Commentary about the short-lived adventure series "Primus" from the producers of Sea Hunt and Flipper
During the year 1971,the Federal Communications Commission(the FCC) ordered the networks to give back the 7:00 or 7:30 Monday through Friday time slots to the local stations so that they could provide original programming to their local areas. To fill this new slot or to fill this void,a spate of low budget derivative half-hour television shows were churned out for first run syndication and picked up by the local TV stations as their "original" or "educational" programming. During the initial sector of the 1971-1972 season,for this programming was the short-lived adventure series "Primus". This was one of the new shows that originally was pitched to all three of the major television networks and was highly rejected. "Primus" in its short-lived run in national syndication was probably the one series of a largely sorry group to slightly stand out against the fare of the usual news programming,the nightly addition of standard game shows and countless repeated TV shows that were shown in syndication. And speaking of the new breed of shows that emerged during the 1971-1972 season,"Primus" stood out against the competition and was certainly better than the rest.
Produced by Ivan Tors,who was known for his action-adventure foray in this genre with the highly superior "Sea Hunt"(for which this series slightly resembled which was basically a modern replacement for Lloyd Bridges' classic underwater adventure series of the late 1950's-early 1960's),and the brilliantly successful "Flipper",with a grand resemblance of Ivan Tors' 1966 science fiction feature "Around The World Under The Sea",with references to Irwin Allen's classic 1960's television series "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea". Even though "Primus" had a short-run on the air,it produced 26 episodes in national syndication under Ivan Tors' production company(Ivan Tors Productions)for Metromedia Producers Corporation(Metromedia Television). The series ran from March 6,1971 until November 10,1971,with repeated episodes that lasted until early 1972.
The series starred Robert Brown(Here Comes The Brides)as explorer/leader and oceanographer Carter Primus;former model/actress Eva Renzi as his assistant Dr. Toni Hayden,and Will Kaluva(Mr. Allison,the head of operations in the pilot episode of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.")as his assistant and research Charlie Kingman. This was a series that was excellent in its own right but also belied on a low budget in many ways during the show's run as more underwater gadgets such as "Big Kate" and even "Pegasus" were utilized in various weekly episodes since some of the breathtaking underwater action(which was under the direction of Ricou Browning and John Florea)was filmed on location in parts of Florida(the Key West)and the Bahamas with studio locations at the Ivan Tors Studios in Miami,Florida. Strong production values were presented in some of the action and breathtaking adventure along with the versatile and dominate musical score from composer Leonard Rosenman. Since this short-lived series only lasted one season,the producers didn't allow this series very much time to prove their rating base before the ax fell on this show,which happened when it went off the air in a whisper.
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