There have been many attempts to translate comic strips and comic books to other media formats in the past. The Phantom, the newspaper strip created by Lee Falk, has had numerous comic book adaptations, novels, a serial, his own cartoon and a spot with other King Features heroes, and a rather questionable made for TV movie. He almost had his own TV series in the 1960s, which is what brings us here tonight.
“No Escape” is the pilot for a Phantom TV series, made in 1961. I will tell you right now that after watching it you will know why it was never picked up for a series. It’s not very interesting, and has way too much of Kit Walker without any kind of mask. Even The Lone Ranger never shows us a face when he’s undercover, as the Ranger uses disguises. In the comics seeing the face of the Phantom is usually a big no-no, especially if you value breathing. Also, while this website shows evidence of a color version of this pilot all I could find was a black-and-white version that is still better than the washed-out two video airing on that site. I do like the logo and the outfit. Former stuntman Roger Creed portrays the Ghost Who Walks and the pilot also features Lon Chaney Jr, known for playing monsters and mobsters, as the foreman and Richard Kiel, Jaws himself for James Bond fans, as Big Mike.
Our hero learns of a plantation somewhere in Bangalla run by a Mrs. Harris, where the workers are kept prisoner and covered in bait to draw the guard panthers…which somehow only works away from camp? A lot doesn’t make sense and it could be the lack of sleep last night but I had trouble focusing on this thing. I’d say “enjoy” but honestly I’m only posting this for the trivia and curiosity. Who knows, maybe you WILL enjoy it.