A television series aired by NBC
in 1976 and starring Ben Murphy
The 1970's saw a huge rise in personal use technology. The hand held calculator became a staple for every high school trig student and taught a generation how to spell "hELL" by reading 7734 upside down on the display. The advent of home video games began in the 70's showing us how really, really desperate we were for something on the TV besides Maude. VCRs appeared in homes allowing people to watch porn from the comfort of their own homes rather than going to seedy movie theaters. But one of the most wide spread technologies that saw its beginnings in the 70's (much to the chagrin of a certain industry in Switzerland) was digital watches. This technology was so widely accepted that reading a clock with a face and hands is almost a dying skill. Digital watches also played a major part in a short lived television series of the 1970's called The Gemini Man.
Sam Casey (played by character actor Ben Murphy), an agent of the super-secret think tank called INTERSECT, during an underwater mission is exposed to a massive dose of radiation when caught in an explosion. Rather than losing all of his hair and developing unsightly boils, Casey is rendered invisible by the exposure though the wet suit he is wearing at the time is not. Casey is understandably upset that he is no longer visible, but through the work of Dr. Abby Lawrence, he is once again rendered visible. The device that Dr. Lawrence created is shrunk down and put into a digital watch that Casey is fitted with. By pressing one of the buttons, Casey is able to become invisible, but only for 15 minutes a day, or he will be invisible FOREVER! Needless to say, Casey goes on being an agent and uses his invisibility to help on his mission with the 15 minute gag used to full dramatic effect. An older and more cynical look at the show immediately asks the question why Casey's clothes were also rendered invisible, an issue that was settled in the 1975 series The Invisible Man by actually having the main character strip off every time he wanted to go unseen.
The show was relatively forgettable though it did capture my imagination to a certain degree. I think one of the things that I found most appealing was that the character of Casey did what I would do if I suddenly had the ability to flip a switch and become invisible: in the pilot, once fitted with his new watch, Casy kept flipping it on and off quickly so that he "flickered." I immediately identified with the character after that.