Sharing the wonderfulness of Robert Culp

This Seems Familiar….

The latest issue of Time magazine features a two page advertisement on the inside cover for Ralph Lauren. Two finely suited young men are dressed in Ralph Lauren Purple Label suits. Very classic. Very stylish.

And, seemingly, very familiar…

The striped shirt, print tie and three piece pattern suit in the Lauren ad reminded me of Culp’s striped shirt, print tie and three piece pin stripe suit from Columbo “Double Exposure” (1973). I’m biased, of course, but I think Culp wore it better.

1 comment

What’s My Line?

September 1972
Panelists:  Soupy Sales, Melba Tolliver, Jim Backus, Arlene Francis
Host: Larry Blyden

“What’s My Line?” was a long running game show on CBS, airing from 1950 to 1967 before going into syndication in 1968 (lasting until 1975).  Typically, contestants with unusual occupations were put before a celebrity panel of four who had to guess the person’s occupation based on questions where only yes or no answers were allowed.  The contestant won money for every “no” answer they got (at least, in the original version). There was also a “mystery guest,” usually someone famous, that the panel, now blindfolded, had to guess using the same yes or no question format. The mystery guest usually disguised their voice, making it more challenging for the panel to figure out.

Robert Culp was the mystery guest on this September 1972 broadcast of “What’s My Line?” When he emerges from the side of the stage to write his name on the board for the television viewers and studio audience to see, he gets a resounding ovation. The applause prompts one of the panelists, actor Jim Backus, to say, “Judging from that reception you are in the entertainment business.”

Photobucket Photobucket  Photobucket Photobucket

Indeed he is, and in the two minutes the panel has to ask questions to try to guess who he is, they’re effectively stumped. Culp disguises his voice, sounding like an old timer and given his varied career up to that point, (he had been on Broadway, television and motion pictures) he couldn’t always give a really straight yes or no answer. There was no way they could’ve ever pinned down who he was (at least, not in two minutes!)

Shoot, I hardly recognized him with the moustache! This clip was posted to YouTube just shortly after Culp’s passing in 2010 and was the first I had seen him with a moustache ( a real one mind you!).  And regular readers know I was just as surprised to see Culp still sporting the ‘stache in the Columbo episode “The Most Crucial Game” which aired November 5 1972.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Jim Backus mentions having appeared with Culp on an I Spy episode (“Happy Birthday, Everybody”). He was also in the 1963 Warner Brother’s movie Sunday in New York with Culp, although they had no scenes together. Backus is most recognized as the voice of Mr. Magoo and as Thurston Howell III on Giligan’s Island.

Comedian Soupy Sales compliments Culp on a tv movie that he had seen a rebroadcast of (See the Man Run, first broadcast in December of ’71) and Culp speaks about the upcoming release of Hickey & Boggs. As such, where he talks of it being released within the next month I pegged this game show appearance to have taken place sometime in September of ’72. (Hickey & Boggs was released in October of ’72).

Melba Tolliver is an accomplished journalist who was a reporter and occasional news anchor for WABC-TV in New York City at the time. Culp has an interesting non-verbal reaction after one of Melba’s turns with a question, but I have no idea what prompted it. He answered yes to a question about whether or not he was in a motion picture that was currently playing. Melba followed up asking if it was a drama as opposed to a comedy. Culp answers “neither….or both as the case may be.” I assume he’s referring to Hannie Caulder which was released in July of ’72 and was panned by some critics who couldn’t discern if it was a drama or a comedy.

Arlene Francis was a panelist on the original “What’s My Line?” from 1950-1967 and returned for the syndicated version in 1968. Her comment of “poor fellow” after they determine that Culp was not currently in a Broadway production and was not rehearsing for one is a hoot.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

My caps come from the YouTube video, which isn’t always easy to cap (thus, there are so few here). However, you can still watch the video and see Culp stump the panel.

Add a comment

DVD Release: Sky Riders

Robert Culp and James Coburn in "Sky Riders"

I’ve just discovered that Shout! Factory (a descendant of the old Rhino records company) will be launching an official release for the 1976 film “Sky Riders” tomorrow (January 17)! The film is part of a double feature set with another James Coburn film, “The Last Hard Men.”

As regular readers know I did my capapalooza write up for Sky Riders previously based on a copy of the film obtained from With this official release, the film is no longer available at Modcinema.

My screen caps can attest that the copy from Modcinema was pretty decent, all things considered. But Sky Riders was originally released in wide screen format, as the opening titles and first scene show.

Scene from "Sky Riders."

After that, the film is “formatted for television” and there are a couple of scenes in the film that look odd with having been cropped, such as this one where the actors seem to be standing so far apart.

Scene from "Sky Riders."

But since Culp looked sooo good looking so worried in this film, it’ll be great to see it in its original wide screen format and with re-mastered clearer picture. So let me give a big shout out to Shout! Factory for releasing this one!

Shout! Factory’s Action Double Feature: The Last Hard Men / Sky Riders  is available for pre-order at (Disclosure: If you purchase through the provided link, I receive compensation. Click here for details.)

Add a comment

Inside Out – Trailer (non US)

While roaming around YouTube lately I came across this foreign trailer for Inside Out. It’s in Farsi. In fact, the description on the video reads (thanks to a Farsi to English translator – though I wouldn’t stake my life on this): “Trailer “the price of a prisoner” Indonesia with Farah F. Voice. Reconstructed by myself.” I have not ever seen what the trailer for US audiences was but I would guess that this is probably pretty close, the only differences being the language overdub and some sound overdubs (the car racing across the bridge to make the jump).

Add a comment

Match Game 73

From the week of October 1-5, 1973

The Match Game (as it was called during the sixties) was resurrected in 1973 as “Match Game ’73” with subsequent seasons being denoted by year (Match Game ’74, Match Game ’75, ect…). Near as I can tell, Robert Culp made two appearances on Match Game in the ’70s, despite only this appearance from October 1, 1973 being listed in his filmography on the IMDB. I’ve only ever seen a screen shot of him from the other Match Game appearance but have no idea (yet) what year it’s from.  But I intend to find out, somehow.

Since Culp is in the first chair at the top row, he’s the first introduced. Um, pay attention, Bob…

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Although this episode is early in the Match Game run, the familiar feel of the show is well established already. What would become the familiar cast of misfits are here, with Brett Sommers and Richard Dawson. Charles Nelson Riley was not yet a regular, but in what would be his chair is Mr. Brett Sommers, Jack Klugman. Frequent visitor Jo Ann Pflug is here and the “new blood” are Robert and actress Pat Carroll. Gene Rayburn promises the newbies they’re gonna have fun. Culp asks when. Heh. Carroll complains something about missing a PTA meeting for this.  Honestly though, I’m not sure Culp really wanted to be there at first, it’s hard to tell.

The two contestants are Allen and Diane. Allan picks the first question, which is…

Gene: “Molly fed Jake nothing at all but chicken soup until he finally BLANKED.”

The usual shot of the stars writing their answers down. Nice close up of Culp. May I add that he looks very sharp in that blue suit?

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Allan answers that Jake “cackled.” The audience likes this one.

Robert: “Well, it was close…he croaked.”

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Most of the rest of the answers are similar, that Jake died. Klugman figures the soup might be like Brett makes it…thus, Jake vomitted. Anyway, Allan gets no matches from any of the stars. Culp says something about “no chicken soup jokes here…”

Next question for Diane… “When little Maybel dances with Big Wilt, her nose touches his BLANK.”


Now, by this point if you’re not familiar with Match Game you may have noticed the questions could sometimes be suggestive in some way. The answers, however, could not violate FCC rules. But you know everybody, including the audience, are thinking the same damn FCC violating answer. They just can’t say it. Gene tells everyone not to be influenced by this “evil audience” who are hooting and snickering. Since they’re all thinking the same answer, Culp is heard saying something like “nobody is that short.”

Diane keeps it clean and says that Maybel’s nose touches Big Wilt’s chest. Obviously the audience isn’t fond of the answer as they’re pretty much stone silent.

Robert: “Well the only Wilt I know is a lot taller than that. Belt buckle.”

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Although Culp doesn’t match with Diane, he and Jack Klugman are on the same wavelength. Klugman’s answer was also belt buckle. “I think Robert and I dance with the same Wilt, I said belt buckle… “

Photobucket Photobucket

Jo Ann and Pat also say belt buckle. Brett and Richard say navel. Diane does not get a match but by this point Culp seems to be loosening up. On to the next question.

Gene: “Robinson Crusoe said to Friday, ‘We’ve been on this island together for 20 years. Let’s BLANK.’”


Yeah. You’re thinking all kindsa naughty answers aren’t you? So’s everybody else. Allan, who just can’t help himself, answers: “Get married.”

Gene: “He’s such a shy guy too.”

Robert: “I told you he was a vision in blue!” (Allan is wearing a bright powder blue sport coat.)

Your answer, Bob?

“I really wanted to play it very straight, because they’re cold up there and they wanted to build a fire.”

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Build a fire? No, I’m sure that’s not what he first thought. (And if I was stuck on an island with Robert Culp for 20 years, I would hope we built a fire long before then!) Brett says “dance.” Klugman’s answer he figures will get him thrown out of the business…he matches Allen with “get married.” Jo Ann’s answer was that they should leave. Richard also matches with Allen for “get married.” And Pat figured as Jo Ann did, that they should just get out.

After a commerical break we return with the next question, which is, “Herman flew all the way to Brooklyn to look up Janet’s BLANK.”

The audience gets a good snicker along with some of the celebs on the panel. Culp asks Gene to repeat the question, saying, “I dare you to say it again.” Gene repeats it, unruffled, everybody chuckles and the close up of Culp shows…

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Yeah. He’s thinking, “Geeze…” I’m also willing to bet Culp is thinking a particular answer but he plays it straight.

Brett is giggling like a mad woman as she writes her answer down. Everybody puts their cards in, Culp being the last one.

Diane’s answer is a disappointing “phone number.”

Robert: “You guys are too tough for me, I had to start out easy with this. I said ‘address.’”

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

No match. On to Brett who just stares at Gene for a long moment, looking innocent. Finally she snaps out of it and pulls her card out. The viewer and the audience can’t see it, but Culp does and you hear him burst out laughing.

That answer Culp might’ve been thinking of? Brett had no shame and proudly displays her card. “HER SKIRT!” After a good laugh, Brett then apologizes for her complete lack of taste. Culp can be heard saying “it’s allright…” Heh!

Once again Jack Klugman matches Culp with “address.” None of the other celebrities match with Diane so Allan wins the round. He goes on to win $500 in the super match with Richard but doesn’t win the $5000.

Round two with a new player, Barbara. Barbara picks question B, which is, “The morning after the party, Harry said, ‘Boy my mouth tastes like somebody left their BLANK in it.’”

Barbara’s answer: Socks

Good answer. Culp almost has it. “Very, very close!” he says, “But! It was shoes…”

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Barbara would match with Brett and Richard to get two points. Unfortunately, that would be all the time they would have for this day’s game.

Now I dunno about you, but I would have loved to have been a contestant on Match Game just for the heck of it, but particularly if Culp was on the panel. If I had won a round and made it to the supermatch I would’ve picked him. I wouldn’t have cared if I won or lost at that point, I would’ve been happy just to have stood on that stage, with Culp not 15 feet away and try to see if I could match him.

And see about building that fire.

You can watch the Match Game ’73 episode on YouTube in five parts (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five) which is where I grabbed my screen caps from. As always, with the fickle existence that is YouTube, check it out sooner rather than later as there’s no guarantee on how long the video will remain posted.

Now if I can just find this other Match Game appearance…

Anybody recognize it? Know it? Have a video of it???

Add a comment


Spectre title

Spectre title

NBC Movie of the Week, Originally aired May 21, 1977

One of the last gems I found on YouTube in the ‘08/’09 period was this tv pilot which I thoroughly enjoyed. As a more casual Star Trek fan I was also intrigued by the fact that this was created and written by Gene Roddenberry and it’s unfortunate it didn’t make into a series.


Robert Culp plays William Sebastian, a brilliant and well known criminologist who has been dabbling in and researching the occult. His theory is that the more heinous murders committed by humans that had no definable logic in motive must have been committed due to other more powerful and unseen forces. As a result of his flirtations with the dark side and backing out of a deal with the devil, he has just one minor problem: He has a hole in his heart, like a dagger or some object has been shoved through it.

A little healing black magic from his housekeeper, Lillith (Mrs. Gene Roddenberry – Majel Barrett), Sebastian is able to continue to live and walk around. But the spell does not offer a permanent fix. Sebastian has to find the doll that the object is impaled in.

He has been asked to look into a case in England at the request of Anitra Cyon (Ann Bell), who believes her brother, Geoffrey (James Villiers), is under the influence of evil supernatural forces which has contributed to his sudden and extensive wealth. In order to proceed with the case, Sebastian will need help from his former partner, Dr. “Hamm” Hamilton (Gig Young.) The movie opens with Hamm’s arrival at Sebastian’s home – having been requested there by telegram – and this great voice over to set the tone for the movie.

“I come here to meet a man I vowed never to see again. He was vain, arrogant, selfish, but his brilliance was still irresistible. He was also dangerous – never to me – but this evening began for both of us, a slide into horrors unimaginable, a descent into a corner of hell….”

Sebastian explains about the hole in his heart and asks for Hamm’s help with the case in England. Initially Hamm says no, after all, he has some issues of his own going on including a more than casual drinking habit and is facing an inquiry by the hospital he works for. He reconsiders after learning about Sebastian’s condition but suggests that Sebastian didn’t need a compulsive drinker as an assistant. The good doctor’s drinking habits, however, were corrected by Lilith.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  Photobucket Photobucket

Continue reading more of Spectre…


DVD Release: Shaft – The TV Movie Collection

Can you dig it?! Another great MGM release is being done via the Warner Archive MOD format:  Shaft – The TV Movie Collection. The official release date is today, September 13.

What does Shaft have to do with Robert Culp you ask? The very first of the tv films, “The Executioners” (aka “The Enforcers”) features Robert Culp as a guest star!

Richard Roundtree and Robert Culp in Shaft: The Executioners

Don’t let Culp’s smile fool you. He’s a bad moutha shut-yer-mouth in this one!

Robert Culp in Shaft: The Executioners

I have seen the episode, but I’ll definitely be getting the DVD set to add to my ever growing Culp Collection. Yet another reason why I loooooove the Warner Archive! Thanks WB!

Add a comment

Sky Riders

Originally released, 1976

Back when Culp material on YouTube was still pretty thin (2008/2009), I was pleasantly surprised to find this movie. Although the plot stretches things just a tad, it’s a good entertaining 90 minutes spent. Plus, I was knee deep in Maxwell Mania by the time I found this and I couldn’t help but see some brief flashes of Maxwell characteristics in Jonas Bracken. Very brief, mind you. The loose necktie and Culp’s particular vocalization in this thing are close to Maxwell (without the brassy language) and the fact that Bracken, for all his money and refined lifestyle, had no qualms about picking up a rifle and jumping into the fray with this thing. Maxwell woulda been proud.

Culp plays Jonas Bracken, an American multi-millionaire international businessman living in Greece, whose family is kidnapped by terrorists moments after he leaves the house for the day. Members of Bracken’s house staff are killed in the process and the kidnappers take off with his wife, Ellen (Susannah Yorke) and two children.

The police notify Bracken and immediately begin investigating, the lead cop being Inspector Nikolidis (Charles Aznavour). The kidnappers have left a two way radio at the house to communicate further instructions to Bracken. Bracken can only wait.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Continue reading more of Sky Riders…

1 comment

DVD Release: Hickey & Boggs

Robert Culp as Frank Boggs in "Hickey & Boggs"

Finally, finally, finally!! Hickey & Boggs is being release on DVD August 23rd under the MGM Classics Collection (manufacture on demand) and will be available through Screen Archives. You can pre-order now (I already have!). Granted, I downloaded the movie from iTunes and have watched it several times already but having it on DVD ensures two things: 1. My future cap n’ yap on this movie will be easier to do. 2. When I’ve burned through five computers (I’m on #3) I won’t have to worry about losing any “permissions” to continue to watch the movie on any future computers.

Thank you MGM!




Add a comment