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Mike is running from some men when he falls into the harbour. He climbs out remembering only that he was running and the phrase 'coronet blue'. As the show continues from week to week, Mike tries to piece together clues as to his identity as individuals he refers to as Greybeards seem to be intent on killing him. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
"Coronet Blue" creator Larry Cohen, in his autobiography "The Radical Allegories of an Independent Filmmaker," explained the mystery behind the series' title/catch-phrase. "When the Brodkin Organization took over the series, they wanted to turn it into an anthology... so they played down the amnesia aspect until there was nothing about it at all in the show. It was just Frank Converse wandering from one story to the next with no connective format at all. Anyway, the show ended after seventeen weeks and nobody found out what 'coronet blue' meant. 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 (1961)." However, anyone who has seen the show knows that the amnesia aspect was in fact NOT played down (one episode had Alden declining a golden opportunity to learn the truth about himself - or at least a good part of it - on moral grounds concerning the way the information became available to him). Other facts are that thirteen episodes were all that were filmed, and that from first air date to last is only fourteen weeks - fifteen potential weekly air dates if you include those at both ends, but only eleven of the episodes were aired; in any case, Cohen's "seventeen weeks," made in a BOOK wherein he presumably had plenty of time to check and be certain that he got such fundamental facts correct, is indefensible. All this calls the validity of the entirety of his statement into question. See more »
BOURNE IDENTITY Variation, Years Ahead of It's Time...
There had never been a show quite like "Coronet Blue"; the 'hero' (Frank Converse) emerges, half-dead, from a watery 'grave', with no recollection of his past, and only the phrase 'Coronet Blue' to guide him. Soon it becomes obvious that some very mysterious and powerful people would prefer him dead, and his life, much as Jason Bourne, in THE BOURNE IDENTITY, becomes a race to pick up clues about himself, while trying to stay alive. Each week would introduce a new piece to the jigsaw puzzle, offering a glimpse of a possible past, while asking even more questions...Who does "Michael Alden" (a name created when he could not remember his own) work for? Is he a hero or a criminal? And why is it so important to silence him?
CBS thought the premise was worth taking a chance on, and had green-lighted 13 episodes, but then decided it was too 'intellectual' (this WAS the network of "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Gilligan's Island"), and condemned the series to a summer run, when TV viewing plummeted, and the regular series were 'between seasons'. Many 'failed' programs debuted during the summer, giving the networks a chance to recoup production costs by advertising revenue, and to brag that they were offering more than just endless reruns to TV viewers.
Then something remarkable happened; TV critics, previewing the first episode, were universally in praise of the quirky drama, making the show's debut an 'event'. And viewers, tuning in, were introduced to the Robert Redford-like charisma of blond, 29-year old Converse, making him an instant sex symbol. CBS was astonished and pleased by the response, but unprepared for the word-of-mouth that soon made the series a 'Must See' for fans. Hastily, the network attempted to revive the program for the fall season, but Plautus Productions, who created the series, had folded after CBS axed the show, and Converse had signed as a regular on "N.Y.P.D." (the ground-breaking cop show that would pave the way for "N.Y.P.D. Blue", and "Law and Order"). The 13 episodes would become the legacy of a show that would have been a long-running hit, had CBS been willing to gamble on viewers' intelligence!
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