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|The Immortal (1970, ABC)|
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THE PREMISE: Ben Richards is a man with a good job and a girl that he loves. By all accounts he is just like anyone else. His life is turned upside down when his employer, a dying billionaire named Jordan Braddock, gets a transfusion from Ben after a plane crash. Things mysteriously begin happening to the old man: his ailments disappear, he gets stronger, and he gets younger. The doctor treating Braddock does tests and can only conclude one thing: Ben Richards has unique qualities in his blood that makes him immune to everything, including the aging process. The doctor's conclusion: "You're practically immortal."
Ben has a big heart and wants to help people. He desperately wants to have his blood studied so all of mankind can benefit from the miraculous antibodies in his O negative blood. However, there is a problem: the billionaires after him (first Braddock then, after Braddock dies another man by the name of Arthur Maitland) don't want to share that information with the world. Instead, they want Ben locked away to be a personal fountain of youth, since the tranfusion immediately gives the recipient all the benefits of Ben's blood -- but only temporarily.
Imprisoned by Braddock, Ben escapes and is forced to go on the run, leaving behind his girlfriend and his job in order to stay out of the clutches of the rich men who chase him.
There is another complication: Ben was adopted, so he does not know his biologic parents. He does know, however, that he has a brother named Jason. The two grew up in an orphanage and were adopted by separate families, so Ben has no idea where Jason is; or, more importantly, if Jason has the same unique qualities in his blood. The people who want Ben also know about Jason, and the race is on to see who can locate him first.
Ben is just one man, living off the land, doing odd jobs when he can find work. The men who hunt after him, led by a man named Fletcher, have unlimited funds and resources as they hunt for Ben and try to get to Jason first.
Ben Richards never thought about not ever getting sick or looking like a man in his mid-20s even though he was 43. He wants to help people, and is more than happy to share his life-saving blood with strangers he encounters along the way. What he does not want is the prison that awaits him should Maitland's "human hounds" successfully capture him.
D. Fletcher is the leader of the men who hunt for Ben. He is free with the billionaire's funds (which Maitland has no objection to, as long as the goal of capturing Ben is achieved) and looks forward to the day when he "will become a very wealthy man" once he turns Ben over to Maitland's clutches. Fletcher is totally ruthless and heartless: anyone who gets in his way will pay the price. He thinks nothing of intimidation, or even allowing innocent bystanders to be injured, in order to get at his target.
THE LEGACY OF THE SHOW:
The Immortal survived only 16 episodes -- a "movie of the week" pilot and 15 weekly episodes -- before being cancelled in 1971. In spite of this, the show is remembered fondly. Thanks to the Sci-Fi Channel's airing the series, a new generation of fans became aware of this unique drama.
|> Airing History & Information|
|Last Airing||Jan 01, 1971|
|Premiere||September 24, 1970|
|Format/Time||Color / 60 Minutes|
|Upcoming Airs||Not currently airing|
Arthur Maitland (1970-1971)
Christopher George.... Ben Richards (1970-1971)
Don Knight.... Fletcher (1970-1971)
Carol Lynley.... Sylvia Cartwright (1970-1971)
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