Wednesday, May 25, 2022

This is "Fantastic"

Well, truly it depends on one's point of view. Few people in the U.S. felt it necessary to tune in to The Fantastic Journey when it debuted in 1977, thus it was toast by the time the ninth episode aired. Yet the show caught the imagination of various foreign audiences, who were quite upset when it ceased production after ten installments. (The premise involved a small band of random folks being transported across the space-time continuum and encountering various worlds.) I never once saw the dang thing, being 10 when it aired. We probably, like the rest of the nation, had The Waltons on instead. But recently a devoted diver of The Underworld pointed me in the direction of this relatively obscure show because of its costuming and so I just had to share some of that with the rest of you.

In all honesty, I'd been curious about this show and wishing to see at least one episode ever since I saw a photo of Joan Collins in costume from it many years ago. She guest-starred in the 8th installment and so that's where I began.

She played a female trapped in a world in which men reigned superior until... a few of her cohorts change it up and take over. If you don't know, Collins always did her own makeup, which explains how her iconic look was already in place well before Dynasty.

She did remove a substantial amount of it for a nighttime scene (a conceit that would soon disappear as the always-glitzy 1980s dawned.) Her skimpy gown really made my eyes pop until I realized that there was a flesh-tone insert sewn across the midsection.

Blessedly free of such measures were her fellow male costars in the ep. Here we find hirsute Paul Mantee, for whom I always had a soft spot ever since Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964.)

Even better, he and all the other men not only had their chests exposed, but also were garbed in clingy green trousers, which make quite an "impression!"

In the 5th episode, we find John Saxon (with cohort Morgan Paull on the right.) In what seemed to be a regular occurrence on the show, the men were garbed in very snug pants, this time of a glittering metallic fabric.

Pay no attention to that pointy red thing he has his hand on... Ha ha!

Seen here with Saxon's pants are series regulars Jared Martin, Katie Saylor, Roddy McDowall and guest Lenore Stevens.

It was really Paull, this time out, who tended to reveal the most with his impossibly tight pants.

He and the rest of the guards were shimmied into these form-fitting get-ups. God love '70s sci-fi!

In the 9th episode, we find Dale Robinette in a skin-tight jumpsuit.

This was almost Robinette's year as an actor, for he'd been pegged to costar in a Starsky & Hutch spinoff set to feature Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas, but it failed to be picked up. Now here we have another Designer Double-Dip! Recognize his jumpsuit at all? Turns out it had been worn in a prior sci-fi TV-movie pilot 3 years prior. 

None other than the aforementioned John Saxon headlined Planet Earth (1974), which was not picked up as a series!

I'm pretty sure Carole Demas' costume is also recycled from some other project, but I haven't been able to pinpoint that one.

Jumping back to the beginning for a moment, I just had to show you the way Martin first appeared in the pilot...! The original cast (which then included Scott Thomas, Susan Howard and Leif Erickson until they were written out to create a more unique collection of characters) first came upon Martin in skimpy Native American garb!

I should think it took a lot to live down this askew fright wig and that flimsy diaper-like confection he's sporting.

Martin was a handsome guy (many may recall him as Dusty Farlow on Dallas, who nearly won Sue Ellen away from J.R. Ewing), but his lean, hairless physique is the antithesis of what I'm typically drawn to. It was jarring to see him costumed this way for the initial part of the pilot.

"Do you like gladiator movies?"  "Ever seen a grown man naked?"

Not that he was ever a huge favorite of mine, but when it comes to chests, I'm more partial to ones like that of Jonathan Goldsmith. In episode 6, he played one of several practitioners of ritual human sacrifice. 

The costumes of the gentlemen involved in this are, once again, rather revealing!

Goldsmith (sometimes billed early on as Jonathan Lippe) does his part for the cause...

Years later, he would gain attention as the spokesman for Dos Equis beer, billed as "The most interesting man in the world." His pants are certainly interesting in this assignment.

See what I mean...??

We're about to wrap this up, but first I head to episode 3. You'll notice that it was filmed at the same distinctive location as the episode of Logan's Run I recently turned my attention to!

This is the ep which introduced McDowall as a sort of quasi-villain turned comrade. He's shown as the leader of a huge group of gold-clad inhabitants (who are later revealed to all be robots!) Seen with him here is guest star John David Carson.

Carson, along with all the other robots, is garbed in a super-revealing jumpsuit! When you take into account that McDowall's character is supposed to have created all of these beings, it really puts a whole new slant on things...!

Interestingly, some of the androids came with muffin tops, too?

It was fun to spot one actor making his screen debut here as a lifelike robot.

The blond gentleman in-between McDowall and Martin would soon become part of the sprawling cast of Eight is Enough as Susan's boyfriend. Later, he'd land on General Hospital and other TV shows and soaps.

It's blue-eyed, lantern-jawed Brian Patrick Clarke.

Clarke is not the only notable guest to appear on the show. Various eps include anyone from Mel Ferrar to Mary Frann. The final episode (not aired on schedule) alone had Richard Jaeckel, Lew Ayres, Nicholas Hammond, Gerald McRaney and soon-to-be Angel Cheryl Ladd!

Back to Carson, though. He is continuously shown walking towards the camera with his junk flopping all over the place.

It's no wonder Roddy signed on...! He had to be in hog heaven during this series' production.

Anatomically-correct synthetic son/manservant. I mean... everyone should have one!

Some eps are light on the bulging beefcake, but this one was by far the most pronounced in that regard. Which brings us to...

The End!


Gingerguy said...

Glorious costumes! I love that Roddy paired his gold lame with a leisure suit. Carole Demas is probably my favorite, it looks like a waitress uniform from The Jetsons. Brian Patrick Clarke so familiar. That's what I love about this blog, it's such a jolt to see people you remember but forgot about, if that makes any sense. The costuming is an odd mix of contemporary looking clothing mixed with disco futurism. Very sexy men in the leather outfits. That's the planet I would have wanted to visit

hsc said...

HA! I remember when this series was briefly on-- it was part of a sort of boom in prime-time TV programming in the late '70s with "sci-fi" and superhero series, nearly all of them really short-lived.

(There had been a previous boom like this around 1964, when you got shows like THE MUNSTERS, BEWITCHED and MY FAVORITE MARTIAN popular for a few years; the nationwide "Batmania" craze probably killed it all off by 1968.)

Anyway, when THE FANTASTIC JOURNEY aired I was in a science-fiction club at a university, and our meetings coincided with the show, so we put it on to snark at it. We called it THE MEDIOCRE SHUFFLE instead-- which says a lot more about us than the show itself.

As a result, I only vaguely remember having seen a bit of this, mostly Jared Martin and the kid actor-- Ike Eisenmann-- who I found really annoying for some reason. Plus, I seem to recall an article in a magazine talking about how the series shot in actual locations like a shopping mall or industrial park complex that had "futuristic" architecture. But that was about it.

So I'm absolutely flabbergasted to see all the beefcake you've framecapped here! I find it amazing that the show was probably running in the background and displaying all this, and I didn't even notice! (It was a small B/W portable TV, so maybe that helped make it less obvious.

Funny thing is, we would also watch THE INCREDIBLE HULK *only* during Lou Ferrigno's scenes-- the "hulk-outs" seemed to fall at a certain point in every episode, so we'd watch, then go back to what we were discussing.

I think the two shows may have been on opposite each other at this time, which was even weirder if we were also switching from one to the other!

Anyway, thanks for another great job capturing the best part of an obscure series! Love to all and be well and safe, everyone!

Huttonmy710 said...

Dale is my kind of man. He's a total hottie in episode 9. He has the face, hands, butt (I mean the way he turns to the window and his butt clenches/jiggles lol) and that bulge (was he wearing briefs at all I wonder?). I'm surprised no one pointed it out on set or even Dale for that matter in a mirror or wasn't he aware or he didn't care meaning he liked to show off). But thankfully it remains.

Joan Collins has remained sharp and stunning all these years and without question has had a long and varied career but really what is she remembered for but Dynasty. Despite appearing in films like The Virgin Queen and Island in the Sun she never succeeded in achieving a notable film career comparable to say Joan Crawford.

A said...

My gosh, I've never heard of this! how did I miss it?

I remember Johnathan Goldsmith. I had no idea he was "The most interesting man in the world".

John Saxon wore it better. Much better. Look at that chest; the yellow contrast line goes straight across on Saxon.

Robots!!! Why don't we have robots like that? It's 2022 for God's sake.

Thanks again, Poseidon, another great post!

Ptolemy1 said...

Holy Moley Poseidon you struck gold with this one. How have I never heard of so many of these shows, I was around and glued to televisions. This...thing is one delicious delight after another. The production seems so derivative, Mcdowell doing a Doctor Smith riff, serious Logan's Run vibes and all a sort of takeoff on Star Trek. And the costumes! Carl Franklin's entire ensemble is painted on. The aliens or futuristic beings or whatever they are, THEIR costumes could have gone directly from set to club with standing ovations when they walked onto the dance floor. And as you have so pointedly...pointed out, the bulges. Lord the bulges. Endless. I was particularly pleased to see John Saxon bulging all over creation. The entire series is on Youtube and good prints. For the life of me, watching the entire thing, I never knew what was going on. Not that it mattered, it was still a campy hoot fest for the eyes.

McDowall. I've always liked to think I would have made a good husband to Roddy, his love of the industry he was part of is so endearing. I think it's why he has such a small role in "The Poseidon Adventure". He just wanted to be part of what had to be the most talked about production in Hollywood. His Malibu house home movies on Youtube are a treasure trove of who's who being casual at the beach. From what I've read that town mourned his death greatly, and rightly so.

Bow down to Collins, I dare not say more, are we to speak openly of goddesses?

Dan said...

Isn’t it interesting how, in the future or on worlds yet unknown, all the women wear flowing, diaphanous gowns and all the men wear snug, very form fitting garments? Not complaining, mind you, just making an observation.
I wonder if the robots’ dressing left or right was some indication of their, uh, function? An interstellar version of the old bandanna code?
Lord, how I adore Paul Mantee. He broods so well.

mrripley said...

La Collins was so beautiful during the 90's and for my loose change leagues ahead of Raquel that decades sex bomb du jour.

I might wear the gold lame trousers for Halloween that John wore on the series.

There's a lot of bratwurst sausage action here and I can bearly take it,thanks a good laugh too,Hog Heaven indeed.

Shawny said...

What a strange show, quite a relic. Even the word 'fantastic' was more popular then and isn't used much anymore. The bulges are insane. Perhaps the producers were more intent in getting off than putting more quality into the writing. But TV sets weren't that good, and you couldn't see the detail we do now. So much was gotten away with back then. I saw an episode of The Incredible Hulk recently, and was shocked to catch glimpses of ropes and wires used to make objects fly when the hulk threw them. I watched that series as a kid and bought it, hook line and sinker. But I'm not sure I would have noticed the bulges either. So far I don't think I've ever seen a bulge on this sight that I noticed originally. I'm usually too caught up in the story. And I'm not trying to be righteous by any means, hell no, no siree.

Ptolemy1 said...

Ok so I have to post twice. STILL watching this. They should have just thrown caution to the wind and called it FABULOUS Journey. "That tingling sensation will diminish in a few seconds". Well, I've got news for Tarzan looking dude, it doesn't. The first episode is glaringly bulge less, I'm picturing a production meeting around a conference room table and someone gay says "You know, I'm thinking what this show needs is bulges". And so it was. I love me some Marj Dusay, who shows up in the gold lame bulge episode as Rachel. She had a great face. Favorite quote "If you ever mention the swamp again to anyone, ever again, I will take you A part". . Roddy ends up looking great in a black leather jacket and black turtleneck in this episode, Roddy could work a turtleneck. Episode 6, the temple of doom episode is a hoot for its use of tinfoil. There had to be a severe shortage. Gerald McRaney shows up in the last episode, alas, bulge-less. Cheryl Ladd is also in this episode, cashing a pay check phoning it in. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this. I so wish there had been other seasons. The tackiness, the scene stealing, the scenery chewing! Come for the overacting, STAY for the bulges! I cannot. So awesome. So grateful!

dickson said...

I especially like John David Carson and in other things he has don

josh said...

so weird i had never heard of this series - i always had a thing for PAUL MANTEE after seeing RCOM one wonderful saturday afternoon on tv when i was around 7 - JOHN SAXON was always so adorable - as are many of the various costars & extras - i do remember having a bit of a fleeting crush on BRIAN from his EIGHT IS ENOUGH days, but just on that one show alone, he had a lot of competition with GRANT GOODEVE & WILLIE AAMES both vying for my attention - oh 70's tv - as a little boy (as i was) if i could have had CLINT WALKER, PAUL BURKE, MICHAEL LANDON, GARY LOCKWOOD, JOHN SAXON & ROBERT CONRAD to my birthday party, mom or someone would have had to sedate me - LOL :)

josh said...

i've also been meaning to ask, just out of curiosity because i know you're excellent about knowing or recognizing TV & MOVIE extras (like you did/do on/for AIRPORT), besides RED BUTTONS, SHELLY WINTERS & JACK ALBERTSON, do you know who any of the other six actors/extras are in your HEADLINER photo? thanks! :)

Huttonmy710 said...

Wonder if you agree with this reviewer (reviewing 1980s Evil Under the Sun) at who isn't a fan of Roddy calling him at the 3:25 mark an 'Odd presence on screen.'

Huston said...

"Warning, warning! Bulge factor has been exceeded! Total meltdown will occur in T minus 30 seconds. Reduce bulge factor now!"
Wow, who designed these costumes, the bastard child of Joshua Logan, Adrian, Liberace and Edith Head rolled into one?
Hats off, Poseidon to bringing to light a forgotten, but obviously memorable, series that I will now seek out on YouTube!

hsc said...

"Wow, who designed these costumes, the bastard child of Joshua Logan, Adrian, Liberace and Edith Head rolled into one?"

STANDING OVATION for this comment!

Poseidon3 said...

GODDAMMIT! I did it again... responded to each of your wonderful comments, then didn't realize that the reply didn't post because it was too long, so I clicked out of the window and lost it. I only discovered this morning that my replies weren't here. So sorry.

Gingerguy, until I finally discover where I've seen that yellow getup of Demas' it will haunt me! I know it's been used before.

hsc, I loved reading about the sci-fi club. It brought back PTSD of having to watch the first season of "The Colbys" on a small, old black & white set at college, though! LOL

Huttonmy710, I *think* that Dale was wearing very light briefs under his jumpsuit, but don't know for sure. I can recall Collins lamenting that she arrived in Tinseltown just as the gilt was starting to wear off and that when she did get to work with strong directors (like Henry Hathaway and Henry King), they were not at the top of their games. But a 70-year screen career is nothing to sneeze at, certainly! Thanks.

A, for my money, Goldsmith got better looking with age. Better hair, too! We may have robots close to this as I type, but I'm betting they are female...! Ha!

Ptolemy1, I did find the show very derivative, too, as I was checking it out for this post. I didn't capture it, but Carl Franklin has a shirtless scene in one ep and was in good shape!

Dan, these tacky '70s shows spoiled me and caused me to have so little interest in more recent sci-fi in which pains are taken to protect the performers' modesty. Blecch! Ha ha ha!!! HILARIOUS about the "bandana code!"

Poseidon3 said...

Part II

mrripley, I daresay that if you compare Joan and Raquel NOW that Joan wins. Raq looked great a few years ago, but recently took a turn and it was not pretty. These costume provide not only the brats, but in many cases the buns, too! LOL Happy Oktoberfest.

Shawny, do you remember trying to watch aerial TV and having mom turn on the mixer or blender for a bit, which interfered with the reception, often at an inopportune moment? Or the horizontal hold going off, creating a rolling picture. Kids today don't know how we suffered. LOL (But there is "buffering" in some cases, to still torment.)

Ptolemy1, so happy that this post made you so delighted. Apparently this show had more than its share of behind the scenes agitation. Jared Martin and Katie Saylor had worked together previously and didn't hit it off then or in this. She fell by the 9th episode and was out, leaving the biz altogether. And Eisenmann had a prima donna attitude after the success of "Escape from Witch Mountain" and was only interested in associating with McDowall. But McDowall's tendency to steal scenes aggravated the others, too! So it was not great chemistry off-screen, which may have led to the lack of it on-screen amongst the already disparate cast.

dickson, I first discovered him in Ms. Collins' epic, "Empire of the Ants!" He also apparently had a thing with Rock Hudson during "Pretty Maids All in a Row." :-)

josh, we clearly go for the same type. I was obsessed as a kid with Grant Goodeve (and liked BPC, too), always wanting to see more of him on "EIE." Those were the days of yummy daddy sort of men on TV like Conrad. Tough and tan, yet somehow pretty, too!

Huttonmy710, I don't really connect with that reviewer. "EUTS" has a campy script and I felt that Diana and Roddy were behaving the way they were in that spirit. It wasn't a movie meant to inspire dread seriousness (like the sometimes very creepy "Murder on the orient Express.") Roddy was unusual, sort of half-in/half-out of the closet, and liked to add a slice of ham sometimes, but I always felt he was credible enough in "The Poseidon Adventure" considering the part.

Huston, HILARIOUS! I hope you enjoy the show.

wahgie said...

Hello Poseidon! I am so honored that you actually found my suggestion worthy of a post! I thought of you throughout watching the series as I knew you could dive deep into this show, not just for the bulges but also for the guest stars and the clearly recycled costumes! Haha! Cheers!!

wahgie said...

PS: In the pilot episode, the actor who played Ike Eisenman's dad was really hunky! I can't seem to find anything on him... would you know what became of him? The mouth to mouth resuscitation he gave to his son was very titillating to watch but I suppose inappropriate nonetheless. :-)

Poseidon3 said...

wahgie, thank YOU! I enjoyed digging around in the show. Wish I'd had the time to do even more on it. As for Scott Thomas, I thought he was good looking, too! The TV series "The Fantastic Journey" has the pilot divided in two and with all sorts of added footage. I actually saw the original telefilm long ago, without the added cast and footage, where Thomas was more featured, if I recall correctly. You may be able to find that unedited version someplace online (can't remember where I saw it!) But his main stab at success was just before this. He was pegged to star in a TV show called "The New Land" - based on the Max Von Sydow/Liv Ullman movie - as Bonnie Bedelia's husband and Kurt Russell's father, but it only survived for six episodes, in spite of publicity. If you go to eBay and search with this: "the new land" tv you can spy promo photos of him and even a local TV guide with a color photo of him with Bonnie on it... ;-)