Top 10 Secret Agent Series From The Sixties.
One of the iconic bits of Sixties spy shtick was the weekly-repeated, unforgettable speech of the unseen, unknown voice on the tape recorder: Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it… as though Phelps ever would have refused. The dirty secret of spies, of course, is that they aren’t allowed to refuse. If you refuse, John Drake (of “Danger Man,” etc.) could tell us, they kill you—or worse, they send you somewhere. And their “somewheres” are never pleasant; Villages and gulags of all sorts, and it doesn’t matter whose side you’re on—in the end they’re all the same place. To punctuate this truth, there was that ominous caveat spoken near the end of each of Mission: Impossible’s mission tapes: if you or any of your IM Force are caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. In other words, you’re on your own, pal, and nice knowin’ ya. And to further emphasize the idea that there would be no witnesses, no paper trail, no trace of a chain of command should Phelps and his team fail: this tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Perhaps Phelps could count on vanishing just as quickly if he decided sometime to say, “no, I’m not takin’ this one.” But of course he never did—Peter Graves was far too reliable, and, yes, wooden, for such dramatic disobedience. So every week he and the faces of his ever-changing group of IMF spies and professionals would take on another corrupt dictator or spirit another willing defector out of the hands of the commies. Cast changes were part and parcel of Mission: Impossible, and the faces changed more than the improbable and occasionally formulaic plots.
Ian Fleming probably didn’t realize what a seed he was planting when he created James Bond. Almost immediately after his big screen debut, Bond had a whole generation of imitators following him on TV and film. There were suddenly spies everywhere—some surreal and campy, others sophisticated and witty, some hip and groovy. There was even a wedding of the spy with the western. By 1970, the anti-establishment sentiments of the hippies had fully taken hold in pop culture, and the spy craze was suddenly no more. Only James Bond was left, last as he was first, to carry on. PLEASE NOTE: This list excludes Bond—this is, of course, about the OTHER spy series of the day. Bond, naturally, is the biggest and best known. The point is, he wasn’t alone.