15 March 2010

Mission Not Impossible

Mission Not Impossible
by Inkberrow
03/15/2010, 9:00 AM

Another midrange Hollywood celebrity passes, this time Peter Graves. He deserves specific notice here in my view for two highly memorable film appearances bookending a memorable television series.

One couldn't get much farther apart than in subject-matter and tone than playing the German infiltrator in Stalag 17 and the all-too avuncular pilot in Airplane!.

I've probably watched every single episode of Mission: Impossible at least twice, including the first season with Steven Hill ("Good morning, Mr. Briggs") instead of Graves. Not surprisingly to many here, I'm sure, the show's Cold War and Clash of Cultures outlook resonated with me. Even the toughest Iron Curtain general was helpless before Barbara Bain's legs (that proved they were human just like us, only dumber and less happy and less free!). And the missions were decidedly less impossible right out of the gate, given the IMF's astonishing ability to materialize in or near the nerve center of whatever target, able to gain key introits to the principals without difficulty, unquestioned say as the new guard outside the committee chambers whom no one had ever seen before. Moreover, after a few dozen successful missions, any decent foreign intelligence service should have been able to keep everyone on the lookout for Barney, Cinnamon, and Rollin, eh? You know, Cinnamon, the fashion model and cover girl? But I loved it.

Good night, Mr. Phelps.

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