So nice to know you are still with us!!
And speaking of the Kremlin, this is from Sheldon Leonard's book
And the Show Goes On - Limelight Editions, 1995.
I highly recommend it, lots and lots of stories and background on I SPY.
While Sheldon was scouting countries to film I SPY in ...
"MOSCOW, RUSSIA - "The Soviets were a different story (than China). They had fine laboratories, in some respects more advanced than ours. Their motion picture studios were also more advanced than most of ours, because they had been built later and weren't burdened with obsolescent equipment. They were, on the whole, more "state of the art" than our comparable facilities."
"Frankie (Mrs. Leonard)
and I took ourselves to Moscow, armed with letters of introduction. The Soviet Film Agency and related departments knew all about me. They knew about "I SPY." Since the series was based on espionage, and since the natural opponents for our guys in the spy business were guys on the other side of the Iron Curtain - from Russia or its satellites - "I SPY" had been thoroughly scouted by the various Soviet information services. They didn't like it. I didn't blame them. Their guys were always the losers." (Bet they fought over the job of who got to watch "I SPY" at the KGB and Politburo headquarters! "No Boris, it's my turn today, you got to watch yesterday! You go watch the American Embassy windows!")
"I proposed that the Soviet filmmakers join me in developing stories that emphasized the benefits of cooperation between the great powers, and soft-pedaled the rivalries. After all, we shared a common goal - survival - and our survival, the survival of the while human race, depended on peace."
"I wanted to do stories that made it clear that is was in our common interest to link hands in the fight against terrorism, against nuclear proliferation, and against provocation."
"They applauded my proposal, and promised that I could expect full cooperation. Naturally, there would be certain conditions. They would have to have collaborative rights in plot development. I considered that a reasonable condition. They wanted to appoint 2 writers to work with my writers, but they agreed that the right of final approval of the script and its content would rest with me. They stipulated that we were to use Russian labor in all categories, except cast, director, producer, and department heads - head cameraman, head electrician, etc. I foresaw difficulty there. My department heads would want to work with their own people. I was sure some compromise could be worked out. The stipulation didn't seem to be a deal-breaker, but I wanted a little time to think about it."
"While he was into negotiating, the Leonards went to the Pushkin Museum, Leningrad, the Hermitage, and took every opportunity to do some sightseeing. Their guide was a middle-aged lady named Sonya, who was indispensable since so few people spoke English."
"Our hotel accommodations were surprisingly lush for such a Spartan country. We had a big, well-furnished suite in the Rusya Hotel, overlooking St. Basil's Cathedral and Red Square. Right beneath our window was Lenin's Tomb, with its perpetual line of worshippers, stretching away for hundreds of yards, come to view his marvelously preserved body."
"One night, in the privacy of our suite, Frankie and I were discussing the possibility of visiting the town of Bershad, in the Ukraine. I had been told that my grandparents, on my father's side, had emigrated from that village. They had, in fact, drawn their surnames from the name of the village. We decided that we would enquire about the possibility of visiting it."
"The next morning, when we met Sonya, she greeted us saying, "I asked about visiting the village in the Ukraine, and the officials tell me that it will take 3 weeks to arrange for permits. You are scheduled to leave before that, so I'm afraid your visit there will have to wait until the next time you come to Russia."
"We hadn't mentioned our desire to visit the village to her. We hadn't mentioned it to anyone. The only place it had been mentioned was in our suite."
"What conclusion was I to draw?"
"From then on, we were very careful about what we talked about in our suite."
"As days passed, we became increasingly aware of a characteristic of the communist system. Working people below the level of officialdom were, on the whole, unmotivated. Nobody worked very hard. Why knock yourself out? You weren't going anywhere, and nobody was going to fire you."
"Service in the hotels and restaurants was lousy. It took from 2 to 3 hours to get dinner served. I could imagine the state of Leon Chooluck's nerves while his company had 2 or 3 hour lunches. An unwelcome question entered my thinking, and demanded an answer."
"I took a typical "I SPY" script to the studio production office, and asked the department head to break if down for me and schedule it. Two days later, I got his answer. He had scheduled it for 19 days. In Greece, we filmed such a script in 8."
"Well, it had seemed liked a good idea at the time."
"Regretfully, I said goodbye to Russia."
So, no Kelly and Scotty bopping around Red Square and the Kremlin ...
Now THAT would have been something to see - right in the midst of the Cold War!!!
You can find more excepts from Sheldon's book on Jason's old I SPY site ... thank goodness it is still up.
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All my best,
~ ~ ~ ~
Tatia ~ ~ ~ ~