May 3, 2011

New Spy DVDs Out This Week: Probe (1972)

In this week's batch of new Warner Archive made-on-demand titles is the rare Seventies TV pilot Probe, which led to the slightly re-formatted series SearchProbe stars Hugh O'Brian as Hugh Lockwood, agent of a secret international private spy agency called... Probe.  Coming from Outer Limits producer Leslie Stevens, Probe was considered a science fiction series at the time due to the fantastic gadgets Lockwood had at his fingertips... but today they don't seem all that fantastic.  In fact, things like tiny transistor radios implanted in an agent's ear to maintain constant contact with headquarters and miniaturized cameras hidden in rings and biometric scanners are pretty much de rigueur in today's spy shows.  (The pilot for Exit Strategy, a possible Fox series for this fall, features all three pretty heavily with no hint of sci-fi.)  In Probe, they were still considered a gimmick, one which let technicians at Probe Control (like Burgess Meredith) feed their agent in the field all sorts of information as he needed it in real time.  The Macguffin in the telefilm is a cache of stolen diamonds with a Nazi connection, and among the mysterious figures involved with the loot is sexy femme fatale Elke Sommer, well known to Eurospy fans from movies like the great, great Deadlier Than the Male (review here).  Regular readers will know that Sommer's presence always sparks my own interest in a movie, so I'm eager to seek out Probe!  This being the Warner Archive, retail for this DVD-R is a frustratingly inflated $19.95, so if you want Probe at a reasonable price you'll have to wait for it to become available on Deep Discount, or to get it as part of Warner Archive's occasional bulk sales. 

There's also another classic Seventies TV pilot in this wave, but it's less spyish: Smile Jenny, You're Dead, the second of two pilot films for the David Janssen private eye series Harry O.  Now if only Warner Archive would release those series themselves...


Bob said...

I certainly have to agree with you on "Elke Sommer presence". However, going to have to wait for that price to come down.

michael said...

I hope you have had a chance to see it and discover it is not a spy series.

"Probe" purpose was to search and recover things that are missing, anything from objects to people. They were the "Programmed Retrieval Operations" division for World Securities Corporation.

It is still a fun show.