The Outer Banks Voice – Stream On: Cultural juggernauts “Mission: Impossible” and “Hawaii Five-O”
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Stream on: Cultural Juggernauts “Mission: Impossible” and “Hawaii Five-O”
By Peter Hummers on July 14, 2022
/Amazon /First video /Diffusion /Trailer /1966-1973; 1988-1990 /NR
Producer Bruce Geller was impressed by Jules Dassin’s 1964 film Topkapi, innovative for its depiction of an elaborate heist, and brought the idea to television, replacing the crooks with a fictional government agency, giving them a different “impossible” mission each week.
The “Impossible Missions Force”, led in the first season by Dan Briggs (Steven Hill, Law and order) and in later seasons by Jim Phelps (Pierre Graves, The thing), drew attention to hostile Iron Curtain governments, Third World dictators, corrupt industrialists, and crime lords, among others.
Steven Hill, an Orthodox Jew, didn’t work past 4:00 p.m. on Fridays and when the weekly schedule became a problem, he had to leave the set. Cinema and television films had more flexible schedules. He also suffered too many affronts to his considerable personal dignity (Actor Martin Landau recalls: “When I first became an actor, there were two young actors in New York: Marlon Brando and Steven Hill”) : after crawling through dirt tunnels and repeatedly climbing a rope ladder in the episode “Snowball in Hell”, in the following episode he balked at climbing to the rafters via a 20-foot sound stage staircase and locked himself in his lodge. Twenty-six years later, in Law and order, he could sit behind a desk.
In the pilot episode, Dan Briggs is a type of gray bureaucrat, one of the few characters who have popped up in fiction as alternatives to Ian Fleming’s dashing James Bond, which also included John Le Carré’s Alec Leamas and Harry Palmer. by Len Deighton.
After the kinetic credits on the emblematic musical theme of Lalo Schifrin, Impossible mission settles into a calm, measured tone that engages the audience with the drama from the start. Briggs visits an odd-lot store and asks after a certain record album, a wink and an implied nod. He takes her to a listening room and hears a memoir about nuclear warheads in the possession of a Caribbean dictator, which ends with “Mr. Briggs, your mission, should you decide to accept it, would be to remove the two nuclear devices from Santa Costa. As always, you have carte blanche as to method and personnel. But of course, if you or any member of your IMF force are caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions,” after which the record burns to the turntable, and Briggs quietly walks to his apartment where he chooses, among the binders, the team for this mission: an actress (Barbara Bain), a master of disguise (Bain’s real husband, Martin Landau), an electronics genius (Greg Morris), a weightlifter (Peter Lupus) , all regulars, and guest star Wally Cox, who plays a piercer with a murky past.
Highly entertaining capers include repeats, repeats, and reverses; the direction is concise, and the agent characters are essentially chess pieces, so as not to distract from the ingenious con and tricks by which they work their magic. With Peter Graves and the various actors replacing others over time in this core group, the show only got slightly flashier, but the missions were still complex, suspenseful, and entertaining. Impossible missioncanceled in 1973 and revived in 1988 for two seasons, was probably the main influence on Tim Hutton’s 2008 drama series Leverageand spawned a splashy (and well done) movie franchise with Tom Cruise.
/Amazon /First video /Diffusion /Presentation of the first season /1968-1980
The second episode (ranked as the first on the Paramount+ Roku, Android and iPhone apps) of this CBS legend-in-waiting begins with none other than movie and TV superstar Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Thieves) as Victor Reese and Reese’s wife (who poses as his sister) poison a wealthy widow on a yacht and dump her in the Pacific off the title location. It is therefore a “howcatchem”, not a “polar”. (The rare pilot is “Cocoon”, a two-hour episode with a different production code and cast except for Jack Lord.) After the credits, full of local Hawaiian color (and I also see the inspiration for the police squad! television and film series), we meet the show’s real star (or co-star, Hawaii being the other), a charismatic Jack Lord, as Hawaii State Police Captain Steve McGarrett.
Lord the actor has generally flown under the radar; he was known for playing Felix Leiter in the first James Bond film, Dr. Nobut it was replaced in The golden finger when he wanted more money and better billing. He had a pretty high opinion of himself, but that arrogance matched his Five-O’s from Hawaii character to a “T”. Richard Boon (Have a gun will travel) had refused the game; Gregory Peck was also considered, and Lord was questioned at the last moment. He read for the role and two days later began filming in Hawaii.
Sources differ on how the show was produced there. Producer Leonard Freeman had moved to Hawaii to recuperate after suffering a heart attack. A source says the idea for the show may have come from a conversation Freeman had with Hawaii Governor John A. Burns.
Another source instead claims that Freeman wanted to put on a show in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California until his friend Richard Boone convinced him to shoot it entirely in Hawaii. A third source claims that Freeman only discussed the show with Governor Burns after he pitched the idea to CBS. Before choosing the name “Hawaii Five-O” (referring to the state being the 50e admitted to the Union), Freeman considered naming the show “The Man”.
Hawaii had been admitted to the Union just nine years before and was about to enter the American consciousness. Speaking of Impossible mission and iconic theme music, American film score composer Morton Stevens delivered memorable theme music; it was later recorded by proto-guitar band The Ventures, and became popular with middle and high school marching bands, especially at the University of Hawaii where it became the unofficial fight song. It is considered by many to be one of the best TV themes of all time.
Five-O’s from Hawaii was the longest-running detective show on American television until Law and order overtook him in 2002 and was the first to enjoy an unbroken run that spanned a decade. It survived long enough to overlap with reruns of early episodes, which were aired by CBS on their late-night schedule while new episodes were still being produced. A restart in 2010, Hawaii five-0, ran for 10 seasons. Its title contained a zero in place of the letter O of the original, as the producers discovered that there had been far more search engine queries for “five-0” than for “five-o”. . (It’s a brave new world.)
And in a cultural adoption track that couldn’t be had for love or money, “Five-Oh!” has become universal slang for “It’s the cops!”
(Peter Hummers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to generate revenue by linking Amazon.com and affiliate sites. This adds nothing to Amazon prices.)