Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mission: Remembering

Category: Obituary

The great Peter Graves died March 14.

Graves had two major careers: for the older people, he was Jim Phelps, the leader of a crack governmental force known as the IMF, on the series Mission: Impossible. The opening theme and title sequence (with a match lighting a fuse that burned while action scenes from the episode flashed in the background) were among the most memorable of any television show, not just of the late 1960s, but of all time.

Then there was Captain Clarence Oveur, the pervert pilot in Airplane! His lines to the little boy in the early stages of the show -- "Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?" "Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?" "Do you like movies about gladiators?" -- were riotous. They certainly would not make a modern film in this era of political correctness, which is what makes them even funnier. Graves, known widely for his great dramatic roles, delivered each side-splitting line as if he were doing Shakespeare.

Peter Graves suffered a heart attack after returning home from dining with family. He was 83. Survivors include his older brother, actor James Arness.

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