Wednesday, January 9, 2008

TV Memories: It Takes A Thief

Since January 9th marks the 40th anniversary of its debut, I thought I would write about a series that sadly doesn't get a lot of play these days... "It Takes A Thief". Originally airing on ABC from 1968-1970, the show starred Robert Wagner as Alexander Mundy, a suave thief who made the worst mistake one could make in his profession... he got caught. While serving a prison sentence, he was contacted by a U.S. spy agency who offered to spring him if he would use his talents to steal for the government. This led to Mundy's famous line (heard in the opening credits), "Let me get this straight. You want me to steal?" While working for the government, Mundy got to travel the world and romance scores of beautiful women. As you can guess, the government didn't have to do a lot of arm twisting to convince Mundy to take the gig.

I discovered "It Takes A Thief" during the 1970s when I would watch reruns of it with my mother. Because it had been so long since I had seen the series, I was very happy when TV Land added it to their lineup in the late 90s. Featuring breezy plots, snappy dialogue, exotic locations, and the always smooth Robert Wagner, "It Takes A Thief" was one of the best action-adventure series from the 1960s.

I have read that there are plans for Will Smith to star in a feature film remake of "It Takes A Thief". Hopefully, this will drum up interest in the original version (which currently isn't available on DVD). I just hope that it's not as bad as I heard Will Smith's other remake of a 60s TV classic (The Wild, Wild West) was.

Below is the opening credit sequence from the 3rd and final season of "It Takes A Thief", along with clips from the series. Some of the guest stars include Fred Astaire (who played Alexander's father Alistair Mundy in the 3rd season), Bill Bixby, The Fifth Dimension, and Susan St. James.


X. Dell said...

I remember watching the commercials for this show when I was a kid, but never watched it (it came on at 10:00--way past my bedtime). And I didn't have cable until last year. So this is the first I've seen anything other than a commercial.

The show looked interesting. Great clip of 5thD.

pjazzypar said...

I vaguely remember "It's Takes a Thief", sort of like I remember "Mission Impossible", I know they existed, but it really wasn't something I was in to. The movie version of "Wild Wild West" was awful, but not necessarily because of Will Smith. At least the African American community was able to salvage a line dance from the title track by Big Willie.

Holly Smith said...

I never saw this show, but it sounds fun. I didn't really like the Wild Wild West movie with Will Smith, but Chris did.It's just a real "guy" movie. There were funny parts, but it was just a little too goofy for me. Hopefully they'll put "It Takes a Thief" on DVD so that you can buy it!

Candy Minx said...

Hi Malcolm. I don't know this tv show...but it sounds like something I would lvoe and Wagner sure soes look suave.

I didn't hate The Wild Wild West as much as other people. I give it a 60 out of a about that, it was fun and the costumes were cool. It just was a little weak on plot...

I got sexy photos at my blog!!!

Thought of you...and it relates to genderbending and androgeny wihcih relates to your poll on cross dressing.


The Gal Herself said...

When I was a wee one, I LOVED this show! It was my introduction to Robert Wagner and I thought he had the most fabulous voice! Naturally, then, I adored Rob Lowe's impersonation in Austin Powers.

Malcolm said...

X. Dell: I also remember missing out on some primetime shows as a kid because they came on past my bedtime. That's another thing that was cool about summer/holiday breaks, I could stay up a little later to catch shows that I normally would miss.

Pjazzy: I haven't heard many positive things about the film version of "The Wild, Wild West". I guess you can say it's morbid curiousity because I am a little interested to see how bad it really is.

Holly: One of the things I like about "It Takes A Thief" is that it didn't take itself too seriously. Your description of the movie version of "Wild, Wild West" as goofy has me rethinking my interest in watching it.

Candy: To me, Robert Wagner was one of those actors that both men and women could appreciate. Guys wished they could be like him and the women wished they could be with him.

The Gal Herself: I also enjoyed his appearances in the Austin Powers movies. I need to watch those again. I also liked his guest appearances on "Two and A Half Men".

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