Man From Atlantis

Man From AtlantisAn adult, seemingly human, male washes up on the beach among seaweed and other flotsam after a storm, and is rushed to a nearby hospital, where his oddly mottled skin, webbed hands and feet, unusual eyes, and especially his apparent inability to breathe pure oxygen have emergency doctors stymied. Dr. Elizabeth Merrill of the Foundation for Oceanic Research notes the man’s unusual conditions are more akin to sea life than life on land, and suggests returning him to the ocean. Once in the water, his health is restored. A fascinated Dr. Merrill continues to study him, finding that while he tires quickly on land, he has enormous strength under the water, and can dive to depths of tens of thousands of feet. He can also, with intense concentration, exert his willpower onto human beings. She concludes, not entirely jokingly, that he may be the last citizen of the lost underwater civilization of Atlantis.

But when the Navy catches wind of Dr. Merrill’s research, a Navy Admiral begins hatching plans for the unusual man from the sea – given the nondescript human name Mark Harris – to take on hazardous undersea bomb and mine disposal tasks. Mark only reluctantly agrees, but during his first big mission, to locate the wreckage of the lost research submarine Seaquest, he swims to depths unsurvivable by human divers and sees a perfectly intact futuristic sub. Mark boards the sub and returns with it to an undersea mountain base, commanded by Mr. Schubert, a rich ocean salvage man who is using his wealth and various found pieces of secret equipment to plot the end of 20th century civilization…after which he will, naturally, emerge as the new ruler of mankind, promising peace and prosperity (but no free will) to his hand-picked community of scientists. Even an outsider to human society like Mark Harris realizes that Schubert must be stopped at any cost.

written by Lee H. Katzin
directed by Mayo Simon
music by Fred Karlin

Man From AtlantisCast: Patrick Duffy (Mark Harris), Belinda J. Montgomery (Dr. Elizabeth Merrill), Dean Santoro (Ernie Smith), Art Lund (Admiral Dewey Pierce), Victor Buono (Mr. Schubert), Lawrence Pressman (Commander Phil Roth), Mark Jenkins (Lt. Ainsley), Steve Franken (Doctor), Joshua Bryant (Dr. Doug Berkley), Allen Case (Lt. Commander Johnson), Virginia Gregg (Whale Scientist), Curt Lowens (Emil), Charles Davis (British Scientist), Lilyan Chauvin (French Scientist), Vincent Milana (American Scientist), Alex Rodine (Russian Scientist), Philip Baker Hall (George), Marguerite DeLain (First Receptionist), Trudy Marshall (Woman at party), Michael J. London (Popeye), Robert Dore (Diver), Michael Watson (Diver), Connie Izay (First Nurse), Judd Laurance (Intern), Jim Chandler (Man on beach), Patricia Anderson (Second Receptionist), Akemi Kikumura (Third Receptionist), Larry Holt (Ambulance Diver), Peter Weiss (Test Lab Assistant), Robert Phalen (Habitat Technician), Maralyn Thoma (Second Nurse), Phillip Roye (Intern), Cheryl Robinson (X-Ray Technician), Scott Stevenson (Boy on beach), Philip Tanzini (Boy at phone booth)

Man From AtlantisNotes: Scenes from the pilot movie were filmed aboard the U.S. Navy dive ship Elk River IX-501. Executive producers Herbert F. Solow and Robert Justman were veterans of the original Star Trek series, though Solow was now working under his own banner, Solow Productions, at this point, since Desilu had long since transformed into Paramount Pictures’ TV division. This was the first of four feature-length TV movies-of-the-week introducing the Man From Atlantis characters and concept; the ratings success of these movies would guarantee the concept an additional, but brief, single season of hour-long episodes in the 1977-78 prime time season.

Man From AtlantisAt roughly the same time as the initial movie aired, NBC (the network home of Man From Atlantis) was also airing the short-lived fantasy series The Fantastic Journey, which involved an island that may or may not have been Atlantis. This was more of a coincidence than anything: “unexplained paranormal phemomena” were all the rage in the 1970s, whether the lost city of Atlantis, ESP/telepathy, UFO sightings, or stories of crystals vibrating with energy. That the missing research vessel was named Seaquest – same as the advanced sub from the 1990s NBC series of the same name – is also a coincidence, though those wishing to connect some unlikely dots in fan fiction are welcome to do so.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Man From Atlantis II: The Death Scouts

Man From AtlantisThe disappearance of scuba divers and sightings of strange coloration and other phenomena at sea attracts the attention of the Institute for Oceanic Research, where “Mark Harris” is still being studied by Dr. Elizabeth Merrill. One of the divers turns up dead, while the other two resurface, now with physical similarities to Mark, including a dependence on being underwater, webbed hands, and other powers. They quickly prove to be dangerous, even to Mark himself. He finds their base – a submerged spacecraft from another planet – containing evidence that they are from the same place as him. Once captured, they admit this as well, and claim to be among the last survivors of Mark’s home planet, adrift and looking for a new home to colonize. Torn between the promise of learning more about his origins, or maintaining the trust of his new human allies, Mark faces an agonizing choice.

written by Robert Lewin
directed by Marc Daniels
music by Fred Karlin

Man From AtlantisCast: Patrick Duffy (Mark Harris), Belinda J. Montgomery (Dr. Elizabeth Merrill), Kenneth Tigar (Dr. Miller Simon), Alan Fudge (C.W. Crawford), Tiffany Bolling (Lioa), Burr DeBenning (Xos), Stanley Clay (Boy), Alan Mandell (Grant Stockwood), Annette Cardona (Ginny Mendoza), Hank Stohl (Sub Captain Wes), Russell L. Arms (Medical Examiner), Arch Archambault (Second Officer), Michael J. London (Air Lock Man), Vincent Deadrick (Herb Wayland), Maurice Hill (Lou), Joel Lawrence (Hot Tub Manager), Maralyn Thoma (Myrtle), Dick Winslow (Fish Store Clerk)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Man From Atlantis III: Killer Spores

Man From AtlantisMark Harris participates in an emergency mission to retrieve a space probe splashing down after a three-year mission. But when it hits water, it emits a screaming sound that affects Mark the most; when he swims out to it, he describes objects like blue coins covering the probe. Mark comes into contact with one of the blue objects and begins behaving strangely, experiencing brief periods of what humans would describe as madness. He then begins describing life forms that have come to Earth aboard the space probe…but only by regaining his senses can Mark help them leave again.

written by John D.F. Black
directed by Reza Badiyi
music by Fred Karlin

Man From AtlantisCast: Patrick Duffy (Mark Harris), Belinda J. Montgomery (Dr. Elizabeth Merrill), Kenneth Tigar (Dr. Miller Simon), Alan Fudge (C.W. Crawford), Fred Beir (Sub Captain Bracey), Brad David (Paramedic), Carole Demas (Ginny Mendoza), Ivan Bonar (Edwin Shirley), James B. Sikking (Captain Manzone), Erik Holland (Highway Patrolman), James R. Parkes (Highway Patrolman)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Man From Atlantis IV: The Disappearances

Man From AtlantisThe Foundation prepares for a visit from a wealthy lawyer who has expressed an interest in donating a boat, but their benefactor is very specific in wanting Dr. Merrill to personally inspect the boat. This is a ruse to lure her away from her comrades and kidnap her; she is taken to a remote island compound where Dr. Mary Smith is hatching a scheme to create a special water treatment robbing her subjects of all willpower, and to then launch a rocket to colonize another planet with this obedient population. Mark, impervious to the treated water which overcomes its victims’ minds on touch, must rescue both Dr. Merrill and Dr. Simon and thwart the plan.

teleplay by Walter Murdoch
story by Jerry Sohl
directed by Charles S. Dubin
music by Fred Karlin

Man From AtlantisCast: Patrick Duffy (Mark Harris), Belinda J. Montgomery (Dr. Elizabeth Merrill), Kenneth Tigar (Dr. Miller Simon), Alan Fudge (C.W. Crawford), Darleen Carr (Dr. Mary Smith), Dennis Redfield (Dick Redstone), Pamela Peters Solow (Jane), Fred Beir (Sub Captain Bracey), Paul Mantee (Cetacean Crew), Michael Jay London (Cetacean Crew), Arthur Batanides (Cetacean Crew), Rick Goldman (Cetacean Crew), Bob Minor (Minion), Ric Drasin (Minion), Frank Martone (Minion), James Fraracci (Minion), Jim Morris (Minion), Ernie Hudson (Minion), Anthony Pearson (Minion), Julius Le Flore (Minion), Jim Tarleton (Minion)

Man From AtlantisNotes: Yes, that’s future Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson in a “strong man” bit part, one of his earliest professional acting appearances. This marks the final appearance of Kenneth Tigar as Dr. Miller Simon, a character who vanished in the sweeping changes that take place between the four Man From Atlantis TV movies and the already-greenlit weekly series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green