A one hour adventure spy drama television series starring Bill Cosby
as Alexander Scott and Robert Culp
as Kelly Robinson: two American government agents posing as a tennis player and his trainer in a world still shivering from the Cold War
. Having produced eighty-two episodes, I Spy
lasted for three seasons, from September 1965
to April 1968
, and is most historically significant in being the first tv drama where an African-American had landed a lead role. Comparable to other tv shows like the Avengers
, the Man from UNCLE
and Wild Wild West
, I Spy
combined wry humor with action sequences and tense situations of espionage and international political intrigue. Every week Scotty and Kelly were hip deep in something new: drug cartel
s, treacherous double agent
s on the lamb, corruption in the military, soviet
counterintelligence, hypnosis and brainwashing techniques, chemical warfare and biological hazards, the occasional spoiled brat kid from Arabia or Minsk needing babysitters, and the occasional femme fatale
on the scene who's too smart to know better but too dumb to resist.
The series also featured a host of special guest stars over the years including Don Rickles, Martin Landau, Walter Koenig, Victor Buono, Eartha Kitt, Caroll O'Connor, Sally Kellerman, Ron Howard, Boris Karloff, Ricardo Montalban, Dorothy Lamour, Richard Kiel, and Gene Hackman. Recurring characters included Ken Tobey as Russ Conway, Sheldon Leonard as Sorgi, France Nuyen as Sam-than McLean, Alan Oppenheimer as Colonel Benkovsky, Harold J. Stone as Zarkas, and Antoinette Bower as Shelby Clavell.
One made for tv movie, I Spy Returns, was made and broadcast in 1994, which brought Culp and Cosby back togeteher to reprise their roles one final time.