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April 16, 2014

Peter Graves on 'Mission: Impossible': 3 Most Memorable Moments

by David Hofstede, posted Mar 16th 2010 10:00AM
Peter GravesFrom the children's western series 'Fury' to his appearance in the comedy classic 'Airplane,' Peter Graves had a prominent and wide-ranging career in both film and television. But the distinguished, silver-haired actor, who died on March 14 at the age of 83, will always be best remembered for his work as Jim Phelps, the brilliant tactician of 'Mission: Impossible' (1966-1973).

Graves' portrayal of Phelps, featuring those famous scenes in which he received his mission instructions from a tape that "will self-destruct in five seconds,' was so iconic that some might be surprised to learn that he joined the cast in the series' second season, replacing Steven Hill as team leader Dan Briggs. He remained with the show for the next seven seasons.

The complete 'Mission: Impossible" series is available on DVD. Here are three of the best episodes featuring Jim Phelps.Peter GravesFrom the children's western series 'Fury' to his appearance in the comedy classic 'Airplane,' Peter Graves had a prominent and wide-ranging career in both film and television. But the distinguished, silver-haired actor, who died on March 14 at the age of 83, will always be best remembered for his work as Jim Phelps, the brilliant tactician of 'Mission: Impossible' (1966-1973).

Graves' portrayal of Phelps, featuring those famous scenes in which he received his mission instructions from a tape that "will self-destruct in five seconds,' was so iconic that some might be surprised to learn that he joined the cast in the series' second season, replacing Steven Hill as team leader Dan Briggs. He remained with the show for the next seven seasons.

The complete 'Mission: Impossible" series is available on DVD. Here are three of the best episodes featuring Jim Phelps:

1. 'The Mind of Stefan Miklos' (January 12, 1969)

Peter Graves has named this episode as his favorite, probably because it spotlights Phelps' tactical acumen. The IM Force must lead a brilliant enemy agent to a false conclusion by leaving clues that can't look like clues. "I wish I could meet the man who masterminded their operation," says Miklos when he believes himself triumphant. "He was brilliant. I feel sorry for him." The normally stoic Phelps hears Miklos' comments through a listening device and smiles, ever so slightly, at the success of his deception.


2. 'Nicole' (March 30, 1969)

Assigned to retrieve a list of double agents, Phelps is captured and incarcerated with a beautiful female spy (played by Joan Collins) who may or may not be on the same side. 'Mission: Impossible' was a series that rarely had time for romance -- there were dictators to kill and cities to be saved -- but 'Nicole' allowed Graves a chance to show a different side of Jim Phelps.


3. 'The Town' (February 18, 1968)

Usually, Phelps and his IM Force have time to devise the elaborate plans necessary to accomplish their missions. But in 'The Town,' Jim accidentally stumbles into a conspiracy to kill a Soviet dictator. After he is rendered unable to move or speak by a doctor who is in on the plot, Jim still finds a way to inform associate Rollin Hand (Martin Landau) of the situation, and foil the assassination attempt.

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