A pair of American agents faces espionage adventures with skill, humor and some serious questions about their work. Robinson's cover is as a former Princeton law student and Davis Cup ... See full summary »
A pair of American agents faces espionage adventures with skill, humor and some serious questions about their work. Robinson's cover is as a former Princeton law student and Davis Cup tennis player; Rhodes scholar Scott is his trainer as well as being a language expert. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Bill Cosby's character, Alexander Scott, was originally intended to be an older mentor to Robert Culp's trainee agent, Kelly Robinson. Executive producer Sheldon Leonard cast Cosby in the role after seeing one of his routines (Scott was originally intended to be a Caucasian). Due to this casting change, the writers thought an occasional reference to Cosby's race would be a necessity, given the tumult of the times. In an early episode, "Danny Was a Million Laughs", guest star Martin Landau's character makes a racial joke at Scott's expense. Culp and Cosby demanded that no more racial jokes be done, and none were for the run of the series. See more »
During the opening credits sequence of many early episodes, scenes from that episode are shown underneath a closeup of Robert Culp's eyes. If you look closely, Culp's facial expressions (concerned, happy, etc.) almost always match the action happening on the screen. Later in the series, a standard set of action/romance/humor scenes was used. See more »
Bill Cosby's best work for the tube. Apart from "Fat Albert," obviously.
Apparently only one comment a year is allowed for this show, so here's 2002's.
The misgivings that I've got about the Eddie Murphy/Owen Wilson take on "I Spy" would seem to be justified by most accounts (even allowing for the presence of the scrumptious Famke Janssen), and now that Carlton Direct has closed down it's unlikely repeats of this fine spy show will be back on British television in the near future. Too bad.
Unlike most other series, the adventures of Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott (spies under the guise of a tennis player and his coach, played by Robert Culp and Bill Cosby respectively - the latter won three Emmys in succession for his performances, which are indeed easier to take than his subsequent incarnation as the endlessly self-adoring Dr. Cliff Huxtable) benefitted from actual location shooting around the world and from intelligent scripts, some by Culp himself - though not "To Florence With Love," a two-part story which had a most unusual ending in part one; our heroes are trying to get information from someone by threatening to cover him completely in plaster of Paris, and it ends with the would-be stooge about to be totally closed up. (He cracks at the start of part 2, obviously, but there's no doubt that they really would let him suffocate if he hadn't.)
The chemistry between Culp and Cosby and the great theme music by Earle Hagen (plus scores from him and Hugo Friedhofer - bless Film Score Monthly for issuing a CD of music from the series) are two more reasons this plays well on TV today. If you take care with a product, it'll be good forever; which is why "The Cosby Mysteries" won't be fondly remembered 30 years from now. If ever.
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