2/22/2005

WASHINGTON, DC

Cloak and Dagger at the International Spy Museum

Hurry to the fabulous International Spy Museum before the Spy Treasures of Hollywood Highlights from the Danny Biederman Spy-Fi Collection is exterminated Special Engagement Ends June 30, 2006 James Bond’s Walther PPK handgun. Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. Mrs. Peel’s trademark leather pants. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate our latest special exhibit and scrutinize these and over four dozen other objects now on display at the International Spy Museum. The exhibition Spy Treasures of Hollywood: Highlights from the Danny Biederman Spy-Fi Collection gives the visitor an intimate look at an amazing collection of movie and television spy props: what they are, who used them, and how spy fiction compares to spy fact. Internationally recognized pop spy fiction expert Danny Biederman has amassed a Spy-Fi collection that is the world’s largest, with over 4,000 artifacts from I Spy to Alias—and now you can see the very best of it in this evocative trip through spy fantasy. Special Items in the Exhibit Bond’s Walther PPK 7.65 mm Handgun A View To A Kill, 1985 James Bond makes ample use of his license to kill—since 1962, 007 has bumped off over 150 villains. This prop Walther PPK served Roger Moore to fend off Max Zorin, the fiendish product of a Nazi genetic experiment who sought to destroy Silicon Valley and corner the world’s microchip market. While real intelligence officers rarely use lethal force in the field, weaponry may be issued for self-defense and, occasionally, assassination. In World War II, a British Special Operations Executive hit team liquidated notorious Nazi General Reinhard Heydrich. Emma Peel’s Pants The Avengers, 1961 - 69, Britain; 1966-69, ABC-TV Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) was an irreverent, charming and combat-proficient amateur agent—and her tight-fitting leather pants caused a sensation in the 1960s. She was also ahead of her time as Cold War espionage was mostly a man’s world. While male officers ran spy operations around the globe, the few women in intelligence plugged away as secretaries, translators and, occasionally, “swallows”—honeytrapping foreigners in compromising situations. Espionage has come a long way since then. Today, women hold key positions in most Western intelligence agencies, and in 1991, Britain’s MI5 received its first female director. Maxwell Smart’s Shoe Phone Get Smart, 1965-69, NBC-TV; 1969-70, CBS-TV The best spy fails if he can’t communicate his intelligence quickly and securely to headquarters. The famous shoe phone, used by bumbling Agent Maxwell Smart to contact his agency CONTROL, thus represents a crucial component of the intelligence cycle. It also anticipated today’s cell phone by several decades. And during the Cold War, shoes actually served a “spy” purpose as intelligence services outfitted heels with bugs to eavesdrop on the bearer’s conversations. Check out a real shoe with heel transmitter in our main exhibition and compare it to Smart’s trademark gadget! James West’s Suit The Wild Wild West , 1965-69, CBS-TV U.S. Secret Service Agent Jim West donned this smart-looking bolero jacket to create the persona of a high-living East Coast gentleman. In fact, every good spy needs a convincing cover. Many intelligence officers operate under the cover of Embassy staff, but spies can assume many identities: businessmen, press correspondents, exchange students. In 1980, a CIA team entered Iran disguised as a Hollywood production team, and successfully exfiltrated six American diplomats who were hiding to evade capture from revolutionary students. Dr. Evil’s Ring Austin Powers, 1997, 1999, 2002 Dr. Evil, Dr. No, THRUSH, KAOS, or simply “the enemy”—no spy-fi production would be complete without the scheming evildoer and his henchmen. The megalomaniac villain was developed in the Cold War by scriptwriters who sought to avoid explicit references to the Soviet Union in order to prevent networks from becoming entangled in international relations. But with the Cold War framework gone, good villains are sometimes hard to find—in fact, Austin Powers had to travel back to the groovy ‘60s to cross swords with his arch-enemy, the ring-touting Dr. Evil. Add your suggestions for Things You Should Do in Washington, DC by clicking on the comments button. Add your suggestions for Things You Should Do in Washington, DC by clicking on the comments button.

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