Mission: Impossible Forums

CBS (ended 1973)

Never knew there was a change in leadership.

  • Avatar of archangelwho

    archangelwho

    [1]Feb 14, 2013
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    Found Mission Impossible on Netflix and to my surpise as I watched the 1st season no James Phelps (Peter Graves). Rather there is this guy Daniel Briggs (Steven Hill). Now I was very young when Mission Impossible first came on but all my life James Phelps = Mission Impossible like Tom Baker = the Doctor on Doctor Who. Most likely for the same reason the number of years he did the show. Which bring up the question why did Steven Hill leave the show?

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  • Avatar of maritimer00

    maritimer00

    [2]Feb 14, 2013
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    According to media reports of the day, Hill clashed with producers of the time over episode filming schedules (Hill's religious beliefs had him not working Sundays) and he was replaced by Graves for seasons going forward. A shame in many ways...Briggs had a different style that had his share of fans to this day.
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  • Avatar of Gislef

    Gislef

    [3]Feb 14, 2013
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    The Complete Mission Impossible Guide has a more detailed version of the story. Hill didn't really clash with the producers over his schedule, which meant that he couldn't work on Saturdays-he was an Orthodox Jew). They typically worked with it, even though it hurt them going into overtime (which is usually worked on weekends when they're behind schedule).

    At one point he simply refused to do a relatively straightforward scene on a catwalk, walked off the set, and then walked off the lot. They struggled for a bit working around his absence: the next episode had Cinnamon picking up the initial briefing, and a dossier scene with photos only and no one selecting them. Since they didn't air episodes in production order, there were 1st season episodes with Dan Briggs after Hill left the show. There were also just ones where he handled the initial briefing, because they had filmed those in batches earlier in the season.

    The first season has many more different aspects than just Hill, so it's pretty much a season unto itself. The characters have more personality, there are more "pairing" missions with just two agents: Cinnamon and Rollin, Rollin and Barney. And the series' only true supernatural episode.
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  • Avatar of bathhouswirral

    bathhouswirral

    [4]Feb 14, 2013
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    I am waiting for the change. It is good to see the change in leadership.

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  • Avatar of archangelwho

    archangelwho

    [5]Feb 16, 2013
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    Thanks. Steven Hill bio on his tv.com profile page list only not working on Saturdays as the reason.

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  • Avatar of Gislef

    Gislef

    [6]Feb 16, 2013
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    Which is correct, yes. Saturday is Shabbat in Jewish tradition, and by all reports Hill was a very Orthodox Jew. He spent a lot of time trying to convince the Landaus to adhere more closely to the traditions.

    I don't have the M:I Guide here in front of me, but as I recall he walked off the set after refusing to go up on a catwalk, not because the producers asked him to work on Saturday.

    Besides being allegedly difficult to work with, the networks may have wanted Hill out anyway. By all reports, he wasn't considered a high-profile enough "leading man" type. The character was more realistic as the leader of a spy team, since he tended to stay in the background more, take a cerebral approach, and actually plan things. But he admittedly wasn't the bolder, more outfront leader that Jim Phelps was. It's hard to imagine Dan Briggs coming up with schemes like convincing a newspaper magnate that aliens wanted to give him immortality, for instance.

    Still, it would have been nice to bring him back in the revival series. Although the modern-day Steven Hill hasn't aged well: I've talked to plenty of people that saw him on M:I and had no idea he was also the guy on L&O.
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  • Avatar of akaKJB

    akaKJB

    [7]Sep 5, 2013
    • member since: 02/18/08
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    Hill also reportedly wouldn't work after sundown, something that threw the production schedule into complete disarray. Both MISSION & STAR TREK were forced to work a lot of 14+ hour days on the Desilu lot and by the time Hill did his walk off, the producers had already kind of had it with him. The network DID want him in the series, at least initially. Hill, like Shatner with TREK, was considered a big 'get'. Like many other actors, Hill had guested on numerous high profile series and had made the list of actors that the networks wanted to see lead a series. The network backed the production's decision to replace him after the first season and approved another actor they had been looking to front a series, Peter Graves.
    I would have liked to see Briggs in the 80's revival or even possibly a character in the films. I'm still irate about the trashing of Jim Phelps in the first film: giving us a decent Dan Briggs character would at least be something to give the fans of the original series.
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