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Monday, October 02, 2017

Cornet Blue

Last weekend, I finished watching one-season wonder Coronet Blue, a short-lived 1967 television series about a man who survives a murder attempt and awakens an amnesiac, remembering only the words "Coronet Blue." While the premise is great, the episodes themselves are a bit underwhelming; "Michael Alden" (the name taken by the main character) makes a coffee shop his home base, and his adventures are funded, for no good reason, by the coffee shop owner he meets in the pilot episode. I guess he just feels sorry for the guy? Michael spends thirteen  episodes dodging the occasional assassin and halfheartedly pursuing leads to "Coronet Blue," whatever that might be.

Years later, series creator Larry Cohen revealed it was the name of a Soviet spy ring; "Michael Alden" was set to defect to the United States when his buddies tried to kill him. Cohen is better known for the much more successful The Invaders, the It's Alive movies, and the infamous God Told Me To and Q: The Winged Serpent, among other cult genre oddities. I was expecting more from a Cohen creation, but compared to his other work Coronet Blue is pretty pedestrian. (To be fair, according to an interview with Cohen included as an extra on the DVD set, he didn't have much to do with the show's actual production.)

Catchy theme song, though! 


Jeff Shyluk said...

What an interesting find! I've never heard of this show. The teaser looks and sounds really cool, and what an intriguing premise! Up to a point, you tell us.

Have you ever watched the American version of "Life On Mars?" Coronet Blue sort of reminds me of that. I haven't seen the British version, which is said to be a lot better. The American version has a blockbuster cast, truly detailed musical and visual direction, spot-on set design, and scripts that are so hopelessly banal that I couldn't make it past the fourth or fifth episode. Still, a great concept: a cop gets hit by a car and suffers amnesia, but he's also convinced that he's time-travelled back forty years. He ends up working cases back then that parallel the case he was working on before he suffered his trauma. The show (supposedly) makes it ambiguous whether the cop is hallucinating or really back in time.

I like the word "pedestrian" you used. Life On Mars would be what pedestrians consider pedestrian. I wonder how that compared to Coronet Blue?

Earl J. Woods said...

I've seen the British version of Life on Mars, as well as its sequel series, Ashes to Ashes. Life on Mars does a far better job with a cool premise than Coronet Blue, but in the end the outcome is a little predictable, through no fault of the showrunners; with a setup of this sort, there are really only two or three possible outcomes, unless there's a genius out there who can come up with something really new and mindblowing - not me, I'm afraid. I haven't seen the American version of Life on Mars; given your review, I'm genuinely torn about whether to bother or not.

Jeff Shyluk said...

If you can get past the Whoopi Goldberg episode, you're made of sterner stuff than me.