Saturday, May 26, 2018

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - "The Pilot Episode" (1966)

Tonight's Saturday Night Special is the pilot episode from the 1960's TV show, and one of my favourites, "Mission Impossible!" 

And why wouldn't it be one of my faves, "Mission: Impossible" is almost perfect! "Mission: Impossible" was good enough that it was on TV for seven years, and by now there have been at least seven or eight movies made too! The weird thing is I don't remember the series when Steven Hill had the lead role and not Peter Graves, but that's the way it was for the whole first season, and I've never seen any of the movies, except maybe the 1969 feature "Mission Impossible Versus The Mob!"

In the beginning of this pilot episode, Steven Hill as Daniel Briggs receives his first set of instructions via this 33 1/3 Record!

There's some obscure third world island nation in the Caribbean with some nuclear warheads stashed in a bank safe deposit box, and the mission is to get to get them the Hell out of there!

As would happen later with many a tape, the record self destructs after the message has been delivered!

A man of faith and principles, Steven Hill quit the show after the first season, because the production schedule required him to work on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and as an Orthodox Jew, it was just something he couldn't, or wouldn't do!

But for this first episode he has to gather up some team members that include smokey Barbara (Space:1999) Bain as Cinnamon Carter! Barbara Bain was born Midred Fogel and should be having her 87th birthday party in September!

When you need a gadget man, it's time to call Barney Collier! Barney was played by one of the first black TV stars, Greg Morris. Greg was in everything from "Captain Kangaroo" to "Vega$!" He was in the "Twilight Zone" Episode called "The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms," and also 161 episodes of "Mission: Impossible!" Unfortunately, Greg was a heavy smoker and died from cancer at the age of 62.

You gotta have a strong man, and the only other person beside Greg Norris on all 161 episodes of "Mission: Impossible" was Peter (aka Rock Stevens) Lupus as Will Armitage! Peter has many crowns to his name, and holds the Guinness world record for oldest person to bench press over 300 pounds. He'll turn turn 86 next month, and probably can still kick your ass!

Barbara Bain's husband and "Space: 1999" co-star was Martin Landau as Rollin Hand! At this point Martin was only a guest star, but would go on to be a regular cast member in 76 episodes, because they needed a guy who could disguise himself as almost anybody! Martin Landau has the distinguished honor of being in not one, but two "Twilight Zone" episodes, "Mr. Denton On Doomsday," and "The Jeopardy Room," and two episodes of "The Outer Limits," "The Man Who Was Never Born," and "The Bellero Shield!"

This was actually my favourite part of this episode, another guest star, the voice of "Underdog," Wally Cox as the bank robber Terry Targo! Wally starred in two TV shows in the 50's, one called "Mister Peepers," and another called "The Adventures Of Hiram Holliday!" He was also in a "Twilight Zone" episode titled "From Agnes - With Love."

One of  Cinnamon's jobs is to always be a distraction, and she's real good at it!

This story is one big cat and mouse game!

Wally looks pretty freaky all up close and sweaty!

Rollin Hand's job is to impersonate General Rio Dominguez, the leader of this sovereign land. Here he's watching a film, and trying to mimic his gestures!

Hey, is that he..................?

........Or am I me??

 When things get totally out of control, Cinnamon has to be extra distracting!!

The freakin' General slams the door and breaks all of Terry Targo's fingers in the process! That's it, Wally Cox is never in another episode of "Mission: Impossible!"

This was one of three episodes of "Mission: Impossible" directed by the honourable Bernard L. Kowalksi! I got lucky, and not because of anything I did, I was able to meet Bernie a couple of times. He was the nicest guy in the world, and when I gave him a copy of "The Creep," he was kind enough to write that "He loved it!" (I think that's what it says, it's kind of hard to read) and that was good enough for me! We might not ever have got rich or famous but at least Bernie Kowalksi, one of the greatest directors of all time, signed my copy of "Attack Of The Giant Leeches!" What more could a person want from life?


TC said...

Didn't Lupus, as "Rock Stevens," star as Hercules (or Maciste, or Ursus, or Samson) in some Italian sword & sandal movies?

Martin Landau was in the running to play Spock on the original Star Trek, but the part went to Leonard Nimoy instead, and Landau ended up on MI. Later, Landau and Barbara Bain left the show, and Landau's replacement (as the team's disguise artist) was Nimoy.

Landau and Bain later co-starred on Space:1999. So they went from spy-fi to sci-fi, and Nimoy went the opposite route.

The 1980s version of MI had Barney Collier's son as the new team's electronics expert. The part was played by Phil Morris, Greg's real-life son. IIRC, Greg guest starred in an episode of the latter series.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I always thought it was odd that Martin Landau was the disguise guy, as he has a very distinctive look. Wouldn't it have been better to have someone with a more generic look?

Richard S. said...

Heck, Robert M. Lindsey, you've got a famous model and weight lifter on your team - what are the odds no one is going to recognize *them*?

Robert M. Lindsey said...

True, a famous model that never gets noticed.

Unknown said...

Lol exactly. Any special gadgets used in the series pilot?

EEGAH!! said...

Hey! I need to apologize to anybody and everybody who has left a comment on one of my posts since May 23. For some reason, I abruptly stopped getting email notifications, and I don't check on Blogger, but it looks like you guys were doing a good job of carrying on a conversation without me. Thanx as always for all the extra info TC. Now I've got to check all the other comments I missed!

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