Cliffhangers: The Girl Who Saved the World (1979)

As part of the launch of Cliffhangers, NBC was really betting on Susan Anton. She’d started by singing commercial jingles for Muriel Cigarettes and the Serta Perfect Sleeper Mattress. She also had about thirty appearances on The Merv Griffin Show before getting one of the weirdest national TV show chances ever: a summer replacement variety series on ABC, Mel and Susan Together, produced by the Osmond Brothers.

He wasn’t a household name and no one knew who she was.

The show was off the air in four weeks, but she was picked as one of Time Magazine’s “Most Promising Faces of 1979.”

Fred Silverman remembered her when he moved to NBC and picked her for this show. The network even gave her NBC a special contract — just like the golden age of Hollywood — which had her make “an almost unprecedented number of appearances” to get known by the American TV audience.

She plays Susan Williams, who learns of the death of her reporter brother Alan, who was on the cusp of a major conspiracy story. An event was due to happen that would shock the world and someone had learned how to profit. His hit and run death didn’t sell with her. And seeing as how she’s also a reporter for The Dispatch, she picks up her brother’s work and tells her editor Bobby Richard (Ray Walston) that she has until May 15 — three weeks! — to learn the truth.

Starting with “Chapter 2: The Silent Enemy,” Susan would learn that a nuclear bomb had been built in America and was to be used to kill numerous world leaders during a peace summit at Camp David.

“Chapter 12: Crypt of Disaster” was part of the last episode of Cliffhangers that never aired in the U.S. Luckily, all of the episodes were edited into one movie, The Girl Who Saved The World. You can’t imagine my excitement when I watched this in syndication and learned how the story ended up.

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