1997: a 1960s spy reunion with Culp, Vaughn,Macnee and Bain

The Dick Van Dyke series Diagnosis Murder often engaged in “stunt casting,” in which the producers would deliberately cast actors famous for certain roles in the past and put them in a story that evoked their iconic images.

In November 1997, CBS aired an episode of the series called “Discards,” which featured the stars of 1960s spy shows. Most of the screen time went to Robert Culp, who played the father of a series regular. Besides Culp (I Spy), Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and Patrick Macnee (The Avengers) were on hand, playing spy types. What’s more, Barbara Bain was there actually reprising her Cinnamon Carter role from Mission: Impossible. On top of that, Phil Morris, the son of M:I’s Greg Morris appeared.

Here are some clips:

5 Responses

  1. I was the executive producer of diagnosis murder and came up with the idea of doing the episode. David Carren & Larry Carroll wrote a terrific script. It was a real thrill to be on the set with all those great spy actors. to be honest, we did a lot of these themed episodes just so I could meet the actors I so admired when I was growing up. We did a TV cops episode, a TV doctors episode, a science-fiction episode… you get the point. But this one was my favorite. We actually had Barbara Bain playing cinnamon Carter! how great is that? The only thing that topped that was a year earlier when we had Mike Connors back as Mannix.

  2. Lee we remember both the spy show (obviously) and the Mannix episode and how it was a sequel to a 1973 Mannix episode. Both were great.

  3. Didn’t Michael “Touch” Connors also appear on that show as “Mannix”, along with several others?

  4. …Simply great !

    McNee looks much more funnier than in the ill fated “15 Years old Affair” ( out of the game but not out of his Rolodesk…) .

    Is this episode available on DvD ( or ANY video support for that matter – DviX , cdv … ) ?

    Would love to see it …

  5. Gary: Yes, Mike Connors played Joe Mannix in an episode that aired in early 1997. The story was a sequel to a 1973 Mannix episode, with Pernell Roberts, Beverly Garland and Julie Adams reprising the same roles they played from the earlier Mannix story. There is a clip of that episode included as an extra on the season 1 Mannix DVD set.

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