7 October 2002 | raysond
Next...It Takes A Thief....In Color
"Let me get this straight,........you want me to steal?"
That line was from one of the coolest espionage shows to ever come out of the 1960's. The series "It Takes A Thief" premiered in a era that was lined with espionage shows that included "The Man From U.N.C.L.E", "The Avengers","The Saint","Secret Agent Man","The Wild,Wild West","I Spy","Mission:Impossible","Man With A Suitcase",and "Get Smart" to name a few. "It Takes A Thief",which came in as a mid-season replacement for the 1967-1968 season,premiered on ABC-TV on January 9,1968 for the three seasons it was on the air until March 24,1970 producing 66 episodes all in color. It was among the last of the 1960's spy television genre,although it was be clipped by "Mission:Impossible" which continued onward into the early-1970's. "It Takes A Thief" which was created by television writer Roland Kibbee(who was the writer and producer for a lot of Universal produced TV-series including "Leave It To Beaver","The Munsters","McHale's Navy")who also served as executive producer of this series along with Frank Price,Glen A. Larson,and Jack Arnold. The first two seasons of the show were filmed on the lot at Hollywood's Universal Studios,but the third and final season of the series were filmed on location in Europe within Greece and Italy and locations in France.
"It Takes A Thief" stars Robert Wagner(his first role in a television series) was the debonair jewel thief Alexander Mundy turned international man of espionage and mystery who was hired by the U.S. Government's S.I.A. agency(secret intelligence agency)(his boss was Malachi Throne who was in Seasons 1 and 2 of the series,and was replaced in the show's third and final season by Edward Binns) for a range of dangerous,yet sometimes various assignments,but in some of the episodes he did his job with such grace and style. The series also had Fred Astaire(who appeared in Season 3 of the series) as his dad who was also a jewel thief,but also worked for the government as well. There was one of the episodes where(and one of the oddest and weirdest episodes ever produced)he would be in a tight jam and somewhere would have to risk his neck to save the damsel in distress like The Fifth Dimension's Marilyn McCoo,or other broads like Petula Clark,Nancy Sinatra and so forth. Others included Susan Saint James, Bette Davis, Ida Lupino, Fernando Lamas, Paul Heinreid, and Joesph Cotten made guest appearances. Susan Saint James appeared in five episodes of the series.
One of the underrated and better episodes from Season 2 featured the one and only Peter Sellers in a dual role;in which he would played an informant in one,and a cold blooded killer out to get our hero in another! Great ending if you get the chance to see it. The series originally ran on ABC-TV from 1968-70,and when the show ended I thought why destroy a good thing that was very good since this show was a spy show,and a good hearted well-produced crime drama/action-adventure spectacle which after this show ended Robert Wagner went on to star in other crime/action shows like "Switch" with Eddie Albert(aka from Green Acres),and Sharon Gless(from Cagney & Lacey) ,and "Hart to Hart"(with Stephanie Powers),and to the LOST Wagner series from the early 1980's(I forgot the title of it,but it ran on NBC)
"It Takes A Thief" did very well in the ratings since ABC moved the series to different nights during its run. Season 1 was on Tuesday nights at 8:30e/7:30c opposite Diahann Carroll's "Julia",and the long-running "The Red Skelton Show". For Seasons 2 and 3,the show moved from Tuesday nights to Thursday nights at the 10:00e/9:00c time slot opposite "The CBS Thursday Night Movie",and "The Dean Martin Show" which got it canceled on March 14,1970 to bad ratings. On September 14,1970,the show that ABC replaced "It Takes A Thief" was the short-lived science-fiction thriller "The Immortal".