Smart Spies by
(194 Stories)

Prompted By What We Watched

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The story writers for this prompt captured our generation’s experience with TV, so no need to repeat their great recaps.  My family also watched the spy shows.  Remember the original “Mission Impossible” with white-haired Mr. Phelps?  I loved Martin Landau’s many disguises.  Seemed as if the show had a thing about tape recorders, both the smaller one that would self-destruct the tape and the washing-machine sized equipment that the techies used to eavesdrop on the bad guys!

One of our family favorites was the goofy spy spoof "Get Smart." Don Adams had a never-ending variety of clumsy antics as a Control agent fighting Chaos (and losing).

One of my favorites was “The Man from Uncle” with Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Ilya Kuryakin. I had a thing for Ilya when I was a “tween” and really get a kick today out of watching David McCallum as Ducky on NICS.  Ah, we all get older …

One of our family favorites was the goofy spy spoof “Get Smart.”  Don Adams had a never-ending variety of clumsy antics as a Control agent fighting Chaos (and losing).  His shoe phone and the wonderful, malfunctioning Cone of Silence added hilarious technical glitches.  All he could say was “sorry about that, chief” to his long-suffering boss.  Makes me smile just to think about it.  Trivia question:  the chief had a first name.  Anyone remember what it was?

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I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Marian, we watched and loved all those shows too. Robert Vaughn was so suave (I think this was before I had seen a James Bond movie, though he was clearly modeled on 007). And I, too, enjoy seeing David McCallum on NCIS. It’s nice to see that he still has a career. Don Adams was really funny and Mission Impossible was “must see TV”…all great memories. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  2. John Zussman says:

    Just the “Get Smart” photo you chose makes me start to giggle! Your story reminds me how the networks used to copy each other, so if one had a hit with a spy show, the next year saw a proliferation on all three.

    I somehow missed the early Mission Impossible years with Martin Landau and Barbara Bain (had to catch up on them in reruns), but in college it was practically the only thing I watched. We didn’t have a TV in our dorm room, so on Sunday night, ten or twelve of us would crowd into someone’s room that did and watch it on a small B&W screen. By that time, Leonard Nimoy had replaced Landau as Paris the magician.

    • Marian says:

      I’d almost forgotten that Leonard Nimoy replaced Martin Landau. I guess by then I’d stopped watching (didn’t watch a lot of TV at Mills). The highlight of my TV watching at college was the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King tennis match in 1974. Seems as if each dorm located a TV and all of us were watching and cheering. Fun memories!

  3. Patricia says:

    Get Smart is what happens when Mel Brooks and Buck Henry create a sitcom! Brilliant.
    I was in the basement of Orchard Meadow Hall for the tennis match, and wrote about it here: You’re right that time seemed to stop on campus that day while we all held our collective breath.

  4. Patricia says:

    I don’t remember that, but might if I saw it. Do you remember what it said? Someone must have a photo…

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