Saturday, July 11, 2020

CORONET BLUE - "A Time To Be Born" (1967)

This evening's Lucky Seven Eleven Saturday Night Special might have an odd name, but is really a Scintillating piece of work. It's a TV series called "Coronet Blue," that was on for thirteen episodes in 1967, and yet another show brought to my attention by Lord Litter in Berlin. I don't know how he keeps doing it, but he somehow keeps finding me this stuff!

"Coronet Blue" was another show about a man trying to find out who he is and how he got here. The very first episode was titled "A Time To Be Born."

They say never look back, but sometimes you have no choice when you don't know what's in front of you!  Frank Converse is a fellow named Michael Alden whose life is about to be changed forever!

Michael is mixed up with the wrong people, and he's been called to have a meeting with the boss lady up on the top deck of this ocean liner. Bernice Massi is the evil woman in the shades known as Margaret. Bernice only has a handful of acting credits, and she was also a singer who appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

It's not explained, but Margaret's henchmen unceremoniously toss Michal Alden overboard, and by some miracle he manages to survive!

He washes up on shore, and is rescued, but the event has given him amnesia and now it's time for him to try and figure out who he is, and what happened. The only clear memory he has are the words "Coronet Blue."

He doesn't really know what his name is, so before he leaves the hospital to try and find his life, he chooses the name Michael Alden, which is a combination of the first name of his Doctor and the name of the institution he's been in, and the first thing on his list is to try and find out what the connection to the words "Coronet Blue" is.

So just like a few months ago when the only Corona most people knew about was a beer, a coronet is also a crown, and in this case, a thorny one!

The owner of the club called The Blue Coronet is very proud of his crown symbol and has it plastered everywhere.

It's all Michael can think about!

Michael then starts hanging out in this hip club called "The Searching i"

Joe Silver is Max Spier, the owner of the "The Searching i," and a guy Michael can turn to when he needs help in nine of the episodes. Joe Silver was born on September 28, the same day as me, only twenty-six years earlier. His career included stuff like the parasite flick "Shivers," and other wild films with one word titles like "Rabid," "Crash," and "Deathtrap."

Michael doesn't even realize yet that his every move is being watched!

Michael goes to the home of the owner of "The Blue Coronet," only to find that the owner is out of town in San Francisco, and there is a grand party going on in the house even though he's not there.

At the party Michael meets wild child and poor little rich girl Alix Frame. Alix was played by Susan Hampshire who was in "The Andromeda Breakthrough," the creepy "Night Must Fall," 
and was also featured in my "25 Reasons To Watch Olde Movies Part 6."
Alix still lives with her Father, and brings Michael home with her!

Alix's Dad Paul Frame is played by Donald Woods who was also in the classics "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms," "13 Ghosts," and so much more!

Paul Frame owns a boat dealership, and he gives Michael a job working in the showroom. It's here, while assisting a customer from Argentina, that Michael discovers that he's fluent in Spanish!

Michael is slowly putting small pieces of his life back together!
After this series was over, Frank Converse went on to be in 49 episodes of "N.Y.P.D." as Detective Johnny Corso, and spent the next 43 years constantly working on TV. Frank finally stopped working in 2012, and is now 82 years old!

It's a troubled relationship, but Michael and Alix are falling in love!

The party's over when this ass who has been tailing Michael takes a potshot at him, but shoots and kills Alix instead!

"Coronet Blue" is without a doubt, a different kind of show with a swinging soundtrack, and I had to check a couple of times to make sure it was made in the U.S. and not Britain. It also looks like film and not video, and is really unlike any other show I've seen lately, and if you don't believe me, then you can check it out for yourself at the always dependable Internet Archive!


James M. Tate said...

this made me fall in love with Susan Hampshire. so much so I bought The Pallisers which was her BBC miniseries shot on video which I don't like but I watched every melodramatic minute just to catch her.

Tom Moody said...

This show was another brainchild of conceptmeister Larry Cohen, who came up with Branded and The Invaders (for TV) and then went on to direct It's Alive, God Told Me To, Q, The Winged Serpent, and The Stuff. The only thing I remember about this show from my childhood is the little 4-note musical hook that coincides with the syllables Co-ro-net Blue, repeated throughout the soundtrack. As for looking like film, the cinematographer was Andrew Laszlo (The Warriors, Southern Comfort, etc). Amazing that this turned up on the Internet Archive, thanks for the link.

EEGAH!! said...

Thanks for the comments, and thanks for all the added info Tom! Good stuff!!

Secret Squirrel said...

That swinging theme song and Susan Hampshire... what more could you ask for?

I love this show and saw it when it first aired here in Australia early 1968. It was never repeated on TV here and for decades I would ask everyone I knew if they remembered it... no one ever did. It became available on DVD a few years back and I purchased it immediately.

Spoiler alert... for anyone questioning what it was all about. In the early 2000's I read an interview with the creator. He said the idea was that Michael was really a Soviet agent working in the U.S. for a spy ring called "Coronet Blue" who decided to defect to the U.S. and had to be killed off by his handlers, but they bungled it.


Paul from Oz

EEGAH!! said...

Awesome info Paul! Thanks!!

Tom Moody said...

And that's why Michael Alden can quote Yevgeny Yevtushenko's poetry from memory!

KD said...

I wish I had asked Larry Cohen about this show when I was working on the set of Wicked Stepmother (filmed in 1988, in theaters in 1989), but when I had a chance at lunch one day, I asked about THE INVADERS (priorities, after all)!

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