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Coronet Blue

by Jim Beaty
The Coronet Blue Preservation Effort

Coronet Blue titleA man is dragged from the East River and remembers nothing of his past except two words: "Coronet Blue." Then, without warning, shadowy figures emerge and attempt to assassinate him with extreme prejudice. Who are they and why are they trying to kill him?

This was the premise of the 1967 television series Coronet Blue starring Frank Converse.

Filmed in 1965 and aired as a summer replacement on CBS in 1967, this series centered around the cryptic character Michael Alden, a man desperately searching for his mysterious past -- a past that can only be revealed by discovering the secret of Coronet Blue.

The series lasted for only 11 episodes with 2 episodes never broadcast during the initial run of the show. Much to the disappointment of viewers, the series ended abruptly in the fall of 1967 and the secret of Coronet Blue was never revealed. To this day, many people remember the show and still wonder what Coronet Blue meant.

FYI. We DO know that there was a secret to "Coronet Blue" that perhaps only Larry Cohen himself kept under wraps. Many people say this isn't the case - there was no secret. BUT, there really was a secret behind "Coronet Blue." The writers of the show were suppose to write episodes and pay no mind to what "Coronet Blue" really meant. However, it has been revealed by Cohen in his biography that there was an ultimate secret to the words "Coronet Blue." In other words, "Coronet Blue" did indeed mean something but was never revealed during the series run.

Naturally, we keep this info under wraps. However, those who venture out to the internet can find this. We are attempting every possible manner of getting an interview with Mr. Cohen to determine exactly who knew the ultimate secret. At this point, it appears that maybe it was only Cohen, because after interviewing Hal Schaffel's son, Kenny Morse, Kenny felt that NO ONE was privy to this information who worked on the show - not production staff, not crew, not actors, not writers. Hal was production manager and went on to manage production for "Midnight Cowboy," "Movin' On," and "Hawaii Five-O." Hal was a legend in TV/movies and was very highly respected! His good friends referred to him as a "mensch" (affectionate Yiddish term for an "honest/stand-up man.") The term is only given to people who truly deserve that honor.

Regarding DVD rights and possible DVD release--long story. Coronet Blue was developed by Herbert Brodkin's production company called Plautus Productions (from the name of the Roman playwright and where we get the term "plot" from (pronounced Plot-us).

Well, Herb died back in 1990 and all his work including "The Defenders" and "Coronet Blue" were tangled in litigation for many years. Paramount picked up the rights to Blue in 1993 and there they have been ever since-- languishing in vaults now owned by Viacom with Paramount as a subsidiary. Paramount has a GIGANTIC collection of classic shows that are just sitting in vaults. Since Viacom and Paramount came together, these holdings are probably the biggest in the world. We know this from lookups at the US Copyright office query site. They hold HUGE amounts of shows and movies. TV Land is only showing a grain of their holdings and most/all are already available on DVD.

"Coronet Blue" was partially rerun on TV Land back in 1997 (only a few episodes shown) and was shown in Australia! However, due to the timeliness of the show (it is a bit dated since it was shot in the '60s and the plots centered around 1960's themes) it is highly unlikely this show will ever see the light of day ever again - including DVD. There just does not seem to be a demographic market for this series. I'm in that market and I'm sure many more are, but DVDs are only struck if a "sure" Demographic is evident.

So, as of this writing, only 9 of the 13 episodes are in the hands of collectors mainly recorded from TV Land and Australian TV stationNBN.

The Library of Congress has all 13 episodes on station prints (16mm) but you must have permission from Paramount to get a copy. That will never happen. As you and I know, TV Land is now only showing TV shows that have been struck to DVD - and we highly suspect that it is because Viacom does not want shows NOT on DVD to be aired because of potential pirating (a theory, but a good one).

Another show by Larry Cohen, "The Invaders" has made its way to collectors via another oldies channel and is being sold (complete set). "The Man from Uncle" was shown in Britain on a defunct channel, G-Plus and complete sets are being sold of that series as well. These sets are very good quality. So there you go - perfect example and a possible reason TV Land airs very few shows NOT on DVD.

Coronet Blue photoAt this time, a group of individuals is searching for episodes of this series and need your help in finding them. We have scoured EBAY and individuals in other countries trying to find episodes and at this time we have reached the "end of the road" in terms of what we can do. Maybe someone who reads your site might help in turning up something.

If you have any information, please contact Jim Beaty at jwbeaty75002 @ yahoo.com. He and several individuals maintain a website dedicated to this cause at coronetbluecollective.com. Any information you might have concerning this show and the whereabouts of any episodes would be greatly appreciated by Jim and his colleagues.

Coronet Blue castIt is indeed a shame that these shows may never come back and we have taken it upon ourselves to "adopt" this show in the hopes it will return or will turn up in someone's collection (i.e. station prints, video tape, etc.). We have 9 of the 13 episodes - however, some episodes are in poor condition and others in excellent condition. We would like to find a consistent set of episodes if humanly possible.

We hope these shows will not waste away in an unnumbered warehouse somewhere on this planet. It's a race against time and time is winning.

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