Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mission: Impossible

I started writing this entry way before the recent events with Osama Bin-Laden (and why do I always hear Gilbert Gotfried's voice saying it like a really bad Jerry Lewis impersonation from an episode of "Son of the Beach" when I say Osama Bin-Laden)...But I digress...I’ve been recording old “Mission:  Impossible” reruns off an Allentown channel on our Comcast DVR for several weeks now, and watching them in bunches…I’ve progressed from the Martin Landau-Barbara Bain period deep into the Leslie Ann Warren-Sam Elliott period…And now we're well into the Linda Day George run...There are two things that are striking in retrospect…How much filming they got away with on the old Desilu, later Paramount, backlot – the exteriors of soundstages and office buildings reappear in supposedly Eastern European capitals, Asian capitals, South American capitals, even a couple Middle Eastern capitals…Second, I never realized they did so much “day-for-night” shooting in those old shows…It’s remarkable, too, to see actors familiar from other shows and movies popping up here and there, beyond the couple  seasons that Leonard Nimoy went right from Mr.  Spock to The Great Paris just by walking across the backlot…There's a run in there where they must have done a Star Trek one week and a Mission:  Impossible the next week, going from one soundstage to the other -- same writers, same actors, same sets in some cases!...There was one the other night where Dean Wormer was the bad guy, another with good old Robert Conrad as the bad guy, and one where Jessica Walter filled in as the female agent…Most of the stories are still pretty good, if far-fetched…Then they went from missions in foreign locales to taking on the underworld, or, as it is always referred to on "Mission:  Impossible" -- "The SYNDICATE."...They had one on the other day with William Shatner -- and it was, indeed, Shatner-ific...What I found fascinating over this past weekend was the similarity between the capsule generic description on the TV Guide/Comcast cable on-screen listing for "Mission:  Impossible" and the more recent favorite of mine, "The Unit," both of which sound a lot like the group that went into Pakistan this past weekend...Ah, the good old days when Jim Phelps, Barney, Willie, Cinnamon Carter, Rollin Hand, and company took on all the bad guys...I'll see you in the stands!