Nowhere Man/UPN/1995-96 (Brainwashing / Manipulated Memory)
Thomas Veil (Bruce Greenwood), a photojournalist whose identity has been “erased.” His wife and friends claim not to know him, his credit cards no longer work.]
Thomas believes all that is happening is due to photograph called the “Hidden Agenda” that captured the execution of four men in South America by American soldiers.
To resolve his situation, Thomas searches for the negatives of the image that might somehow shed light on his dilemma. But following right behind are members of a mysterious organization who want to negatives for themselves.
After 25 episodes of crisscrossing the country in search of the negatives, Tom discovers the “Hidden Agenda” photo does not exist. They were part of an FBI brainwashing program that implanted the fictional identity of Thomas Veil into his mind. Thomas (his real name never revealed) was part of an FBI training exercise. Shades of BOURNE IDENTITY and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.
Coronet Blue/CBS/1967 (Amnesia)
Michael Alden (Frank Converse), a man suffering from amnesia who was fished out of the East River on the mystery adventure CORONET BLUE/CBS/1967). The only thing that he remembered was the phrase “Coronet Blue.”
The series was not renewed after it filled as the summer replacement for THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW/CBS/ABC/1967-79, so the viewers never discovered what the cryptic phrase “coronet blue” really meant. Frank Converse resurfaced on the crime drama NYPD the following fall season.
Theme Song Lyrics
Coronet Blue… Coronet Blue…
Deep down inside my brain I keep hearing that wild refrain.
Coronet Blue… No other clue…
I know that this must be the key that can set me free.
For I was born just yesterday lonely as a misty river
Always a’ moving like the river. If I linger I will die…
And so I go my lonely way every journey filled with danger
Even to myself a stranger. Wonderin’ who am I?
Note: Years later, writer and creator of the series Larry Cohen revealed the secret to the “Coronet Blue” mystery in his 1996 biography, “The Radical Allegories of an Independent Filmmaker.”
“The actual secret is that Converse was not really an American at all. He was a Russian who had been trained to appear like an American and was sent to the U.S. as a spy. He belonged to a spy unit called ‘Coronet Blue.’ He decided to defect, so the Russians tried to kill him before he can give away the identities of the other Soviet agents. And nobody can really identify him because he doesn’t exist as an American. Coronet Blue was actually an outgrowth of ‘The Traitor’ episode of THE DEFENDERS.” (that aired February 16, 1963)
The Lazarus Man/UPN/1996-1997 (Amnesia)
The Lazarus Man (Robert Urich), a man buried in a shallow grave in San Sebastian, Texas who awoke dressed in a Confederate uniform with only a US Army revolver in his possession.
With no memory of who he was, the man took the name Lazarus after the biblical character who also rose from the dead.
While waiting for his memory to return, Lazarus interacted with a variety of people during his quest, including:
- Investigating threats against the troops under the command of General George Armstrong Custer.
- Facing down gunfighters who believed Lazarus had nine lives.
- Revealing the truth of the murder of a newly rich prospector.
- Partnering with a Civil War veteran turned bounty hunter.
- Being accused of stealing a mining payroll from a stagecoach.
- Protecting pacifist farmers from hostile cattlemen.
- Fending off enemies from his past like an eccentric card shark with a grudge, and a Federal Agent who wanted Lazarus dead.
Little by little, bits and pieces of memory surfaced in Lazarus’ mind – memories relating to a man with a derby hat and Ford’s Theater where President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated.
“Something has happened to me which I do not understand. All I know for certain is I am alive. How I got here? Who I am? I do not know, but I must’ve seen or done something, something terrible to be buried alive, to be left for dead. I can remember nothing of my life, my friends or my enemies but the key to my identity lies somewhere out there. I will search until I find the man I was…and hope to be again.” — The Lazarus Man
Finally, in an effort to discover the full truth behind his predicament, Lazarus underwent hypnosis. The session jogged his memory and he recalled that he was Captain James Cathcart, an Army intelligence officer who had been ordered away from his post as bodyguard to the President by Union Major Gafney (Wayne Grace), a traitor and the man responsible for leaving Cathcart for dead when he attempted to stop the assassination plot.
The derby wearing Major later abducted Cathcart’s wife, Claire (Isabelle Townsend) and used her for bait to lure Cathcart to his doom. But Cathcart managed to kill the Major, but in doing so, he lost his wife to a stray bullet shot by one of the Major’s men and his son and daughter to other members of the conspiracy. The last we saw of Cathcart, he was searching for his kidnapped children.
Note: The term “Lazarus” refers to the biblical character Lazarus (John 11:1-44 ) who allegedly had died and was then miraculously raised from the dead by a prophet named Jesus. Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.
The series LAZARUS MAN ran 26 episodes. There was no second season due to Urich’s bout with synovial cancer which took his life a few years later. Robert Urich died 04/16/2002. See also – “The Man Called Shenandoah”
A Man Called Shenandoah/ABC/1965-66 (Amnesia)
Shenandoah (Robert Horton), a survivor of a shooting found near-dead on the prairie. The man was hauled to a nearby town by buffalo hunters and nursed back to health by a saloon girl named Kate (Beverly Garland).
When the man realized he had amnesia, a doctor suggested he call himself Shenandoah (which means “land of silence”) and so the man adopts the name and wanders the frontier in search of his identity. Ironically, before leaving town, Shenandoah is forced into a gunfight and kills the one person who could have told him who he is.
Beginning his quest on a newly-purchased horse, Shenandoah is accused of killing the horse’s former owner. Found innocent of the horse theft charges, Shenandoah continues his journey to an Army outpost where he seeks a sergeant who supposedly recognized his image on a photograph, but again our lonely wanderer has a run of bad luck when he is accused as an accomplice in the sergeant’s treason charge.
Freed from the fort, Shenandoah is again falsely accused, this time of murder, and the only witness to the crime is a little girl who is so traumatized that she can’t speak. Eventually, the girl identifies the real killer and Shenandoah is off again.
Down the road a piece Shenandoah meets a man who recognizes him from the war. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, the bad news is that Shenandoah allegedly killed the man’s brother.
After resolving his last predicament, Shenandoah continues his trek to self discovering. Along the way he is:
- Waiting at a stagecoach station for a judge who may have a clue to his identity.
- Privy to a safe deposit box that leads Shenandoah to a town, a treasure map, and a former partner who once tried to kill him.
- Identified by a bank robber who then tries to kill him.
- Believed to be the long-lost brother of rancher Julia Riley.
- Accused of killing the founder of Eldridgeville, Louisiana four years earlier.
- Thought to be the long-lost son of a dying cattle baron.
- Searching for a clown who flees the circus tent when he spots Shenandoah in the audience.
- Thought to be the former boyfriend of the wife of an aging and jealous rancher.
- Identified – via a photograph – as being Lt. Neal Henderson, an Army deserter who ran off during an Indian attack.
Finally, in an effort to unravels his past history, Shenandoah seeks help from a psychiatrist who extracts that Shenandoah was a Lieutenant in the Union Army (formerly from Fort Todd) operating on the western frontier with the Second Regiment at Fort Smith…and that is all we learn about The Man Called Shenandoah. (The series ended after 34 episodes and we never learned who shot Shenandoah).
Theme Song Lyrics “Oh Shenandoah”
(Sung by Robert Horton)
You’re doomed to wander
On beyond this land so lonely
You’re doomed to wander
So roam in search of home
Across this land so lonely
Been ridin’ hard
Since dawns a breakin’
Cross this barren land so lonely
I’ll end my roaming
My name, I’ll learn my name
Before the days a going
The man I thought they would bury
Deep within this land so lonely
Oh Shenandoah you’re doomed to wander
So roam in search of home
Cross this land so lonely
Note: In the 1990s, actor Robert Urich starred in a similar western called LAZARUS MAN/UPN/1996-97 about a man who roamed the western frontier trying to piece together his past, a past possibly linked to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.