Friday, August 19, 2011

Pilots That Never Flew: Three Series That Sank Like a Marble Bench

HOLLYWOOD, CA - All that glitters is not gold and all that is filmed is not aired. INI has discovered pilots for three questionable TV series ranging back to 1970. (There are oh so many more, but we've focused in on this trio.) Despite a proud history of airing bilge, Tinsel Town occasionally draws a line. In no particular order, we present:

Hoping to piggy back on the shoulders of the successful Warner Bros.- Seven Arts action feature, CBS
Co-host Edmund O'Brien as Freddy Sykes
took a flyer and hired Edmund O'Brien and Robert Ryan as hosts. Reprising their film characters of Freddy Sykes and Deke Thornton, the two actors took center stage in character, passed around a bottle of 'whiskey,' laughed for up to four minutes at a stretch and finally introduced pop music group Shocking Blue and comedian Alan King. At the close of the show, O'Brien/Sykes looked to camera and uttered—what some presume to have been—the show's sign-off line: "It ain't much, but it'll do." Network execs agreed with the first part.

Cantinflas as Doctor Raymundo Delgado

A forerunner to Patch Adams, this 1981 hour-long drama saw legendary Mexican comic Cantinflas badly miscast as a quirky but concerned doctor. His famous comedic double-talk and verbal obfuscation played poorly when the butt of the jokes were blind patients hoping to one day see again. Nearing the end of his active career, the 70-year-old Cantinflas was clearly uncomfortable with such clunky dialogue as, "Sadly, my young friend, life for you will now be night without the stars' brightness." NBC hoped to use Eye Surgeon as a lead-in for the hit series Hill Street Blues but quickly backed off, quietly firing everyone associated with the show who were then snapped up by other networks.

Major Vic Kutt (Bill Nye)
For some reason, this 1998 ABC hour drama attempted to sell TV science educator Bill Nye as a cynical, wise-cracking special ops team leader battling Serbian terrorists. But no matter how much web gear and camo they hung on him, for some reason, Nye's signature bow tie always remained visible. Not even the presence of Hercules Kevin Sorbo as the team's strong man, 'Doogie Howser' second fiddle Max Casella as the wise guy demo specialist, and Carmen Electra as Bill's concerned wife could keep this pilot airborne.
Images: latinosinlondon, Right Juris


Tom Ruegger said...

I'd watch that "Wild Bunch" variety show in a heart beat, although I'd want to fast-forward through Alan King.

Ling Carter said...

Plus Shocking Blue performed the 'b' side of their only hit, "Venus."