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'Mission: Impossible' TV stars disgruntled

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May 29, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 a.m. EDT

From Senior Entertainment Correspondent Bill Tush

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Die-hard "Mission: Impossible" fans might be disappointed that none of the stars from the original TV series are in the silver-screen hit. Hey, fans, if it makes you feel any better, Peter Graves and Greg Morris want you to know they feel bad about it too. (1.6 QuickTime movie)

From 1966 to 1973, "Mission: Impossible" held a prime spot in the CBS television lineup. The show surfaced again in 1988 on ABC, and ran through 1990. During that time, it developed a strong following that tuned in every week to see what impossible mission Jim Phelps and his IM force would tackle next.

Graves' quote

Graves played Jim Phelps for all but one of the years "Mission: Impossible" was on the air. The role has made him famous around the world.

"I'm just starting to get some extra mail from England, Germany, from France, Luxembourg, Austria. It's fun. We have seen it going around the world, I have seen it in Japanese," Graves said.

But when Tom Cruise put "Mission: Impossible" together for the big screen, the actor-cum-producer left Graves and the other original actors out of the picture.


"I know that when the publicity first came out, before the picture was released, even before it was shot, that they were making a movie of it. People asked are you going to be in it," Greg Morris said. The actor had to tell them "no." For seven years, Morris portrayed the force's electronics wizard Barney Collier. He also checked out the movie. His opinion? "I left early."

What bugged Morris also bothered Graves. The film did choose to have a character named Jim Phelps, played by Jon Voight. "I am sorry that they chose to call him Phelps. They could have solved that very easily by either having me in a scene in the very beginning, or reading a telegram from me saying, hey boys, I'm retired, gone to Hawaii. Thank you, good-bye, you take over now," Graves said.

"I felt a little bad that they called him Phelps, and what happens to him happens," Graves said cryptically. (Don't ever come crying to us about how we give away the ending.)

But you wouldn't have guessed that there were any hard feelings when Graves and Morris came by cable television's FX network to promote the original TV show, which is now a part of FX's lineup.

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