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Death Ray 2000 (1981)

TV-movie pilot for the TV series "T.R. Sloane."

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
T.R. Sloane
...
The Director
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Sabina Dorffman
Maggie Cooper ...
Chrissy Randall
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Torque
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Brandon ...
General's aide
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Effie (voice)
James Chandler ...
Gideon Peak guard
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Coroner
Connie Garrison ...
Model
Fiona Gordon ...
Sister Trilby
Paula Jones ...
Ground hostess
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Flight Attendant
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U.S. Army enlisted man
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Storyline

TV-movie pilot for the TV series "T.R. Sloane."

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Details

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Release Date:

5 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Man Called Sloane  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Originally produced as the pilot film for the TV series A Man Called Sloane (1979) though it wasn't broadcast until a year after the TV series was cancelled. Several changes were made for the TV series. The lead role of Sloane was given to Robert Conrad, and the character of Torque - who is a villain in this film - became a hero. See more »

Connections

Follows A Man Called Sloane (1979) See more »

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"That's Because You Don't Have T.R. Sloane!"
17 February 2006 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

The U.S. military has developed a 'dehydrator' which is capable of turning people into skeletons. When said machine is stolen by fake nuns in the pay of KARTEL villain Erik Clawson, Priority One U.N.I.T. agent Thomas Remington Sloane The Third is put on the case.

Surviving an attack by poisonous snakes, he travels to Lucerne, where Clawson, aided by his cybernetic-handed henchman Torque ( Ji-Tu Cumbuka ) plans to cause global chaos by wiping out the World Disarmament Council.

This Quinn Martin produced pilot is hampered by low-grade production values, a plodding script, and Robert Logan, miscast as a Matt Helm-type secret agent. There is little action to speak of, and what there is is not all that thrilling. The 'dehydrator' idea was clearly borrowed from the 1966 film 'Batman'.

As originally conceived, Sloane was an eccentric antiques dealer who wore old-fashioned clothes whilst driving a vintage, cream-coloured Cord automobile. He had a cute secretary in the shape of 'Miss Blessing', who is hopelessly infatuated with him. Neither shop nor secretary made it into the subsequent series.

Ann Turkel provided glamour, and Clive Revill gleefully hammed it up as the maniac Clawson. Dan O'Herlihy was splendid as 'The Director', Sloane's boss. Comic relief came from E.F.F.I.E. the computer ( voiced by Michele Carey ). When N.B.C. President Fred Silverman saw the finished film, he liked the basic concept and commissioned a series, but minus Logan. In his place came Robert Conrad.

British viewers were supposed to have seen this on I.T.V. as part of their Autumn ( Fall ) line-up in 1979, but an industrial dispute blacked out the whole of the network for ten weeks, and it was held over to Christmas. 'The T.V. Times' billed it under the title: 'T.R. Sloane Of The Secret Service'.

When broadcast in the States, the series - 'A Man Called Sloane' - had been and gone, hence the pilot was retitled 'Death Ray 2000', though the year is never mentioned on screen. The '70's fashions on display clearly make nonsense of the new title.

One stand-out moment; in his villa, Clawson menaces Sloane with various weapons, all the time indulging in polite conversation. The agent retaliates in kind, the sequence ends with him lighting the fuse on a cannon.

My copy of this movie has a different musical score to the one used on the 1979 U.K. broadcast. Sloane originally had his own theme in the form of a clarinet solo, presumably intended to reflect the character's eccentricity. It was by Patrick Williams, later to compose the upbeat, disco flavoured theme for 'A Man Called Sloane'.


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