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BIFF BAKER, U.S.A.

baker_biff_tv_bbusa
 
Full Name: Biff and Louise Baker
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Other - Import/Export

Creator: Unknown
Time Span: 1952 - 1954

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Biff and Louise Baker are a husband and wife team in the import/export business.
       They are not spies and would have a mighty guffaw if you suggested it. They really like to guffaw, especially Biff who will let out a deep belly laugh at the drop of a hat. Louise is a lot more, well, ladylike but she nevertheless enjoys a good chuckle and definitely enjoys watching her husband get a kick out of something.
       The two of them do this non-spying in all sorts of places around the world for Biff, the actual businessman as opposed to Louise who prefers to leave the haggling to her husband but truly enjoys the travel and adventure that his line of work allows. They might be heading to a tropical plantation to buy a shipment of rubber one week and then the next head to the Alps to look into a set of jewelry they know will fetch a much better price in the States. Variety seems to be the catchword with their financial interests.
       For all the proper denying of espionage ties, the Bakers land in the middle of a good number of international intrigue matters especially when traveling to less traditionally 'safe' regions. Usually they are more or less on their own but occasionally they will assist Western governments but these aids come on an ad hoc basis and always in a NOC manner.
       One thing it is important to know about these two is that while they may not be trained operatives and often fall accidentally into a situation rather than walk on purpose, they are neither babes in the woods. For all their playfulness and joviality, they are both very sharp people, very caring people, and very determined people when one sees the other in the list bit of trouble.
       And they really do not like bullies of any sort and many of the officials, especially in countries with communist or fascist countries, tend to reveal belligerent attitudes, making the Bakers more than a little anxious to show them good old American ingenuity. All while hopefully turning a profit.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:1
First Appearance:1952
Last Appearance:1954
Network:CBS

REGULAR CAST
Alan Hale, jr.Biff Baker [ 1 ]
Randy StuartLouise Baker [ 1 ]

       Alan Hale, jr. was already a pretty experienced actor having started as a wee baby and growing up in the industry with his father already an established actor more commonly known these days for his escapades in film with Errol Flynn and his mother having been a silent film actress. This series came to us in the early 50's, a decade and a half before the role for which he is best remembered, that of the Skipper (aka Jonas Grumby) on Gilligan's Island, and he had already been in a good number of films so he knew what he was doing.
       Randy Stuart was also an experienced actor before her role as Louise Baker, growing up with vaudeville parents and starting her time on stage at age 3. She chose to go to college before renewing her acting career, landing roles in a dozen films before the Baker gig.
       CBS picked up this 30-minute set of adventures and gave it a go for a while but apparently it did not live up to their expectations because it was pulled after only 21 were aired. The remaining 5 episodes saw life in brief syndication. Note: the 'first-aired' times I gave them are Jan 01, 1954 but in reality they were whenever the subscribing stations chose once they were made available in 1954.
1 Koblen
Episode 1-1, first aired 11/06/1952
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Frank Burt , Fenton Earnshaw

Biff and his wife act as undercover agents for U. S. Army Intelligence while on a buying trip behind the Iron Curtain.

2 Grey Market
Episode 1-2, first aired 11/13/1952
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Alan Woods, John Kohn, Fenton Earnshaw

In Marselles, Biff catches a thief trying to steal from him and uses that person to lead him to the head of a black market gang.

3 Gottingen
Episode 1-3, first aired 11/20/1952
Director: -
Writer: -

Biff and his wife are lured into a mountain retreat and threatened with a diabolical scheme involving plastic surgery.

4 Crash Landing
Episode 1-4, first aired 11/27/1952
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Frank Burt , Fenton Earnshaw

While on a trip to Czechoslovakia, Biff and Louise attempt to help a U.S. Air Force pilot whose plane accidentally crashed behind the Iron Curtain.

5 Alpine Assignment
Episode 1-5, first aired 12/04/1952
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw, Jerome Gary

While journeying in the Alps, Biff and Louise find a wildcat radio station passing as the 'Voice of America'.

6 Mona Lisa
Episode 1-6, first aired 12/11/1952
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw , Dwight V. Babcokc , story)

A gang of art thieves try to con Biff and Louise Baker into buying some new paintings but the artwork is really a set of masterpieces stolen from museums, including the Mona Lisa.

7 Counterfeit Plates
Episode 1-7, first aired 12/18/1952
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw , Maurice Zimm

In the German Alps, Biff and Louise learn about a scheme by the Nazis to counterfeit American money and they want to find the plates that were used.

8 London Incident
Episode 1-8, first aired 12/25/1952
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw , Monroe Manning

The photographing of a fight in London makes Biff and Louise the target of some unhappy people.

9 Paris Perfume
Episode 1-9, first aired 01/01/1953
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw, Jerome Gary, Mindret Lord

In the hallway of their hotel room floor, Biff and Louise get the scent of a new perfume and follow it, leading them to a gang of foreign agents.

10 Death Ship
Episode 1-10, first aired 01/08/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

On a ship crossing the Atlantic, Biff and Louise go up against saboteurs who are planning on scuttling the vessel.

11 Blue Mosque
Episode 1-11, first aired 01/15/1953
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw, Jerome Gary

While in Egypt, Biff is directed to locate a stolen truck. Doing so will lead to a plot to overthrow the government.

12 Saigon Incident
Episode 1-12, first aired 01/22/1953
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw , Lawrence Kimble

Bill and Louise are in Vietnam to purchase rubber. They discover a band of nationalists are causing trouble at the plantation and the Baker's work to help the American owners.

13 Demolition Bomb
Episode 1-13, first aired 01/29/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

In Yugoslavia, Biff is called upon to defuse a bomb dropped on the town by an American plane.

14 11 Black
Episode 1-14, first aired 02/05/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

While at Monte Carlo, Biff is urged to bet 11 black at the roulette wheel and when he wins, again and again, he discovers an impressive scam in underway.

15 Flight To Geneva
Episode 1-15, first aired 02/12/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

Biff and Louise come to the rescue of the daughter of a famous scientist when she is assaulted by foreign agents out for top secret documents she is thought to possess.

16 Lisbon
Episode 1-16, first aired 02/19/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

Though their purpose for going to Portugal was to buy a large stock of wine at a good price, Biff and Louise wind up going against a spy cell.

17 The Witness
Episode 1-17, first aired 02/26/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

At a dinner party, Biff and Louise, along with the other guests, are taken hostage by a gangster who turned witness against his former associates and is now on the run from them, certain that one of the guests is an assassin.

18 Detour To Cairo
Episode 1-18, first aired 03/05/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

Biff and Louise are in Egypt where they face death from an epidemic of cholera as well as a road laden with explosives.

19 The Sisters Three
Episode 1-19, first aired 03/12/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

Biff and Louise are in Trinidad where they purchased on behalf of a client three very valuable pearls only to have them stolen right afterwards.

20 The Hawaii Story
Episode 1-20, first aired 03/19/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

In Hawaii on vacation, Biff and Louise go on the hunt for the real killer when their hose is arrested for murder.

21 Golden Slippers
Episode 1-21, first aired 03/26/1953
Director: -
Writer: -

Some very ruthless jewel smugglers have a plan underway which is being interfered with by Biff and Louise.

22 Pattern In Algiers
Episode 1-22, first aired 01/01/1954
Director: -
Writer: -

In the French Algiers, an old friend of Biff and Louise is arrested for being a spy and they decide to find a way to clear him.

23 Trouble In Pakistan
Episode 1-23, first aired 01/01/1954
Director: Richard Irving
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw, Howard J. Green

Biff goes to Pakistan to aid in the finding of a missing sacred idol. Since there is a plague rampant in the area, his work is made even more difficult and deadly.

24 Black Lead
Episode 1-24, first aired 01/01/1954
Director: Robert G. Walker
Writer: Herbert Purdom

In Hong Kong, while Biff deals with communists operating there, Louise is kidnapped and taken into Red China.

25 Flight To Istanbul
Episode 1-25, first aired 01/01/1954
Director: -
Writer: -

Martial law is declared in Turkey which makes it impossible for Biff and Louise to leave the country. They must come up with a way of doing so.

26 The Jewel
Episode 1-26, first aired 01/01/1954
Director: Robert G. Walker
Writers: Fenton Earnshaw, Frank Burt

While in London, Biff and Louise are at the American embassy when one of its diplomats is almost murdered.

MY COMMENTS

       I had heard about this series for some time but had not watched any until I decided to add it to this compendium. Now having watched a fair number of episodes, I think I have a good enough feel for the series to write about it.
       My take is that this is a very fun series that I would love to watch all of the episodes. Being cheap like I can be, I have so far settled for those I found online for free.
       I adore Biff and Louise. They do not take themselves too seriously and they love to have a good time and they both definitely, absolutely love each other. And they love getting in trouble - well, not really but they do it enough to make you think they do.
       And the adventures are a lot of good entertainment as long as you decide to not get too 'snooty' and just go with the flow.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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