March 24, 2010

ROBERT CULP: R.I.P.

ROBERT CULP R.I.P.
Spy Vibers lost a hero today. Robert Culp starred in I Spy (1965-1968) with Bill Cosby. In the program, which broke ground culturally in the US by portraying a multi-racial duo, Culp played Kelly Robinson- a spy posing as a tennis pro. Alexander Scott, played by Cosby, posed as Robinson's trainer. The sports-pro cover allowed the team to travel the globe incognito while fighting the Cold War. I Spy was was a rare program that actually filmed on-location in international settings. This coupled with Culp and Cosby's natural banter gave the show a sense of realism and relevance to 60s viewers. These were hip (and patriotic) young spies whose on-screen camaraderie made them come across as old high school buddies that you would enjoy hanging out with. Culp worked behind the scenes on the show as well, taking on writing duties and directing an episode. The opening credits to I Spy were quite stylish. Contrasting color blocks with font overlays, silhouette action, and split-screen B&W film clips come together like a live version of the 1960s TV tie-in comics from Gold Key and Dell. You can see I Spy steaming on-line at Netflix and Hulu.


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