Tuesday, July 25, 2017


As an accomplished actor, Patrick Duffy is best known today for his role in Dallas, Step by Step and The Man From Atlantis. What you may not have known is that Patrick Duffy is also an accomplished author. In 1977, NBC aired a series of four made-for-TV movies based on the science-fiction adventures of Mark Harris, supposedly a survivor from the lost city of Atlantis. After a violent storm at sea, the inert body of a man is found on the beach near the Naval Undersea Center. Equipped with webbed hands and gills instead of lungs, he can breathe underwater, swim faster than a dolphin and dive to depths of at least seven miles. He is nursed back o health by Dr. Elizabeth Merrill and given the name of Mark Harris. In return, Mark agrees to help the United States Navy recover a lost missing submarine carrying top military officials. This leads to a meeting of the minds with Mr. Schubert, a maniacal genius and mad scientist who plans to destroy the nations of the world with nuclear weapons. Mark foils the scheme, knowing Mr. Schubert (played by Victor Buono) will one day return, and chooses to remain on land to help Elizabeth with her projects.

Sometimes compared to Aquaman, Mark cannot communicate to underwater life, nor can he send telepathic signals from his brain. But those four made-for-TV movies are spectacular and come with my highest of recommendation. In late 1977, NBC commissioned a weekly hour-long program based on the character, and Victor Buono returned as Mr. Schubert, the arch nemesis. Regrettably, the hour-long series was dumbed down for children and was cancelled by the network after 13 episodes. 

About two years ago I heard through the grapevine that Patrick Duffy licensed the use of the character for a series of three novels. The first of those three was published by Permuted Press in the autumn of 2016. I finally had a chance to sit down and read the story, which takes place two decades after the events of the television program. Elizabeth is older and her admiration for Mark has started leaning toward love. But when the California oceanside laboratory is shaken up as a result of several attempts made on Mark's life, he sets out to learn the identity of the assailants. Turns out they have similar powers to his own and after chasing them through the uncharted depths of the ocean, finds himself in the lost city of Atlantis. Yes, Mark's origin is finally told and revealed. He is of royal blood. But to reveal more would be providing spoilers. 

Patrick Duffy will be a guest at this year's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. Not only will he be meeting and greeting fans, but signing autographs as well. Two hundred copies of his Man from Atlantis books will be available for sale at the event and having the author personalize the book is something you cannot get directly from Amazon or Permuted Press. If you can attend the convention this September, take advantage of this opportunity. But if you cannot attend the convention and want a signed copy, contact me through my website www.MartinGrams.com and I will make sure you get a personalized, autographed copy of the book. I do not mind doing this favor. I will even throw in a complimentary digital photo of the actor signing your book!

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