Peter Graves – 1926 – 2010

I would like to take a moment to mourn the passing of Peter Graves.

Peter Graves was best known for the Mission Impossible series. He played Jim Phelps in the original series from 1967-1973 and again in the revival series 1988-1990. He wisely declined to reprise the role in the Tom Cruise movie given the treatment of his character.

His other signature role was as Captain Clarence Oveur in Airplane and Airplane II. “Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”

Sadly neither of his signature roles are currently available on instant Netflix. Netflix does have a number of his early movies on instant play.

Red Planet Mars (1952) – “A scientist (Peter Graves) attempts to contact life forms on Mars and receives a response that changes the world in this Cold War-era sci-fi film. The message, claiming a utopian society exists on Mars, causes a panic in the United States as fears of the aliens presumed advanced technology result in a collapsing economy. But is the message really from outer space, or is there a communist plot brewing?”

Beneath the 12 Mile Reef (1953) – “In the first underwater adventure shot in CinemaScope, competing boat crews dive for valuable sponges off the coast of Key West, Florida. Soon, a feud arises between the Greek Petrakis family, led by Mike Petrakis (Gilbert Roland), and a WASP team of divers led by Thomas Rhys (Richard Boone). The feud only intensifies when the Petrakis son (Robert Wagner) falls for the Rhys daughter (Terry Moore).”

Wichita (1955) – “Gunman Wyatt Earp (Joel McCrea) tries his hand at law and order in a booming cow town in director Jacques Tourneurs intriguing take on a slice of Wild West history. When Wichita’s leaders push Earp to become marshal, his first act is to ban all arms except his. But the move doesn’t go over because it’s bad for business, causing the townsfolk to rebel — until rowdy cowpokes go too far and the line between right and wrong becomes all-too clear.”

Trivia: Peter Graves was born Peter Aurness and is the brother of James Arness (Marshal Dillon on Gunsmoke)