The Immortal starred Christopher George as Ben Richards As a test car driver that was virtually immortal. Forty-three, he could pass for thirty, had never been sick a day in his life, and any sort of wound he incurred healed abnormally fast. Despite all that, he’d sailed through life unnoticed until his boss, aging billionaire Jordan Braddock(Barry Sullivan), is injured in a plane crash, accelerating an already falling apart body. A blood transfusion, Ben Richards’, takes twenty years away from his aged self. Braddock’s doctor(Raymond Massey) is interested in the healing properties of Ben’s O – blood. Refusing to take it easy, quit his dangerous job, and be taken care of, Braddock kidnaps him “for his own protection” and installs him in a bomb shelter. He also starts a search for Ben’s brother, not seen since they were kids, on the chance his blood may be the same. Braddock’s long range plans are to save the best minds, i.e. the rich, for the betterment of mankind. Yea, right.
Jessica Walter is Braddock’s trophy wife, Janet, who’s waiting for him to die so that a twenty-five million dollar trust fund would revert to her, doesn’t like how things are proceeding, and smuggles a gun in on the lunch cart, concealing a foil wrapped note in his pea soup. He uses it to make his escape and goes into hiding.
Carol Lynley is Ben’s girl friend Sylvia Cartwright. They continue to talk on the phone on the sly, but Ben refuses to meet her, knowing Braddock will be having her watched. They must wait until the billionaire dies. In a moment of weakness, she keeps telling him no one is spying on her, they decide to get together.
We know how that goes.
A rooftop confrontation, where Ben threatens to jump if they don’t leave, get Sylvia shot as the police are arriving. Dying, Ben makes the decision to give her a pint of his blood. Her life is saved. But not for long.
Ben goes on the run again. Another doctor knows and is asking questions. Mrs. Braddock knows. Braddock’s head thug, Fletcher(Don Knight), knows and is threatening to go after Ben on his own, selling him to the highest bidder.
The pilot was in 1969. When the series was green-lighted in 1971, Braddock was dead and a new billionaire was after him. Arthur Maitland(David Brian) hires Fletcher to find Ben.
It lasted sixteen episodes and was a Fugitive-type show, with Ben helping folks while looking for his brother to warn him. on the subject of Sylvia. Ben had said goodbye to her at the end of the pilot knowing she’d never be safe as long as there was any contact between them. In an interview in Lynley I found, she said the network execs demanded she be brought back in the first episode.
So that her character could be killed off!
Network thinking was that he could never consort with other women in the series as long as Sylvia was alive. That would make him such a cad!
The pilot was based on the James Gunn novel THE IMMORTALS, though that was about all they took from the book. Gunn did the novelization of the pilot script as well.