My Secret Identity
“Television’s newest odd couple” was how one journalist described madcap inventor Dr. Jeffcoate and his 15-year-old neighbour Andrew Clements, to whom the doctor accidentally gave superhuman powers and then spent 72 half-hour episodes trying not to let the world know what he’d done, while Andrew was trying to deal with all the problems of teenage living without resorting to the powers he sometimes wished he didn’t have.
Toronto’s Sunrise Films developed the concept for CTV, MCA-TV and Scholastic Productions. It starred well-known Canadian actor Derek McGrath (previously a semi-regular on U.S. series Dallas and Cheers) as Dr. Jeffcoate, and 15-year-old New Yorker Jerry O’Connell (from the Rob Reiner film Stand By Me) as the suddenly supertalented boy next door. Christopher Bolton became a regular in the show’s second season as Kirk, Andrew’s best pal, and other cast members included Wanda Cannon and Marsha Moreau.
Dr. Jeffcoate’s mysterious photon beam that zapped Andrew took them and the series to very gratifying rating heights both for CTV and for the US stations who carried the show in syndication. It debuted on CTV on Fridays at 7:30pm in September 1988, went to Thursdays at 7:30pm the following year, and had its final year at 7:30pm on Saturdays, eventually ending its run in the fall of 1990, by which time a now-18-year-old Jerry O’Connell was looking little too large for his role! He later appeared in episodes of Sliders and Crossing Jordan.
The series won the 1989 International Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Programming for Children and Young People.
Written by Pip Wedge - July, 2002