Tennis & Spying's the Game Served with Humour
Breyel | MALAYSIA | 02/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I Spy" the television series was a secret agent adventure that aired from 1965 to 1968. It teamed Robert Culp as international tennis player Kelly Robinson, and Bill Cosby as his trainer Alexander Scott. In reality, both were agents for the Pentagon and, while incognito as `tennis bums', they busied themselves tracking villains and spies.
The series broke new ground as the first American television drama to feature an African-American actor (Cosby) in a lead role. Cosby's Scotty played a straight-laced Rhodes scholar fluent in several languages, although he was really the brains behind the duo. Culp was the athlete and playboy who lived by the seat-of-his-pants.
I remember the show particularly for its exotic international locations a la James Bond, which was another first in American television. The joking banter and chemistry between Culp and Cosby was another highlight of the series, often in counterpoint to some serious subjects.
Season One included these 28 episodes:
1. So Long Patrick Henry -- Elroy Brown (Ivan Dixon) is an embittered American athlete who defects to China. Kelly and Scotty are assigned to bring him back, only to uncover a Red Chinese plot to expand their influence in Africa through Brown. (The first of seven consecutive episodes filmed in Hong Kong).
2. A Cup of Kindness -- Kelly must kill an old friend who is accused of being a double agent, and who has stolen some important scientific equipment. However, the man pleads innocent and asks Kelly to help him prove it.
3. Carry Me Back to Old Tsing-Tao -- Kelly and Scotty tangle with the greedy sons-in-law of an elderly Chinese merchant who claims he wants to pay a million dollars in back taxes so that he can go home to Formosa.
4. Chrysanthemum -- Naval Intelligence recruits Kelly and Scotty to retrieve stolen defence plans, with the help of a bumbling Frenchman.
5. Dragon's Teeth -- Kelly meets an old friend's fiancé in Hong Kong, only to watch the man suddenly drop dead -- the victim of a secret society called the Blue Dragon.
6. The Loser -- Kelly and Scotty intercept a heroin shipment, but the drug dealers want their product back, and kidnap Scotty for an exchange.
7. Danny Was A Million Laughs -- Kelly and Scotty are assigned to protect an obnoxious American gangster (Martin Landau) about to be extradited to the United States, and who is marked for death by his underworld associates.
8. A Time of the Knife -- Kelly is framed for murder as he tries to figure out what happened to a friend who was killed for information on a remote missile guidance system. (The first of six consecutive episodes filmed in Japan).
9. No Exchange on Damaged Merchandise -- Kelly and Scotty find their search for an enemy agent, to be used in an exchange for a captured American pilot, complicated by the pilot's wife.
10. Tatia -- Kelly falls in love with a beautiful photographer (Tatia Loring),
whom Scott believes is involved in the murders of four agents.
11. Weight of the World -- Kelly and Scotty must acquire a sample of a deadly new plague being developed by the Red Chinese and discover plans to test it in Japan.
12. Three Hours on a Sunday -- Kelly has three hours to acquire 50,000 dollars, the price he must pay a master criminal (Sheldon Leonard) for a roll of microfilm -- and Scotty's life.
13. Tigers in Heaven -- Kelly and Scotty are ordered to destroy the Tigers of Heaven, a neo-fascist group that has targeted the head of an old and distinguished Japanese family.
14. Affair in T'sien Cha -- The investigation into the disappearance of a train and its secret cargo lead Kelly and Scotty to an ancient walled city and a pretty American schoolteacher (Vera Miles). (Back in Hong Kong).
15. The Tiger -- Kelly Robinson must spring a trap set by the Vietcong for a guerrilla leader named The Tiger, using the latter's daughter, an American agent, as bait. (Filmed in Vietnam -- one of the very first, if not the first, TV series shot there).
16. The Barter -- On assignment to help a Soviet philosopher defect to the U.S., Scotty impersonates a foreign ambassador while Kelly tries to rescue a kidnapped girl. (Back in Japan for next three episodes).
17. Always Say Good Bye -- Kelly and Scotty must keep a womanising diplomat out of trouble while he's in Japan for official negotiations.
18. Court of the Lion -- On the trail of stolen diamonds and radioactive isotopes, Kelly and Scotty find a Japanese village terrorized by gangsters led by a man who calls himself a Zulu king.
19. Turkish Delight -- Scotty poses as an agronomist to locate three other scientists kidnapped by a Turkish spy (Victor Buono) who intends to sell their knowledge to the highest bidder. (Bet you thought Turkey; nada, Mexico for the next ten episodes, amigos).
20. Bet Me a Dollar -- After Kelly bets Scotty that he can disappear for a week without being found, Scotty learns that his partner has been infected with the anthrax virus and will die in 24 hours.
21. Return to Glory -- Kelly and Scotty must make contact with the reclusive exiled leader of a Latin American country who may be planning a revolution that would return him to power.
22. The Conquest of Maude Murdock -- Kelly and Scotty are ordered to "kidnap" a high-ranking U.S. official (Jeanette Nolan) who is visiting Mexico in order to test her security arrangements, only to discover that they're being used by a traitor who plans to kill the official.
23. A Day Called 4 Jaguar -- Kelly and Scotty set out to find a blue-eyed giant who rescued Kelly's girlfriend from a car wreck, only to discover that he's a missing Soviet colonel. Stars Rory Calhoun and George Montgomery.
24. Crusade to Limbo -- Kelly poses as a critic of his own country's foreign policy in order to infiltrate a revolutionary group in Mexico.
25. My Mother, The Spy -- Kelly and Scotty are sent to Mexico to recover a runaway American spy (Sally Kellerman), only to discover that she has given birth and refuses to go back. Also stars Alejandro Rey and Theo Marcuse -- major character actors in the 60s.
26. There was a Little Girl -- Kelly and Scotty must babysit the vacationing daughter of an American VIP -- an assignment complicated by a pre-Colombian mask containing a deadly secret.
27. It's All Done with Mirrors -- A Soviet scientist (Carroll O'Connor aka Archie Bunker) kidnaps Kelly and brainwashes him into believing that Scotty is a traitor and must be killed
28. One Thousand Fine -- Kelly helps a friend find a cache of gold, a mission complicated by the presence of the friend's fiancé -- Kelly's old girlfriend.
Great show. Highly recommended."
Terrific Series--Lousy DVD Set
P. Cornelius | 06/04/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I don't intend to focus on the series, which is excellent, in this review. What I want to center on is the lousy packaging of the Newly Remastered version of I Spy by Image Entertainment. The previous release of I Spy, in 2002-03, had each season boxed in seven separate cases. The new release uses those multi-disc cases and the ones selected by Image are as cheap as they come. Not only did pieces of the cases break apart during shipping, leaving the DVDs to rattle around loosely, damaging them. But the interior flip holder broke away as well. I bought seasons 1, 2, and 3 from Amazon, and they were all like this. It isn't Amazon's fault. They could have shipped the order twenty times and Image's shoddy packaging would have yielded the same result everytime.
I have been a long time customer of Image Entertainment, going back to laserdisc days. But I shall never buy another product from them again and risk its mailing to me in such cheap, unacceptable cases. They saved a penny and lost a customer. Real stupid in these economic times to treat your customers like gum on your shoe, instead of gold. When I attempted to contact Image, their email for customer inquiries was dead. I telephoned them and they didn't want to hear about the problem. They REFUSED to take my name and telephone number."
At Last !!!
Hugh Betcha | Dolton, Illinois United States | 01/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's finally here! I Spy in Season Sets! All the seasons being released the same day and at the same low price ($19.98)! The show that put Bill Cosby on the map. He appeared on the Jack Paar show and a very young Rob Reiner saw that appearance and performed it, verbatim, to his dad Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show co-creator). Carl was so impressed he invited Cosby to the Van Dyke set where he performed and blew everyone away, including Sheldon Leonard, I Spy creator. The rest is history and now ALL of that history is available! Great day, great day! Make sure you get your copy!"
The Price is Right
Thunderhead22 | Decatur, GA USA | 07/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's great to watch this show again after so many years. Many of the other shows from the era slid into silliness, but I Spy was a class act. These transfers are not too bad. They are a bit dirty, particularly the (excellent) opening graphics. So, essentially, this isn't quite on par with the transfer of The Invaders for instance. Shadow areas are also a bit crushed. Overall the presentation is nice and is quite pleasant upconverted. The price is what hooked me into buying the first season. No regrets, but I would have paid extra for a real remaster."