As much as I can complain and pick apart this series, I am still inclined to be happy it exists. The Adventurer program came into the television world way late for the late 1960’s debonair bachelor secret agent character hype. This series would not be as entertaining without those clichés albeit in an older more mature form than its more glamorized predecessors. In particular the presumptuous star of the show, Gene Bradley played by the already self assured Gene Barry comes off as an aging privileged archetype character of what those slick agents would have become in the 10 years succeeding their career peaks.
The Adventurer is a one season television series (1972-1973) that collected a cast from different walks of life. Gene Bradley is Gene Barry visa versa and so the character reflects the actor in a unique way. From interviews with fellow stars,Gene Barry was at the very least a difficult person to work with and especially to act with. One particular example is Gene’s relationship with Catherine Schell who played Diane Marsh, a useful yet rarely used agent, working with Mr Parminter. Gene Barry, recorded as being 6ft tall, took aim at Catherine, she was taller than him. Catherine was written out of scenes with Gene Barry and her role was greatly diminished for some time due to Gene’s anxiety with taller actors sharing scenes with him. Luckily, she came back to playing a bigger role as Gene slowly neglected the television series. Barry Morse was also in the crew, playing an über posh agent, Mr. Parminter, whose role morphed from the stereotypical “too right” Englishman to the somewhat inept bobbling sidekick to Gene Bradley. As the series went on, the storylines brought in the sidekick trio of Mr. Parminter, Diane Marsh and Gavin Jones to greater prominence in the show.
In the beginning, when I started watching this series I was filled with anticipation for yet another agent tv series. The European locations, the recurring characters and familiar actors make such series rewarding for a fan. Gene Barry does the show a disservice coming off as an old wealthy lethargic creep. Either he was always a poor actor or simply he wrote off the series, squeaking just by the minimal in acting requirements. Barry Morse, a regular on ITC shows throughout its history, does an admirable job with the role he was give as Mr. Parminter. Catherine Schell and Garrick Hagon fill in the gaps, joining forces with Mr Parminter whilst on each investigation.
It is rare when I mention negatives about a show made for entertainment sake so I will leave it to a minimum. The Adventurer is not a superb show and at times was laughable in it lack of authenticity. Its place in time and tv history is one valid reason for me to watch it, the scenes of 1972 Amsterdam and the 70’s attire of Gene Bradley still gives me some joy that this show was recorded.