Sable (TV series)

Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 7
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Sherman-Rosetti Productions
Taft Entertainment Television
Original network ABC
Original release November 7, 1987 – January 2, 1988

Sable is a television program that aired on ABC during the 1987-1988 season, and is based on the comic book, Jon Sable: Freelance, by Mike Grell. Seven episodes of the series aired.

The show was a one-hour adventure/drama about mercenary and vigilante Jon Sable (Lewis Van Bergen), who by day was children's book author Nicholas Fleming. The program ran on Saturdays at 8:00, and aired its final episode on January 2, 1988. Rene Russo had her first television role on the series. Lara Flynn Boyle also had one of her first acting roles playing a kidnapped girl in the series pilot.

In the original comic book, Jon Sable had been an Olympic pentathlete, winning the bronze medal. After that, he was a mercenary for a foreign army, then wound up in Africa watching over an animal preserve. Poachers killed his wife and family.

Back in the U.S., Sable wrote a novel about his experiences. Eden Kendall, a New York City literary agent, rejected it, but was intrigued by the stories he told his children around the campfire. Those were expanded to become best-selling book and products.

Jon Sable adopted a "secret identity" as the children's book writer by the name of B. B. Flemm. For promotional appearances, he wore a blonde wig and glasses. The success of the books made Sable rich. It did nothing for his hunger for adventure.

Shortly, Jon Sable began to hire himself out to freelance for those who needed his help.

The television show made changes. Sable was wanted for murder in Africa, having slain the man who killed his wife and children. A wanted man, Sable made his way back to the U.S. He met Eden Kendall, who managed to handle his literary career. Sable was known to the public as Nicholas Flemming. Eden also became his love interest, although the relationship seemed strained.

Sable could be reached by ads in the newspaper, or Sable would intervene in situations involving friends. His fee was never mentioned, but it was apparently a high figure. Sometimes there was no fee at all.

Since Sable used his own face in his civilian life, he disguised himself when he freelanced. Taking a cue from the comics, Sable used makeup to make camouflage marks across his face. In the original comic, he used the ashes of his burned home to create a "battlemask" which he wore to pursue his family's murderer.

In the seventh, final, episode, Sable didn't wear any battlemask. When someone mentioned the stories about him running around in a Halloween mask, he said that he didn't do that anymore. That episode mentioned that Sable did some sort of work for the organization (Mafia) in New York. The TV Sable operated out of Chicago, where the series was filmed.

Sable was aided by his old Army buddy, Cheesecake Tyson, who lost his sight when they served in Viet Nam. Tyson, despite being blind, was a computer wizard, helping Sable do research.

The pilot started shooting with Gene Simmons of KISS in the title role. Some network officials weren't pleased with his look when they saw the first footage, one claimed he was paunchy. Over the weekend, Simmons was replaced with actor Lewis Van Bergen. Some scenes with Simmons remain in the pilot when Sable made his way through a darkened room with a flashlight. In that scene, Sable was basically a silhouette.

Both Sables were quite athletic. The TV version rappelled down buildings. The comic book Sable was a firearms expert, who didn't hesitate to shoot. The TV Sable didn't load his gun, except in the second episode.

Sable often seemed depressed. The deaths of his wife and children weighed heavily on him, as did his guilt of taking a human life in anger. In the second episode, he gave his loaded gun to his disarmed opponent, telling him that he wanted to die.

The series is posted on YouTube.



1. Toy Gun: Series pilot. Sable helps a toy manufacturer whose kidnapped granddaughter's captors are trying to force him to commit suicide in exchange for her life.

2. Hunt: The son of the man Sable killed comes to Chicago with the intent to kill Sable.

3.Evangelist: The discovery of a young orphan girl in his apartment leads to Sable discovering a baby selling scheme at the orphanage.

4.Serial Killer: Sable is asked to protect the latest target of a serial the killer himself.

5.Copycat: Someone posing as Sable begins taking down those he deems "garbage".

6.Watchdogs: Cheesecake turns to Sable for help when a neighborhood watch group beings going after minorities, putting a reunion with his stepmother on hold.

7.Mob: An old friend, who also happens to be a thief, needs Sable's protection when a mobster whose safe was robbed begins targeting other thieves.

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