Mission: Impossible (1971) – A Ghost Story, and The Party

Phelps (Peter Graves) and his IMF team get their Edgar Allan Poe on with Ghost Story in this episode written by Ken Pettus, and Ed Adamson from a story by Adamson and John D.F. Black. It first debuted on 27 February, 1971 .

Barney (Greg Morris) gets to pull out all the tech wizardry as the team sets up a haunt on Justin Bainbridge (Andrew Duggan), a bit of a fascist, who killed his son after he escaped from the Iron Curtain.

It seems Bainbridge’s son has a formula that the IMF want to get their hands on. So they work to convince Bainbridge he is being haunted by his son’s ghost, who pleads to be cremated to set his soul free, but in actuality, will give the team access to the formula that he has hidden away.

But things aren’t always what they seem in this large gothic house, and there are twists and turns that even the team isn’t going to be ready for. Though most of them, outside of Phelps and Barney don’t have a lot to do.

There’s some familiar looking guest stars in this episode, there’s William Smith, who I was just talking about in Buck Rogers, and America’s mom, Marion Ross from Happy Days.

It could have been played a little spookier, and there could have been more atmosphere created for this episode, but for what it is, it’s pretty entertaining, it’s just surprising how little the rest of the main cast are used throughout the story.

The Party is the penultimate episode of season five, it was written by Harold Livingston, and first debuted on 6 March, 1971.

Alexander Vanin (Frank Martin) is an Eastern Bloc agent being held in a prison for his espionage. Somewhere, locked in his mind is the location, and the contents of a microfilm that he has stolen, and hidden. He’s shared some key information with his wife, Olga (Antoinette Bower), but that’s it.

In fact, he’s made sure he can’t remember it, thanks to some self-hypnosis, and that it can only be triggered by the information he’s given Olga.

So it’s up to Phelps and the team to figure out a way to get it. And what better way than a party? A welcome home party at a conveniently evacuated embassy, that will allow Phelps and the rest to stage everything they need to reunite husband and wife, and unlock the location of the microfilm, which contains a list of enemy agents working inside the United States.

Pretty standard fare, but it is one of the few episodes that feature both Sam Elliott and Peter Lupus working with the rest of the team.

Next time we finish off season five, say goodbye to some cast members, and launch into season six as I explore more of Paramount Canada’s Mission: Impossible – The Complete Serie son blu-ray, available now!


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