Monday, May 30, 2011

Robert Wagner in It Takes a Theif (1968)

This is the first in a series of posts about Robert Wagner. I had hoped to feature Pearl, the 1978 miniseries about Pearl Harbor in honor of Memorial Day, but there's very little video of it online and none that can be embedded.  So, instead we'll take a look at this 1968 series. In it, Wagner plays Alexander Mundy, a master cat burglar who, when caught is offered a job stealing for a shady government espionage agency. Mundy travels the world with his handler (Malachi Throne, later Ed Binns) pulling off daring jobs and getting into exciting scrapes. Later in the series we meet Mundy's father (Fred Astair) who is also a master thief. The show has a great stylish quality to it and reeks of sophistication.

The title derives (as does that of Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 film) from the English proverb "it takes a thief to catch a thief." Look for great old Hollywood guest stars including Paul Henried and Ida Lupino. This series has yet to be released on DVD, There is quite a bit of online video available, however. The pilot episode is on YouTube, the first installment is above, uploaded by roderickplatinum86.

Obscurity factor: 5 (not on DVD, known to Wagner fans and 60's hipsters, largely forgotten, otherwise)


  1. Here's a similar series that is perhaps more obscure.

  2. Much more obscure. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I dig where you're going with the Robert Wagner. Loggia's character is darker and more intense, whereas Al Mundy exudes the mid-60's imperial white man cool.

    I can't wait 'til you reach that point in the 60's when the hipsters met the hippies and it produced Sammy Davis in a dashiki and Ol' Blue Eyes married Mia Farrow!

  4. Yes, the clash of the generations is such a great aspect to that era. It produces so much trippy tension.