“The pilot and the first couple of two-hour movies were the thing that really cemented it as legitimate science fiction. … Then we sort of got off the rails a little bit.” — Patrick Duffy to Famous Monsters magazine
DALLAS and STEP BY STEP television star Patrick Duffy returns to his underwater roots with an all-new adventure in book form based on his first major prime-time TV show, THE MAN FROM ATLANTIS, to be published in June. He spoke exclusively to Famous Monsters of Filmland editor David Weiner.
From marathon underwater filming sessions in which he had to hold his breath for up to two minutes at a time to those revealing yellow swim trunks — and how they “neutralized” his gender details for television — the candid Duffy reflects on his classic ’70s show and also previews his new novel — with plans to write a trilogy — based on MAN FROM ATLANTIS.
Patrick Duffy’s full interview appears in the new issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland — on newsstands and digitally at Magzter.com on June 7, and available now for pre-order at CaptainCo.com. Here are excerpts:
ON HIS NEW ‘MAN FROM ATLANTIS’ BOOK, THE FIRST OF A PLANNED TRILOGY:
“[In the show] we hypothesized where [Mark Harris] was from and who he was, but it was better television to never zero in on it. … I decided I wanted to zero in on it in the first volume, and literally in the first 50 pages he’s off searching for the roots of his entire genetic history. … And we set the stage of the mythology of planet Earth, basically, of which Mark Harris is a small, but integral part of a much larger picture.”
ON SHOULDERING THE RESPONSIBILITY AS A FIRST-TIME NOVELIST:
“[I told the editor], ‘If this thing fails, I want it to be all my fault, because I’ll blame you if you help me and it fails.’ So I just stuck to my guns; made them live or die on whether I had written anything worthwhile or not. And we’ll see. … If this one doesn’t sell, that’ll be the end of it. But I’m happy. It made me satisfied. It completed my idea of what the character of Mark Harris was supposed to be initially.”
ON PUTTING ON “A CON JOB” TO WIN HIS ‘ATLANTIS’ AUDITION:
“I met with the network person and they looked at me and they told [MAN FROM ATLANTIS producer] Herb Solow later that I was not an eight o’clock hero, I was a ten o’clock hero, and this character needed to be an eight o’clock hero; an adventurer, not an intellectual. So Herb then put me on a rigorous campaign to gain weight and work out. … Fred Phillips, who did Spock’s ears and all that kind of stuff, was called in because he was going to do the makeup on the show, and he literally constructed me a foam-rubber body and taped it to my body. And we covered me in turtlenecks and navy shirts, and I walked back into the network about a month later with this new beefed-up, fake body and got the OK. The network said, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s looking really good.’ … So it was a con job. … And then I had to continue working out because we had about two months of prep before the show started. I gained about 35 pounds of muscle. And the rest is MAN FROM ATLANTIS history.”
ON THE DIMINISHING QUALITY OF HIS OWN SHOW:
“The pilot and the first couple of two-hour movies were the thing that really cemented it as legitimate science fiction. … Then we sort of got off the rails a little bit. … When we got into sort of BATMAN quality superhero [storylines and situations], it was fun to do because you got to do some crazy, silly stuff, but it didn’t seem to me to hold up to the promise of the pilot.”
DUFFY REMAINS GRATEFUL TO HIS FIRST OPPORTUNITY:
“I never disparaged that character or that show or any part of it. Everything that I’ve done since, how I got DALLAS, it came directly from ATLANTIS. That’s all part of the treasures of my heart, and I give it every due respect whenever I can.”
In the full interview with FM, Duffy also talks about the state of the show before getting cancelled, details his character’s makeup travails and physical obstacles, and touches on some of the show’s unmade merchandise, including the Kenner MAN FROM ATLANTIS action figure and Cetacean playset!
Other new interviews and exclusives in FM #286 include:
THE CONJURING 2: We were on the set of the scariest movie of the summer to get the story behind the story from stars Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Shannon Kook, and the producers.
STAR TREK BEYOND and TREK 50TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE: STAR TREK BEYOND star John Cho previews the third installment of the big-screen franchise as we pay tribute to the iconic show that started it all, including interviews with Nichelle Nichols and Rod Roddenberry.
GHOSTBUSTERS: Director Paul Feig defends his embattled reboot and reveals behind-the-scenes secrets.
VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER: The ’80s anime classic has been revamped for instant-gratification bingeing on Netflix, and the super-fan producers share their excitement.
ALIENS: Director James Cameron reflects on the making of his 1986 Sci-Fi master-sequel in this exclusive, in-depth interview with Famous Monsters.
THE OMEN: Legendary director Richard Donner looks back at his 1976 film and weighs in on the reported “OMEN Curse” exclusively for FM.
LOGAN’S RUN: Michael York and Jenny Agutter deliver a special tribute to their ’76 Sci-Fi classic in a unique exclusive.
DRAGONSLAYER: Director/cowriter Matthew Robbins and SFX master Phil Tippett detail how they created the most convincing dragon ever put on screen in 1981.
And much, much more!