7.3/10
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The Secret Empire 

In 19th century Wyoming, a U.S. marshal discovers a secret futuristic underground city run by a supervillain bent on conquering the surface. Originally aired as part of NBC's Cliffhangers TV series which featured three revolving serials.

Creator:

Kenneth Johnson
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1  
1979  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Geoffrey Scott ...  Marshal Jim Donner 12 episodes, 1979
Carlene Watkins ...  Millie Thomas / ... 12 episodes, 1979
Tiger Williams Tiger Williams ...  Billy / ... 6 episodes, 1979
Pamela Brull Pamela Brull ...  Maya / ... 6 episodes, 1979
Diane Markoff Diane Markoff ...  Princess Tara / ... 5 episodes, 1979
Sean Garrison ...  Yannuck 5 episodes, 1979
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Storyline

In this homage to the cliffhanger serials of the '30s and '40s, 19th Century Wild West Marshal Jim Donner stumbled upon a secret underground city known as Chimera while chasing a gang of robbers in Wyoming. Chimera is lorded over by an evil despot named Thorval. Donner teams up with the resistance rebels in their effort to overthrow Thorval's cruel reign, while simultaneously investigating the gold robberies on the surface. Originally aired as part of NBC's Cliffhangers TV series which featured three revolving serials including this one. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cliffhangers: The Secret Empire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This series was essentially a remake of the 1935 matinée serial, The Phantom Empire (1935), starring Gene Autry. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally broadcast as part of the series "Cliffhangers". See more »

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User Reviews

Pre-dated Raiders of the Lost Ark
16 November 2001 | by sgspiresSee all my reviews

This was a great escape for me as a teen in the late 70s. Although the mists of time may tempered this somewhat, but I remember the production values and scripts were of a higher quality than some TV shows at the same time (CHIPS and SuperTrain). Part of the Cliffhangers television show, The Secret Empire was kind of like The Wild Wild West meets The Fugitive and Star Wars. At the time it was novel to have each show end in a cliffhanger, ala Saturday serials. If I remember right, three shows, one about Susan Anton (Stop Susan Williams) and one about Dracula were given 20 minute segments in an hour long show. Each one ended in a cliffhanger and was resolved the next week.

It was the right mix of sex appeal (Susan Anton) science fiction (Lost Empire) and horror (Dracula), and it came about two years before Raiders of the Lost Ark made it to the silver screen. Too bad it hasn't made it to DVD/VHS yet. With the current "release anything" mentality perhaps this show will make it to tape/DVD soon.


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