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I Spy Season 1
Season 1 - originally broadcast
December 1, 1965
French: "La menace" (The Threat)
Writer: Robert Lewin
Director: Paul Wendkos
Red Chinese scientists attempt to test a bubonic plague-causing virus during a Japanese medical convention on obesity, but Kelly and Scotty perform some spectacular sleight of hand to stop them
Albert Salmi (Dr. Chulock), Rex Ingram (Dr. Bingham), Fuji (Ko), Hideo Inamura (Muk), Victor Sen Yung (Lee Wing), Robert Ho (driver), Bob Okazaki &attendant), Kay Shimatsu (Futa), Jack Reitzen (lecturer), Jeanne Arnold (Madame. Chulock), Yuki Shimoda (Koyo), Marilyn Mason (Vicky Richards)
Synopsis: To capture plague specimin at a medical convention
Highlights/Comments: Lines as they break into the lab of people with surgical masks "You know if you brushed after every meal, you wouldn't have that problem" & "a flannel happy festival" & "a new folk group called The Germs" ... Dear Dr. Bingham, and the three candles lit in his memory at the end.
The “I Spy” Forum comments on "WEIGHT OF THE WORLD"
Author: Colonel Boris Benkovski
Date: 8/20/01 1:38:41 AM
This weeks episode, Weight Of The World. Tatia has already gone on record as saying it is one of her 10 worst. I wouldn't necessarily go that far, but it is indeed a poorer effort. And it did not have to be, because it had two very good things going for it, a well thought out and chilling plot (creating and testing a new form of the plague on the citizenry of a Japanese resort island) and it had a very likable and interesting guest star in Rex Ingram in his portrayal of Dr. Bingham.
But it's weak points killed it. To me it is claustrophobic, there is not one outdoor scene in the whole show. It appears to me that it was filmed on a Hollywood backlot, after they returned from Japan, and they used a little bit of footage of Japan at the beginning to give it a Japanese setting. In addition to it's enclosed look, it also has an irritating actor, Albert Salmi, as the main villain. Is he pretending to have an accent, or does he always talk like that? I do know that he used the same speech effects in his portrayal of Smerdyakov in the film version of “The Brothers Karamazov”. The female villain is supposedly Chinese, but she is portrayed by a Caucasian actress - I thought that cliché went out in the 1940`s. Back in the 40`s Gene Tierney made it almost work, but this actress in Weight of the World doesn't look any more Chinese than Bill Cosby does. And finally, the script is embarassingly sexist by today's standards, and even by 1965 standards it seems a bit chauvinistic. I'm young enough that I really don't remember the days when “a woman's place was in the home”, and it just seems natural to me that women do work that used to be predominantly male, so perhaps it is hard for me to be understanding about the times. But then again, this was the show that was breaking the barriers with racism, why couldn't it do the same with sexism. To be fair, later on they portrayed many female agents as competent professionals, especially Sam. But when Kelly threatens to spank Vicki, and then tells her “We need a microscope not a hair-dryer”, it is a bit much.
It would have worked better if Kelly and Scott were just exasperated at working with a new agent, a rookie still inexperienced and still far too enchanted with the glamour of the service. No matter what we do for a living, we all occasionally have kids right out of college come to work with us eventually, and they do get on your nerves with that youthful enthusiasm that the rest of wish we still had. And the female villain must have been the most gullible agent in the Chinese secret service to fall for the hairdryer routine. I guess women agents must be incompetent on both sides, huh?
But Dr. Bingham was a fine character, well played and well written, with intelligence, dignity and compassion. It was a shame he had to die. They made no overt issue over the fact that he was black, except when Scotty had to think fast and go replace Kelly as the fake Bingham at the registration scene. His scenes, as well as the touching tribute Kelly pays to him in the tagline (the first serious tagline in the whole series) made up for a lot of faults.
Also did anyone recognize the ambulance driver as Robert Ito, from Quincey?
There were some clever scenes, like the scene about Kelly's eating habit, and Scotty's disapproval - reminiscent of a similar scene in Danny Was a Million Laughs. (I once tried syrup over the eggs, just to see what is was like, and must agree with Scotty on this one). Marliyn Mason is cute as button, and has some funny scenes, and does well with the material she is given. And the banter is good when it is there.
The climax, getting the virus sample out of the lab, is not up to real science - creating a new virus is not something you can do just on a whim, and creating an anti-toxin is not exactly a magic wand to solve the whole problem. And this episode probably portrays the Communist Bloc in the worst light of the entire series, very ruthless and unconcerned with human life or world opinion.
So, overall, I'd give this episode a D. And I used to give it a miss sometimes when it came on syndicated reruns.
Author: Tatia Loring
Date: 8/20/01 1:50:28 AM
Yeech! This was not one of my favorites - more holes in this story than the proverbial pound of swiss cheese ....