Salute to Peter Graves

Peter Graves wasn’t the first star of Mission: Impossible. Steven Hill was. But Graves was the actor most identified with the show, the longest-running (seven seasons) of the 1960s TV spy series that got their start because of the James Bond movies.

Here’s a typical opening to an M:I episode:

It’s from an early second-season episode (Graves’s first on the series) where Jim Phelps’s Impossible Missions Force fakes an earthquake in San Francisco.

In 1988, ABC comissioned a new M:I series. In part, the network’s decision stemmed from a writer’s strike that halted production of new shows in Hollywood. But that didn’t stop remakes of existing scripts. So, the new M:I debuted with a remake of a show from the original series. In this version, the IMF team leader is killed by an assassin. But his mentor was Jim Phelps. As a result, the audience sees a lonely figure observing the funeral…

Somehow, you just *know* that Jim Phelps isn’t going to leave things as they are…

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