Season 3 - originally broadcast
October 9, 1967
French: same as English
Writer: Ernest Frankel
Director: Earl Bellamy
They touch off an international incident when they aid a famed child prodigy in defecting from his native Bulgaria.
Harold J. Stone (Zarkas), John Megna (Stefan), Arthur Batanides (Constantinos), Eleanor Sommers (Maria), Barney Phillips (Harris), John Goddard (Newton), Susan Carr (Liliana), Tim Pace (officer), Jacques Denbeaux (Dimitrov), Gino Gottarelli (assistant detective), Michael Masters (soldier)
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS
Synopsis: They must rescue a child prodigy who has been kidnapped.
Highlights/Comments: Kelly's query “How come you can't tell when I'm serious.” … The typical bureaucrat “he will make my job that much easier.” ... Kelly speaking in Bulgarian with Scotty's prompting.
Exclusive to the I Spy Resource Center!
Novelist and screenwriter Ernest Frankel - who was set to become producer of I Spyin its fourth season - tells how he first became involved with the series, and the background behind his initial offering, “Philotimo.” (see the WRITERS
page for more about Ernest Frankel.)
One day Art Seid, who I had worked for as Story Consultant when he was co-producer of "Perry Mason," was - as editor on "I Spy"- showing a rough cut to Sheldon Leonard.
Sheldon mentioned that he had a show to shoot in less than a week in Athens, and had no script. Art piped up with, "I know a guy who's fast." Sheldon learned that "the guy" was a client of William Morris.
William Morris was Sheldon's agent. So, he called William Morris and asked them to get me over to see him. The agency called me. I told them I was too busy, loaded with assignments; and they said Sheldon was a great guy and an important client, and they would get permission for me to delay another project in order to write an episode Sheldon needed quickly.
I had never seen the show. The agent told me "Two guys, one white and a tennis player, the other black and his trainer, are actually spies for the U. S., and they range the world doing their job." I drove over from CBS in the valley, where I was working on a project, to Hollywood.
On the way, I came up with a tentative idea that would be the central concept, along with a strong supporting character. (I didn't know enough about the two leads to do much there.)
When I walked in to the office, Marion Hargrove was just leaving. We hadn't seen one another in many, many years. Reunion; and then Marion answered some of my questions about the "I Spy" format, etc. That fleshed out my knowledge of the show at that point; and I went in to meet Sheldon.
He told me he needed a script to shoot in Athens, that it had to be done quickly because it would have to be carried there by an actor enroute. (It reminded me of the old saw: "You want it good, or you want it Tuesday?" )
He wanted it Tuesday. I told him the story concept I had. He said, "Fine. I like it. Go ahead." I told him I was rushed with other work, and would have to read some I Spy scripts and look at a couple of episodes to get a decent feel for the show. That would take time, plus the deadline, and that I wasn't prepared to invest that much prep time to write a single script.
He said, "You hand me a script in the five days, and have it good enough to shoot without rewrite, and I'll give you a commitment for five more scripts." I agreed.
They shot it on schedule in Athens and without rewrite.