Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for : I Spy!!


I Spy was a Cold War Era "spy" show starring Robert Culp (before his Greatest American Hero days) as secret agent Kelley Robinson and comedian Bill Cosby as his friend and partner, Alexander "Scotty" Scott. It ran on NBC from 1965 to 1968 and was one of my Grandma's absolute favorite show.


The premise of the show was fairly simple. Tennis pro Kelley Robinson and his "coach" Alexander Scott traveled the world playing tennis.....or so the cover went. In reality, they were spies (hence the show's title) keeping the world safe from nefarious countries and all their schemes. Scott was the "brains" and Robinson was the "muscle", though I can't quite remember them ever mentioning the agency they worked for besides just the Pentagon.

The show was a huge success due, much in part, to the craze of the genre back then and also the James Bond films. Of course a show like this wasn't without it's controversy. I Spy was the first show to feature an African American lead and it was actually banned in some areas of the South. Another part of it's success was the chemistry between Cosby and Culp and their hip banter during even the most dire of circumstances.

Even though the show was only on for three seasons, it racked up it's share of awards*

  • First-time actor Bill Cosby won three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Robert Culp was also nominated in the same category for all three seasons of I Spy.
  • Eartha Kitt, who played a drug-addicted cabaret singer in "The Loser" (written by Culp), was nominated in 1966 for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama.
  • In 1967 Culp was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in a Drama for his third-season script "Home to Judgment."
  • In addition to writing the theme music, Earle Hagen composed an original musical score for many episodes of the series, often flavored with the ethnic music of the Far East, Mexico or the Caribbean. Hagen received Emmy nominations for all three seasons of the show and won for the "Laya" episode in 1968.
  • I Spy won as "Best Dramatic Series" at the 1967 Golden Globe Awards for its 1966-1967 season.
(* source: Wikipedia)

As a fan of the "Cold War Era", a show like this was right up my alley. It had hip, suave, agents, beautiful girls and karate chops to the neck. What more could you ask for?? :)

Honorable Mentions: I Dream of Jeanie, In Living Color, It Takes A Thief

Tune in tomorrow where all your answers must be in the form of a question.....

23 comments:

Maurice Mitchell said...

It's no exaggeration to call this a landmark television show. I loved the Cosby Show episode where Culp guest starred.

cleemckenzie said...

I loved I Spy! What a duo they made.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I never saw it, but my older brothers and sisters loved it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember that show. Three Emmys for Cosby? Impressive.

LD Masterson said...

Yup, I have fond memories of this show. I was only so-so about Culp but always enjoyed Cosby.

Julie Flanders said...

I didn't know it was banned in parts of the South. That's so pathetic.

I think I can guess tomorrow's post. :)

Robin said...

I didn't see this one. I didn't know that this was Cosby's break-out show. Three Emmys... fantastic. I love a show when the dialogue is crisp and quippy and you can just tell that the actors are enjoying the heck out of one another. It's a real treat.

David P. King said...

Such an awesome series. I pretty much watched all the reruns as a kid. :)

Andrew Leon said...

Growing up in the South, I never saw I, Spy, but it's a show I have meant to get around to watching for a long time.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Due to limited cable options, I never watched this show when it was on but I heard it was really good.

randi lee said...

Another one I watched on TNT (or a similar station)as a kid. Loved this one!

Joy said...

Oh Man! I used to LOVE I Dream of Jeannie.

Christine Rains said...

Is it bad I've never heard of this show? I know all the other I shows you mentioned, if that's any consolation!

mshatch said...

I remember this show!

Mina Burrows said...

Its crazy how young Bill Cosby looks. Would you believe I never saw this show?

Tyrean Martinson said...

So cool!!! Bill Cosby rocks!

Leslie S. Rose said...

My brothers and I used to play "I Spy" and "Get Smart." We were really into the secret agent thing.

Kathleen Mueller said...

You're nailing it with all these shows! I loved "I Spy" !!! Bill Cosby, Eartha Kitt, Robert Culp!! Oh man, what great memories. Thank you!

Kathleen Mueller said...

P.S. Can't wait for tomorrow! Another one of my favorites! :)

Manzanita said...

I remember this show but I would never have thought of it in a bazillion years. What fun that you are bringng them all back.

Nicki Elson said...

Wow - I've NEVER heard of this show before. With Bill Cosby as a lead, that surprises me. It does sound very fun.

Lisa said...

I absolutely LOVED I Spy and the chemistry between Culp and Cosby. I'm still a major Bill Cosby fan. I've seen him live and left with a stomach ache from laughing so hard. I loved I dream of Jeanie and It takes a thief. Great shows.

Lex Luther said...

Thank you for the stroll through time. I grew up on just about all those shows, to bad the world had to change.

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