1983: ABC attempts a TV spy revival

The year 1983 was a big year for spy entertainment. Two James Bond moves, Octopussy and Never Say Never Again came out, prompting an outburst of Bondmania.

ABC, looking to cash in, gave the goahead to a new series, Masquerade, in which spymaster Lavender (Rod Taylor) recruits people who’ve never done intelligence work to perform missions.

Series creator Glen A. Larson drew upon two ’60s spy shows. The episodes were often constructed like Mission: Impossible, where the audience would get intriguing glimpses of the plan but not the entire blueprint until the end of the story. William Read Woodfield, one of the ace writers of M:I ended up contributing scripts for the show. And The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had already used the “innocent” idea where ordinary people (in effect a surrogate for the audience) were recruited to assist the heroes.

Masquerade was short lived. But if you want to get a sense of the show, here’s the start of the pilot, where KGB bad guy Oliver Reed is knocking off U.S. agents, prompting Lavender to begin Operation: Masquerade. Note: the director of the pilot was Peter H. Hunt, NOT the same Peter Hunt who directed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and a major figure in the early 007 films.

2 Responses

  1. I enjoyed this show, and loved the theme by Crystal Gayle. Would like to see it released on dvd.

  2. If you want to see this show on DVD, you should go to TV On DVD and mention it.

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