Riding with Death is a 1976 feature that was assembled from two episodes of the TV series Gemini Man.
As the movie begins, Harvard law graduate and Intersect agent Sam Casey (Ben Murphy) has been in a satellite explosion and the radiation renders him invisible. He gets a wrist watch that keeps him perceptible, and he can use it to switch back and forth.
He is given two assignments by his boss (William Sylvester): the first is to transport a revolutionary new gasoline additive a few miles down the road via tractor-trailer. He is aided by trucker Buffalo Bill, played by Jim Stafford. The inventor of the additive intends to have Casey killed and sell the formula elsewhere for $10 million. Casey's compatriot Abbie also gets kidnapped and must be rescued.
Later, Casey and Buffalo Bill must team up once more as race car pit crew members / substitute drivers to stop elusive terrorist Robert Denby (Ed Nelson, from Night of the Blood Beast), from blowing up a race car with a volatile element called deutrium.
- Ben Murphy as Sam Casey
- William Sylvester as Leonard Driscoll
- Katherine Crawford as Dr. Abby Lawrence
- Jim Stafford as Buffalo Bill
- Alan Oppenheimer as Dr. Hale
- Andrew Prine as Luther Stark
- Ed Nelson as Robert Denby
- Smith Wordes as Tina (AKA "Cupcake")
- This movie was assembled primarily from two episodes of the short-lived 1976 television series Gemini Man, plus some footage and sound effects from the 1970 science fiction film Colossus: The Forbin Project used for establishing shots at the beginning. The episodes used were titled "Smithereens" and "Buffalo Bill Rides Again", with a common element between these two episodes being the guest appearance of country singer Jim Stafford as Buffalo Bill.
- These two episodes were stitched together after the fact with dialog added in that refers to Dr. Hale, Robert Denby, Driscoll's moustache, and Buffalo Bill's change in career. The scenes where Abby appears to watch from a computer room were also added in from another episode in order to explain her absence during the latter half.
- A scene from the pilot episode was also added during the first half of the film in order to explain the origin of Sam Casey's invisibility. In this flashback, Driscoll was played by Richard Dysart instead of William Sylvester like in the rest of the film.
- A different version of Riding with Death begins with more scenes from the pilot episode that explain the origins of Sam's invisibility. These scenes feature actor Austin Stoker who would later co-star with Ben Murphy in Being from Another Planet.
- When "Carl" cuts Ben Murphy's brake lines, the only result would have been immobilizing the truck. Air brakes on trucks are designed to lock up if there is a compressor or hose failure, so Murphy would have been unable to move.
- At the time, Jim Stafford was an extremely popular singer/songwriter of novelty country-western music. His songs "Spiders and Snakes" (which reached the #3 position on the Billboard Music charts) and "My Girl Bill" are referenced by the SOL crew during the episode.
- Along with Steven Bochco, another notable name under the "created for television" credits is Harve Bennett, who went on to produce the Star Trek movies in the 1980s.
- Alan Oppenheimer (Dr. Hale) is also a successful voice actor, most notably providing the voice of Skeletor in the original animated He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series.
- The movie's credits claim it was based off the novel from science fiction writer H.G. Wells. This more specifically refers to how his novel The Invisible Man served as the "basis" for the original Gemini Man pilot.
- Gemini Man was a replacement for the 1975 TV series The Invisible Man starring David McCallum. The 1975 series was considered too expensive and the special effects for Gemini Man were much cheaper.
- Though Gemini Man was not successful, it did inspire 4 short full-cast audio dramas that were released on a long-playing album from Power Records. None of the cast from the TV show was involved. These recordings can be heard here.
- Though the movie has a strong 1970s aesthetic, the computer explaining the back-story says that Sam Casey graduated from Harvard Law School in 1983, which would indicate that this show was supposed to have been set in the "future". The only significantly advanced technology shown would be Sam's watch.