1960s: John Frankenheimer directs a spy woman pilot

Sometime in the mid-1960s, CBS had a proposed series starring actress-singer Polly Bergen as a spy for Section Q named Selena.

A 15-minute “presentation” was produced. It consists of several apparently unrelated situations. The director was John Frankenheimer, who by this time already was an accomplished movie director after earlier helming live TV dramas.

Selena works with fellow agent Alex Pierce (James Daly). Selena’s husband had been killed by enemy agents. Selena proves to be an adept operative but refuses to carry a gun. Daly provides narration for the audience.

In the presentation, Selena encounters villainous types played by, among others, Carroll O’Connor (as an assassin disguised as a woman, his voice dubbed for part of the sequence), Albert Paulsen and Reggie Nalder.

At the time, there weren’t many spy shows with such a prominent woman lead aside from The Avengers. You can take a look for yourself below.

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