Monday, April 19, 2010

I Spy

Posted March 2008
Bill Cosby and Bob Culp on location (probably in Hong Kong) and in character as Alexander Scott and Kelly Robinson in I. Spy. The least silly of the string of secret agent movie and TV shoes that followed in the wake of James Bond in the early sixties, featured the two men as hip, CIA trouble shooters traveling the world to basically crack heads. Initially, their cool style was contrasted with Ivy League style suits, repp ties and buttondown shirts. Their dress quickly became more modern. See this 1966 quote from Cosby (found at this nostalgic article by journalist John Stanley):
"Now, you take `I Spy.' In Hong Kong, for example, you've got different kinds of hotel rooms, different people, different customs, different sights. Mexico changes it all again. So does Tokyo. Now, you take the clothes. At first we went around in these suits and ties rescuing people. But when we were in Acapulco we watched these Secret Service guys protecting Lynda Bird [Johnson]. Talk about being inconspicuous. Eyeglasses and the whole bit. Couldn't even see if they were packing rods. So Bob [Culp] and I decided to go native. Besides, it was hot in Acapulco and we wanted shorter sleeves.

"So now, instead of two handsome heroes in subtle tweed suits, we became like two handsome tourists who rescued people."

You can still watch these shows today for the snappy rapport between Culp and Cosby and the international backdrops (the show was shot on location around the world). In fact, you can watch them without standing up, as many are available in entirety on Youtube. The kickoff episode "So Long, Patrick Henry" is a favorite because of the early 1960's footage of Hong Kong.

A bonus pic of Cosby


heavy tweed jacket said...

That first shot on location in Hong Kong is great. I wish I had been able to travel to Hong Kong in the 1950s and 60s.

Quiet American said...

It certainly seems like it was more of an adventure than today.