When you think of 1960s TV, what do you think of? Gilligan’s Island? Or perhaps The Munsters? Just don’t forget about I Spy (one of my absolute favorites). Imagine: the mod, mod world of the sixties, international espionage and thievery, and two American spies: Robert Culp as Agent Kelly Robinson, whose cover is as a former Princeton law student and Davis Cup tennis player; and Bill Cosby as Agent Alexander Scott, a Rhodes scholar whose cover is as Robinson’s Tennis coach as well as being a language expert (yes: a black tennis playing dude with a gun on TV in the mid-sixties). The show is an exercise in style and stealth, relying more heavily on crafty spy work than explosions; and the deliberate pace (a testament to the times) keeps me captivated.
My favorite aspects of the show include the great, globetrotting on-location shots, the intelligence of the writing, and the truly global cast of characters represented, all of whom are presented with dignity. Another notable factor was the palpable bond between Cosby and Culp. In fact, Cosby recently stated to the LA Times, “We almost had our own language”.
Click here for “So Long, Patrick Henry”, an episode from 1966 in which An expatriate African-American living in Africa must regain his citizenship before enemy agents kill him.
(“To Sir with Love, 1967)
According to the Chicago Park District, 170 current and classic movies will be shown in neighborhood parks throughout the city, through September. I know many of us have missed the first program offerings, but here’s a list of recommendations for the final month of movies. Lots to choose from… Bring popcorn, a blanket, and may I suggest a basket of goodies? NOTE: Click the names of the parks below for their locations.
Highlights and Recommendations…
||Movies in the Park
||Movies in the Park – To Sir, With Love (NR) *
A 1967 British film in which Sidney Poitier stars as an idealist engineer-turned-teacher tries to turn around a rough inner city school.
A truly great 2006 Documentary abouth the Chicago-bred icon. Featuring (among others) his lovely wife. If you missed this on PBS, catch it in the park.
1973 film starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford in crime-ridden 1930s Chicago.
Directed by Sidney Poitier, and starring Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Harry Belafonte. Steve and Wardell track across the city when they discover Steve’s won the lottery (but the ticket is in his stolen wallet). The pair meet a truckload of hustlers, crooked politicians, and otherwise colorful folk in the hunt.
A 2000 film featuring an abundance of Latin Jazz legends performing on stage.
In this 1955 film, an English teacher wages a war to get through to his students at a violent inner city school, even though many of his colleagues refuse to pick up arms. An early performance by Sidney Poitier is not to be missed.
Check out the Darkjive review of Sparkle here.
A new classic featuring Keke Palmer, with Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. A young girl tries to make it (against the odds) to the National Spelling Bee.