Thursday, March 18, 2010

This story will self destruct

Five seconds after you finish reading this story, it will self destruct.

If that phrase sounds familiar (and it will to a lot of people) it’s because it’s a reminder of what once was one of the most popular shows on television.

The series aired on the CBS network from September 1966 to March 1973.

It returned to television, as a revival, for two seasons on ABC, from 1988 to 1990, and later inspired a popular trio of theatrical motion pictures starring Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames in the 1990s and 2000s, with the role of Phelps played by Jon Voight.

The original series earned 4 Emmys, 3 Golden Globes, and one Edgar.

It wasn’t until 1971 that the main actor in the series, Peter Graves, earned a Golden Globe as an actor in a television series for his portrayal of fictional character Jim Phelps.

He passed away earlier this week, and it wasn’t until I read his obituary that I realized that we had a few things in common.

For starters, we were both born in the Twin Cities.

His birth name was Peter Aurness, but he later changed his last name to Graves, which was a maternal family name. His brother is James Arness, who played Marshall Matt Dillon on the long-running television series Gunsmoke.

Like me, Mr. Graves attended the University of Minnesota (where he studied drama), and he also has a daughter named Kelly Jean.

Like my father-in-law, he had three daughters.

He was born on this date in 1926, and he died just last Sunday, which made him 4 days shy of being 84 years old when he started his new life in the hereafter.

His role as Captain Clarence Oveur on the 1980 comedy film Airplane! eventually led to a recent series of commercials for AirTran Airways:

On October 30, 2009, Mr.Graves was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As a result, he is living proof that for a boy from Minnesota, no mission is impossible.

Incidentally, if you’re computer starts smoking after you finish reading this story, don’t panic.

It’s just an optical illusion.

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