On the idea for a 40th Anniversary I Spy Bash...
"This is how it starts, with an idea, a dream. Sounds great, 2005 get together. I like the informal picnic idea or low key thing. Good one. Then can plan it accordingly after. All depending on interest, number, participants. It should be a place accessible to all who'd want to come. Would Mexico require visas, passports? What about language barrier? We need a central bank or database to relay contact info w/o throwing personal info out to world wide web where it can be spammed, misused. I just saw Jason (ISpy65) started a good idea to anonymously mail him your interest where it will be protected and kept confidential. It's a start. Start the talk on '05 'Convention' ! It could be something, exciting and there's time to hash it all out. If you wouldn't mind, anyone wanting a mini get together somewhere that would like to meet us all give a headsup also. Thanks!"
-- J (11.19.02
On this site's fan fiction...
"Just wanted to thank the wonderful authors for some marvelous fanfiction. I know I will be back here frequently to check for more. Great tales. I hope all the authors know how much you are appreciated by your reading public!"
-- Marybeth (11.18.02)
"Dang, we could have a new series starting with these new writings. only wished you all wrote for the movie coming out, it'd be a humdinger."
-- Mort (9.23.02)
On Culp & Cos and martial arts...
"There was a plethora of questions on ispy65 I believe on Robert Culp. One that caught my attention was did he train in tae kwon do or other? Actually, he was quite good at kenpo, training under Ed Parker (do a web search on Ed Parker Kenpo), a kenpo teacher emigrated from Hawaii to LA in 50s. He became a trainer to alot of movie stars back then, James Dean, Nick Adams, Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen and more. He's the one that really introduced Bruce Lee at one of his famed tournaments shown in the movie Dragon. He knew and trained with Lee as well as alot of famous teachers in the LA area in those times. In fact, I Spy used some classmates/teachers from Parker's school including Parker as stunt or usually bad guys. I'll have to run through the DVDs again to point out which one I espied Parker in with delight. Culp was unique in those times for putting 'good' authentic martial arts in those times, choreagraphing and doing the moves himself. What always got me was he was always realistic, practical with an assailant, usually kicking them low in knee with follow up, very rarely a high kick to head and such. Nothing flowery, fancy, but hard knocks whatwould work. He wasn't afraid to use any utensil or object at hand be it a drawer to deflect a knife, a rug one time, and more. This is how it'sreally done, not a contest of fisticuffs, anything to dispatch a bad guy,it's life and death. In fact, suffice it to say as a young lad watching never before seen fighting like this, I was inspired to undertake these arts and have become a teacher of several disciplines I've pursued over the years. It's all because of I Spy and Robert Culp (and later B.Lee, of course),the best show ever and the display of such that I owe it to. (Bill Cosby was no slouch either, he later on pursued and got his black belt in judo. There is an episode in Japan where they don the gi's and go at it for policeman in their hotel room. The cop later throws Kelly around in demonstration)."
-- Rebob (5.31.02)
"I found Rebob's comments very informative. As an I SPY fan I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know Cos earned a black belt in judo. But I do know that I always enjoyed watching Culp in action -- one scene that has always stuck in my mind as being very realistic was the opener of "Bet Me A Dollar," in which Kelly takes on a couple of guys beating up on a third. (One of the assailants is wielding the knife that carries the anthrax virus.) Another is when Kelly and Scotty jump their dopplegangers in "Will the Real Good Guys Please Stand Up?", and Kelly dispatches his double with a kick and a chop to the neck. (Though I have often wondered, as the guys left the two Soviet agents laying on the ground, and we saw or heard no more about them, whether we're to assume that one or both were killed.) As for Culp's martial arts training, I recall that I did cast aspersions (in good humor, of course) on his technique with the sword in "Tigers of Heaven" -- this based solely on my working knowledge of aikido weapons training (particularly the bokken). It wasn't so much the sword work as the stance. But hey, I could be wrong! It happens every now and then, believe or not!"
-- Jason (5.31.02)
"Some good research and info. I'd like to throw in one of my favorite scenes. Scott is visiting his adopted daughter in Italy and there's this obnoxious fellow Geno doing mischief. To right a wrong our heroes go visit a awol American involved in thievery holding a stolen item Geno fences to them. Kelly must fight this guy in some local ritual where a towel is held taut between the opponent's teeth and each arm holds the other's 'knife hand'. The one who let's goes, chicken's out, is weaker/stronger, whatever will get cut or lose the towel. Kelly ingeniously stomps the guy's foot or shin making him let go in pain and also kicks someone trying to muscle in droping him. He, then, in classic Robinson humor mouths with towel still in mouth, 'Can I open my mouth now?' or similar. It's great, funny, showed alot of skill, realism and very little mvt as Rebob has mentioned before. Fantastic website btw, didn't know about it till recent. Like the topic here so far."
-- Ian (6.3.02)
"One episode I can actually remember a title to 'Tag Your It' contains fight scenes uniquely not just self defense. It's about agent training (new) and starts out with an obstacle/fight course. The bad guy character actually crosses the line in the exercise (beautifully shot near Golden Gate bridge in background) and kicks Kelly around on the ground (with good technique/form). The finale has Kelly and bad guy square off in a hand to hand fight. This is probably the only time, episode, where kenpo vs kenpo type fighting is used, demonstrated. Other times/episodes, it's for self defense, against boxing, judo, etc. One other thing comes to mind, in the RCulp DVD collection, Culp talks about a scene (sorry, episode name escapes) where he and Scotty really have to fight each other in a serious way. They discuss it, how to play it out. Culp is at a loss and asks Bill since they are suppose to be close agent friends, how much would they really go at it? tear each other up or just a few slaps? Cos relates about his 9 brothers and himself fighting as kids do when young. Heck, even though they're family, they tried to kill each other, really go at each other tooth and nail and that's how they should play it. The closer you are to someone the dirtier it gets. Scott is trying to prevent Kelly from seeing an amorous interest that has espionage ties I believe is the situation. Cos executes a perfect judo throw when he stands in front of the door, blocking Kelly's exit. When Kelly gets close to get by, Cos executes a smooth, well, it's either o uchi/soto gari or ko uchi/soto gari, and Kelly is flat on his back. Then the fight goes on. But, it is fine execution and shows a bit of Cos' ability in judo in this scene (also some scenes in the judo randori in Japan one). It might be fun to do an episode by episode, where relevant, critique on fight situations, rating, comments, feasibiltiy, etc. like regular reviews. Anyone can comment, add, review."
-- Rebob (6.4.02)
"I've related earlier how watching Culp early on inspired me to pursue martial arts, become an instructor and teach different styles (both at my own schools and as Univ. credited classes). And, since this was a time where relatively few undertook such, you got to know a lot of people like the Ed Parker folks (Chuck Norris and more) in such a small community. I share the same experiences as what you both said. A grade school classmate 1st talked to me about the show, raving on and on while the series was on tv.
I didn't get to see alot of the shows because of the late time it played, every now and then I got to sneak one in and it was great. The classmate adopted Kelly's style and as a partner that left me in the Cos role. We would play act as much as we could with what we saw them do in recent epsiodes. He even bought this shoulder holster with a gun that fired blanks (he got in trouble there, not in a Columbine way, this was the 60's) to emulate Kelly. There were times, after many trials and practices, that we could synch and adlib pretty well and acquired reputations at the school attended as a result (for our quips and witty banter). All because the show and the main characters really made an impression on us. Well, that's my beginning. Never got to see the entire series even when they reran, always found out about it too late. So, when saw the dvds came out, they were a must have. I'm slowly building up the entire collection and relish future viewings (but I'll never reach a dozen per, that's an elite league)."
-- Rebob (6.7.02)
On the new I Spy movie...
"I have to agree that Will Smith would definately be the best choice for Alexander Scott. I too have thought about the casting for the new movie and am hard pressed to figure out who I would have play Kelly Robinson. Most of my perspective lead actors have all been older actors who's sense of humour fit the role such as Richard Dean Anderson (from MacGyver), Randolph Mantooth (from Emergency!-) and Mel Gibson. The only problem is their ages for the role. As for a younger actor with possibly the right sense of humor maybe Adam Sandler....but I'm not quite sure.
I'm not sure if I want to see the movie remake of I Spy. Generally I find such movies to be a disappointment and an insult to the origional show. The only exception to that rule in my opinion is Maverick. Having been a fan of that show for years and owning all the tapes I was impressed with how the show was handled and how homage was paid to the origional star, James Garner, by including him in as a key role. From what I have read so far concerning the new I Spy movie they're adding gadgets for the agents to use, which in my opion definately detracts from what the origional show was about. Heck if I want to see another James Bond type movie then I will go see a James Bond movie where those things are expected. I also don't the switching of the names of the lead characters or how they changed the profession. If the producers want to attract the older fans who know the show they should leave things the way they were. But that's just my opinion."
-- Double O Nothing (6.16.02)
"I can keep silent no longer -- something's been bothering me about some of the comments made about the upcoming I SPY movie, not necessarily on this messageboard, but all around the www. The gist of these comments is that it doesn't matter if the movie is anything like the series -- and this is written usually by people who've never seen the series. Well, I beg to differ. The makers of this film have seen fit to use the title I SPY and the names of the characters KELLY ROBINSON and ALEXANDER SCOTT. They have done so, I presume, because they expect some sort of advantage to be gained from it. Otherwise, they could have used another title and come up with new names for the characters. Perhaps they hope to profit by conjuring up the magic that was created by Culp, Cosby, Leonard et al,. some 35 years ago. But whatever the reason, the use of the title and names bears with it a certain responsibility -- namely, an earnest attempt to recapture the spirit, the "magic", if you will, of the original series. To do so, certain elements of the original series must be applied.
That in mind, I am discomfited by the fact that the races of the characters have been switched, for no apparent reason that I can discern. This implies a certain ne'er-do-well attitude towards the original that is troubling, to say the least. They tried it with The Wild Wild West movie, and it didn't work out to well, though I think the presence of Will Smith did avert complete disaster. I admit I could be quite wrong -- the I SPY movie may remain true to the original series. We can only hope. If so, it will succeed. The formula is a winning one. That was proven back in the Sixties. And I hasten to point out that the remake of Charlie's Angels was hugely successful because it adhered fairly closely to the original premise.
So, to reiterate, use of the title and the character's names DOES require, in my humble opinion, adherence to the original concept."
-- Jason (7.1.02)
"If you're going to use the name and creative power behind that name then you should have the obligation to at least adhere to the basic canon of the classic story . That means maintaining a resemblance to the original character qualities as they were first perceived . Otherwise, you're not doing a re-make, you're doing an original story with the re-make's name to pull in the crowds . I'd far rather go see the original movie, without the I Spy name on it, then to see some hashed up version that doesn't do justice to any of the creative forces behind the original."
-- Aunty Alta (7.2.02)
"It is with dread that we await the butchering of I Spy coming out. How can you figure Culp and Cosby with Murphy and Wilson!?!! Makes me queasy. Murphy as a smart mouth with angry sarcasm Robinson is blasphemy at its farthest. Why can't Hollywood stick with a winner, the show worked, was brilliant, the actors, writers, producers, etc. We saw what they did in the remake, deviating from the tried and true, pitting Robinson against Scott, no longer the wonderfulness we've come to love! They've already did this with the real characters in remake, you know it's going to be bad with totally different actors 'updating' them, being 'hipper' in their eyes. I Spy was perfection not to be tampered with! It would've been great to see the remake w/our guys in the way they were meant to be, only a bit older and wiser but still the fun (wonderfulness). Now, a whole new audience will rate Culp and Cosby against Wilson and Murphy instead of the other way around. As another put it, RETCHHH!!
I predict your site will have many visitors after the movie, I hope we can all enlighten the new generation of I Spyers to the intangible 'wonderfulness' that was the show and what we real fans are all about. A big job awaits us in Nov."
-- zero zero (7.9.02)
And, finally, what it means to be a fan...
"Rebob, I especially want to thank you for all the fascinating background about martial arts that you have shared and their tie to the spirtual and phillosphical, besides its physical nature. I have been swept away by the Asian I SPY episodes and have done some reading on Asian philosphies (which I hadn't done since college) ... your postings enhanced this all greatly for me. Thank you.
and Jason you mentioned
"And wouldn't it be nice if we had the wherewithal to meet in some of the locations used in I SPY -- The Greek Isles, Acapulco or Tasco, Venice or Rome? I've often thought it would be fun to travel about looking for familiar backdrops ..."
I've been putting together a few recent photos of some I SPY locations from some folks on the FORUM ... I hope to get them up soon for you. And I sent some videotapes of episodes to Trish Bennett and hope that she will make a zillion screen captures, so we can pair up some other location shots too.
And as far as we know, there have been several Kelly look-alikes in white jeans and wrap-around sunglasses roaming around exotic location spots in Europe over the years!. At least, we know of a few who have admitted it. I SPY seems to have made a "very" strong impression on young men in their late teens and early 20s - so deep that it has stayed with them for years and years. It is like the famous James Bond line .... "Men want to be him, women want to be with him." From the female reaction so far, I think you can all tell that Mr. Robinson fits this statement to a "T"."
-- Tatia (6.16.02)
"Rebob, Jeff and Ian...
This post is directed at you. When I saw that you had all decided to take a leave to "bone up" on your I Spy knowledge so that you could contribute to this board, I was amazed and felt somewhat responsible. In my excitement of meeting new people to share with, I think I may have intimated with my knowledge. Trust me, you do not have to be an expert on I Spy to have wonderful conversations about it. The fact that you are here shows that you are as fasinated with the show as I am. That's what brings me here. To share in that excitement, new energy and different perceptions around the show.
You have all added many interesting and thought provoking posts. So maybe you haven't seen all the episodes, I for one am actually very envious of that. I have seen them all, as I said before, and have no new ones to anticipate. I would give anything to know I had 82 new episodes to look forward to and treasure.
If you really feel you cannot contribute without viewing the episodes first (which I think is hogwash), then watch one and come back and lets discuss it. Please don't leave because there are others out here that have seen more episodes than you.
I hope you all reconsider, I for one will miss your voices."
-- desirae (6.14.02)
-- Thanks again to all concerned! JM