Mission: Impossible (1970) – Phantoms, and Terror

The IMF are working to stop a brutal dictator by haunting him, and making his staff think it’s time for him to retire this week in Phantoms. Written by Laurence Heath, this episode first debuted on 8 February, 1970.

Leo Vorka (Luther Adler) is getting older, but his hold on his country remains iron tight. In fact, he’s about to purge his nation of rebels and dissenters yet again, even as his men torture a prisoner, Stefan (Jeff Pomerantz) for information on them.

Phelps (Peter Graves) and his team, Paris (Leonard Nimoy), Barney (Greg Morris), Willy (Peter Lupus) and Nora (Antoinette Bower, her third time on the series) have a plan to confuse Vorga with ghostly images a beautiful woman who pleads for Vorga to find their son (possibly the man even now being held captive and tortured).

All of this is created to make Vorga seem increasingly mad, and possibly too unstable to remain in power.

Paris gets to do some creative make-up while Nora poses as the haunting spirit. Barney rigs glasses for Vorga that will let him see the ‘ghost’ and Willy, as usual is there to look imposing, or move heavy equipment.

It’s fun, and the use of the supernatural to prove Vorga is crazy is a lot of fun, and Adler is a a hoot to watch as his character descends into madness, and panic.

Of course, all of this works to remove Vorga from power, replace his entire team, and put, perhaps, someone a little friendlier to the free world into power.

All in a day’s work for the IMF!

Terror was also written by Heath, and aired on 15 February, 1970.

El Kabir (Michael Tolan) is a dangerous terrorist being held in prison and is sentenced to death, unfortunately, he’s somehow been pardoned. Ahmed Vassier (David Opatoshu) is the benefactor behind the secret pardon.

The IMF fears that following El Kabir’s release a new surge in terrorist activity in the Middle East, not to mention the world, will follow, so they must work to make sure El Kabir isn’t released (and faces justice) and that Vassier is exposed as the person working to free him (though wouldn’t that make the terrorist regimes throw their support behind him for future endeavors? Perhaps that’s not their problem this week).

The team work to cause some friction between Vassier and El Kabir, causing their plan to fall apart, and force both of them to make huge mistakes causing them to tumble right into the IMF’s plan, which happily, Barney plays a pretty large part in – he really doesn’t get enough to do, and he’s obviously one of the best agents Phelps has.

There are more assignments to come next week as I delve further into Paramount Pictures release of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now!

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