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A MAN CALLED SLOANE

man_called_sloane_mv_dr2000 man_called_sloane_tv_amcs
 
Full Name: Thomas R. Sloane III
Nationality: American
Organization: The UNIT
Occupation Freelance Agent

Creator: Cliff Gould
Time Span: 1979 - 1981

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Thomas R. Sloane III, aka a Man Called Sloane, is a freelance agent with the UNIT.
       First, the UNIT is a secret organization which is part of the American Intelligence community. It is run by a man we only know of as the Director and, according to him, orders for the UNIT come directly from the President and only he can authorize the UNIT to take action. [Note: I have seen the name displayed as an acronym, U.N.I.T., but I have seen no breakdown for that and no evidence one way or another.]
       The UNIT has its headquarters in, apparently Los Angeles, using as its front an ordinary-looking store called "The Toy Boutique". The insides show it is in fact a toy store. However, if a visitor were to go to the fuse box on a wall, flip the top level to the down position which slides that panel down revealing an electrical id device using voice recognition. With an authorized name, a door opens allowing access a series of offices, including that of the Director.
       The Director has a staff, of course, but his key source of information and analysis is "Effie". We never actually meet her, only hearing her voice throughout the headquarters, but we are told she is a "EFI series 3000 multi-function computer", occupying 27 square feet and weighing 6 1/2 tons (this was 1979). According to the Director, the very alluring voice comes thanks to the efforts of Sloane, though how is not mentioned.
       While the UNIT is empowered to go after any enemy of the country ordered by the President, it has a rival group, a nemesis organization, named KARTEL. [Note: again I have seen this spelled as an acronym, K.A.R.T.E.L.] Exactly who makes up this criminal organization is not known, just that they are bad guys doing bad things.
       
       Sloane is described by other sources as being a freelance agent. This likely derives from his having, in the pilot adventure we have of him, running his own business, an art and antique business, and taking on missions for the UNIT 'on the side'. In the subsequent adventures, I did not see any reference to this business but I could have missed it.
       Sloane is a very good looking man of around 40 years of age. He is in terrific shape and not in the least afraid to mix it up with a bad guy or two and his fighting skills good enough to come out on top. He is also fit enough, and handsome enough, to consistently attract the attention of virtually every female he comes in contact with, including the artificial intelligence named Effie. We do not see a lot of Sloane in his off-time but when we do, he is not alone.
       Sloane has a nice assortment of really cool gadgets at his disposal, including a mega-tricked up two-seater sports car which has a water spray cannon in the back capable of unleashing an impressive amount of water (no idea where the tank is).

       In the pilot adventure Sloane has to go up against a KARTEL exec who has as his lead henchman an impressively tall black man named Torque who has a steel right-hand with a nice set of changeable tools. He is darned good at being a bad guy but he, unfortunately for him, met his end when he had a final run-in with Sloane who turned his steel hand against him and tossed him out a window to fall 1,000 feet. When the remaining adventures start up, Torque is very much alive and is obviously a very close friend to and ally of Sloane. Not sure what happened during that plunge but it was obviously traumatic.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:1981
Last Appearance:1981

       The sole movie that exists on this character came out as a tv-movie two years after the television show went off the air. It was actually the original pilot, made to interest a network into scheduling the show as a series. NBC agreed to pick it up but according to legend, the head of the network, Fred Silverman, was not happy with the lead and gave the cry, "Get Conrad".

       The Director of the UNIT in the movie/pilot was the same as in the actual series. The location for the Director's office changed, though, from being a well-disguised ranch in ?New Mexico? to being a well-disguised toy store in ?Los Angeles?.

       The right-hand henchman for the bad guy is a tall black man with a steel right hand capable of being turned into a cool variety of tools/weapons. The name of this minion was Torque and he was played superbly by Ji-Tu Cumbuka. He was so interesting that when the series was green-lit, his character was shifted from being on the bad team to being a close friend and colleague of Thomas Sloane on the good team.


1 Death Ray 2000 Death Ray 2000
Director: Lee H. Katzin
Writer: Cliff Gould
Actors: Robert Logan as Thomas Sloane, Dan O'Herlihy as The Director, Penelope Windust as Miss Blessing, Ann Turkel as Sabina Dorffmann, Ji-Tu Cumbuka as Torque, Michele Carey as Effie, Clive Revill as Erik Clawson
Released: 1981

A scientist at the Gideon Peak Observatory has created a weather-controlling machine, working by removing moisture from a target area. An agent from KARTEL sees a great weapon when he sees it so he hires a female gang, dressed as nuns, to steal it. He uses it on them as a test and to remove witnesses. Thomas Sloane is pulled in to find the weapon and get it back.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:1
First Appearance:1979
Last Appearance:1979
Network:NBC

REGULAR CAST
Robert ConradThomas R. Sloane [ 1 ]
Dan O'HerlihyThe Director [ 1 ]
Ji-Tu CumbukaTorque [ 1 ]
Michele CaryVoice of Effie [ 1 ]
1 Night of the Wizard
Episode 1-01, first aired 09/22/1979
Director: Alan J. Levi
Writer: Peter Allan Fields

Five female androids powered by radioactive plutonium are on a rampage of terror which Thomas Sloane is asked to stop.

2 The Seduction Squad
Episode 1-02, first aired 09/29/1979
Director: Michael Preece
Writer: Stephen Kandel

Sabotage at several government facilities are being committed by loyal people working there. Thomas Sloane and Torque are asked to find why and stop it from continuing.

3 Tuned for Destruction
Episode 1-03, first aired 10/06/1979
Director: Elizabeth Lindberg
Writer: Dick Nelson

A rogue American general is planning to launch an attack on a third-world nation unless Thomas Sloane can stop him.

4 Masquerade of Terror
Episode 1-04, first aired 10/13/1979
Director: Michael Preece
Writer: B.W. Sandefur

A KARTEL agent, a master of disguise who Sloane put behind bars, is told to steal a powerful weapon. The man has another goal in mind - killing his girl friend and getting even with Sloane.

5 Demon's Triangle
Episode 1-05, first aired 10/20/1979
Director: Michael Preece
Writer: Jimmy Sangster

A modern day pirate forces a plane to land. On board are defense secrets that the man wants his hands on. Thomas Sloane is hired to find him and getting them back.

6 The Venus Microbe
Episode 1-06, first aired 10/27/1979
Director: Winrich Kolbe
Writers: Marc Brandel , Peter Allan Fields , Jack V. Fogarty , Gerald Sanford

Scientists are studying a deadly microbe found on a probe returning from Venus. One of them steals it and Sloane is sent to get it back.

7 Collision Course
Episode 1-07, first aired 11/17/1979
Directors: Elizabeth Lindberg, Ray Austin
Writer: Stephen Kandel

The murder of a man at an observatory is the first step in a plot to crash a comet into the planet.

8 Samurai
Episode 1-08, first aired 11/24/1979
Director: Elizabeth Lindberg
Writer: Dick Nelson

A foreign President visiting America has been receiving threats demanding his retirement. Sloane, brought in to protect him, is certain KARTEL is behind it.

9 Sweethearts of Disaster
Episode 1-09, first aired 12/01/1979
Director: Jack Starrett
Writers: Pat Dunlop, Rich Meyer

Thomas Sloane is sent to observe the testing of a new laser. When shortly thereafter the laser is stolen by a woman, his new job is to track her down and get it back. He choses to use Torque to pretend to be a buyer.

10 Lady Bug
Episode 1-10, first aired 12/08/1979
Director: Michael Preece
Writer: Jack V. Fogarty

A KARTEL agent is going to use a strain of killer locusts to destroy America's wheat crop unless Thomas Sloane can stop him.

11 Architect of Evil
Episode 1-11, first aired 12/15/1979
Director: Lewis Teague
Writer: Don Ingalls

An agent for KARTEL named Pendergrast has a blue crystal he is planning to use on a new plot. Then a cat burglar steals the crystal thinking it a valuable gem. Now both Pendergrast and Thomas Sloane hunt for the thief.

12 The Shangri-La Syndrome
Episode 1-12, first aired 12/22/1979
Director: Robert Conrad
Writer: Patrick Mathews

The formula for a hormone that is useful in either cloning or in causing rapid aging has gone missing. Thomas Sloane is hired to get it back.

MY COMMENTS

       I do not remember this series first airing because I was serving overseas at the time. I saw the movie on a late show a few years later. I definitely remember the band of female thieves dressed as nuns. That is the sort of thing a guy like me remembers, especially when all the ladies (spoiler alert) pay the ultimate price for their bad deeds. I mean, who does that to nuns, even fake ones?
       YouTube has some of the series episodes so I was able to watch them for this write-up. I was not impressed today with them but then the quality of the image and sound is not exactly conducive to enjoyment. Still, I got to see them.
       The concept is fun. I loved the gimmicks and gadgets and I loved the heck out of Torque. I always have been a Robert Conrad fan so I loved him as Sloane although he did come across more than once as "I'm just here for the paycheck". Well, maybe the gorgeous women, too. I mean, I have no evidence my hero, Mr. Conrad, was any kind of playa but still to be able to be around so many lovely ladies... Well, that's part why he was my hero.
       If you have some time, check out this series. Do not expect much and you will not be disappointed.

GRADE

My Grade: B-

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