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Simon Templar (The Saint), is a thief for hire, whose latest job to steal the secret process for cold fusion puts him at odds with a traitor bent on toppling the Russian government, as well as the woman who holds its secret.
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The Saint is a modern day Robin Hood of sorts. He steals from rich criminals (gangsters and the like) and keeps the loot for himself. And he usually manages to get the rich criminals put behind bars after he's stolen their goods. Of course, Chief Inspector Claude Eustace Teal regards him as a common thief, regardless of who he steals from, so the Saint must always stay one step ahead of the doggedly persistent Inspector Teal. Fortnately, his wit, charm, and savoir faire make this a fairly easy task, and the series chronicles his various exploits. Written by
Yes, viewing The Saint on BBC America the other day reawakened some old memories I've carried most of my life. Growing up in a lower middle class American home in the 1960s, I watched Simon Templar and the glamor and intrigue of The Saint fed my vision of the wider world. Later in life, my work enabled me to live in many of the locales pictured in the series. Alas, real life wasn't quite as adventurous as what they depicted on television. Nevertheless, that lost world of the Sixties still reigned in my imagination, where, before air travel resembled travelling in a cattle car, jetting around the globe was a BIG DEAL reserved for the truly rich and adventurous.
No, nothing was as fun as The Saint, which gloried in the sort of stereotypes our cultural commissars would never allow on screen today. The Germans are strutting martinets, the French incompetent peacocks, the Italians buffoonish hysterics, the Scots haggis-eating grumps, the Dutch commercial opportunists, the Swiss a bunch of greedy gnomes, the Russians paranoid oafs, the Irish a lot of work shy sots, and the Americans growling chain-smokers.
And what a juxtaposition of settings! How many episodes did I watch Simon flee from a brilliantly lit casino or restaurant down the back-streets of London, Hamburg, or Amsterdam to some dank cellar! Or how many times did he escape some luxurious villa or penthouse through the canals of Venice or avenues of Paris or Geneva to some decrepit warehouse! All with a potpourri of travelogue shots of the great cities of Europe and South America! Great TV.
And my favorite episode? "The Death Game", where Simon and some British university students, with just a touch of Swingin' London-a-Go-Go, encounter the Assassination Bureau.
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