January 6, 2010


Spy Vibers of the 1960s-1970s era thumbed through TV Guide each week like explorers looking for rare treasure. Was a station airing The Avengers or Wild West West? Maybe The 10th Victim or On Her Majesty's Secret Service? Because if they weren’t listed, it meant that it could be another week, another month, or even years until those thin black ties and silencers would show up again on the screen. This was a time before streaming video, before Netflix, Blu-ry, DVDs, VHS, Laser Disc and Betamax. Like many kids, I loved any chance to see the likes of The Prisoner, UFO, Man From U.N.C.L.E., and James Bond. Unless shows were in first run, or we're looking at the 80s -when Bond marathons became more regular, we just never knew when they'd be on. But I had a vision of the future. I dreamed of growing up and having a studio with a kind of library, where I could enjoy studying these adventures in depth. One cannot underestimate the power of the technological floodgates that opened and flourished during this past decade. Not only did we make the transition to DVD, Blu-ray and streaming, various studios around the world have also been busy releasing archival editions of virtually every Spy we ever hoped to find. Apart from a few that still have not made it to release, that dream of the library has come true. A few titles that have eluded major digital releases in disc-form have at least found their way to streaming venues like Hulu. Fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. agent Armstrong Sabian recently posted a reminder that some U.N.C.L.E. episodes are available. Hopefully Spy Vibers have the box set collection for the full complete-library experience. Amazon currently has the set on sale. Armstrong's reminder got me thinking again about other titles that are streaming on-line.

It Takes A Thief made a brief comeback in the wake of Austin Powers when Mike Meyers hosted a week of 60s spies. I seem to recall that episodes started airing briefly. It Takes a Thief began in January 1968 and ran for 65 shows until 1970. The premise: Alexander Mundy (Robert Wagner), an infamous cat burglar, is offered a full pardon in return for lending his special talents to his country. Spy Vibers may recall Mundy's SIA controller cajoling, "I'm not asking you to spy. I'm asking you to steal." Sort of a Mod Squad meets The Saint adventure show, It Takes a Thief has not seen a full digital release, but 63 episodes are available for viewing on Hulu! This is not breaking news, but may possibly be off the radar of some readers. The show is a cool classic that is worth checking out. Head over to our favorite magazine, Cinema Retro, for a wonderful past article about It Takes on Thief on-line.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Mod-sounding opening of ITAT's third season, especially that break and then how it kicks in with the "swingin' chick" graphic! Haven't seen the show in over twenty years but it's #1 on my wishlist of shows not on DVD. If Mannix can make DVD (thank God; love that show)then I'm holding out hope for ITAT.


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