October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween! What was your costume? Here's actor, Ray Danton, sporting the classic black mask in Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966).


Happy Halloween to Spy Vibers! I hope your holiday was filled with evil robots and... secret agent chimps? Here's a clip from one of my boyhood faves, Lancelot Link (1970). For those who haven't seen the series, you have to imagine a show based on Get Smart with chimpanzees dressed in spy costumes. Don't say I didn't warn you!

October 29, 2011


Louis Feuillade's serial about a gang of master criminals, Les Vampires (1915-16), featured a strategist and operative known as Irma Vep. A silent-era femme fatale in the style of Emma Peel of The Avengers, Vep was the inspiration for the 1996 film, Irma Vep, about a director trying to re-make the French classic. The clips below show the original character from 1915, followed by Maggie Cheung's modern day (and experimental) Irma Vep.


Thank you to Spy Vibers around the world for exploring "1960 style in action" with us. Last week readers' hits silently passed the quarter-million mark! Let's celebrate this weekend with a few lovely Bond Girls. Check out LIFE magazine's list of the top-20 actresses here. Who are your faves from the world of 007?

October 28, 2011


In conjunction with the release of The Director's Cut of the Quadrophenia sessions by The Who, an exhibit has been launched at Pretty Green, the London flagship boutique for Liam Gallagher's fashion line. The exhibit Facebook page here. Even if you can't make it to this rare show, you can still enter to win a custom one-off by Vespa made to look like the scooter on the classic album's cover! Details here. Pretty Green offers a large collection of Mod fashion designed by Gallagher (Oasis, Beady Eye), Paul Weller (The Jam, Style Council), as well as pieces inspired by iconic gear from Swinging London. You can even find a Quadrophenia parka here. The Director's Cut will be released on November 15th. Spy Vibers interested in the Who should check out the excellent book, Won't Get Fooled Again, by music author Richie Unterberger. The film adapted from the Who's album is currently out of print. Below, Mods gather at the Who exhibit in London, Vespa's contest prize edition, and a video promo for The Director's Cut. It's a Mod Mod Mod world!

October 26, 2011


Special Event: A preview screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will be held at the San Rafael Film Center on November 15th- with Gary Oldman and director Tomas Alfredson on hand for a Q&A! Tickets just went on sale today at the center's box office at on-line here. I hope that Spy Vibers in the Bay Area can attend.

From the San Rafael Film Center: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the long-awaited feature-film version of John Le Carré's classic bestseller set in 1973 during the Cold War. Gary Oldman, who stars as career-spy George Smiley, and director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) will answer questions at this special advance screening. George Smiley works for British intelligence, nicknamed "The Circus," and when an Eastern European mission goes awry, he sets out to uncover a possible double-agent in the agency. Oldman has support from a terrific cast, including John Hurt, Colin Firth, Ciarán Hinds, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon McBurney and Svetlana Khodchenkova. Already a hit in its current British theatrical release, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has earned high praise from John Le Carré himself, who calls it "to my eye a work of art in its own right." (UK 2011) 127 min."

The superb mini-series adaptations of Tinker Tailor and Smiley's People starring Alec Guinness have been re-released on DVD (old prints, new package) and are available for rent to Spy Vibers in the States from Netflix.

October 24, 2011


The Guardian has posted a list of the top-6 Spy series of all time. Surprisingly, The Avengers is only an honorable mention -losing out to The Saint! Roger Moore always gets my support, but... Find out which shows made the cut here. They've included some fun video clips, as well. Thanks to Cinema Retro for the heads up. If you were pressed to make such a list, maybe by threat of laser beam while strapped to a table, what would Spy Vibers pick as the top-6 Spy series of all time?

October 23, 2011


Spy Vibe agent J Kraus alerted us to a special event that brought architecture enthusiasts flocking to New York. From Phaidon: "Last weekend a crowd descended upon the TWA Terminal at JFK, not because of flight delays, but because the building was open to the public again but for just three short hours. Designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen in 1956 and finished in 1962 – a year after his death, this was the first time the public had been given access to the building since its closure in 2001." Read more here. Image below by Ezra Stoller via SFMOMA.

October 22, 2011


Before Richard Lester directed The Beatles in A Hard Days Night, this ex-pat was already making films with a focus on the fun and energy of youth culture and the music scene. One of his projects was It's Trad, Dad (1962), featuring this curious segment with rockabilly cat, Gene Vincent, who puts the 'rock' in rocket. The film also features Helen Shapiro, Del Shannon, Chris Barber's Jazz Band, and others.

October 21, 2011


Fans of The Persuaders! (1971-1972), starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis, should check out the Network website for a cool collectible. In conjunction with their release of this classic series on Blu-ray, they have produced a limited-edition brochure (listed at $21.50). From Network: Created for The Persuaders! 40th Anniversary event, we have a limited stock available of these collectible brochures. Containing contributions from Roger Moore, Johnny Goodman and Barry Norman, with features on the series' fashion sense, cars and restoration in High Definition, this is one collectible piece of memorabilia that no Persuaders! fan can be without.

October 17, 2011


Deal Alert: We were so excited to announce that Robert Wagner's It Takes a Thief (1968-1970) was finally being released on DVD. The high price tag was a bit discouraging for fans who have waited so many years, but as I hoped, a deal has arrived! Amazon is currently offering the box set of the complete series at a pre-order price of $99.99 (down from $199.98). Amazon page here.

International locales, beautiful women, guest stars galore... It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series is now available for the first time ever on DVD featuring all three seasons of the hit show that Cinema Retro called "the coolest espionage series of the late sixties."

Smooth, suave and sophisticated, Alexander Mundy (Robert Wagner) is the world's greatest cat burglar. Now, he's plying his trade as the SIA's most debonair spy - traipsing the globe, seducing beautiful women and embezzling fortunes, all on behalf of Uncle Sam and the U.S. government.

All 66 Episodes Digitally Re-Mastered
Extended Feature-Length Version of the Pilot Episode "Magnificent Thief"
The King of Thieves: Interview with Robert Wagner
A Matter of Larceny: Interview with Glen A. Larson
Limited Edition Senitype (reproduced 35mm film frame)
It Takes a Thief Exclusive 4-Piece Coaster Set
Collectible Booklet with retrospective essay.

October 16, 2011


Stock up the fridge and warn the neighbors because Spy Vibe is having a 1960s garage party weekend. Track Four: The Kinks emerged from humble blues beginnings (see video #2 below) to define their sound in 1964. Here is their fourth single (the follow-up to You Really Got Me), All Day and All Through the Night -with some encouragement from stage dancers.

October 15, 2011


Stock up the fridge and warn the neighbors because Spy Vibe is having a 1960s garage party weekend. Track three: Follow David Hemmings into Antonioni's Blow-Up and this iconic scene with The Yardbirds featuring Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.


Stock up the fridge and warn the neighbors because Spy Vibe is having a 1960s garage party weekend. Track two: early film footage of The High Numbers in 1964, a Mod band that would soon be managed by the film's producers and rechristened The Who!

October 14, 2011


Stock up the fridge and warn the neighbors because Spy Vibe is having a 1960s garage party weekend. Track one is a gem from those psychedelic rockers from Texas, The 13th Floor Elevators with You're Gonna Miss Me (1966). One of my old band-mates used to rave about these guys and I finally get why. This goes out to John and my fellow Elevator Tribe musicians.


October 11, 2011


Spy Vibers scanning their radar for Space Age espionage should check out a documentary with a great high-concept title, Astrospies. From Amazon: "Millions remember the countdowns, launchings, splashdowns and parades as the U.S. raced the USSR to the Moon in the 1960s. Few know that both superpowers ran parallel covert space programs to launch military astronauts on spying missions. In Astrospies, NOVA delves into the untold story of this top-secret space race, which might easily have turned into a shooting war in orbit.

Astrospies, viewers meet the elite corps of U.S. military astronauts, several of whom have never before talked about their clandestine training missions during the 1960s. As seen in footage broadcast for the first time, they practiced in full-scale mock-ups of the spy station, complete with spy cameras capable of resolving three-inch objects on the earth below. While the Apollo astronauts enjoyed ticker-tape parades, their astrospy colleagues trained in total obscurity until cost overruns and the new satellite technology doomed the program. Meanwhile, in response, the Soviets actually built three manned spy stations named Almaz and flew five missions during the 1970s. NOVA gains first-time access to a surviving Almaz station in a restricted Russian space facility, where an ex-cosmonaut demonstrates the high-powered spy cameras that were trained on U.S. cities. With a cannon designed to destroy hostile satellites or attack American astrospies Almaz was probably the only manned spacecraft ever equipped for space war. Astrospies is co-produced by Emmy Award winning producer Scott Willis and investigative journalist James Bamford, acclaimed best selling author of The Puzzle Palace and Body of Secrets." This 56-minute film is also available for rent on Netflix in the States. Looking for more space docs? I recommend In the Shadow of the Moon and For All Mankind.

October 8, 2011


A special weekend for fans of 1960s Art and music. Birthday wishes to John and Sean Lennon, who share October 9th birthdays (and congrats to Paul McCartney on his wedding this Oct 9th!). To get us in the mood, here is an amusing video mash-up that places James Bond at one of the summer 1966 Tokyo Beatles concerts. The filming of You Only Live Twice started in July 1966, so it's fun to imagine these major pop-culture events coming together.

In honor of John Lennon, Yoko Ono is scheduled to relight the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland this weekend. The structure was conceived from an idea that Ono had in the 1960s about architecture built entirely of light and prisms. The Imagine Peace Tower uses fifteen searchlights and prisms to create a shaft of light that reaches upwards of 4,000 meters. Construction was finished in 2007, and it is lit annually between October 9th and December 8th (the date of Lennon's passing in 1980).

More info about how you can contribute to the event from Yoko: "Dear Friends, On 9th October 2011, I will be in Reykjavík, Iceland to relight IMAGINE PEACE TOWER at 8pm (9pm London, 4pm NY, 1pm LA, 5am Tokyo) in memory of my husband John Lennon. I hope you will join us at http://IMAGINEPEACETOWER.com for the live event where you can tweet, email & Facebook chat your wishes live to @IPTower and watch a live feed of the event."

A special John Lennon exhibit has been set up in NYC for the weekend, in honor of what would have been Lennon's 71st birthday. There is also an exhibit of Yoko Ono's work at Stoney Brook University through October 15th. More information at the New York Times here. Spy Vibe on 1960s surrealism and satire in the UK here.

My wish in celebration of John Lennon's 71st birthday, going out to the armed populations in the world- Camera Piece: carry a camera instead of a weapon for 1 day, then 1 week. Look at people through the lens until you see that you are one.

October 5, 2011


Thank you to the many Spy Vibers from around the world who entered The 10th Victim Blu-ray contest. What a great turn out! As a life-long fan of the film, I'm pleased to see it get the hi-def preservation and release it deserves, and to see so many people interested in exploring the movie. I chose four readers in a random drawing to win copies of the new release. For the many people who were not chosen, I express my sincere thanks and hope that you will order a copy of the film to enjoy in your own Spy Vibe library and to support the preservation and release of classics like The 10th Victim (Amazon page here). Thanks to Blue Underground for having me on board for the special features on the disc and for providing comp-copies for Spy Vibers.

The winners are: Bill from Seattle, Stephen from Australia, Bob from St Paul, and Jack from Brooklyn. Your discs are already in the mail!

The 10th Victim
appeals as both a cocktail of cool aesthetics and as biting commentary on violence-as-entertainment- qualities that ring as true today as they did in 1965. Here is the iconic scene where Ursula Andress dispatches her prey with her infamous gun-bra bikini at the Masoch Club.

October 2, 2011


Enter to win a Blu-ray edition of the Elio Petri cult classic, The 10th Victim (1965), starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress. Contest ends October 4th! Details here.

From the New York Times review (9/30/11): "Petri won the foreign-language Oscar for his far superior 1970 film, “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion,” but it’s “The 10th Victim” that lingers in the public imagination and has now been reissued by Blue Underground in an excellent Blu-ray transferred from the original negative. The playful production design, by Michelangelo Antonioni’s regular collaborator Piero Poletto, probably accounts for much of the movie’s continued appeal. His Rome of the future has been assembled out of the architecture of the Fascist past (Bernardo Bertolucci would return to some of the same locations for his 1970 period drama “The Conformist”) and festooned with the fetish objects of the Op-Pop 60s: inflatable furniture, Trim-line telephones."