Monday, February 29, 2016

The Avengers: A Celebration (mini-review)

I seem to be on a 1960s television connection reading jag. First The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and now The Avengers. This is a lovely coffee-table book that does it exactly what the title claims--it celebrates the show that made bowler hats and brollys chic; that played the top-secret-agent scene with tongue firmly in cheek; and that introduced the world to strong female leads in the persons of Cathy Gale and Emma Peel. The ladies were allowed to wear black leather fight suits and overpower the men without turning a hair or wrinkling their outfits. The show used the Mod background of Britain in the sixties and gave us stories with rare wit and high adventure...and the most unlikely crimes.

The book traces the story of The Avengers from the early days with Patrick Macnee and Ian Hendry (yeah, I know, who?) through the advent of Honor Blackman as the first of Macnee's stylish, intelligent and assertive assistants to Diana Rigg and the addition of color and the final days with Linda Thorson as Tara King. It features 350 photographs including rare stills from the first shows with Hendry. Unfortunately, only two episodes remain from Hendry's stint with the show, so modern viewers can't really get a good taste of what The Avengers were like before women came along to keep John Steed in line. In addition to the photos, the book is broken into six chapters which cram a lot of production background and anecdotes from Macnee & others into very little prose. The showcase of the book is the collection of photographs. It is interesting to note that there are around 10,000 photographs in the Avengers archive. One can only imagine what other treasures might show up another day. A lovely book for the Avengers fan. ★★★★


Anonymous said...

Great stuff Bev - I just loved this show, especially when Diana Rigg was starring in it - just great eccentric entertainment.

fredamans said...

Sounds awesome! Another gem I should get my hands on!

BooksPlease said...

This sent me off down memory lane, Bev! I loved The Avengers.