"It's funny how things turned out. As a kid, I used to watch television, never dreaming I'd be on it someday. Now (in 1976) I'm on a successful television show ('Gemini Man'). As soon as I turn up on screen, I start doing a disappearing act," Ben Murphy, a native of Jonesboro, Arkansas remarked. It was reported Ben never considered a career in acting when he studied political science at the University of Illinois.
On 'Gemini Man', Ben played secret agent Sam Casey who worked for Intersect, a worldwide 'think-tank' designed to deal with high-level matters of national and international security. Sam became the Gemini man as a result of the after-effects of some underwater operation accident. The explosion exposed Sam to nuclear radiation which affected his body's cellular structure, leaving Sam with the power to make himself invisible. However Sam could stay invisible for only 15 minutes out of each 24 hours or the Gemini man would become disintegrated. For this, Sam used a remote-control timer he wore on his wrist.
"Life is so full of surprises. I wonder what's in store for me in the years to come?" Ben wondered. In 1983, Ben could be seen on the TV series, 'Lottery'. Born on March 6, Ben pointed out, "In real life, the Gemini man is a Pisces." 'Gemini Man' was an updated version of the 1975 TV show, 'The Invisible Man' starring David McCallum. After NBC canceled 'The Invisible Man', ratings of the 11 weekly episodes began to pick up. Research data convinced the network that the whole concept of 'The Invisible Man' had not been tried.
Leslie Stevens of 'The Outer Limits' found he couldn't change "an unworkable concept" (for 'The Invisible Man') but he could change the idea (to become 'Gemini Man'). When Leslie took over 'The Invisible Man', he noted, "David was presented as an intellectual scientist trapped in invisibility. It was like 'The Fugitive' – he was chased by everybody. It was an impossible concept to sustain.
"We found we didn't have a man of action to send out on missions. David wasn't equipped for it. He couldn't do the active things. And he had a wife who had to go along on the missions which made it a family affair." Of 'Gemini Man', "We were commanded from on high not to come up with another violent show. It had to be accepted as escapist adventure by young people and attempt to capture even the casual attention of adults.
"This time (August 1976) last year (in 1975) we didn't have one script for 'The Invisible Man'. Now for 'Gemini Man' we have 4 written, 3 due in and 20 separate good premises. The concept now works." It was mentioned, "As insurance, Universal Studio assigned Harve Bennett (of 'The Six Million Dollar Man' and 'The Bionic Woman') to oversee the new series."
Harve made known, "There are certain patterns in an adventure series that you vary at your peril. Frankly, we varied quite a few, and we paid the price. It was like a football team that builds its offense around the quarterback. We designed 'The Invisible Man' to show off what David does best. He is an intellectual actor. He reacts and articulates well. It was one of the greatest disappointments in my life that we couldn't build him into a top-banana action hero.
"But, essentially, David was a dry, egghead hero. He couldn't throw a punch. He couldn't chase a villain. And he couldn't take off his shirt. All of the things the American public likes in an action hero. So, now we have retailored the show around a different personality, and built a new offense. With Ben in the lead, 'Gemini Man' is an entirely new show."
Ben Murphy had been under contract with Universal since 1967. Harve continued, "He brings an energy level and a sense of humor that David didn't have. David was rather serious about the whole business of invisibility. But Ben is the sort who realizes that it might be fun to use it to get into the girls' dormitory every once in a while." Up against 'The Waltons' on CBS and 'Welcome Back, Kotter' and 'Barney Miller 'on ABC on Thursday nights, 'Gemini Man' lasted 10 episodes including the pilot. The last 6 episodes originally did not go on air.
Ben told the English press, "The series was meant to run originally for at least 20 or so episodes but after we'd done about 9 the company behind it all suddenly decided to pull out! As far as I knew the popularity ratings we're doing okay and I know you folks in Britain liked it well enough 'cause I got sacks of mail from y'all. I really enjoyed making that series you know, so I took it pretty hard when they told me it was all over. I felt really lost - y'know, like a part of me was missing. It took me quite a long time to get over it. I had to bury myself in other work to shake off the feeling that I was still the Gemini man!"
Ben confessed, "If I have one passion, it's tennis. I love acting but if you ask me what my real passion is, I'd have to say tennis. I try to play 3 hours a day, even in the hottest weather. When I was on 'Alias Smith and Jones', I used to be invited to a lot of celebrity tennis tournaments. Then I was always the worst celebrity. Now I am one of the best, but when you haven't been on a series for a while, they forget about you, and the invitations stop coming in. I wanted to get invited again. I decided I could get more invitations to celebrity tennis tournaments that way (by starring on 'Gemini Man')."
Ben went to a tennis camp on the island of Maul and played tennis reportedly as much as 25 to 30 sets a week. Ben was said worked his way up from a hacker to a solid club player to compete in the amateur-tournament circuit. He insisted, "I have come to realize that health and physical fitness are the most important things in life. Everything else fades into insignificance.
"I was never a jock. I was always too busy working to get ahead to take care of myself properly. The only way to keep from going crazy doing organized exercise is to set goals for yourself. Each day when I go out for my roadwork I say to myself, 'Today I'm going to do a real fast 440 or a good mile, or whatever.' It isn't so important whether you actually meet your goals. The important thing is that you set goals and try."
Living on Malibu beach at the time, Ben jogged, every morning at 6 o'clock for 3 miles along the ocean. "You meet some terrific people jogging at that hour of the morning," Ben observed. People such as Dustin Hoffman and Ryan O'Neal. It was reported Ben was "not exactly a conformist" which was why he liked playing 'Gemini Man.' The producers of 'Gemini Man' described Sam Casey as an "amusing, easy-going rebel, not about to wear a business suit, trim his hair or keep away from motorcycles, choppers and/or attractive women." However in real life, Ben told the press, "I wasn't a rebel when I was growing up. I wasn't angry. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. If the crowd was going one way, I went the other way."