ispy1

Publisher: Western
Publication Dates: August 1966 – September 1968
Number of Issues Published: 6 (#1 – #6)
Color: Color
Dimensions: Standard Silver Age U. S.

Based upon the 1965-1968 television series. Bill Cosby, playing Alexander Scott, was the first African-American to be cast in a co-starring role in an action-adventure series. As such he was likewise one of the first (alongside Greg Morris of Mission: Impossible) to be depicted in such a way on American comic book covers via this Gold Key series.

Information thanks to the Grand Comic Database

I Spy is an American television secret-agent adventure series. It ran for three seasons on NBC from 1965 to 1968 and teamed Robert Culp as international tennis player Kelly Robinson with Bill Cosby as his trainer, Alexander Scott. The characters’ travels as ostensible “tennis bums”, Robinson playing talented tennis as an amateur with the wealthy in return for food and lodging, and Scott tagging along, provided a cover story concealing their roles as top agents for the Pentagon. Their real work usually kept them busy chasing villains, spies and beautiful women.

The creative forces behind the show were writers David Friedkin and Morton Fine and cinematographer Fouad Said. Together they formed Triple F Productions under the aegis of Desilu Studios where the show was produced. Fine and Friedkin (who previously wrote scripts for radio’s Broadway Is My Beat and Crime Classics under producer/director Elliott Lewis) were co-producers and head writers, and wrote the scripts for 16 episodes, one of which Friedkin directed. Friedkin also dabbled in acting and appeared in two episodes in the first season.

Actor-producer Sheldon Leonard, best known for playing gangster roles in the 1940s and ’50s, was the executive producer (receiving top billing before the title in the series’ opening title sequence). He also played a gangster-villain role in two episodes and appeared in a third show as himself in a humorous cameo. In addition, he directed one episode and served as occasional second-unit director throughout the series.

I Spy was banned from being shown by certain television stations in the South due to the showcasing of an African-American (Bill Cosby) in a leading role.

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