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
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Before the series, Culp had written a pilot script in which he would play a James Bond-type American spy. He showed the script to Carl Reiner who then recommended him to Sheldon Leonard. The script was eventually produced as the episode "The Tiger". 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 »
"I Spy" cannot be denied its contributions to history, both in television production and the Civil Rights movement. As documented in the book, "I Spy: A History of the Groundbreaking Television Series," this was the first series to cast a black actor opposite a White, with equal status and billing. And, by doing so, Bill Cosby become the first Black to win an Emmy - and he would win three in a row, as Best Lead Actor in a Drama for his work here. During that first year, show business trade magazine Variety wrote that "I Spy" was a "test show," putting NBC southern affiliates "on the spot," and that the series would show "which way the winds were blowing in Dixie." The door swung open in September 1965, and, within one year, black performers were finding regular work with non-stereotypical roles on "Mission: Impossible" and "Star Trek," and, just a couple years after that, being cast as series leads, with equal or greater status than Whites, in shows such as "N.Y.P.D.," "Room 222," and "Julia." TV, and the world, changed that quickly.
"I Spy" was also the first series to shoot around the world, introducing the technology needed to achieve this. And many believe that this is where the "buddy picture" began. Series such as "Starsky & Hutch" and "Miami Vice," and even movies like "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid," certainly took their lead from "I Spy."
This historic series proved that sometimes television can do more than just entertain.
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