Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Peter Lupus and Lalo Schifrin

Today is TV Tuesday on FRIENDS of JUSTICE and I am happy to celebrate two Mission: Impossible stars' birthdays this week: Peter Lupus, strongman Willy Armitage on the original series, was born on June 17, 1932; and composer Lalo Schifrin, the composer of arguably the most easily-recognized TV theme of all time, was born on June 21, 1932.

Lupus made a few B-movies in the '50s and '60s, most famously MUSCLE BEACH PARTY (starring Frankie and Annette), before finding international and immortal fame on Mission: Impossible. He was one of the original cast members, and was chosen specifically by series creator Bruce Geller. He appeared regularly for the first four years until new producers tried to replace him, not understanding his appeal. Fans wrote in to support him and he was returned to the main line-up, where he stayed until the series was cancelled two years later. Only Greg Morris as Barney appeared in more episodes of Mission: Impossible than Peter Lupus did.
By the way, Hoosier friends, Lupus was born and grew up in Indianapolis!

Even more affiliated with M:I than Lupus, Lalo Schifrin's theme made its debut with the pilot episode in the fall of 1966. He  jazzed it up, re-arranged it,  updated it for the 1988 series, and had it techno-popped for the Tom Cruise movies, but it has always stayed instantly recognizable. He was not a one-trick pony, however; he also composed the music for the hit TV-series Mannix and Medical Center, as well as for films such as BULLITT and DIRTY HARRY.

Happy Birthday, Peter Lupus and Lalo Schifrin! 
with original star Steven Hill
the most popular cast, 1967-1969
with Leonard Nimoy in 1969

with Lynda Day George at the end of the series, 1972
 CD collection of some of the TV music
(I listen to this ALL the time!)
 theme from the later seasons...you can see
plenty of Peter Lupus in this one!

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