Wednesday, April 13, 2022

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE - "The Contender" (1968)

I felt like watching an episode of "Mission Impossible" the other night, and after reading the scores of names that were on the show over the years, I settled on Season three, episode two from 1968 for this week's Wild Wednesday spectacular.

And now you know the reason why!
I don't watch it much anymore, but for a good thirty years, I was a big fan of the sweet science known as boxing, and at least one thing I learned from it, was that a man named Walker Smith Jr. aka Sugar Ray Robinson will probably be forever known as the pound for pound, best boxer in the world.

This episode is about trying to bring down a big time sports fixer. For the sake of the nation, it would look bad to have a known crook having anything to do with professional sports, so they have Barney change his appearance to look like a known boxer who can't fight anymore because of injuries to his hands as a war hero.

Sugar Ray has the role of Wesley, the right hand man of big time sports fixer Charles Buckman, the guy who needs to be eliminated. Charles Buckman was played by Ron Randell who was in "The She-Creature," and the episode of "The Outer Limits" called "The Duplicate Man."

So why do they call him Sugar Ray Robinson instead of his real name of Walker Smith Jr.? When Ray was 14, he was too young to enter a boxing tournament, so he borrowed the birth certificate from an older friend of his named Ray Robinson, and the name stuck.

Barney had done some boxing and was Sixth Fleet Champion in the service, so with some practice, they think they will be able to pull this off. He looks pretty good!

Barney's sparring partner is played by Robert (Hawaiian Eye, The Wild, Wild West) Conrad.

The boxer that Barney is going to impersonate is named Richy Lemoine and is played by Ron (The Fortune Cookie) Rich.

As a professional fighter, Sugar Ray Robinson won 40 fights before suffering a loss in a re-match with Jake LaMotta. In 1952 Sugar Ray retired with a record of 131–3–1–1. He became a singer and a dancer for three years, and then returned to boxing, and went on to have an incredible final record of 173–19–6. 
This young boxer just stood up to Charles Buckman, and refused to throw a fight!

Wesley is not such a nice guy, and pushes the young fighter down an open elevator shaft!

Keeping it legit, long before Michael Buffer and his classic "Let's Get Ready To Rumble," Jimmy Lemon Sr. was the biggest name in the world of boxing and wrestling announcers!

Peter Graves looks perfectly ridiculous disguised as a peanut vendor!

There's a great wikipedia page about Sugar Ray Robinson that everybody should read so they could understand how great this man really was, and one of the most interesting stories is about Sugar Ray's title match in 1947 with a boxer named Jimmy Doyle.
 Sugar Ray had a dream that he had killed Jimmy Doyle, and tried to back out of the match, but he was convinced by a preacher to go on with the fight. After getting knocked unconscious in the 8th round, Jimmy Doyle died later that night.
When Sugar Ray found out that Jimmy Doyle was going to use the money from the fight to buy his Mother a house, he donated the money from his next four fights to her.
That's the kind of guy he was!
Sometimes there's just too much story to pack into one show!


Lionel Braithwaite said...

That's a great story about him (Sugar Ray Robinson) connected to his appearence on this TV show.

EEGAH!! said...

Thanks Lionel.

Realm Of Retro said...

Best action theme song ever composed by Lalo Schifrin.

somebody went into overdrive here...TEN hours!

this is real nice....theme starts at 2:15

LALO SCHIFRIN is a name some of us have heard since the 70s.
this link explains why, just look at the list of TV credits:

I still think Gil Melle was better though...just had to say
although with some amount of bias:)

Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??