I Spy: Season 3, Episode 20

Happy Birthday Everybody (26 Feb. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Comedy
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 15 users  
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While sightseeing in a Mexican town Scott and Robinson think they see someone familiar. When they approach him he gets the drop on them and gets away. After checking they find out that ... See full summary »

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Title: Happy Birthday Everybody (26 Feb 1968)

Happy Birthday Everybody (26 Feb 1968) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Tom Mathews
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Shirl Mathews
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Frank Hunter
Perla Walter ...
Rosy
Tony Fraser ...
Paul
Mina Martinez ...
Marla
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Storyline

While sightseeing in a Mexican town Scott and Robinson think they see someone familiar. When they approach him he gets the drop on them and gets away. After checking they find out that Frank Hunter a convicted mental patient judged incurable and sentenced to life has escaped. Hunter is a demolitions expert who has sworn revenge against Tom Matthews, the agent who apprehended him. Matthews has retired and lives with his family in Mexico. Robinson and Scott are assigned to find Hunter and stop him before he can hurt Matthews and his family. Written by tomtrekp

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26 February 1968 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Briefly recalled - But not too many details.
26 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am giving this particular episode of I SPY a "7" but it is for two reasons which may seem a trifle frivolous, but which I feel rather serious enough about to mention.

Jim Backus and Gene Hackman both had roles in this particular episode. It was not a comic episode either. Hackman played the villain, a man with a grudge against Bill Cosby and Robert Culp and another, and he was killed off in the course of the episode (but I recall it was not quite at the end). I believe (someone may correct me on this) he has left a bomb which may still kill several people after his death. But in his case, it was one of his last television acting performances in a supporting part. He made BONNIE AND CLYDE that year, and withing ten years would have won the Oscar for his performance in THE FRENCH CONNECTION as "Popeye" Doyle.

As for Backus, he was the agent that Hackman's fury was really directed at. The bomb danger was directed toward Backus' family in the episode. It was not the type of role we tend to identify with him (especially as he had just finished his period playing Mr. McGoo and Thurston Howard III on GILLIGAN'S ISLAND) but more in line with his serious work as a dramatic actor in films like REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and THE MAN WITH A THOUSAND FACES. As such he handled the role well. It sometimes makes me pause about performers like Backus, who really were capable of more than what they are recalled for. It makes me treasure the moments when they did get a chance to show their other abilities. This was one of them.


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