What Happened To Patrick Duffy's 'Aquaman'-Like Kenner Action Figure?

Dec 17, 2018

Jason Momoa's Aquaman, opening Friday, Dec. 21, reminds me of Patrick Duffy's similar  Man From Atlantis on NBC more than 30 years ago, the first TV series for the future Dallas star.

Duffy played Mark Harris, the lone survivor of the legendary sunken continent of Atlantis. He could breathe underwater, swimming with his webbed hands.

One of the times I met Duffy at a CBS press party – it could have been a few months after his Bobby Ewing returned from the dead on Dallas in fall of 1986, after a one-year absence – he noticed "Cincinnati" on my press credentials and told me about visiting Cincinnati's Kenner Products in 1977.

'Man From Atlantis' aired on NBC from March 1977 to June 1978.
Credit Courtesy NBC

The toymaker held merchandising rights for Man From Atlantis, which premiered as a NBC movie on March 4, 1977. NBC aired four two-hour movies before it became a weekly series in fall of 1977.

Duffy said he came here to inspect Kenner's prototype for a Man From Atlantis action figure of himself. He told me that he often wondered what happened to the prototype.

NBC made only 13 one-hour episodes of Duffy's series. It was pulled from NBC's lineup in December, and canceled the next May. The final show was broadcast on June 6, 1978.

By that time, Duffy had a new gig: He debuted as Bobby in CBS' Dallas premiere on April 2, 1978. He played Bobby Ewing until the primetime soap ended on May 3, 1991.

In recent years, Duffy has returned to his amphibious roots. The actor published the first of three novels about Mark Harris in 2016, according to Martin Gram.

Gram's blog has a photo of the book cover: "Man From Atlantis, A Novel by Patrick Duffy, Star of the hit '70s TV show." Gram notes that unlike Jason Momoa's big-screen Aquaman, Duffy's Fisher did not "communicate with underwater life, nor can he send telepathic signals from his brain."

I wrote about Duffy's Man From Atlantis toy years ago, but never heard from past Kenner folks about the prototype. So I'll ask again: If you worked at Kenner – or knew someone who did – can you tell me more about the Man From Atlantis? Email me at johnkiese@yahoo.com.