflug, Peter Capell, John van Dreelen, Osman Ragheb, Manfred Andrea, Alexander Allerson, Paul Glawton, and Dieter Kirchlechner guest-star. January 26, 1966
1 4 "The Weapon Within" March has freed the naive Dr. Hoffman from prison and now must rely on her help to destroy the Grossmuchen facility. Hoffman becomes romantically involved with March, but has second thoughts about helping him when she realizes that her friends at Grossmuchen will be killed if the facility is blown up. Ultimately, she does help him, and is herself killed in the explosion. Eva Pflug and Horst Frank guest-star. February 2, 1966
1 5 "Traitor's Blood" March's younger brother Brian, who has lied about his age in order to join the United States Army and prove he is not a traitor to the United States like his brother, has been captured and is being held in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Suspecting that David March is a traitor to Germany, the Germans test his loyalty to the Third Reich by ordering him to visit the imprisoned Brian – and kill him. To resolve David's dilemma, he and Suzanne engineer Brian's escape from the prisoner-of-war camp. David Macklin, Henry Beckman, Lyle Bettger, and Jerry Ayres guest-star. February 9, 1966
1 6 "Agent of the East" March receives orders to rescue a Soviet spy captured by the Gestapo before he gives up plans for a heavy water plant to the Germans. Jan Malmso, James Mitchell, Dick Davalos, and Mike Stroka guest-star. February 16, 1966
1 7 "Sacrifice!" The Germans want March to get a captured All-American hero to talk, so he joins two SS officers in interrogating the American in a Gestapo building. While they are there, Allied aircraft bomb the building, and March, the American hero, and the two SS officers are trapped underground with no apparent hope of rescue. Larry Pennell and Richard Bull guest-star. February 23, 1966
1 8 "The Secret War" Two Soviet agents who knew the Soviet spy March had targeted in the "Agent of the East" episode threaten to expose March and Suzanne to the Germans unless he agrees to work for the Soviet Union rather than the United States. Kevin Hagen, Gail Kobe, Roger C. Carmel, and Gilbert Green guest-star. March 2, 1966
1 9 "Invasion by the Stars" In order to delay Operation Sea Lion – the planned German invasion of England – March tries to exploit Adolf Hitler's interest in astrology by convincing Hitler's astrologer to tell Hitler that he should postpone the invasion. Francis Lederer, Jason Wingreen, Curt Lowens, Charles Hradiac, and Peter Hellman guest-star. March 9, 1966
1 10 "The Return of Elm" Disgraced Gestapo Captain Elm, whom March had framed as a traitor to Germany in the first episode of the show, escapes from a British prisoner-of-war camp, intent on exposing March as a double agent, killing him, and clearing his own name. Werner Peters, Malachi Thorne, and Lawrence Montaigne guest-star. March 23, 1966
1 11 "Jet Trail" March poses as an Office of Strategic Services officer to assist the French Resistance in recovering a top-secret jet engine from an experimental German airplane that has crashed. Lamont Johnson and Philippe Nicaud guest-star. April 6, 1966
1 12 "How to Kill a Toy Soldier" An 11-year-old member of the Hitler Youth sees March kill a German courier in order to steal the plans for every German rocket launching site in Norway. March faces a choice between killing the boy or letting him expose March to the Germans as a double agent. Greg Mullavy, Dan Frazer, Michael Shea, and Donald Losby guest-star. April 13, 1966
1 13 "The Deserters" Posing as American soldiers, March and a Gestapo agent infiltrate Allied lines in Italy. March's mission is to discover upcoming Allied battle plans for the Italian front, and the Gestapo agent's job is to keep an eye on March. Ken Lynch, James Davidson, George Backman, and Tim O'Kelley guest-star. April 20, 1966
1 14 "The Other Fuhrer" A German aristocrat plots to overthrow Adolf Hitler by replacing the real Hitler with a double. After the Germans capture and execute the Allied agent sent to meet the aristocrat, the Gestapo orders March to take the dead Allied agent's place and trap the aristocrat. David Sheiner guest-stars. April 27, 1966
1 15 "The Key to the Code" Visiting France to broadcast a Nazi radio program, March and Suzanne discover that the Germans have laid a trap for an upcoming Allied commando raid. The Germans have broken the code used by the French Resistance, making it impossible for March and Suzanne to warn the Allies without putting themselves at risk of exposure, and they must figure out how to keep the Germans from interfering with the raid. Hans Gudegast, Arthur Batanides, and Erik Holland guest-star. May 4, 1966
1 16 "Field of Dishonor" While publicly attacking a German general who has always been suspicious of March's loyalties but wants to defect to the Allies, March secretly tries to help the man escape Germany. Hal Bokar, Steve Ihnat, James Frawley, Harry Basch, and Fred Stromsoe guest-star. May 11, 1966
1 17 "The Friendly Enemy" A German physicist is close to developing a working atomic bomb, and March is assigned to kill him before he succeeds. Mark Richman and Robert Doyle guest-star. May 18, 1966

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d McNeil, Alex, Total Television: The Comprehensive Guide to Programming From 1948 to the Present, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 104.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, Sixth Edition, New York: Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN 0-345-39736-3, p. 116.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Classic TV Archive - Europe: Blue Light
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h mysteryfile.com A TV Series Review by Michael Shonk: BLUE LIGHT (1966).
  5. ^ a b IMDb I Deal in Danger
  6. ^ tvguide.com Blue Light Episode Guide
  7. ^ tv.com Blue Light Episode Guide

External links[edit]