JASON KING: SPY VIBE PENTHOUSE PARTY
Spy Vibe’s virtual party has been a chance to highlight of some of our fave characters and review part of the Playboy’s Penthouse box set (Ella’s appearance is still the highlight so far). As maestro Nicola Conte keeps the groove, a notable guest arrives fashionably late. In celebration of the Peter Wyngarde festival on Permission To Kill, Spy Vibe’s guest of honor this time around is the fabulous Jason King.
Jason King (Peter Wyngarde/Department S/Jason King) Flamboyant and sharp-witted, who better to inspire a round of stories and intellectual games than the playboy and author of Mark Caine adventure novels, Jason King. Wyngarde’s character embodied attitudes of the times, playing a man who embraced pleasure and quality as a member of the super tax bracket -often as a foodie, wine connoisseur, and lover. A hedonistic consumer and creative force, King was a champion of style. In fact, when the baddies in Flamingos Only Fly on Tuesdays want to torture King, they cut up his personally designed and tailored suits! Wyngarde patterned King on himself. "I decided that Jason King was going to be an extension of me. I was going to have a superimposed personality. I was inclined to be a bit of a dandy."
Said to be one of the inspirations for Mike Meyer’s Austin Powers, Wyngarde also brought human elements to his character when King was picked to go solo as a spin-off of Department S. Some believe his choice led to the show’s short run. An adventurer/spy hero shedding a tear over the hit of a crime lord’s moll? But it is Wyngarde’s ability to be outrageous as well as caring and present in his intimate interactions that puts his Jason King in the seat of honor for this party.
At first viewing, Jason King seemed as bizarre to me as Austin Powers. The initial episodes are confusing and wild (and I mean wild!), but they improve and grow on one quickly. Wyngarde’s King has the kind of charisma and conflict of brilliance, confidence, and frailty that I would equate with the work of Peter Cook, Richard Harris, and Peter O'Toole. Permission To Kill has posted some excellent reviews of Wyngarde’s appearances. I especially recommend the two episodes of The Avengers, A Touch of Brimstone and Epic (this one gets extra points for Peter’s many roles in the show, including a Shakespeare voice-over of Hamlet and a Hammer-style Gothic menace), and his appearance as Number Two in The Prisoner episode Checkmate.
For more info about the “International crime author and sizzling side-burned sex-god from “Department S,” Jason King, visit:
Jason King’s Groovy Pad