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SPYCATCHER

spycatcher_bk_sc spycatcher_bk_fof spycatcher_bk_sc3 spycatcher_ya_tbbosa spycatcher_bk_sc2
 
Full Name: Oreste Pinto
Nationality: Dutch
Organization: MI5
Occupation Agent

Creator: Oreste Pinto, Terence Cook
Time Span: 1952 - 1963

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Oreste Pinto, aka Spycatcher, is an agent with MI5.
       At least that is what one blurb on a publications of his accounts describe him.
       In the opening to the two dozen plus radio dramas about those same adventures, we are told, "Spycatcher - a series of true stories of the unceasing search for enemy spies in wartime, based on the memoirs of Lt. Col. Oreste Pinto of the Allied Counterintelligence Service".
       Into this compendium of fictionalized espionage agents I enter an actual real-life person for membership but I do so because his casefiles formed the basis for a series of fictionalized - or likely more accurately dramatized - adventures. How much of what we have to view in the television broadcasts or listen to in the radio ones is not known and for this matter, not too important. Whether they stick to hard facts or add elements for entertainment purposes, they are certainly worthy of following because Pinto was an interesting man with an interesting career.
       According to Wikipedia, Pinto was a Dutch Counter-Intelligence officer and a Lieutenant-Colonel in their military when he left the Netherlands to work with the British against the Nazis who had invaded his country. Prior to that move he had worked in the Intelligence field for nearly 30 years, getting his start in 1913 for the French Deuxieme Bureau.
       Throughout the War he worked with MI-5 as an interrogator, making it his specialty to vet the hundreds of refugees that fled Continental Europe for Britain. As he tells us in his recounts, most of those seeking asylum were truly what they claimed to be but more than a few were German spies made to look like the down-trodden to get acceptance prior to reporting back to the Fatherland anything and everything they could learn.
       Exactly how successful he was will always be uncertain but there are several blurbs stating that General Dwight Eisenhower, later U.S. President, once described him as "the greatest living authority on security".

BOOKS

Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1952
Last Appearance:1963

     I waffled a while on whether to place these books in this section, which is devoted to fiction, or in Reference Books, which is not. I chose, obviously, the former but with the promise to myself I would add this note saying that the books could easily fit in the other category.

1 Spycatcher Spycatcher
Written by Oreste Pinto
Copyright: 1952

"A thrilling account of Counter-Intelligence in action, by the man Eisenhower called "the greatest living authority on security" - and who was personally responsible for the execution of seven spies. This is the true story of his adventures during World War II - first in England, where he was given the job of screening the thousands of refugees that poured into that country after the fall of France, separating the well-meaning unfortunates from those who tried to sneak in as Nazi spies. Later on the Continent, he served as chief of the Dutch Counter-Intelligence organization, attached to SHAEF. Each tale reveals a different aspect of successful spy-catching."

2 Friend Or Foe Friend Or Foe
Written by Oreste Pinto
Copyright: 1954

"A thrilling firsthand account of spies and counterspies at work, by the author of SPYCATCHER - the man President Eisenhower called "the greatest living authority on security".

3 The Boys' Book of Secret Agents The Boys' Book of Secret Agents
Written by Oreste Pinto
Copyright: 1955

According to Kirkus Review: "this outlines the main principles of a secret agent's painstaking to exciting work. Buttressing his healthy supply of information with many anecdotes of case work, Col. Pinto, a well known British intelligence man himself, speaks knowingly of the process of becoming an agent, qualifications, communications, dealing with captured suspects, war time activity and so forth. It is all very urgent and exact and free from illusions of high adventure and romance. Yet one detects a certain emotionalism in Pinto as he boasts of the secret service men who do such superlative jobs for so little pay, while he seems to look askance, and with some disdain, at ordinary people. It gives the book a certain aura of setting secret agents apart, which may stimulate interest but makes one question the objectivity of his approach."

4 Spycatcher 2 Spycatcher 2
Written by Oreste Pinto
Copyright: 1960

"He was the world's most fabulous man-hunter". "As seen on T.V."
"Based on the television series"

5 Spycatcher 3 Spycatcher 3
Written by Oreste Pinto
Copyright: 1963

"Based on the brilliant TV series starring Bernard Archard."

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:26
First Appearance:1959
Last Appearance:1961
Network:BBC

REGULAR CAST
Bernard ArchardOreste Pinto [ 1 ]

     A half-decade after his popular book on his cases of counter-espionage for MI5 during the War was published, Oreste Pinto worked with producer Terence Cook to bring his expertise and reminiscents to the viewing and listening public in the television drama named for his first book.

     The stories either dramatizations or fictionalization (or both). Whether they were all ones Pinto was involved in or included some he had heard of is unknown.


     The same stories listed here were also presented in modified format for radio broadcast on the BBC with Pinto being played in both media by the same man. The radio shows were written by Robert Barr. I do not know if he also wrote the teleplays.
     A couple of sites reference the radio shows as being earlier than the television ones. The dates I found do not agree with this but my dates could be incorrect.
1 One Must Die
Episode 1-1, first aired 09/03/1959
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

Three refugees from the Netherlands made it to England in small boat, asking for asylum and the chance to join the Free Dutch in the fight against the Nazis. Oreste Pinto is certain that two are legitimate but one is really a German spy. He must learn which.

2 Three from Spain
Episode 1-2, first aired 09/10/1959
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

3 Friend or Foe?
Episode 1-3, first aired 09/17/1959
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

4 The Gentle Gestapo Man
Episode 1-4, first aired 09/24/1959
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

5 I Know Your Face
Episode 1-5, first aired 10/01/1959
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

6 Louise
Episode 1-6, first aired 10/08/1959
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

7 Double Agent
Episode 2-1, first aired 02/18/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

8 The V.I.P.
Episode 2-2, first aired 02/25/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

9 Like Father, Like Son
Episode 2-3, first aired 03/03/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

10 Game, Set and Match
Episode 2-4, first aired 03/10/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

11 Never Say Die
Episode 2-5, first aired 03/17/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

12 The Absent Friend
Episode 2-6, first aired 03/24/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

13 Infernal Triangle
Episode 2-7, first aired 03/31/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

14 Left Luggage
Episode 3-1, first aired 10/04/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

15 The Photograph
Episode 3-2, first aired 10/11/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

16 Neutral Ground
Episode 3-3, first aired 10/18/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

17 Margin of Error
Episode 3-4, first aired 10/25/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

18 Happy Landings
Episode 3-5, first aired 11/01/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

19 Spitfire Johnnie
Episode 3-6, first aired 11/08/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

20 Stooping to Conquer
Episode 4-1, first aired 05/02/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

21 Lisbon Run
Episode 4-2, first aired 05/09/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

22 Doves of War
Episode 4-3, first aired 05/16/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

23 One of Our Aircraft
Episode 4-4, first aired 05/23/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

24 Keeping a Promise
Episode 4-5, first aired 05/30/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

25 Traitor in the Forest
Episode 4-6, first aired 06/06/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

26 Logic and Lives
Episode 4-7, first aired 06/13/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: unknown

[plot unknown]

RADIO / AUDIO


Number of Episodes:26
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:1961
Network:BBC

REGULAR CAST
1 One Must Die
Episode 1-01, first aired 09/07/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

2 Three from Spain
Episode 1-02, first aired 09/14/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

3 Double Agent
Episode 1-03, first aired 09/21/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

4 Like Father, Like Son
Episode 1-04, first aired 09/28/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

5 The V.I.P.
Episode 1-05, first aired 10/05/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

6 The Gentle Gestapo Man
Episode 1-06, first aired 10/12/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

7 I Know Your Face
Episode 1-07, first aired 10/19/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

8 Friend or Foe?
Episode 1-08, first aired 10/26/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

9 Game, Set and Match
Episode 1-09, first aired 11/02/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

10 The Absent Friend
Episode 1-10, first aired 11/09/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

11 Never Say Die
Episode 1-11, first aired 11/16/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

12 Infernal Triangle
Episode 1-12, first aired 11/23/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

13 Louise
Episode 1-13, first aired 11/30/1960
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

14 Left Luggage
Episode 2-01, first aired 07/26/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

15 The Photograph
Episode 2-02, first aired 08/02/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

16 Neutral Ground
Episode 2-03, first aired 08/09/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

17 Margin of Error
Episode 2-04, first aired 08/16/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

18 Happy Landings
Episode 2-05, first aired 08/23/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

19 Stooping to Conquer
Episode 2-06, first aired 08/30/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

20 Doves of War
Episode 2-07, first aired 09/06/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

21 Keeping a Promise
Episode 2-08, first aired 09/13/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

22 Logic and Lives
Episode 2-09, first aired 09/20/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

23 One of Our Aircraft
Episode 2-10, first aired 09/27/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

24 Traitor in the Forest
Episode 2-11, first aired 10/04/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

25 Lisbon Run
Episode 2-12, first aired 10/11/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

26 Spitfire Johnnie
Episode 2-13, first aired 10/18/1961
Director: unknown
Writer: Robert Barr

[plot unknown]

MY COMMENTS

       I have not, as of this writing, found any of the television episodes to watch (if you know where I can find some, please let me know). I have, on the other hand, listened to a good number of the very interesting radio programs.
       I am reminded of that excellent police drama from the late 60s and on up, Columbo. Not that the two characters are alike because they are very different in probably many ways. There is one, well, two traits that they share.
       First, they are dogged in their approach to a problem. There is no rush to judgment, eagerness to reach a solution and move on to the next matter. Both would talk with the suspect and ask probing questions and then politely say goodbye. And then come back at a later date with just another matter or two.
       Second, they pay attention to what the people they interview say. Not just the words but the hidden meanings as well, but all the time wary of the nuances and inconsistencies. Just like Columbo might spot something out of place that will eventually lead him to a solution, so Pinto will catch the oddities in statements that prove the lie.
       Such as one case when a woman had talked of walked for days in a foreign country, sleeping in barns and fields, before arriving as a stranger in a new town, totally destitute and not knowing where her next meal or lodging was coming from, and then being so relieved to run into an old friend at a ritzy hotel who would prove to be her savior. Pinto listens politely and agreeably and then a bit later ponder why someone who had no money whatsoever and who was wearing soiled and torn clothing for days on end would think it a good idea to head to a fancy hotel. Why would the doormen let such a disheveled person in? What would she expect to achieve in such a place? Not to mention that her legs and her feet showed no sign of abuse whatsoever.
       I look forward to listening to the rest of the many episodes.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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