The Immortal (1970 TV series)

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The Immortal
Immortal television show.JPG
Christopher George, Ross Martin and Mitch Vogel, 1970.
GenreScience fiction
Drama
Created byRobert Specht
Based on"The Immortals" book by James Gunn
Starring
Music byDominic Frontiere
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes15 + pilot
Production
Executive producerAnthony Wilson
ProducerHowie Horwitz
Running time60 minutes (including commercials)
Production companyParamount Television
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 24, 1970 (1970-09-24) –
January 14, 1971 (1971-01-14)

The Immortal is an American television series, starring Christopher George as a man whose blood chemistry and resistance to almost all diseases (including old age) makes him both almost immortal and a target of several wealthy men who would basically use him as a personal blood bank, aired on ABC from September 24, 1970 to January 14, 1971. The series is based on a pilot film of the same name, which aired on September 30, 1969 as an ABC Movie of the Week. The pilot is based on the 1964 science fiction novel The Immortals, by James Gunn.

The series music was composed by Dominic Frontiere, who is primarily known for scoring the sci-fi anthology series The Outer Limits. Although The Immortal was canceled at midseason, episode were rerun by ABC in the summer of 1971. It was later rerun on the American Forces Network in Europe in the 1980s and on the Sci Fi Channel in the 1990s.

Series overview[edit]

Ben Richards is a test car driver for a large corporation owned by billionaire Jordan Braddock. He is 42 years old, but looks young enough to pass for 25—and he has never been sick a day in his life. Ben's life changes when he donates a pint of blood. When Braddock, who is dying, is given a blood transfusion of his donated blood, and is brought back from the brink of death, Ben's physician, Dr. Matthew Pearce, determines that his O-negative blood contains all known antibodies and immunities. This gives Ben immunity to every known disease and an estimated lifespan five to ten times that of other humans, making him, in the doctor's words, "virtually immortal". The billionaire decides that he has to control Richards' life so he can access his life-saving blood.

When Richards rejects all of Braddock's offers to remain with him, the billionaire has him imprisoned, but he ultimately escapes. Richards tells his fiancée Sylvia Cartwright that they can never marry because she would also be imprisoned by Braddock (in the episode "Sylvia" Richards puts himself in danger to visit Cartwright at her wedding to another man). Richards is now on the run because when Braddock dies (shown in the flashback episode "To The Gods Alone" which resolved plot points between the pilot and the series), one of his former employees, Fletcher (who did not appear in the pilot), is hired by another billionaire, Arthur Maitland, who also wants access to Richards' blood.

The series' dramatic tension is based on the idea that Richards would probably never lose his life if he were to live quietly, since he would never succumb to any known diseases. But his flight from Fletcher puts his life at great risk, constantly engaging in dangerous efforts to avoid capture, and his "immortal" blood did not make him immune to losing his life from injury.

The series primarily focuses on Richards' journeys and the people he meets while trying to avoid Fletcher. A secondary plot involved Richards' search for a brother he has never known, with the implication that that brother may share his gift and thus be at risk from unscrupulous billionaires as well. Ben Richards is imprisoned by a young billionaire, Simon Brent, in an episode titled "The Queen's Gambit." In the episode "Man On A Punched Card" Maitland hires computer programmer Terry Kerwin to track and predict Richards' movements using a mainframe computer. Kerwin was played by Christopher George's real-life wife Lynda Day George, who would co-star on another Paramount TV series Mission: Impossible from 1971 to 1973.

The plotline of The Immortal is quite different from that of the book on which it is based (the protagonist of the book was a vagrant, not a test driver, who discovers his immortality when he sells his blood). Instead, The Immortal bears more than a superficial resemblance to the then-recent, very popular TV series, The Fugitive, which still aired in syndicated reruns. That series had ended its four-season run three years before The Immortal began. It is also the mirror of the series Run for Your Life about a man suffering from a terminal disease who wants to experience everything because he is going to die soon, while Richards has to run because he will live virtually forever. The Immortal was cancelled before a proper finale episode could be filmed.

Cast[edit]

Episode list[edit]

Title Directed by Written by Original air date
0"The Immortal"Joseph SargentRobert SpechtSeptember 30, 1969 (1969-09-30)
90-minute pilot episode.
1"Sylvia"Don McDougallRobert Malcolm YoungSeptember 24, 1970 (1970-09-24)
2"White Elephants Don't Grow on Trees"Michael CaffeyShimon WincelbergOctober 1, 1970 (1970-10-01)
3"Reflections on a Lost Tomorrow"Leslie H. MartinsonRobert HamnerOctober 8, 1970 (1970-10-08)
4"The Legacy"Robert DouglasBob & Wanda DuncanOctober 15, 1970 (1970-10-15)
5"The Rainbow Butcher"Nicholas WebsterJack TurleyOctober 22, 1970 (1970-10-22)
6"Man on a Punched Card"Don WeisShimon WincelbergOctober 29, 1970 (1970-10-29)
7"White Horse, Steel Horse"Leslie H. MartinsonStory by : Gene L. Coon
Teleplay by : Gene L. Coon and Stephen Kandel
November 5, 1970 (1970-11-05)
8"The Queen's Gambit"Robert DouglasStephen KandelNovember 12, 1970 (1970-11-12)
9"By Gift of Chance"Irving J. MooreKen TreveyNovember 19, 1970 (1970-11-19)
10"Dead Man, Dead Man"Allen BaronWilliam WoodDecember 3, 1970 (1970-12-03)
11"Paradise Bay"Don WeisStory by : Ben Masselink and Dan Ullman
Teleplay by : Ben Masselink and Stephen Kandel
December 10, 1970 (1970-12-10)
12"The Return"Michael CaffeyRobert SpechtDecember 17, 1970 (1970-12-17)
13"To the Gods Alone"Leslie H. MartinsonKen TreveyDecember 31, 1970 (1970-12-31)
14"Sanctuary"Michael CaffeyWilliam EastlakeJanuary 7, 1971 (1971-01-07)
15"My Brother's Keeper"Charles RondeauStory by : Bob & Wanda Duncan
Teleplay by : Stephen Kandel and Bob & Wanda Duncan
January 14, 1971 (1971-01-14)

DVD release[edit]

On October 16, 2017, it was announced that Visual Entertainment Inc. had acquired the rights to the series. They subsequently released The Immortal - 'The Complete Collection' on DVD in Region 1 on November 9, 2017.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]