Edelweiss? “Peter Graves!!!” “Peter Graves!!!” “It seems to me that you’re smiling!!!” “Lee Van Cleef!!!” “Help me please!!!” “Why does he act so smarmy!!!” “Kind and attractive!!!” “He boasts and goads!!!” Boasts and goads forever!!!" “Peter Graves!!!” “Peter Graves!!!” “Must you frequently lecture!!!” I became aware of Peter Graves from Stalag 17 (1953). Clean-cut, nice hair, All-American, and a German Agent. His turn here imparted watching him closely. He was a Shyamalan ending as an actor. Might be nice but watch out. Don’t let those looks fool you!
Repurposing nature, running for president, rambling on poetically, he filled whatever void the movie needed. He was Peter Graves. He has your attention and he “approves of this message.” For me? Believing him fully proved Mission Impossible. My first impression always had me looking. His Frank Price stayed with me. Yanking the rug out from under me, his “Security” implied further range and Wilder inverted him to great effect. He was an institution. Biography, Mr. Phelps, Airplane! (1980). He turned it on so easily and charmed almost immediately. He like Charlton Heston had this authority onscreen. You could cut it with a knife. It became his bread and butter.
SST: Death Flight (1977), It Conquered the World (1956), Beginning of the End (1957), Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979). Graves figures into 5 MST episodes. A leading man who beat Joe Don Baker to the punch as MST’s guiding light of stardom, Peter and that U of M skit live on. Test Pattern or Litmus Test?
Note: SST: Death Flight (1977), It Conquered The World (1956), Attack of the The Eye Creatures (1967), Beginning of the End (1957), Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979). Links to threads on the 5 Peter MSTs are provided beneath.
I’m partial to him too. He’s a glass of warm milk when you run into him. His personality held a calm that washed over you. He is Mr. Integrity in virtually the sum of what he did. A legend in television and a reliable player in film. He had a niceness that translated to the screen. This was turned upside in Airplane! (1980) of course. Deliberately.
I heard somewhere that he hated Mst3K, which doesn’t exactly endear him to me. Whatever the case, he was in some memorable episodes. 418 is one of my favorite Joel episodes, 311 is a gem and Clonus is underrated. I enjoyed him in Airplane! And Biography. He held his own even in the shadow of his more famous brother James Arness.